Motorcycle accidents can cause catastrophic or even fatal injuries. Sometimes during a collision, the rider is knocked unconscious and is unable to gather information about what happened. Insurers may be biased against motorcyclists and may not conduct a detailed investigation. Many different factors may contribute to a motorcycle accident, including negligence by a driver of a passenger car or truck. An injury lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation. If you were hurt in a crash caused by someone else, a New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer at the Grimes Law Firm may be able to help you recover the compensation that you need.Seeking Compensation Following a Motorcycle Accident
If your motorcycle accident was caused by a driver who either did not notice you or did not share the road appropriately, you may have grounds to sue the other driver for negligence. To establish the other driver's liability, you will need to prove that the other driver owed you a duty to drive safely, they breached this duty, they caused your injuries, and you sustained actual damages. All drivers owe a duty to use reasonable care to avoid injuries to others with whom they share the road, including motorcyclists. Unfortunately, there are many instances in which drivers of larger vehicles do not obey the rules of sharing the road and thus breach their duty to use reasonable care. For example, if a driver fails to yield to you at a four-way stop and then T-bones you, you are likely to establish a breach of the duty to use reasonable care.
If you are a passenger who is injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the operator of the motorcycle, you may need to sue the operator of the motorcycle to recover damages. In that case, you would need to show the negligence of the motorcycle operator. A motorcycle accident attorney can help New Jersey residents bring these types of claims as well.
However, there are instances in which a motorcycle accident is the fault of both a driver of a larger vehicle and the operator of the motorcycle. New Jersey follows a rule of modified comparative negligence. This means that the jury will evaluate the accident and reduce any damages award based on the plaintiff motorcyclist's percentage of fault. As an injured motorcyclist, you can recover damages from the defendant if each of you is 50% at fault, but you are barred from recovering any damages if you are more to blame than the other driver. Usually, this rule does not apply to a passenger of a motorcycle who sues the motorcyclist for injuries suffered in an accident. It is rare that the passenger contributes to a motorcycle accident.
New Jersey requires motorcyclists to wear helmets, and their passengers must also wear helmets. You are more likely to suffer a fatal injury in an accident if you do not wear a helmet. Also, if you are not wearing a helmet and suffer head or neck injuries, you may be found negligent per se. This means that you may be barred from recovering damages if you have injuries that could have been prevented had you followed the law. However, if you have other injuries, such as a broken bone or road rash, a failure to follow the helmet law may not be relevant and may not impede your recovery. A New Jersey motorcycle accident attorney can advise you on the specific damages that may be available to you.
Damages that you may be able to recover as a motorcyclist who successfully proves another driver's liability include past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, out-of-pocket costs, and household services. If a motorcycle accident results in a motorcyclist's death, certain surviving family members may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages, including loss of companionship, care, and comfort, as well as funeral and burial expenses.Seek Guidance from a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer After a New Jersey Crash
If you are injured or a loved one is killed in a motorcycle accident, you should hire an experienced motor vehicle collision lawyer. At the Grimes Law Firm, we provide thorough advice and skillful legal representation to accident victims in Neshanic Station and elsewhere in Somerset County, as well as throughout the tri-state area. Contact us online or call us at (908) 371-1066 to schedule a free consultation.