Bicycle accidents often cause serious injuries that need substantial financial compensation. If you were hit by a car or truck while riding your bike, then you could be left with medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages that you need compensation for. But insurance might not be enough, and a lawsuit might be your best way to seek compensation.
An experienced attorney can take your case to court and fight to get you damages beyond what insurance might want to voluntarily pay. We can also negotiate with insurance at every step of the case and fight to get you the benefits you deserve.
For a free case review, call our bicycle accident attorneys at Legal Care New Jersey today at (732) 838-9769.
Common Bicycle Accident Causes in Elizabeth, NJ
Bicycle accidents are sometimes caused by rider error. In these cases, cyclists might not follow the rules of the road, putting themselves in dangerous situations that end with accidents. In New Jersey, cyclists must follow the same rules of the road as any other driver – which means stopping at stop signs, avoiding the sidewalk, and signaling before turning. However, when cyclists are completely in the right, they can still be involved in accidents caused by other drivers’ dangerous violations and decisions. Our bicycle accident lawyers can help with these and any other bike accident cases:
Drivers Turning Across Cyclist
Many drivers fail to check their right-hand side before making a turn. If a cyclist is driving to their right, then they could easily hook across the cyclist’s path and cause a crash. Cyclists are also supposed to move to the left when making a left-hand turn, and drivers might not think to check their left side for a cyclist before turning. Everyone is safest when drivers do follow these rules and properly signal their turns before making any moves.
Drunk drivers account for many bicycle accidents. Drunk drivers, especially late at night, are less likely to watch out for cyclists and properly pass them and share the road. This can lead to serious accidents, as drunk drivers might also have a slowed reaction time, leading to them failing to brake or slow down before a crash.
Speed is at least a contributing factor in most auto accidents. Drivers speeding near cyclists are less likely to be able to react to them in time if the cyclist moves slightly to the left or takes the full lane, potentially causing a high-speed accident.
Passing Too Closely
Drivers passing cyclists must give them room, and failing to do so can be catastrophic. Even clipping a cyclist could cause them to fall, potentially causing cuts, scrapes, and broken bones, even at low speeds. At higher speeds, clipping a rider could lead to substantial injuries.
Drivers parked along the side of the road make it harder for cyclists to use the right side of the lane or shoulder for driving alongside other drivers. Drivers and driver-side passengers often open doors quickly without looking, potentially throwing their door into a cyclist’s path. This can cause a crash or force a biker to swerve into traffic, potentially causing an even more serious accident.
Getting Compensation for Bike Accidents in Elizabeth, NJ
Throughout New Jersey, car accidents are handled with a no-fault insurance system. Under this system, insurance pays out damages to the driver and passengers of the car without any questions about who caused the crash. While you could be entitled to additional damages from the at-fault driver later, this no-fault coverage at least pays for some of your medical bills up front while the rest of your case is pending.
As a bicycle rider, you are not required to carry insurance. However, if you have insurance because you also drive a car – or if someone else in your household has insurance – then there might be a no-fault policy that covers you. When you are covered by a no-fault policy, your initial claim will be filed with that no-fault coverage, but you could be entitled to additional damages beyond what no-fault insurance covers.
This initial no-fault insurance only covers a portion of your medical costs and lost earnings and is subject to deductibles. This insurance certainly does not cover pain and suffering or other non-economic damages, and those need to be claimed in an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance – if they have it – or in a lawsuit.
Lawsuits are only permitted in cases of serious injury. This threshold is certainly met with cases involving loss of a fetus, death, or amputation, but any “permanent” injury or even a displaced fracture should qualify. Although scarring is often permanent, scarring must meet a certain level to count as a “serious” injury.
Damages Available in a Bicycle Accident Claim in Elizabeth, NJ
As mentioned, insurance might only cover some of your damages for medical bills and lost wages. However, in a lawsuit or a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance, you could be entitled to additional compensation.
Medical bills should be covered in full. You should ultimately not have to pay for injuries that someone else caused you, and that should include everything from emergency treatment to follow-up care and from mental health counseling to physical therapy. Any healthcare costs that result from your accident should be paid by the defendant.
The same is true of any lost wages. If you missed work, had to take time off, lost out on contracts, or otherwise lost wages or earning capacity because of the accident, the defendant should reimburse you for the full value. Calculating future lost wages and lost earning capacity can be complex, so we will often get expert opinions on this.
Pain and Suffering
Non-economic damages and pain and suffering are broad categories of damages that can cover the physical, mental, and emotional effects of an injury. The compensation for this area of damages can often be very high if your injuries are serious, but you usually cannot get payments for these damages from your no-fault insurance.
Contact Our Elizabeth, NJ Bicycle Accident Lawyers Today
Reach out to the Elizabeth, NJ bicycle accident lawyers at Legal Care New Jersey for a free case review by calling (732) 838-9769.