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New Jersey Bicycle Accident Attorneys Who Ride
Proudly serving all of New Jersey
At Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., our experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyers recognize the dangers bicyclists face on the road, especially from negligent motorists, which is why we are dedicated to protecting their rights in the event of a bike accident. If you have sustained considerable losses in a bicycle-car collision, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other damages. Consult with one of our dedicated legal team members to determine whether you have a valid claim against the driver who hit you. Our number is (609) 240-0040. We offer free, comprehensive consultations.
Riding a bicycle is not only a fun recreational activity, but also a healthy and environmentally friendly mode of transportation. More and more people are choosing to bike to and from work, school, and other locations because it saves money, is a form of exercise, and doesn't add to pollution. Many cities are responding to this increase in biking by creating bike lanes and making their roads more bike-friendly overall. This, unfortunately, has not significantly decreased the number of accidents between bicyclists and motorists, however.
What are the Bicycle Laws in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, as well as most other states, a bicycle is legally considered a vehicle and, therefore, bicyclists are afforded the same rights and responsibilities as other motorists. They have an equal right to be on the road in addition to being required to obey the same traffic laws.
Bicyclists must also follow additional regulations specific to them, however. For example, according to Title 39 of the New Jersey Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations laws, "every person riding a bicycle on a roadway shall ride as near to the right roadside as practicable exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction."
Additionally, all bicycle riders and passengers under the age of 17 are required to wear a safety helmet that is properly fitted, fastened, and within the federal standards established by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), as per Title 39:4-10.1. This helmet requirement is waved if the bicycle is being operated on a roadway closed to motor vehicle traffic.
What Are the Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
Most often, bicycle accidents are caused by drivers of motor vehicles, who are distracted, inattentive, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, or otherwise negligent or reckless. Many of these drivers do not know how to share the road with bicyclists or are unaware that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities to the road as they do.
Other causes of bike accidents include hazardous roadways that are poorly maintained or designed, or have fallen into disrepair, as well as defective bicycle parts.
Also, a "dooring" accident occurs when the driver of a parked car opens his door into the path of an oncoming bicyclist, who then crashes into the door. Many drivers negligently forget the fact that bicyclists ride on the right side of the road, either in a bike lane, or not, making it very important to check before opening a car door. "Dooring" accidents can cause serious injuries.
Contrary to popular belief, bicyclists are not at fault for the majority of bicycle accidents; in all actuality, drivers of regular motor vehicles are usually responsible for bicycle-car collisions.
What Are Common Bike Accident Injuries?
Injuries usually come from either a direct collision with a motor vehicle or a fall. In either case, a bicyclist may suffer a wide range of injuries, including scrapes and bruises for more minor accidents to head and brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, dislocations, and bone fractures for more serious accidents. These can result in exorbitant medical costs, pain and suffering, loss of wages, emotional distress, and even permanent disability. The likelihood of severe disabling injuries or even death is very high for bicyclists.
Who is Liable for My Bike Accident?
Liability for a bicycle accident is determined by what caused the crash. In most cases, liability for a bicycle accident falls on other motorists who do not know how to share the road with bicyclists. A driver who violates traffic laws or is otherwise negligent or reckless puts everyone else on the road in danger and increases the risk of a serious injury accident. Should a negligent driver cause an injury bike crash, they may be held liable for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses suffered by the victim.
It is also possible for liability to fall onto the city, county, or state in the case of hazardous roadways. If a road has potholes, dangerous blind turns, severely narrow lanes, or even debris, the road poses a crash hazard. If the agency or department in charge of maintaining a roadway is negligent in its duties, then that agency may be held liable for the losses a bike accident victim may suffer.
Finally, if the accident was caused by a defective bike, or bike part, then the manufacturer may be held liable for their negligence.
Generally, if your accident injuries were caused by the negligence or recklessness of another, you have the right to sue in civil court. An experienced attorney can examine the details of your accident and help you understand your legal rights and options.
Understanding Wrongful Death in New Jersey
When tragedy strikes and you are faced with the loss of a loved one as a result of fatal bicycle accident, it is important that you immediately seek the assistance of a qualified legal professional. Wrongful death is when another person or entity acted negligently and caused an incident that claimed someone’s life. In New Jersey, to receive monetary compensation for a loved one’s death, you must prove that the accident was caused by another person’s wrongdoing or negligence.
Wrongful death lawsuits are most often filed by a member of the victim’s immediate family, such as a spouse, domestic partner, or child; but parents, siblings, and other family members can also pursue a lawsuit if they were financially dependent on the victim. New Jersey law allows family members to seek compensation for the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses
- Lost wages including potential income the victim would have earned
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of companionship
- Punitive damages
- Pain and suffering
There is a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits in New Jersey. That means that if you wait over two years from the day of the accident, you may not be able to file your claim or receive the compensation you rightfully deserve. So, please make sure you take prompt action.
What Losses Can I Recover Compensation For?
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident caused by another's negligence, you can pursue compensation for economic and non-economic damages, including: medical bills, rehabilitation costs, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and lower quality of life. In the case of a fatal crash, the family of the wrongful death victim may also pursue compensation for funeral costs, loss of future income, and loss of companionship.
Choosing a Bike Accident Attorney
Choosing the right New Jersey bicycle accident lawyer can make the difference between struggling with everyday life and having the financial security you need to make a full recovery while supporting your family.
Suffering a biking injury at someone else’s hands can be overwhelming. This was not simply being clumsy and falling off your bike. When a crash is caused by the negligence of another, whether a bike manufacturer; motorist; or city, county, or state agency responsible for maintaining the road; many factors come into play and recovery becomes much more complicated. Insurance companies are rarely cooperative and try to avoid paying on legitimate claims, which can not only make getting the proper medical care difficult, but can also make the ability to support yourself and your family through day-to-day life challenging.
What to Look for in a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney
You should never just pick any lawyer to represent you in your personal injury claim. There are many qualities that you should look for and many questions you must ask before determining that a certain attorney will give you the support you need. When choosing a personal injury lawyer, you should keep the following in mind:
1. Does the Attorney Charge Upfront, or Work on a Contingency Fee Basis?
Lawyers that work on contingency take no compensation for themselves unless the case is successful, which means that they will be completely dedicated to you and your claim. Attorneys who charge a fee regardless of how the case turns out typically do so because they are more concerned about their own payday rather than the outcome of their client's case.
2. Is the Attorney Local?
There are many big law firms out there boasting about their prowess in handling cases all over the country; but this does not necessarily mean that they can give you the personal attention, open communication, and support you need. In addition, a big law firm may not have the necessary expertise in your state's personal injury laws. Local lawyers are not only more knowledgeable in the personal injury laws of their state, they can also give you the dedicated attention and direct communication you are entitled to.
Providing Reliable Legal Guidance
At Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., our experienced NJ bicycle accident lawyers are dedicated to obtaining just compensation for bike accident victims and their families. If you have been injured in a bike accident, contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and options at (609) 240-0040.
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