Last year, 21 bicyclists died on New York City streets. Now, the city’s bicycle community is speaking out, saying that police and district attorneys are not doing enough to prosecute drivers in the wake of fatal accidents.
In about 40 percent of fatal car-versus-bike accidents, the driver doesn’t even get a ticket. Sometimes, it is because police determine that the bicyclist shared in the fault. In other cases, there isn’t enough readily-available evidence to bring charges.
Instead, accident victims’ families are left to seek justice on their own in civil court.
Take, for example, the case of Rasha Shamoon. Four years ago, this young woman was killed when she was struck by a Range Rover at the intersection of Bowery and Delancy. Police arrived at the scene and interviewed the three occupants of the Range Rover – even though other people were present at the scene, no other witnesses were mentioned in the accident report. They determined Shamoon was at fault and let the driver go.
Shamoon’s mother, though, knew that her daughter was extremely safety conscious and was unlikely to put herself in a dangerous situation. She hired a personal injury lawyer, who was able to use circumstantial evidence to show that the other driver was negligent in causing the accident.
For example, the lawyer presented evidence showing that Shamoon’s bike was covered in reflective tape and that the 21-year-old driver who hit her had at least six prior moving violations. Earlier this year, the lawyer was able to secure a significant wrongful death verdict on Shamoon’s behalf.
Oftentimes, New York City personal injury lawyers are able to uncover evidence that the average person would not be able to detect. Their experience, combined with their access to expert witnesses and accident reconstruction specialists, can help victims’ families prove fault, even when the police investigation is lacking.
If your loved one was killed in a New York fatal accident, know that you have recourse to seek justice in civil court.