A motorcycle accident can change life as you know it.
Long before the crash, riding a motorcycle was more than a means of transportation for you. Your bike signified freedom, adventure, a way of life.
But a horrific motorcycle crash has left you seriously hurt, and you don’t feel free anymore. You’re not up for an adventure. You’re trapped by the injuries you suffered, the constant pain they cause, and the excessive cost of medical care you can’t go without.
There’s a way out of this ordeal – a way to start getting life back to normal – and all you have to do is make a phone call. The New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyers at Console and Associates can help you get your life back (and our help costs you nothing out of pocket).
Talk to a motorcycle accident attorney for a free case evaluation.
Realistically? This crash will cost your family a lot. We’re talking anywhere in the ballpark of several thousand dollars up to $1 million.
And – unless you have skilled motorcycle accident lawyers fighting for you – there’s a good chance this debt will fall directly on your family.
Let’s do the math.
How much a motorcycle accident costs depends on many factors. There’s a lot of variability in the economic impact of a motorcycle crash.
If your injuries were relatively minor, perhaps you went to the emergency room, required little follow-up care, and missed only a couple days of work. You might be able to get away with economic costs in the range of $5,000 to $10,000.
This cost is at the low end of the spectrum of the financial impacts of motorcycle crashes. It’s unlikely that an injured motorcyclist will see costs much lower than these. But for most families, an unexpected expense of “just” $5,000 to $10,000 is still a huge issue.
And the more serious the motorcycle wreck victim’s injuries, the greater the financial burden. It doesn’t take as much as you might expect for the costs of a motorcycle crash to climb into the tens of thousands of dollars, then the hundreds of thousands of dollars. To be made financially whole after some of the most devastating motorcycle crashes takes amounts approaching a million dollars or more.
Being admitted to the hospital, having to go to a trauma center, being intubated in the intensive care unit, requiring surgery, needing a stay in an inpatient rehabilitation hospital before you’re well enough to go home – every one of these factors adds to the cost. The longer you’re out of work, too, the greater the economic impact on your family.
If you need ongoing or future medical care because of these injuries, that can raise the cost of a motorcycle accident astronomically. Some motorcyclists suffer such severe injuries that they’ll need round-the-clock professional healthcare, possibly long-term or even for the rest of their lives. That’s a big expense.
For the nearly 5,000 families who lose a loved one to a motorcycle collision each year, medical bills may be the least of the costs. The future with your loved one that you lost because of the crash was priceless.
There’s no clear way to put a dollar amount on the milestones and experiences you’ll never get to share with that person, the affection you’ll never again show or receive. What is clear is that you deserve some level of compensation for all of the ways your life has changed now that your family member is gone – even if money alone is, in this case, a painfully inadequate form of restitution.
It’s hard to overstate the financial cost – not to mention, the physical and emotional consequences – of a motorcycle accident.
And, thanks to the way insurance works in matters involving NJ motorcycle accidents, you’re going to be on the hook for these costs even if the accident was the other driver’s fault, unless you hire a New Jersey personal injury attorney to fight for you.
You can’t withstand the economic blow of thousands of dollars, especially when you didn’t do anything wrong.
Even if you think you have “full coverage,” the way insurance coverage works when you’re riding a motorcycle is very different from how it works when you’re in a car. Your insurance company won’t come to your rescue when it’s time to pay your medical bills.
This all falls on you – unless you sue the driver who’s at fault for this collision. File a motorcycle accident insurance claim, and the other driver’s insurance company will have to step up and cover the costs.
You weren’t looking for an excuse to sue someone. But the other driver has left you with no real choice. Someone has to pay for the crash they caused, and it shouldn’t be you.
Without suing for your motorcycle accident, there’s a good chance you’ll never be able to pay off your medical bills or make up for the wages you lost while out of work. If you don’t get the money you deserve, you won’t be able to afford the medical care you need to get better, either.
That’s why it’s so crucial that every motorcycle accident victim has experienced legal representation. Your health, your future, and your quality of life are all on the line.
Say you move forward with filing a motorcycle accident claim with the other driver’s insurer. The insurance adjuster isn’t going to just hand over a fair settlement for a motorcycle wreck.
You’re going to have to fight for it – and that’s where our motorcycle accident lawyers come in.
Do you really need an attorney for your motorcycle accident in NJ? Well, you aren’t required by law to retain a lawyer just because you were in a motorcycle crash. However, given the way the legal system and insurance industry work, having an attorney on your side has a big impact on the outcome of your insurance claim.
Studies have illustrated that attorneys get, on average, 3.5 times more money for the clients they serve than claimants without an attorney get for themselves.
Because having a lawyer can more than triple the value of your claim, it makes sense to hire professional legal representation for all but the lowest-value injury claims.
Generally, the “lowest-value” claims include only claims involving very minor injuries that healed without much medical treatment and didn’t keep the victim out of work for very long. But motorcyclists so frequently suffer from such severe injuries that few motorcycle crashes fit into the low-value category of claims.
For a motorcycle accident, in particular, hiring a personal injury lawyer will add exponentially more value to your claim than these legal services will cost in the way of attorneys’ fees. You’ll increase your motorcycle accident compensation by way more than you will pay out in fees and wind up with a lot more money in your pocket.
That means more money to:
Hiring an attorney to fight for you is the smartest choice you can make after a motorcycle accident in NJ. But not all motorcycle injury lawyers bring equal value to your case.
Before he called us, our client had tried to resolve his motorcycle crash claim himself.
He had been test-driving a motorcycle for his employer, a retail store that specializes in selling motorsports vehicles, when he ran into a careless driver – literally.
The other driver had tried to (illegally) make a left turn from a far-right lane and ended up directly in our client’s path. There was nothing he could do to avoid the collision.
He hit the side of the car head-on. The impact flipped him off of the wrecked motorcycle.
Our client suffered hand and wrist injuries serious enough to require surgery. Even after the procedure, his life would never be the same.
For someone without a legal background, this motorcyclist did a good job negotiating with the other driver’s insurance company on his own. After going back and forth in his solo negotiations, he convinced the insurance company to offer him $25‚000 – not too shabby, but still nowhere near what he really deserved for this collision.
Before he accepted the $25,000 settlement offer, he decided to run it by our New Jersey motorcycle accident attorneys. (This is a service we offer at no charge to any accident victim who calls our office). And it was a good thing he did.
Once we learned the details of his accident, including the severity of his injury and the extent of the other driver’s negligence, we were confident that we could get him a lot more. He hired us to represent him in pursuing the claim further.
By the time we closed his case, we’d gotten this client $340‚000 – nearly 14 times the amount he had almost settled for.
Disclaimer: Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.
For one thing, we have decades of experience to draw from, so we know much more about the ins and outs of the legal and insurance industries than the average person does.
We know the ploys insurers use to minimize payouts and how to beat insurance adjusters at their own games. We refuse to allow insurance companies to shirk their legal obligations and deviate from their contractual requirements – things that, if you’re trying to negotiate with the insurer on your own, you likely don’t even know are occurring.
And we prepare every case as if it’s going to trial from the start.
The reality is that, unfortunately, insurance companies know that most claimants don’t fully understand the injury claims process. Rather than explaining things and leveling the playing field, the insurance company will prey on that lack of familiarity. Insurers try to get away with handling matters involving an unrepresented claimant in ways that the company wouldn’t dare attempt with a claimant who has an attorney.
Once the insurer sees that you aren’t in this alone – and sees just how serious we are about getting our clients every penny they deserve – the company’s approach to a claim changes drastically. Our thorough investigation and case preparation show the insurance company that we’re fully prepared to fight them in court, if that’s what it takes to get results for you. Often, knowing that we’re ready for a trial is exactly what persuades insurers to avoid going to court altogether by offering the motorcycle accident settlement you deserve.
A lot of people believe that hiring an attorney means their case will go to trial. Some insurance adjusters even imply that attorneys will force you to go through a trial, as a way to deter accident victims from hiring a lawyer. Statistically, most injury claims settle out of court even when you have an attorney. We only take your case to trial if that’s what’s best for your outcome, not our egos.
What will a motorcycle injury law firm do for you? Here’s just a sample of the actions Console and Associates takes to advance our clients’ claims and help them get their lives back on track.
Why hire a motorcycle accident attorney? Having us on your side means less hassle now, when all you should really be focusing on is getting better, and more money – according to research data – than you would be statistically likely to get on your own.
When you’re worried about your medical condition and how it will affect your future, our New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyers will make sure you receive proper care and the compensation you need to afford it.
When you’re worried about paying your bills while your injuries keep you out of work, we’ll fight to get you the full amount of compensation for all of your lost wages – and for any future income you’re likely to miss out on because of the accident.
And whenever you need support, we’re here for you. Following a stressful or traumatic experience like a motorcycle accident‚ it can help just to know that someone is on your side. We’ll provide you with the compassionate, personalized service you need to get through this whole ordeal and get your life back on track.
When you choose the New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyers at Console and Associates to pursue an injury claim for you, you get more than legal representation. You get the experience and hard work necessary to secure every dollar of compensation you deserve. The support to make your life easier in ways you would never expect from an attorney. And the answers to your questions – all of them.
If you’re wondering how much you can get for a motorcycle accident, there’s a lot to think about. How much to expect from a motorcycle accident depends on several different factors, the most important of which is the extent of your damages.
Damages are any harms or losses that you suffered because of the accident or injury. Damages in a motorcycle crash lawsuit can be economic or non-economic.
Economic damages are the ones for which there’s a clear dollar amount, such as:
Medical bills include the costs of:
If a motorcycle accident has hurt your family’s finances by keeping you out of work, you’re far from alone. When talking about damages in a motorcycle injury claim, lost wages can be temporary (if you are disabled only while recovering from the acute injury) or permanent (if your injury prevents you from returning to your field of work).
Lost wages may encompass any of the following:
For non-economic damages, it’s a little harder to pinpoint the precise amount of money you deserve. There’s no concrete dollar amount associated with these losses, because they’re not based on actual or expected bills or on forecasted amounts calculated based on documented figures.
But, as any family affected by a motorcycle collision knows, these losses are very real. So is the need to compensate victims for them as fully as is possible.
Some of the non-economic damages that may figure into your motorcycle accident settlement include:
Proving economic damages is a relatively straightforward process. Some economic damages, like past medical bills and lost wages, have easy-to-calculate figures. Even speculative economic damages are based on quantitative projections and calculations.
Non-economic damages can be a lot more difficult to prove. It may seem like common sense that going through a scary accident and being left scarred, in pain, and disabled can cause mental distress. But that’s not how the other side sees it.
To the insurer, it’s not about you – it’s about the money. Insurance companies routinely try to reduce payouts, particularly for non-economic damages. To make matters worse, insurance companies looking for an excuse to get out of paying your claim for non-economic injuries may try to blame “pre-existing conditions.”
If you’ve ever turned to psychological or psychiatric treatments to help you cope with depression, anxiety, or another mental illness before the crash, there’s a good chance the insurance company will latch onto that past treatment. They’ll try to wriggle out of responsibility for making your mental health conditions worse just to keep some money in their pockets instead of yours.
It’s not fair, but that’s the reality. To combat this devious practice, we’ll carefully document your emotional suffering and mental anguish through records and bills from counseling and psychotherapy sessions and psychiatric consultations and treatments.
Your records, along with the testimony of experts in psychiatry and psychology, can illustrate how a serious collision left you with life-changing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or how your physical pain and inability to do the things you enjoyed led to new or worsened depression.
When you pursue a motorcycle accident claim against the driver at fault for your collision, you can seek compensation for every one of your damages from that motorist’s auto insurance policy. Our experienced New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyers won’t leave anything out. We will fight tirelessly to get you the full amount of money you deserve – because we know that you need every dollar of compensation available to you if you’re going to get the medical treatment you need to get your life back on track.
Your damages – which are unique to your situation – are the most important factor in the value of your case, but other factors play a role in how much your motorcycle accident is worth, too. The severity of recklessness or negligence on the part of the defendant, the insurance company’s level of cooperation, and even the jurisdiction where your case is filed can all affect how much compensation you’re likely to get for a motorcycle crash.
No attorney can tell you, without being familiar with the unique details of your crash, what your motorcycle accident claim will be worth. But what we can promise is that as long as your claim is in our hands, our entire legal team will use our extensive legal knowledge gained over 20+ years of experience to build your case for success.
Sure, there are benefits of having an attorney on your side, but what about the cost? In the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, it’s the worst possible time for your family to have to come up with the money to pay legal fees and the exorbitant hourly rates or retainers charged by an attorney.
If you think now’s not the time to shell out money for a lawyer, you’re exactly right. That’s why the law firm of Console and Associates handles every motorcycle accident claim on a no-win, no-fee basis. Getting justice and accountability – getting your life back on track – shouldn’t be an outcome reserved only for someone wealthy enough to afford to pay massive legal fees upfront.
So many accident victims are afraid that they can’t afford an experienced New Jersey motorcycle accident attorney to handle their claim.
What they don’t know is that you can hire a lawyer – for that matter, an entire team of lawyers and legal professionals – without having to pay a single upfront fee.
At Console & Associates P.C., we believe personal injury lawyers only deserve to get paid if they do their job right. So we make the claims process risk-free for clients in situations like yours by offering no-win, no-fee legal representation.
In the legal world, we refer to this kind of no-win, no-fee guarantee as representation on a contingency basis. And while a lot of New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyers handle cases on contingency, Console & Associates P.C. takes it a step further with our No Fee Promise.
When you hire a lawyer for a motorcycle accident on a contingency basis, it costs you nothing upfront to retain an attorney. That means you pay:
You’ll only ever pay for our services if and when we successfully get money for you. This means:
What about when you do receive a settlement or a jury award? What you owe in legal fees is only a simple percentage of the money we succeed in getting for you.
The State of New Jersey sets the contingency fee amounts for personal injury lawyers. Under state law, motorcycle crash attorneys in NJ charge 33⅓ percent of the first $750,000 recovered, and the percentage of fees charged on amounts over that limit declines as your total compensation amount increases.
At first glance, we know that a third of your settlement can sound like a lot. But remember, you’re paying for us to add value to your claim.
If your case started out with a value of just $10,000 but we got you an amount consistent with that 3.5-times increase reported by researchers, you’re now looking at a total claim amount of $35,000. Even once you subtract our 33 1/3 percent payment ($11,655), you’re still looking at a lot more money in your pocket.
Legal representation for a motorcycle accident isn’t an occasion for bargain-hunting. Because the state establishes the customary amounts for attorneys’ fees, most reputable personal injury law firms follow these guidelines.
If you find an attorney willing to handle your claim for a lower percentage, ask yourself why. Chances are, they aren’t offering a discount out of the goodness of their heart, but instead to make up for serious shortcomings like a lack of experience or instances of professional misconduct.
Remember, the skills of your attorney directly affect the results (money) you get for your claim. If you want the best outcome for your motorcycle accident lawsuit, then you need high-quality legal representation to get it.
Thanks to the no-win, no-fee contingency arrangement in New Jersey, the cost of legal representation isn’t one of the factors you have to worry about when choosing a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Here are four factors you should weigh when deciding which law firm is right for handling your case:
One of the benefits of choosing a boutique personal injury law firm like Console and Associates is that we’re poised to offer the personal attention your claim deserves. Unlike the massive national law firms, we’ll get to know you as a real person and see you as more than a claim number or a dollar sign. And unlike solo attorneys, we have the resources to provide you with a full legal team that can offer you the support you need, whenever you need it. We pride ourselves on giving every member of our client family the personal attention that makes their claim, and their life after an accident, easier on them.
Here are the most important steps you need to take when you’ve been in a motorcycle crash:
1| Call for help. If there’s any possibility of an injury or of property damage that totals more than a few hundred dollars, you must report the collision to the police. Calling 9-1-1 will allow you to get help to the scene promptly.
Emergency medical personnel can provide urgently-needed care to stabilize anyone who is severely injured and transport them to the hospital. Police who arrive on the scene can secure the crash site and document the accident. You’ll need this documentation as you move forward with a motorcycle injury claim.
2| Document the accident as much as you can. Staying safe from any further harm needs to be your number-one priority in the immediate aftermath of a motorcycle crash. If you’re able to move, get to a place where you’re not going to be at risk of being struck by any further traffic.
If you are physically well enough to do so, now is the time to begin documenting the crash. Take photos of the accident scene, the property damage, and your injuries. Get contact information from the other motorist and the contact information and statements from any witnesses to the crash.
The more information you’re able to gather now, the better – but be careful what you say as you’re talking to the other driver, witnesses, and first responders. Don’t apologize for the accident, say “I should have..” or “I shouldn’t have…”, or say that you’re “fine.” These statements can be twisted and used against you, especially if you later find out that your injuries are more serious than you first believed.
3| Follow through with your medical care. Your health matters most. Seeking medical care right away is the most important step for you to take after a motorcycle accident, but this step can look different depending on the severity of your injuries.
If you may be seriously injured, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and get emergency medical care. We know that no one wants to incur a big, unnecessary emergency room bill, but what’s even worse is walking away with potentially life-threatening injuries that you may not be aware of until it’s too late.
If you refuse to take an ambulance from the scene of the crash to the hospital, then you should make arrangements to see a doctor elsewhere. Keep in mind that your primary care doctor may have reservations about treating you for injuries sustained in a crash, so you may instead have to start your treatment at an urgent care facility or by finding a doctor who routinely handles injuries sustained in accidents (and the more complicated billing matters that accompany these injuries).
Wherever you start your medical care, you need to follow through with it. If an emergency room doctor or the physician at the urgent care facility tells you to follow up with a primary care doctor or a specialist, make sure you do. Getting the right treatment for all of your injuries is crucial for reaching your full recovery potential.
4| Call an attorney as soon as possible. Just as you shouldn’t hesitate to see a doctor to protect your health, you need to bring in a professional to protect your legal rights. The sooner you get in contact with a motorcycle accident lawyer, the better.
5| Report the crash to your insurance company. As a policyholder, you need to report the motorcycle accident to your insurance company – but there’s a lot that could go wrong. People like to think that their own insurance company, at least, is on their side. Unfortunately, that’s just not true.
When it comes to motorcyclists, in particular, insurance companies often – and unfairly – stereotype the biker as being reckless or irresponsible. Even though motorcycle accidents are statistically more likely to result from the negligence of the other driver, an insurer is likely to try to put the blame on you. Whatever you say to the adjuster may end up being used against you.
Although you shouldn’t wait too long to report the crash, it’s in your best interest to first hire an attorney and have your attorney handle this task. If you must report the crash to your insurance company yourself, keep the conversation short, avoid small talk as much as possible, and don’t go into detail about the events that led to the collision or your injuries.
Sometimes, it’s only in the days that follow the crash that you begin to realize just how much things have changed. Physically, you may be feeling even worse than you felt at the time of the accident. Now that the shock has worn off, the stress is setting in.
Here are some steps you should take during the days that follow a motorcycle accident. You should know, though, that having an attorney can shift some of these burdens from you to your lawyer and make life with an injury a little easier.
After a motorcycle accident, the only things that should take precedence over hiring an attorney are your physical health and safety.
Once you have reported the crash to the police, left the accident scene, and commenced getting the medical care you need, it’s time to look for a lawyer. It’s not too early to start the process, even if you don’t yet have a confirmed diagnosis or treatment plan. The next day after the accident, or even the same day, isn’t too early to protect your legal rights.
You don’t even have to know, yet, if you will need to file a lawsuit to take advantage of a free consultation with an experienced legal professional. Think of securing legal representation early as a safety net. If you need it, you’ll be glad it’s already in place. And if you start feeling better quickly and find out that your injuries aren’t serious, you don’t need to move forward with a claim (and don’t owe us anything, since we didn’t get money for you).
Even if it’s too early to know for sure if you have a claim, it’s never too early to open a direct line to someone who can answer the questions you have about your rights, the insurance claims process, and what to expect after a motorcycle accident injury.
Here’s why you don’t want to wait to get a lawyer involved in your motorcycle accident claim:
There are a thousand little ways you could unintentionally sabotage your claim without even realizing it. But with a lawyer on your side and handling every conversation with the insurer on your behalf, you don’t have to worry about these pitfalls anymore.
Did you know that under New Jersey state law, your legal rights are limited? Many motorcycle accident victims don’t. They try to “tough it out,” to work through the pain and bear the financial burden on their own, until it becomes too much. But by then, it’s often too late.
You have a relatively short time to file a lawsuit over a motorcycle crash. If your accident met certain conditions, such as a government or public entity being to blame for any part of the accident, the time you have to act is even shorter.
Yes, there’s a specific time limit in NJ for filing motorcycle accident lawsuits. There are also special exceptions to the general rules that could compromise your rights even further.
In general, the statute of limitations – the time you have to file a lawsuit – over any type of injury matter in New Jersey is two years.
If you miss this deadline, you lose all of your rights to ever hold the careless motorist responsible. No matter how serious your injuries were or how much your medical bills cost, you will never get the compensation you deserve.
That’s why it’s essential that you get in touch with an NJ motorcycle accident lawyer right away after an accident.
Under a state law known as Title 59, government and public entities in New Jersey are harder to sue than a private citizen or company. Among other limitations is the requirement that anyone who intends to pursue a claim against a government entity must file formal written notice of that intent to pursue a claim within the first 90 days after the accident.
That’s right. If you’re suing a government agency, your time to act plummets from two years to just three months.
When might you need to sue a government entity?
We know that you’re preoccupied in the immediate aftermath of a motorcycle crash.
Between the pain you’re going through, trying to remember all of your doctor’s instructions, and figuring out what to do with the bills, a lawsuit may not be the first thing on your mind. You may even be in shock, having been through such a traumatic event.
But we also know that two years sounds like a lot longer than it is when it comes to deadlines. You might say to yourself that you’ll worry about the legal claim once you’re feeling better – but your treatment could take that whole two years, or more, and still not be complete.
The earlier you secure legal representation for your motorcycle crash matter, the greater your peace of mind that, if nothing else, you don’t have to worry about missing the deadline to act on your legal matter.
Under the standard two-year statute of limitations, you don’t have two years to find a lawyer. Rather, you have two years to find a lawyer, have that lawyer investigate the crash and collect all evidence, build your case, submit a demand letter to the insurance company, start negotiating a settlement, and file all legal documentation with the court, including the actual lawsuit. Investigating the crash and building your case take time, so don’t wait until the deadline is almost upon you to start looking for a lawyer.
Though both motorcycle accidents and car-only accidents fit into the category of motor vehicle collisions, some big physical and legal differences distinguish motorcycle accidents vs car accidents.
There are definite benefits to riding a motorcycle. You can save money on gas. You can squeeze into the tightest of parking spots. And, of course, you get to enjoy the thrill of the open road.
But the same factors that make riding a motorcycle so much fun also make you vulnerable to serious injuries. According to the NHTSA, 80 percent of motorcycle accidents result in serious or fatal injury, compared to just 20 percent of car accidents. What happens in a motorcycle accident is that the small size of your vehicle and lack of protective vehicle features puts you at a greater risk of being badly hurt.
The small size of a motorcycle – compared to the average car, at least – makes it harder for the often inattentive drivers you have to share the road with to notice you. Motorcycles are particularly likely to become “invisible” to the drivers of larger vehicles at intersections, where motorists have so many potential threats to be aware of.
With fewer wheels and less stability, motorcycles can also have a harder time compensating for safety hazards in the roadway. A pothole, a pile of wet grass clippings, or a small oil spill may pose only a small risk to a full-sized car but a much more serious hazard to a motorcycle rider.
While it feels freeing to cruise along knowing there’s nothing between you and the open road, that means there’s also nothing to protect you in case of an accident.
Unlike the driver of a car, you have no steel frame encasing you and no airbags to soften the blow of a frontal crash. The result is that your body takes the brunt of the impact in a collision.
The force of this impact can leave you with severe injuries and send you tumbling off your bike onto the hard road surface – or worse, into the path of oncoming traffic. Either way, as a motorcyclist, you’re much more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries than the victim inside a car, even if the crashes occurred in comparable ways.
There are also legal differences between motorcycle accidents and accidents involving only cars.
Motorcyclists in New Jersey must follow many different rules, from obtaining a license to ride to wearing an approved helmet at all times while operating the bike.
The State of New Jersey requires all motorcycle operators to be licensed. A motorcycle license in NJ includes:
Under certain circumstances, you may be licensed only to ride motorcycles under a certain size (500cc). Bikers who take their road test on a 231cc motorcycle and have not completed an optional Motorcycle Safety Education Program are subject to this restriction, and their license will note a “5” restriction to indicate this limitation.
To get your motorcycle license in New Jersey, you must pass both a written knowledge exam and a road test.
One of the best ways you can protect yourself from an accident is by enrolling in the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic Rider Course. Although formal training is not strictly required to obtain a motorcycle license or endorsement in New Jersey, 90 percent of motorcycle riders who are involved in a crash have no formal training in riding a motorcycle, according to the State of New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety.
Under New Jersey helmet law P.L. 39:3-76.7, you must wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle. Additionally, the helmet must:
In theory, you should be able to tell a DOT-approved helmet from one that isn’t approved by the presence of a DOT sticker. However, you can’t rely solely on this sticker, because some helmets that aren’t in compliance with federal laws contain “phony” stickers that feign compliance, according to the NHTSA.
DOT-approved helmets include:
Why do motorcycle helmets matter so much? Just a few of the reasons why New Jersey insists that bikers wear helmets, according to the State Department of Law & Public Safety, include the following facts:
It’s a common misconception that wearing a helmet can impede a motorcyclist’s vision, but research debunks this idea. In a study that encompassed 900 motorcycle accidents in which around 40 percent of riders were wearing helmets, not one of these hundreds of crashes could be traced to the helmet blocking the motorcyclist’s view. That’s because helmets that follow a DOT-approved design don’t interfere with the rider’s view to either side.
The State of New Jersey also establishes regulations governing the structure and features of the motorcycle. For example, all motorcycles must have a rearview mirror, and the handlebars must be below your shoulders when seated in a riding position.
Lane splitting, the act of riding between lanes of traffic, isn’t technically legal in New Jersey. Although lane splitting is a common practice for motorcycle riders, particularly on congested roadways, motorcyclists caught lane splitting in NJ may face a ticket for failure to keep right.
That said, bikers caught in the path of another (larger) vehicle sometimes use lane splitting to avoid or at least mitigate the severity of an accident. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may be able to move forward with a motorcycle accident injury claim even if you were lane splitting – particularly if it’s clear that the other driver was the one who caused the collision or if you used lane splitting as an evasive maneuver to escape the full force of the accident.
Motorcyclists must also follow all traffic safety laws and observe all posted signs, including speed limits.
Insurance coverage is a crucial part of a motorcycle injury lawsuit.
Legally, you have the right to seek money damages from the person or party who caused the accident, but it’s usually not an individual who pays a claim. Instead, your motorcycle crash settlement comes out of insurance coverage.
Let’s start with the basics. Under New Jersey law, anyone operating a vehicle on the road should carry insurance. As a motorcycle rider, you’re required to carry bodily injury liability insurance coverage of at least $15,000 per person or $30,000 per accident and $10,000 in property damage liability insurance. The driver of the car or other vehicle that struck you is also required to maintain at least this level of insurance coverage if they have a standard auto insurance policy (but may not if they have only a basic policy).
Liability insurance coverage pays for any damage you cause to someone else through your negligence. This is important because it protects you financially. In fact, we recommend increasing your coverage limits to $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident, so that if you ever were to cause a collision, you wouldn’t be personally at risk of being sued for damages above your coverage limit.
But if the other person is the one who causes the accident, having this coverage doesn’t help you, because it only covers the damages for which you are liable, or legally at fault. For the harm you suffer because of someone else’s negligence, you have to seek a payout from the other motorist’s liability insurance.
People like to use the term “full coverage,” but this is an informal term, not a legal one.
“Full coverage” may mean only that you meet the minimum requirements established by the State of New Jersey. Or it may mean that you have collision coverage and comprehensive coverage to pay for damage sustained to your motorcycle.
You love your bike. And, although it may not matter as much as your health – a motorcycle is replaceable, after all – you want to know that it will get repaired or replaced.
You may think you have “full coverage” but still not have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which is one of the most important kinds of insurance coverage you can buy to protect yourself.
Generally, property damage insurance only pays for the market value of the vehicle in its current state – not the amount you paid, the amount you currently owe, or its value as you define it.
There’s a good chance that neither your own comprehensive or collision insurance policy nor the property damage liability coverage of the other driver’s policy will cover all of what you previously spent on extras and options to customize your bike.
If you have a lot of extras on your motorcycle, you can take steps to get at least some of these customizations covered. On your own policy, you may choose to purchase up to $1,000 of optional equipment coverage to cover any customization you add to your bike.
It’s also important that you keep detailed, itemized records of any optional or extra equipment you purchase for your bike. You can submit copies of those records to the insurance company if your equipment is damaged in the crash or if your bike is a total loss.
If you compare your motorcycle insurance to a car insurance policy, there’s a glaring deficiency: no coverage for medical payments.
In a no-fault state like New Jersey, the injuries motorists sustain in a crash are usually covered by their own auto insurance policies. That’s the case even when you’re riding in someone else’s car. It’s true even when you’re hit by a car while walking.
But when you suffer an injury as a result of a motorcycle crash, you’re out of luck.
Your motorcycle insurance coverage typically doesn’t cover medical bills at all. Some policies offer optional medical coverage – but even these are usually capped at $1,000, $2,500, or $5,000. Compared to the high cost of treating a serious motorcycle accident injury, these limits are nowhere near enough to protect you from a financial disaster or help you afford the best possible physical recovery.
The Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage that applies to every other kind of motor vehicle crash excludes motorcycle accident injuries. You may well have $250,000 or more in PIP coverage benefits – plenty of money to help cover your medical bills – but you can’t access it if you were on a motorcycle at the time of the crash.
You can’t count on your insurance to help you pay for the injuries from a motorcycle crash.
In most motorcycle accident cases, neither your motorcycle insurance policy nor an auto insurance policy you hold for a vehicle that you personally own will cover the cost of your medical bills.
In some rare cases, you may have PIP coverage available even though you were on a motorcycle. These situations are very fact-specific and usually occur only when you:
Often, your best option is to seek motorcycle accident compensation from the insurance company of the driver who caused your crash.
Since PIP coverage usually isn’t available to motorcycle accident victims, you’ll likely be forced to rely on your personal health insurance coverage to pay for your care.
That’s bad news for a number of reasons:
If you don’t have health insurance, you may find it particularly hard to afford the medical care you need. But medical treatment is a crucial part of getting the compensation you deserve. If you don’t see a doctor, there’s nothing to document the extent of your injuries for the benefit of your claim.
Motorcycle accident victims who have no health insurance should get in touch with an attorney immediately so we can help you explore your options for getting medical care. One way or another, we’ll find some way for you to get the help you need. Your wellbeing is our top priority.
What if you turn to the at-fault driver for accountability for the crash, only to find out there’s no insurance or insufficient insurance coverage available?
It happens more often than you’d think. Almost 15 percent of NJ drivers are uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
And that’s not including the number of drivers whose basic or even standard auto insurance policies carry such a low amount of coverage that even collecting the full limits of their policy benefits won’t be enough to compensate you for your losses.
You can’t do anything to change other motorists’ failure to carry the required insurance, just as you couldn’t avoid the crash caused by their reckless actions. But you can protect yourself financially by purchasing UM/UIM coverage on your own motorcycle insurance policy.
You might need to use your UM or UIM insurance if:
The only way you’ll have insurance coverage available if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver or with a driver who fled the scene is if you purchased UM/UIM insurance coverage on your own policy.
In this case, your insurance company stands in for the nonexistent policy of the other driver, and you file your motorcycle accident injury claim with your own insurance company.
To make sure you have enough insurance coverage available, we recommend that motorcyclists purchase UM/UIM insurance coverage with limits of at least $100,000 per person or $300,000 per accident.
Do you think your insurance company will take care of you?
Insurers like to make you think they’re on your side. They come up with catchy marketing slogans that make them appear to have your best interests at heart, and insurance adjusters usually start out as friendly and approachable.
What soon becomes apparent, though, is that the insurance company isn’t trying to help you get the money you deserve. Instead, the insurer is trying to keep the money for itself.
Insurance companies taking advantage of people – claimants, policyholders, and others – is a common problem. In an original survey we conducted of more than 1,000 American men and women across all age groups, geographical locations, and income levels, nearly 30 percent reported having been taken advantage of by an insurance company.
We’ve seen insurance companies sink to some pretty disturbing levels just to prevent accident victims from getting the money they’re entitled to. When it comes to motorcycle crashes, this situation may be even more common. Insurance companies are often quick to put the blame on motorcycle riders – even their own policyholders – in spite of evidence to the contrary.
It isn’t easy to persuade the insurer that your case isn’t a matter of a “reckless biker” but instead a negligent driver whose innocent victim just happened to be riding a motorcycle. We’ll confront the insurer with the full array of evidence that shows the other driver’s negligence.
You need to promptly report your motorcycle accident to your insurance company. Otherwise, you risk your insurer denying the claim entirely.
However, it really is in your best interest to limit your direct contact with any insurance company involved in the case, even your own. If at all possible, talk to a lawyer shortly after your accident, before you report the crash to your insurer. Your lawyer can handle this responsibility on your behalf.
You need to protect yourself and your claim, and that means saying as little as possible to any representative of any of the insurance companies involved.
You had just as much right to use the road as any other motorist. But the driver who caused your collision “didn’t see” you, or they expected you to yield to them even when you had the right of way, simply because they have the bigger vehicle. Now you’re the one suffering serious injuries – and their life probably hasn’t changed at all.
When someone else harms you through their careless behavior on the road, you have the right to hold that driver accountable. If anyone should face the consequences of this ordeal, it’s the person who caused it.
You also have the right to compensation. The damages you have suffered in this motorcycle accident are brutal. Even with the best medical treatment available, your body – and your life – may never be the same as it was before the accident. Every day, your injuries take a toll on your life.
Depending on your job, these injuries might keep you out of work. For some bikers, this disability is temporary, but that doesn’t make it less serious. Even if you’re only out of work for a short time, you depend on that money. Your family depends on it. And your bills don’t stop coming in just because you’re injured. If anything, you’re facing a bigger financial burden than ever, as the medical bills begin arriving.
And then there are the unfortunate motorcycle accident victims whose debilitating injuries never go away. They might improve somewhat with treatment and time, but never enough that you can return to the job or the life that you enjoyed before the crash.
The bottom line is that you have the right to recover the compensation you need to get your life back on track.
Operators and passengers of any type of motorcycle may have the opportunity to sue for their injuries, as long as the other motorist was at fault. This includes anyone who was riding on a:
If you were another party involved in a motorcycle crash – say, a pedestrian or an occupant of a car who was hit by a negligent motorcyclist – then you may have a claim against the motorcycle’s operator.
Accidents – particularly, ones that involve a motorcycle – don’t always have a single, simple cause. Unraveling the specifics of which different parties had which responsibilities, and how they deviated from their obligations, is a complex task only an experienced attorney can handle.
Your case may have you suing one defendant or many defendants. What’s most important is knowing that you have on your side a New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer who will investigate all avenues of liability and gather the full array of evidence necessary for holding accountable every single party that played a role in your crash.
Naming every possible defendant in your motorcycle accident lawsuit means that you have the opportunity to collect money damages from each defendant. This allows you to get every dollar of compensation you deserve. This careful, meticulous case preparation also ensures that no party potentially at fault is left out of the claim, unintentionally allowing the other at-fault parties to avoid responsibility by placing the blame all on the one entity you’re not suing.
Suing one person is challenging enough, but suing multiple defendants at a time can sound even more intimidating. The good news is that you don’t have to do this alone. Our attorneys handle complex legal matters on a daily basis. Whether you’re suing one defendant, two defendants, or five defendants, we’re ready to get to work on your claim.
Some of the individuals and entities you might sue in your motorcycle accident injury claim include:
Our NJ motorcycle accident lawyers have experience handling matters against all different types of defendants. Some of the types of motorcycle injury situations we have handled include:
If you’re a passenger on someone else’s motorcycle, chances are the operator is someone you know. That can make it difficult to decide how to handle the steps you take after an accident.
You don’t want to sue a friend or a family member. But you can’t afford to miss out on the medical care you need to get better.
Here’s what you need to know about naming a friend or family member as a defendant in your motorcycle accident lawsuit:
It’s imperative that motorcycle accident victims understand all of their options so they can get the help they need – physically, legally, and financially. Sometimes that means considering, with professional guidance, what role a friend may have in a motorcycle accident insurance claim.
When someone else harms you through their careless actions, you have the right to be compensated for the damage they’ve done – to your physical person, your financial stability, and your overall quality of life.
But before you can start to negotiate a settlement amount that compensates you for all of these losses, you need to first establish that the other party was at fault.
The legal term for fault is liability. In a matter like yours, proving liability requires you to show that the other party was negligent.
This means that the other person or company failed to live up to some duty of care they owed to you – whether by driving unsafely or by cutting corners in the manufacturing processes used to make vehicle parts. You have to provide evidence that the actions of the defendant deviated from what a reasonable person would have done in a similar situation, and that this action was what caused your injuries.
Everyone who shares New Jersey’s roadways owes others in the vicinity a duty of care – specifically, to operate their vehicle safely, with reasonable care.
Whether you’re driving a huge tractor-trailer or riding a small motorcycle, you must observe and adhere to all traffic safety laws. Not doing this puts everyone on the road around you at risk – which you discovered firsthand when you ended up in the path of a negligent driver.
How can you prove that the driver that hit my motorcycle was at fault for the accident? Leave that to us.
We’ll investigate every aspect of the collision. From evidence like witness statements, the placement of vehicles and debris at the crash scene, the police report, and other clues, we’ll compile and support a compelling theory of liability that exposes the negligence of the at-fault motorist.
It’s disturbing how often drivers of cars and trucks say they “didn’t see” the motorcyclist before the crash.
What’s particularly frustrating is when a driver claims not to have seen a motorcyclist who is wearing the recommended reflective gear and helmet. You did all the right things, and the person who hit you is trying to rationalize their reckless behavior behind the wheel.
We’ve heard this excuse over and over again throughout the course of our careers. But no matter how often this story gets repeated, “not seeing” a motorcyclist is not a valid defense for striking another vehicle and causing devastating injuries to a motorcycle rider.
All motorists on the road owe a duty of care to every other person on the road. This duty means obeying all traffic safety laws and using appropriate caution to see and avoid every type of vehicle, from the largest tractor-trailer to the smallest tricycle. You had just as much right to be riding your motorcycle on the road as the at-fault driver did to be operating their car, and this driver is fully responsible for failing to see you.
Most crashes are caused by negligence behind the wheel, but negligence can take many other forms, too. If you want to sue over a dangerous road condition, you will need particularly strong evidence that the conditions of the road played a substantial part in the crash.
Some examples of the types of road maintenance issues and defects that might lead you to sue for a motorcycle accident include:
Some motorcycle accident lawsuits blame private construction companies for road hazards. Others pursue claims against a government entity, such as a city, township, or county.
Suing government entities is a more challenging prospect, because government entities have some degree of immunity from liability in many situations. Moving forward with claims against a government entity requires early, formal written notice of an intent to file a claim, so you can’t wait until the last minute.
When your motorcycle injury lawsuit has to do with a defective or malfunctioning vehicle or part, it falls under the category of a product liability claim. In this type of legal matter, you’re arguing that a designer or manufacturer was negligent and seeking compensation from that company.
Product liability may fit into your motorcycle injury lawsuit if you have reason to believe that the design or parts of either your motorcycle or another vehicle were defective.
If you’re making this claim (or your attorney is making it on your behalf), then you need plenty of evidence to support your argument. As part of our thorough investigation, we’ll draw from our extensive experience and the input of qualified expert witnesses to prove the following that the malfunctioning part or design defect was serious enough to constitute an“unreasonably dangerous” defect.
Although potentially dangerous defects could exist in many different parts of a motorcycle or car, some of the defects that most commonly lead to motorcycle accident product liability claims include:
Motorcycle accident matters that involve a property damage liability claim are exceptionally complex matters. To prove that a manufacturer was negligent, you need an attorney with experience standing up to large corporations and their equally large legal teams.
Factors like hazardous road conditions and defective vehicle parts play a critical role in causing some motorcycle crashes, but most accidents occur due to human errors operating a vehicle.
Historically, it’s negligence on the part of the other driver, not the motorcyclist, that causes most crashes, according to the National Transportation Library. Whether by driving aggressively or by driving inattentively, these motorists violate the motorcycle rider’s right of way and end up causing a crash.
Here are some of the most common forms of negligent driving that lead to motorcycle accidents:
On roadways in America, making a left turn presents more risk than going straight or turning right. Generally, you have to cross a lane designated for oncoming traffic to do so. In motorcycle accidents, in particular, instances of other vehicles making a left-hand turn into the path of the biker are overrepresented.
The drivers of cars and trucks aren’t paying enough attention when they make a left-hand turn in the vicinity of a motorcycle, and it’s the motorcyclist – who has less protection to begin with – who suffers the consequences of their negligence.
When a driver executes an unsafe left turn in the path of a motorcycle, it’s often because they make one of the following mistakes:
Making left-hand turns, when legally permitted to do so, isn’t negligent. But failing to exercise enough caution not to cause a crash is. When any type of motor vehicle accident involves a left-hand turn, it’s very often the motorist attempting to make that turn who is cited with a traffic violation and considered to be at fault for the crash.
Both alcohol impairment and speeding are common factors in causing motorcycle crashes.
In 2017 (the most recent year for which the NHTSA has complete data available), 32 percent of all motorcyclists who were involved in a fatal accident were speeding at the time of the crash.
Speeding, by the NHTSA’s definition, encompasses any of the following:
Nearly as large a percentage of motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents in 2017 were driving while impaired. The NHTSA reported that 28 percent of motorcycle riders who lost their lives in a traffic accident had a BAC of 0.08 g/dL or higher. Another 7 percent of bikers who died in fatal crashes had consumed alcohol but had a BAC within the legal limit to operate a vehicle.
But it’s not just the behavior of the motorcycle operators themselves that matters. Many motorcyclists know how dangerous it is to speed or to ride their bike drunk. Often, it’s the driver of the other vehicle who is engaging in this dangerous behavior.
One of the biggest causes of motor vehicle collisions is driver distraction. Distracted driving occurs in many forms, including focusing on any of the following instead of on safely maneuvering the vehicle:
Not every action that can constitute distracted driving is necessarily illegal, but that doesn’t mean it poses no danger. It doesn’t matter what has distracted the driver – once behind the wheel, their responsibility is to operate their vehicle safely at all times. Any accident a distracted driver causes can constitute negligence. ·
You might expect the majority of motorcycle crashes to happen during long trips on high-speed interstate highways. But that’s not the case. An overwhelming 91 percent of motorcycle fatalities happen on non-interstate roads, according to the NHTSA.
So, where are fatal motorcycle crashes most common?
Dangerous road and weather conditions can pose serious problems for bikers, and it’s always important to use plenty of caution when riding in the rain or snow, in icy road conditions, or in an area undergoing road work. However, that doesn’t mean you can be less vigilant in good weather conditions. In 97 percent of motorcycle fatalities in 2017, conditions were characterized as clear or cloudy – not raining, foggy, or otherwise inclement weather.
The injuries you suffer in a motorcycle crash can be life-changing. In the many cases our NJ motorcycle accident attorneys have handled over the years, we have seen debilitating injuries like:
Road rash is one of the common but devastating injuries from a motorcycle accident. It’s also specific to accident victims, like motorcycle riders, who are out in the open. Other types of injury victims who sometimes sustain road rash include skateboarders, runners, and cyclists on non-motorized bicycles.
The occupants of cars and trucks don’t usually have to worry about road rash. Although they’re susceptible to other types of injuries, they don’t usually come into immediate, moving contact with the ground to sustain a severe friction burn.
Compared to injuries like TBIs, spinal cord injuries, and bone fractures, road rash may seem like the least of a motorcycle crash victim’s worries. But this injury can be a lot more severe than many bikers give it credit for.
Road rash is a form of friction burn that can develop when your body strikes the ground at a high speed, such as when you’ve been thrown off of your motorcycle by the force of a crash.
The friction of the ground surface – asphalt pavement, gravel, dirt, and other materials – against your skin (or clothing) can leave you with nasty cuts, abrasions, and bruises. Sometimes the debris becomes embedded in your skin, exposing you to harmful bacteria.
Road rash can heal, but it can also result in permanent scarring and disfigurement. Some motorcycle accident victims end up with a phenomenon known as traumatic tattooing from road rash, in which debris becomes permanently embedded in the deeper levels of the skin and shows through the top levels of skin, causing visible changes in pigmentation.
The three types of road rash are:
There are three degrees of road rash severity:
Road rash is considered one of the most common injuries to suffer in a motorcycle crash, affecting as many as 90 percent of injured motorcyclists by some counts.
Road rash itself is not directly fatal, at least not in most cases. The injury is painful – and it looks like it – but in most cases, it’s a more minor injury than many other motorcycle accident injuries. Often, mild road rash injuries heal within a matter of a couple weeks.
That said, you should never underestimate the severity of road rash.
The larger and deeper the wound, the greater your need for medical attention. Don’t dismiss a large or deep wound as “just” road rash without getting it checked out by a doctor.
If you wait too long to get help or you don’t take care of the wound the right way when it first occurs, you could be putting yourself at a greater risk of:
Just thinking about the treatment of your motorcycle accident injuries can be overwhelming.
The injuries themselves are painful, but treatment for these wounds can cause a great deal of physical discomfort, too. Surgical procedures can leave you sore, a cast applied over broken bones can cause itching, and physical therapy, while good for you in the long run, is grueling and difficult.
The fuss and loss of privacy may make you feel uncomfortable. You may need to stay in the hospital or in a rehabilitation facility, which keeps you away from your usual routine and favorite places.
To diagnose and treat the injuries caused by motorcycle crashes, doctors use a wide range of tests and procedures. Patients often undergo diagnostic imaging tests, including:
One thing people rarely talk about, when it comes to motorcycle injuries, is how much time your medical attention and rehabilitation takes up out of your life. Working toward recovery is basically a full-time job. Between the medical appointments you need to go to, the rest you need to recuperate, and the movements and exercises you need to practice to start making those baby steps toward normalcy, it can be exhausting.
As you work toward recovery, you’ll likely see an array of healthcare providers, such as:
You might undergo months-long courses of physical therapy, epidural injections to treat pain and loss of function in your spine, and surgical procedures.
Some motorcycle accident victims have injuries that are serious and long-lasting enough to require surgical procedures, like discectomy and fusion surgeries. These patients may have the damaged spinal discs in their body removed and hardware, like metal pins and rods, inserted into the injured regions of their spine. Recovering from a surgery like this can take months.
Getting better after a serious motorcycle accident injury takes time and extensive medical care. Some of the motorcycle accident victims we’ve represented have needed crutches, canes, or special orthotic shoes just to be able to walk again. Using these devices can be a temporary step in regaining function or a permanent requirement for your mobility.
And the reality is that some patients never make a complete recovery at all. If you suffered a motorcycle accident head injury, for example, you may find that some of the physical, cognitive, sensory, and personality changes and losses of function you sustained may be permanent.
That’s not to say that you can’t make huge steps in getting better. You can. But instead of getting “back to normal,” you might find yourself learning to thrive in a “new normal.” Your new normal after a brain injury may include knowing your strengths and cultivating skills to help you compensate for some of the ongoing problems – like memory trouble or difficulty concentrating – that continue to affect you.
Every motorcycle accident victim has a unique set of injuries that disrupt their life in a unique way. We’ll work with you and your doctors, long-term care planners, family, and other key players in your life and your rehabilitation to make sure that you’re getting the medical care and support and you need to make the best physical recovery possible.
Getting well after a motorcycle crash can require extensive medical care. And that means medical bills that can easily climb to outrageous heights, including tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time you add in treatment expenses like:
Remember, since New Jersey is a no-fault state, victims hurt in motor vehicle accidents have to pay for their own medical care – even when they’re not at fault. Even with health insurance, you could still be on the hook for thousands of dollars yourself between the deductible, copays, and coinsurance payments you have to make.
And if you don’t have health insurance – if you lose your health insurance because your injury keeps you out of work – then you could be stuck paying for all of your own medical bills.
Figuring out insurance coverage after a motorcycle crash is complicated. You could spend hours poring over insurance documents and trying to translate convoluted insurance jargon into concepts that apply to your life. But that time would be better spent resting or working toward recovery.
Let us look into your coverage. We’ll help you understand what your policy means and what your rights are, and we’ll identify every option available to make sure you’re able to get the medical care you need throughout your recovery. In the meantime, you just focus on getting better.
As much as you may want to put this accident behind you, some aspects of your injury may have a long-term influence on your health, your family, and your life.
For some families affected by a motorcycle accident, the long-term impact is apparent immediately. The crash has claimed the life of a loved one. Life after the collision will never be the same as it was before.
Your loved one’s life mattered. This grief that is pressing down on your family right now matters. And the person who caused this tragedy must face the consequences. You owe that to your loved one and to yourself as you try to cope with a heartbreak that never should have happened in the first place.
Nothing can ever, ever replace what you’ve lost. What a wrongful death claim can do for your family is:
It’s true that every individual must deal with grief in their own way and in their own time. But wouldn’t it help you to not have the added burden of the medical bills your loved one’s treatment racked up and the costs of a funeral and final arrangements?
Would knowing that you don’t have to worry about whether or not your family can pay the bills without your deceased loved one’s income take away even a small fraction of the stress you’re currently shouldering all on your own?
And would getting answers to that ever-present question of why the accident happened help you find some peace?
Yes, the family of a motorcyclist who loses their life in a crash caused by a negligent driver has the right to seek compensation.
Wrongful death benefits are often paid to a surviving spouse, minor children, or parent of the deceased motorcycle rider.
This compensation helps to address the financial losses you have suffered as well as the mental, emotional, and psychological harm you suffered because of the loss of your loved one.
Some of the types of damages for which you may recover compensation in the event of a loved one’s fatal motorcycle accident include:
Motorcycle accident deaths are all too common, in NJ and across the United States. But for the grieving families left behind after a motorcyclist is fatally injured, this situation is anything but routine.
No one is ever really prepared to handle a tragedy like this on their own. You shouldn’t have to. What you should have is someone watching out for your best interests, fighting for justice for your family, and keeping the financial losses from dragging you down into a place of economic instability.
We know that it can be hard to reach out to a motorcycle wrongful death attorney. You don’t want to accept that this loss is real or what it means for your family. You don’t want to make a mistake and take on an even bigger burden, financially or emotionally.
We understand, and we’re here to help – to fight for your family every step of the way and handle every call, form, and hassle that goes along with a legal matter, without ever requiring you to pay anything upfront for our services. We’re the compassionate help your family needs to get through this, even on the most difficult days that lie ahead.
When it comes to accidents‚ the odds are stacked against anyone on a motorcycle. The disturbing reality is that if you’re in a motorcycle accident, you’re probably not going to walk away unscathed.
Motorcycle accidents affect bikers of all age groups, and they kill both men and women. If you ride a motorcycle, no matter how cautiously you ride or how much safety gear you wear, it could happen to you.
Learning to ride a motorcycle isn’t easy. And, until you acquire plenty of experience on your bike, you’re at a greater risk of a serious accident. Inexperienced motorcycle operators may have a much harder time compensating for potentially dangerous conditions and the actions of negligent drivers than a biker who has been riding for several years.
The majority of motorcycle accidents involving two or more vehicles aren’t the fault of the motorcycle operator, but instead the other driver. Even the best, most defensive motorcycle rider can’t always avoid a negligent driver on the road.
That said, there are things you can do to minimize your risk of being in a collision.
Perhaps the best choice you can make to prevent a crash is to enroll in formal rider training. Bikers without much riding experience are particularly vulnerable to losing control of their motorcycles in an accident, and formal training can help you develop the right skills and safe habits from the get-go. Formal riding instruction can help you learn how to better manage the instability of a two-wheeled cycle, identify how to safely handle adverse road conditions, learn the correct technique for executing a turn safely, and avoid overcompensating with the front brake.
In New Jersey, you’re supposed to have a motorcycle license or endorsement to ride. If you were in a motorcycle accident without the proper endorsement, you may still have a case – but it may be a lot harder to win.
Assuming that your motorcycle accident involved another vehicle and that the other motorist was the one at fault, your lack of a motorcycle license doesn’t excuse their negligence. No matter what, if they caused the accident, they are liable for the damages.
However, you may be cited or ticketed for operating a motorcycle without a license. The defendant is likely to hold this against you and use your lack of a license to decrease the amount of money you get for your claim. If your case goes to trial, you can expect this point to be played up to a judge or jury in an effort to make you seem like the one who was careless, even though the other driver was the one who actually caused the crash.
If you get hurt in a motorcycle accident and don’t have a license, it’s particularly important that you waste no time in reaching out to a personal injury attorney. Be honest with the lawyer you consult, so that your legal representative understands the obstacles your case is likely to encounter and can develop strategies to overcome these challenges. Your case is a particularly complex one, and having skilled legal representation is crucial to getting the results you want.
A motorcycle accident is an insurance claim. You’re seeking compensation from an insurance company. So, a motorcycle accident without insurance is a big problem.
What happens next depends on who exactly does and doesn’t have insurance.
If you have a robust motorcycle insurance policy but the motorist who caused the accident is uninsured, the optional UM coverage you purchased will be your lifeline.
Your uninsured motorist coverage steps up to take the place of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. You can seek compensation for all of the same damages you would sue the other driver’s insurance company for, with the only difference being that it’s your own insurer paying your settlement.
If you don’t have motorcycle insurance, you’re likely to face a ticket or citation for riding your motorcycle without insurance. Having a valid insurance policy is required for motorcyclists in NJ.
However, you may still be able to move forward with a claim against the other driver and collect compensation from their insurance company. The fact that you broke the law and didn’t have insurance on your bike doesn’t change the fact that the other driver also broke the law, and that their negligence resulted in serious harm to you.
That said, your failure to insure your vehicle and any tickets you receive for driving without insurance may be brought up by the other driver’s insurer as evidence that you were also negligent. Your lack of insurance may reduce the value of your claim and make getting the money you deserve a bigger challenge. It’s essential that you don’t make any further mistakes with your claim, and that you speak to a motorcycle accident attorney right away. Don’t try to hide from an attorney the fact that you were driving without insurance. The sooner a lawyer is aware of this particular challenge, the better poised they are for evaluating how big of an obstacle this will be and how to get out in front of it.
The worst-case scenario is that no one involved in your accident has insurance. The motorist who caused the collision was uninsured, so you can’t seek compensation from their insurance policy. Unless they have considerable personal financial assets, it’s unlikely that suing them personally will result in getting the money you deserve for your injuries. And, since you don’t have an active insurance policy either, you can’t rely on your own UM coverage to help.
It’s possible that you have no claim, because there’s no coverage to pay your settlement. Before you give up, though, give us a call. We can listen to the facts and details of your unique scenario and try to identify if there is any other source of coverage that may be available to you. In certain instances, you may qualify for benefits through NJPLIGA, or you may be covered under the policy of another household member.
It costs you nothing to at least find out your options, and if you don’t have a claim, you aren’t any worse off than you were before speaking to a lawyer.
Fleeing the scene after any accident is a despicable thing for a driver to do. Given the severity of motorcycle injuries, leaving a wounded motorcyclist without help is, perhaps, even worse.
When you are in a motorcycle accident hit and run, you need to report the matter to the police. Make sure you report every detail you can remember, because you never know what could be the clue that helps them crack the case and find the person who hit you.
If the police are able to track down the other motorist, they will likely face criminal charges for fleeing the scene. You still need to move forward with a personal injury lawsuit, though, because the consequences of their criminal matter – jail time or fines paid to the government – won’t directly help you get your life back on track. Your lawyer will file a motorcycle accident claim on your behalf against the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
Sometimes, there’s not enough evidence to identify the person who hit you. In this case – as well as in cases where the driver is found but has no insurance – you would have to file your claim under your own uninsured motorist coverage on your motorcycle insurance policy.
Being in a hit and run motorcycle accident is horrifying, something that should never happen to anyone. While you and your family work toward physical and emotional healing, we’ll handle the complex legal matter to help you get the financial recovery you deserve.
Getting the results you deserve for your motorcycle accident claim can take time. The shortest claims may resolve within a few months. For more complicated claims or in cases where your medical treatment goes on for some time, your case could take more than a year to resolve.
Every case is unique, but here are some of the factors that can affect how long it will take a motorcycle accident attorney to get money for you:
Some of these factors are outside of your control. Others, like how soon you contact a lawyer, are up to you.
Your attorney’s primary concern is getting you the most possible compensation for your injury, not closing your claim as quickly as possible. However, it’s important to be upfront with your lawyer about your needs and concerns.
If you’re in a rush to close your case because you need money now to afford your medical care or pay other bills while you’re out of work, let us know. We may be able to find alternative options for you that would allow you to meet these short-term financial needs without agreeing to a lower settlement than you deserve.
The reason you need a lawyer for a motorcycle accident is because the insurance industry and the insurance claims process aren’t fair to you. You’re hurt, and you need compensation. But the insurance company is only looking out for its own interests.
There are a lot of roadblocks to recovery, in both the physical sense and the financial sense. Without pursuing a claim against the other driver, there are no insurance benefits to cover the cost of your medical care. No matter how severe your injuries are, the other motorist’s insurer is more likely to blame you for the collision or try to minimize your payout than to offer up the money you deserve without a fight.
Having a motorcycle injury lawyer means more than just having someone to represent you in legal proceedings. It means having someone on your side through this whole ordeal: having someone to step in and handle the interactions with the insurance company, to negotiate a settlement that meets your needs, and to turn to when you’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed by this situation.
You’ve never been in an accident like this before, so you don’t know what to expect. But we handle matters like yours every single day, and we know precisely what needs to happen for you to recover physically and financially.
Our attorneys handle motorcycle accident claims all over New Jersey.
Our main office is in Marlton. In this office and our Cherry Hill office, we handle motorcycle accident matters that arise all over South Jersey, including in Cape May County, Atlantic County, Vineland, Buena, Tabernacle, and Cinnaminson.
We also have an office in Newark, where we meet with our North Jersey clients.
Because a motorcycle accident can compromise your mobility, we also offer an easy remote intake process. This secure technology allows you to conveniently consult with us over the phone and electronically sign the paperwork to retain us, all from the comfort of your home (or from a hospital or inpatient rehabilitation facility, if needed).
We have full experience practicing motorcycle accident law in jurisdictions all across the Garden State – large and small, North and South – over more than two decades. No matter where in New Jersey your motorcycle collision occurred, we’re prepared to help you get your life back.
Don’t wait another day to get the help you need. Contact our New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyers right now for immediate assistance with your claim, at no upfront cost and no risk.
This article was professionally reviewed by Richard P Console Jr, an attorney licensed to practice in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Mr. Console has more than twenty-five years of experience practicing personal injury law and successfully resolving vehicle accident claims on behalf of his clients.
Learn more About Richard P Console Jr.
While this information was reviewed for accuracy, it should not be considered legal advice. Every claim is different. If you are thinking of pursuing a personal injury claim and have a question, contact us directly.
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