There are few things that are more freeing than hitting the open road on your motorcycle. But while riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating, it also presents certain dangers. Too often, other drivers on the road just don’t take the safety of motorcyclists seriously – which can lead to crashes.
A motorcycle accident can cause serious injuries, from road rash to broken bones to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). If you were injured in a motorcycle crash, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Through a personal injury claim, you can recover financial compensation for your property damage, lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses.
At Bross & Frankel, our law firm is dedicated to helping injury victims get the money that they deserve. We offer free consultations, where we will listen to your story and advise you on your legal rights and options for pursuing a claim. Give our law office a call today to talk to a New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer about your case.
Steps to Filing a Motorcycle Crash Claim
After a motorcycle crash, you might not know what to do next. You may be in the hospital or at home, recovering from your physical injuries and dealing with the emotional trauma of being in an accident. You may also be out of work and staring down mounting medical expenses.
If your motorcycle accident was caused by someone else, then you may be able to file a claim with their insurance company. Through this process, you will be able to recover financial compensation for all of your losses.
Motorcycle accidents fall into the broad category of personal injury law or torts. Under New Jersey law, these claims are typically based on a standard of negligence. This legal term means a kind of carelessness, or the failure to use the level of care that a reasonable person would in a similar situation.
There are a number of ways that negligence can cause a motorcycle accident, including:
- Cars making left-hand turns across traffic
- Road hazards
- Construction hazards
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Rear-end collisions
- Failure to yield
- Following too closely
- Dangerous road conditions
- Unsafe lane changes
- Dooring accidents
No matter what the cause may be, if someone else’s negligence caused your motorcycle accident, you may be able to file a legal claim against them. This includes other drivers on the road as well as entities that are responsible for road conditions, such as a city or state government agency.
The first step in filing a claim is to consult with a New Jersey motorcycle accident attorney. While an insurance adjuster may approach you before you have a chance to talk to a lawyer, your best option is to not talk to them before you’ve had a chance to get legal advice. Your attorney can help you decide how to proceed with your case.
If you choose to hire a personal injury law firm, then they will immediately begin investigating. This may include requesting an accident report from the police, talking to witnesses, reviewing medical records, and seeking other evidence, such as videos and photos of the accident scene. At the same time, your attorney will research New Jersey law and consult with experts about your claim and the damages in your case.
With this information, your lawyer will send a demand letter to the insurance company. This letter will set out the facts of the case and the legal reason that their insured is responsible then will make a demand for damages (compensation). Typically, the insurance company will respond to a demand letter with a counteroffer, which begins the negotiation process.
According to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 97% of personal injury cases are resolved without a trial. However, it may still be necessary to file a lawsuit for your motorcycle accident claim in order to preserve your legal rights. In New Jersey, there is a two-year statute of limitations, which means that if you don’t file a lawsuit within this time period, then you will likely lose the right to pursue your claim.
After a lawsuit is filed, your attorney will continue to negotiate a settlement for you. If the insurance company refuses to pay you fair compensation for your losses, then your lawyer will take the case to trial and ask the jury to return a verdict in your favor.
When to Hire an NJ Motorcycle Accident Attorney
In the immediate aftermath of a motorcycle accident, you may be approached by a claims adjuster working for the at-fault driver’s insurance company. They may tell you that they accept liability for the accident, or ask you to give a statement or sign paperwork. You should not talk to an adjuster or sign anything until you have had a chance to speak to an experienced attorney.
Insurance companies are in business to make money. They do this, in part, by paying as little as possible to motorcycle accident victims. In short, your interests are not the same as the insurance company’s.
By contrast, a lawyer is duty-bound to advocate for you and your best interests. They will work hard to get you maximum compensation for your injuries, as quickly as possible. An attorney will also take on all communications with the insurance company for you so that you can focus on what is truly important – healing from your injuries.
Remember: you have a limited amount of time to file a motorcycle accident injury claim. Consulting with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer immediately after a crash can help preserve your rights. It also puts a stop to any sneaky insurance company tactics that are designed to minimize the value of your claim.
Types of Compensation After a Motorcycle Crash
In a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to three types of compensation: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. Economic and non-economic damages are considered compensatory, in that they compensate you for losses that you have suffered. Punitive damages are meant to punish someone who engaged in intentional or grossly reckless conduct.
Economic damages compensate an injury victim for specific financial losses. Examples may include:
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Reduced earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Future medical treatment
Noneconomic damages address intangible losses, such as:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
Finally, punitive damages are only available in cases where the at-fault party acted intentionally or recklessly. For example, if a drunk driver causes a motorcycle crash, then they may be liable for punitive damages. Claims involving negligent drivers are not eligible for punitive damages.
If a motorcyclist dies as a result of a crash, then their loved ones may bring a wrongful death claim on their behalf. Damages for a wrongful death case may include medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident, funeral and burial expenses, the value of the deceased’s lost wages and benefits, including future lost earnings, the value of the household services that the deceased would have provided, and the value of the loss of companionship and guidance of the person who passed away.
The value of a motorcycle accident claim involves a number of factors, such as the seriousness of the injuries, whether liability is clear, and the limits of the at-fault party’s insurance policy. Generally, motorcycle riders who suffer more severe injuries – like organ damage or paralysis – will recover more compensation than those who have relatively minor injuries.
During a free initial consultation, a motorcycle injury lawyer will give you a ballpark estimate of the value of your case. This amount may change over time, as more evidence is uncovered or additional parties are brought into the case.
How an NJ Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
After a motorcycle accident, you may be tempted to take the first settlement offered by the insurance company so that you can move forward with your life. Doing so may make life easier in the short term – but it often causes more problems over time.
Initial settlement offers are rarely enough to truly cover your losses. Down the road, you may discover that the money doesn’t come close to paying for all of the medical attention that you need or the wages that you have lost as a result of your injuries. These settlements often do not fully compensate you for all of your other losses, like pain and suffering.
Studies show that people who are represented by experienced motorcycle accident attorneys recover as much as 40% more than people who represent themselves. When you represent yourself, the insurance company knows that they can get away with a low ball settlement offer. When you have a lawyer, the insurer is more likely to take you seriously – and give you a fair settlement.
Insurance companies have teams of lawyers and adjusters working for them. Having an attorney of your own levels the playing field and ensures that you aren’t taken advantage of in the process. The best way to stand up for yourself is to hire a car accident lawyer who can fight for your right to full compensation.
In addition to taking on the insurance company, your personal injury attorneys will work with experts to put together a strong claim for damages. They will also push back against delays and unfair denials of coverage. When necessary, they will file a lawsuit to protect your rights.
Most personal injury lawyers handle these types of cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you won’t pay anything out of pocket, and will only pay a fee if your lawyer recovers money for you. This means that you can afford to hire an attorney – even if you don’t have the cash on hand to pay upfront.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Crash?
Yes. Motorcycle accidents can cause serious injuries that require long-term medical care. Hiring an attorney to handle your motorcycle accident claim is the best way to get the compensation that you deserve for your losses.
No matter what they may tell you, the insurance adjuster is not on your side. Their goal is to get your case resolved for the lowest amount possible. To get maximum compensation, call Bross & Frankel to talk to an NJ motorcycle accident attorney.
Can I Sue the City If My Motorcycle Accident Was Caused By Poor Road Conditions?
Possibly. If the city or another government agency was negligent in maintaining the road, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against them for injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash. Lawsuits against a government agency are different from other types of personal injury claims, with strict deadlines and unique procedures.
If you were in a single-vehicle motorcycle crash, don’t assume that you cannot file a claim for your losses. Reach out to Bross & Frankel today to schedule a free consultation about your case.
What If I Was Partially at Fault for My Motorcycle Crash?
If you were somewhat at fault for your motorcycle accident, you may still be able to file a lawsuit against the other driver. New Jersey follows the rule of comparative negligence. As long as you were 50% or less to blame for the collision, you can still file a claim. Your total recovery will then be reduced by the percentage that you were at fault.
Comparative negligence cases can be complicated. If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, you will need a skilled attorney who can advocate for your rights. In New Jersey, contact Bross & Frankel for a free consultation.
How Our Lawyers Can Help
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident on your motorcycle, you may be able to file a claim for damages. Our law firm will work with you to help you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
Based in Cherry Hill, NJ, Bross & Frankel represents accident victims throughout New Jersey. We offer free consultations, and we never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with an NJ personal injury lawyer, give our law office a call at 866-311-3796 or fill out our online contact form.