What to Do If You’re a Motorcyclist Struck by a New Jersey Drunk Driver
If you are struck by a drunk driver, especially as a motorcyclist, there are a few things to immediately consider that will ensure your rights are protected. As long as you are conscious and not in need of immediate medical care, you should contact the police and ensure that they come to the scene. Law enforcement officers can witness and document the behavior of the driver who is impaired and prepare a police report that helps you demonstrate that the driver was drunk.
It is important that you do not sign anything, other than a police report if necessary. This includes documents provided by your insurance as well as the insurance company of the other driver. Contact a lawyer who specializes in vehicle cases, particularly motorcycle law, and have your lawyer present before you discuss any kind of settlement or other action with your insurance or the other driver’s insurance company. Settling your claim can waive your rights to future compensation, so make sure you contact a lawyer and have legal representation before talking to insurance companies.
There are a few different types of damages you might have a right to claim after being struck by a drunk driver as a motorcyclist. Since drunk driving is a criminal offense, any convictions that occur from the criminal case can strengthen your own civil claim if you choose to bring a lawsuit against the other driver. Compensatory damages include special damages such as medical bills and lost income from time you have to take away from work in order to recover physically, as well as general damages that cover your pain and suffering. There are also punitive damages that are meant to punish the drunk driver for his or her illegal actions and discourage others from driving while intoxicated.
While you can typically bring a lawsuit against the drunk driver who struck you, there are some states and instances where you can also bring a suit against other parties. In some states with “dram shop” laws, you can actually sue a restaurant or bar if they served the person beyond a point of reasonable intoxication, thereby creating the situation that resulted in you being struck. If someone else gave the driver keys to their car, then you might be able to bring a lawsuit against them, and if you were riding your motorcycle for employment purposes, then you might be entitled to worker’s compensation.
It is vitally important that you contact a New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer to help you understand all of your options and ensure that your needs are taken care of from the moment of the collision. At Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., we specialize in protecting your rights, taking the stress off of you, and getting you the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today at (609) 240-0040.
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