New York City is making massive attempts to reduce traffic on the streets, emissions and make New York residents healthier by improving conditions for cyclists. There are more cyclists on the streets than ever before and it has never been safer for cyclists, which is great. But with ten times more cyclists using the city than in the 80’s there are inevitably going to be more cycling accidents.
This matter has been brought up by many blind and visually impaired people in New York City. Cyclists are known for going through red lights (“Idaho stops”) when they see no pedestrians or traffic. Many blind and visually impaired people have stated that they would like cyclists to follow the same traffic regulations as other types of vehicles using the roads.
Vicki Acopulus, is extremely farsighted and has an astigmatism. The 72 year old has been knocked over by cyclists in Hell’s Kitchen by delivery cyclists twice now and is fed up. Both times she managed to walk away with only a minor personal injury and says this was down to the fact she was wearing a big winter coat which cushioned her fall.
Another lady, who is a resident of senior housing in Hell’s Kitchen, has been helping her friends out by running errands for them. She said they are scared of going out due to being knocked down by bikes.
Even though as a pedestrian it is far more lethal to be hit by a car, it is cyclists that cause most fear in visually impaired people in New York City. With around 53,000 adults in New York City between 18 and 64 who are blind or visually impaired and 172,484 people with difficult vision this issue needs to be addressed.
Cyclists might not always be aware that many pedestrians rely mostly on their hearing to get around the city and will not see a bike coming straight for them. Visually impaired people are taught to listen for cars and traffic however bikes are a lot quieter which makes life a lot harder.
Elderly are most at risk
Elderly people can suffer with conditions such as diabetes, cataracts, macular degeneration and retinopathies which can all affect their eyesight. On top of this conditions such as osteoporosis can mean their bones are more brittle and brake easier.
All of these conditions mean that elderly people risk not only being more likely to be hit by a bike, but are also a greater risk of serious personal injury. Unfortunately serious bike collisions with elderly people can often lead to long periods of hospitalization or rehab and sometimes can even be fatal.
A recent decrease in tickets for cyclists
Although there is a record amount of cyclists in New York, the NYPD has seen a huge decrease in the amount of tickets issued for bicycle infractions. There were no tickets issued last year for not having bells, brakes, lights or reflector vests. There was also a huge drop in tickets issued for cycling on a sidewalk and even cyclists on commercial bikes received far less tickets than previous years.
While many cyclists are improving and complying with traffic laws, the increase in number of bikes on the road these days means there are inevitably more accidents.
The situation is clearly getting better. Yet if only 10% of the 50,000 cyclists in New York City are breaking the law by violating traffic laws, that still leaves us with 5,000 problem cyclists on the streets.
What is being done and what can be to improve the streets for the visually impaired?
o Educating cyclists on bikes laws, how to cycle safely and how to correctly use cycle lanes. Bikers are also often unaware just how many visually impaired people there are using the streets and are unaware of the dangers of their actions
• Improving street design
o Building more and more cycle paths designed to keep pedestrians and cyclists separate. Download maps of all NYC cycle lanes here
o Ensuring NYPD are also up to date on bicycle safety and enforcing the laws
In order to avoid people getting injured at work, companies have strict health and safety rules and programs. These rules ensure both employees and employers can work in a safe environment. Avoiding personal injuries can save employers money by not having to pay out compensation.
Despite the strict programs put in place to keep people safe, personal injuries will always happen. An employer has a duty to report and record accidents once it has happened. Failing to report any accidents in workplaces will not do employers any favors.
First things first
Getting yourself the correct first aid and medical attention is the most important thing to do after any type of personal injury. Once you are safe and sorted it is imperative that you report the incident as soon as possible.
Why it’s so important to report an accident immediately
Reporting an accident might seem obvious but when a person is injured at work and doesn’t require medical assistance they might not feel this is important. If you do not report an accident swiftly your employer could try to deny it ever happened. This could mean denying the costs of your medical expenses or any benefits you may be entitled to from missing any work you may have. It is also important to report an accident properly, in the correct way and on time.
Your employer should then report the accident to The Workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If this does not happen within a certain time frame it will be questioned and more than likely rejected. Private insurance won’t pay for any medical expenses caused from personal injuries you receive at work so if your claim is rejected you won’t receive any money at all.
Normally you would be entitled to three benefits if you are injured at work. Your employer should pay for your medical treatment, temporary disability benefits and a cash sum based on the grade of permanent injury.
Your employer could deny you all of these pay outs should you not report your accident within a timely manner. It is likely your employer will have strict deadlines for reporting accidents. On top of being denied any pay out from your employer, they could well be within their rights to suspend you without pay or formally reprimand you.
Some injuries do not always require immediate medical attention. Hurting your back through lifting heavy objects daily or a twisted joint after climbing down from a ledge might not need emergency doctor appointments. Reporting them to a supervisor may seem a little extreme or unnecessary at the time. This personal injury from the accident you suffered at work could result in much more serious pain and suffering in the future.
Reporting the accident and personal injury you received could protect you, especially if your employer tries to deny the incident.
How to correctly report an accident to your employer
So now you know how important it is to report your injury as soon as possible and within the correct time frame. Try to report the accident with details of the personal injuries you sustained in writing to your employer. If you cannot report it in writing for some reason it is a good idea to report it in front of a trustworthy witness. Union members can also report accidents to their unions as well as their employer.
Your employer or union normally have accident report forms which are the best and easiest ways to report accidents. This is not always the case however and if your employer does not already have a system in place it might be worth suggesting one. Here https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy11/sh-22224-11/3_Accident_Investigation_Form.pdf is an example of a report of injury form to download should you need it.
Reporting your accident within the suggested time frame is important. In most states workers normally have up to 90 days to report accidents. Some companies do impose shorter internal deadlines though.
However should you be late in reporting it, still following the correct procedure is imperative. You may still receive worker compensation benefits but it could take a lot longer and you may face much more troubles along the way.
Get as many witnesses as possible
Anyone that has seen the accident unfold can be your witness. The more the better.
Co-workers are normally your best witnesses. You normally know them well and they will have been working alongside you at the time of the accident. It is more than likely they will have a good understanding of the cause of the accident and the situation you were put in, which could be invaluable if your employer challenges what happened to you.
Getting an attorney
If you sustain an injury at work you will be entitled to workers compensation benefits. An attorney will be well educated in the rights of injured workers and will assist you in receiving everything you deserve in a timely matter.
New York personal injury lawyers have always had their work cut out for them. Sometimes after an injury, people suffer longstanding effects that are not easily visible. Even if a victim appears healthy on the surface, there could be problems brewing below the surface both emotionally and physically. The good news is that things are about to change. It’s possible that a device called the FitBit is going to make the jobs of New York personal injury lawyers just a little bit easier.
FitBits are designed to track a wide range of information about a person’s lifestyle. They keep an accurate account of the type of activities the person does from day to day and register how many calories were burned. A Calgary law firm, McLeod Law, is current working on how they can use the data collected by FitBit to help them win a personal injury case for their client.
McLeod Law is handling the case of a young woman who was injured in an accident prior to when Fitbits went on the market. Under most circumstances, the fact the device wasn’t freely available might hurt a case, but since this young woman worked as a personal trainer and was clearly a very active individual prior to the accident, her lawyer hopes to use data collected by Fitbits on people who are a similar to his client in age and profession. He hopes that the court will be able to use the data to realize that as a result of the accident, his client isn’t the same woman she once was.
Her lawyer, Simon Muller, is excited about the ability to use FitBit data to win the case. “Until now we’ve always had to rely on clinical interpretation. Now we’re looking at longer periods of time though the course of a day, and we have hard data.” The law firm is using Vivametrica’s analytics platform to gather the necessary data. “We’re expecting the results to show that her activity level is less and compromised as a result of her injury,” Mueller told reporters.
This will be the first time that data collected from wearable fitness devices has been used in a legal situation, but it’s unlikely to be the last. These devices could help individuals embroiled in bitter personal injury cases to prove their case, but also by the other side as well in an attempt to prove that the individual who filed the lawsuit does not suffer from severe physical limitations as a result of the injury.
Any personal injury lawyer in New York will tell you that people get hurt. In New York, it’s estimated that 160,000 people require medical treatment as a result of an injury each year. Another 7,000 New Yorkers die from their injuries. Looking at the numbers, it’s no surprise that each personal injury lawyer in New York is so busy.
If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s carelessness, it’s likely that you’re entitled to a settlement. Call and book an appointment with a personal injury lawyer from a law firm such as Pulvers Thompson in New York to find out how you can get the settlement you deserve.