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New Jersey Motorcycle Accident FAQs

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The trusted legal associates at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. are standing by to answer any questions you may have about your motorcycle accident at (609) 240-0040. We possess a nuanced understanding of personal injury law garnered from years and years of experience. Our expansive knowledge allows us to provide reliable legal advice at every stage. Learn more in a free, initial consultation with one of our highly qualified attorneys.

Who can file a claim for compensation in a motorcycle crash in New Jersey?

A: Any involved parties can sue. The courts will determine who was responsible for the collision, who should pay damages and how much. It is critical that you have legal representation experienced in the intricate workings of motorcycle injury and wrongful death cases in New Jersey.

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Do I need to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle in New Jersey?

A: The state requires all motorcycle drivers and riders to wear a helmet at all times. The state also provides educational programs for riders to increase helmet use and decrease riding while under the influence.

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How many people are hurt or killed in motorcycle accidents each year?

A: Most motorcycle crashes cause some degree of injury. In fact, almost 80 percent of motorcycle accidents nationwide cause injury or death. Many of these approximately 50,000 injuries each year are quite serious, causing traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, dismemberment or other catastrophic injuries. Another 2,000 victims lose their lives each year in motorcycle collisions. In New Jersey, motorcycle fatalities are over ten percent of all traffic fatalities.

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What should I do if I am involved in a motorcycle crash?

A: If you have been in a motorcycle accident, you should:

  • Stay safe. Get off the road, but, if possible, leave any vehicles in place for investigation purposes. If fuel has leaked, get away. Do not let a bad situation get worse because no one was aware of the dangers around them.
  • Stay at the scene, and get as much information as possible. Exchange insurance and contact information, take notes and pictures of the scene and get the contact information from witnesses. Call the police and file a report.
  • Seek medical attention. It is best to call an ambulance and allow the paramedics to determine whether you need advanced care right away. If you have bad injuries, such as lower extremity injuries, you may not even know it because you may be in shock. You do not want to ride away only to find out somewhere down the highway that you have broken bones or a head injury. Even if you do not see a doctor immediately, you should see one soon after as some injuries do not manifest until later, but can still be quite serious.
  • Call a motorcycle accident attorney. Insurance companies are not in the business of making the largest payments possible out of the goodness of their hearts. You need trusted legal counsel with relevant experience pertaining to the specifics of motorcycle collisions to stand up for your rights and help you navigate this complex process.

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What if the driver who hit me left the scene of the accident?

A: Unfortunately, motorcycle hit-and-runs occur all too often despite it being against the law to leave the scene of an accident. Should you find yourself in this type of situation, it’s crucial to write down everything you can remember about the vehicle right away, talk to any witnesses that saw what happened, make a police report, and look for surveillance or traffic cameras in the area that may have captured the incident and driver on film. It’s typically more complicated to prove liability in hit-and-run accidents, so there’s a good chance you will require the help of a lawyer to gather evidence and get the compensation you deserve.

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What if the accident wasn’t caused by an impact?

A: There are a number of circumstances that can contribute to a single-vehicle motorcycle accident. While some of them involve speeding, impairment, or reckless driving on the part of the rider, many others are the fault of a third party. This may be the case if the motorcyclist was cut off by a car; hit debris or another type of hazard in the road; came upon a poorly marked construction zone; or had defective or malfunctioning bike parts. A motorcycle accident attorney can provide counsel on seeking damages from the third party, whether it be another motorist, the government entity responsible for road maintenance, a construction company, or the motorcycle manufacturer.

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What if the insurance company offers me money after my accident?

A: After an accident, you will start receiving phone calls from a claims adjuster to discuss what happened. Before you know it, they may be offering you an amount to settle and close the case. It’s vital to keep in mind that insurance companies try to pay out as little as possible, so the amount they offer isn’t likely to be what you’re actually entitled to. You never want to accept an offer before consulting with a lawyer. If you agree to an amount that’s too low, you won’t be able to request more compensation later and will end up being responsible for the rest of your bills from the accident.

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What are some serious injuries that motorcyclists are at risk for?

A: Motorcyclists are at risk of getting injured in a variety of ways since they don’t have protection shielding them from an impact. Some of the more common catastrophic injuries include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, limb amputation, and road rash.

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Is lane splitting illegal in New Jersey?

A: There is no actual law on the books in New Jersey making the act of lane splitting illegal specifically. However, police have ticketed motorcyclists while lane splitting for failure to stay to the right while operating a vehicle, which is illegal. This means that while you won't get a ticket that specifically indicates you were lane splitting, you can still get a ticket for it. More importantly, it is quite dangerous and can get you or others seriously injured.

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Can lane splitting make me liable for an accident?

A: In some instances, lane splitting can be used against you to argue that you acted negligently and claim that you are partially responsible for the accident. In New Jersey, your own actions determine comparative negligence, which can diminish how much you can claim from another driver's insurance company. Your contribution to an accident can also be used to reduce or even completely negate any civil claim you file against another driver. For example, even if you are struck by a drunk driver, if you were lane splitting at the time, the other driver's insurance company will argue that you acted negligently. A court may agree and award you less money for your pain and damages because of your behavior.

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Are other types of filtering illegal?

A: Like lane splitting, other methods of filtering through traffic on a motorcycle are illegal in New Jersey. A police officer can ticket you for not staying to the right. If you use filtering to get through stopped traffic around construction, the penalties are far more severe and seriously impact your driving record. Keep in mind that police officers and ambulances often use filtering methods to get somewhere in order to deal with an emergency or save a life. If you obstruct their ability to do so, you may be ticketed even more heavily. Additionally, filtering along shoulders or emergency lanes on highways is not only done by motorcyclists. Some drivers become frustrated and also try to use these areas to move through slowed or stopped traffic. If they don't see you, they can crash into you.

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At Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., we routinely represent individuals and families who have suffered severe injuries or major losses or have lost a loved one in an accident. We take a limited number of cases so that we can give each client the utmost personal attention. Call our New Jersey personal injury attorneys today for a free case evaluation.

The firm’s principals, Gabriel R. Lependorf and David E. Silverstein, have each been representing injured victims in the State of New Jersey for over twenty five years.

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