Bicyclist Critically Injured After Being Struck by Vehicle

Bicycle Accident AttorneyA bicyclist was critically injured in a Queens crash after being hit by a vehicle that was fleeing police. According to a WABC news report, police sources said that officers tried to pull over a car earlier in the area of 35th Avenue and 29th Street in Astoria because the car’s plates did not match the vehicle. The vehicle then took off, striking the 39-year-old male bicyclist. An eyewitness told ABC7 that the police pursuit seemed dangerous on such a busy street that was packed with pedestrians and other traffic.

Violation of Laws

The bicycle accident victim was conscious soon after the collision and was transported to an area hospital in critical condition. He was expected to survive. Police arrested 46-year-old Harold Vega, the driver of the car that failed to stop. Vega was fleeing westbound on 31st Avenue, approaching Crescent Street, when he blew a red light and swerved into the bike lanes striking the bicyclist was riding south on Crescent. Vega then fled the scene.

Police caught up with him several blocks away where he had crashed into a parked car and fled on foot. Police followed him and apprehended him. He was charged with reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident with injury, fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, reckless driving, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle without insurance and driving without a license.

Liability Issues in Police Pursuits

Police chases in New York, as in many other jurisdictions, present complex liability issues. When a high-speed pursuit results in property damage, injuries, or fatalities, questions arise about who should be held accountable — the fleeing suspect, the police officers involved, or the municipality employing the officers.

Typically, the fleeing suspect is considered primarily responsible for initiating the chase and any resulting harm. Their reckless behavior often makes them liable for damages under criminal and civil law.

Police officers have a duty to protect public safety and this duty must be balanced against how they apprehend suspects. New York has guidelines and protocols for conducting pursuits to minimize risk to bystanders. If an officer violates these protocols, the police department or the municipality could be held liable for negligence (carelessness). For example, pursuing a suspect through highly populated areas at high speeds may be deemed excessively dangerous, making the department liable for resulting damages.

Municipal liability in police chases often hinges on whether the officers acted within the scope of their employment and followed departmental policies. Courts may find a municipality liable if it is proven that the officers acted recklessly or with gross negligence.

In some cases, liability is shared. The suspect may be held responsible for initiating the chase, while the police department may share responsibility for not terminating the pursuit when it became excessively dangerous. Victims of such chases may pursue compensation through civil lawsuits against both the suspect and the city, seeking damages including but not limited to medical expenses, lost income and benefits, property damage, past and future pain and suffering, etc.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident or pedestrian accident, or if you have lost a loved one in an auto accident caused by a negligent (careless) driver, the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.

For over 52 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims get fair compensation for their losses. Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a bicyclist who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and $2,000,000 in a hit-and-run accident, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck, and $4,625,000 for a driver who was in a car and was hit by a van, and $2,500,000 for a man who fell through an improperly secured hole.

We also obtained $295,000 out of a $300,000 insurance policy in compensation for the victim of a bicycle dooring accident (where a car door opens into the path of a bicyclist). Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury, lead poisoning and medical malpractice cases including, brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy) and cerebral palsy cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

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