I am a longtime supporter of the New York Bicycling Coalition, the largest NY bicycle advocacy group. In fact, I am a proud member of its Board of Directors and serve as its Legal Consultant.
And starting this month, I have been asked to co-author a monthly column on the NYBC’s website on legal issues facing bicyclists in New York State. My co-author is another bicycle accident attorney, Daniel Flanzig of Westchester County and New York City. We are both active trial lawyers on behalf of bicyclists in New York State.
Our first collaboration is “A Guide to Understanding Bicycle Damage Claims in NYS.” Dan did a great job of summarizing what every cyclist should know in trying to get their damaged bike repaired or replaced after a bike collision.
One of the most common calls Daniel and I receive is from bicyclists asking whether they need to hire a lawyer to pursue a property damage claim after they have had their bike damaged or totaled by a motorist.
If the bicyclist was injured, then our law firms can definitely help represent the injured person.
But if the bicyclist was not injured and still wants to file a claim, they can likely do that without the services of a lawyer.
Our first column explains the process and the steps you’ll need to take to protect yourself and successfully be reimbursed for the damages. Please remember that you are entitled to be compensated for the cost of repairs. If the bike cannot be repaired, you are entitled to the replacement value of your bike. Do not let the insurance company convince you that you should settle for a “depreciated” value of your bike.
Also be very careful when talking with an insurance company. Your conversation is usually recorded. The adjuster may be friendly but remember they are not your friend. The innocent statement you make may be detrimental to your claim.
We suggest five basic steps in the column, and you’ll have to read the column to read more about each step, but here are the broad steps you must take to get your claim moving:
1. Get a copy of the police report.
2. Locate the driver’s insurance company on the police report.
3. Take pictures of your damaged bicycle.
4. Get one or more estimates for the repairs.
5. Document other damages that you will claim.
Once you have gathered all of your evidence, it’s time to call the insurance company to file the claim.
But before you do anything, please read the column and contact me if you have any questions.
The column is an invaluable resource for bicyclists in Elmira, Corning, and across the Twin Tiers and New York State.