New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
The trial lawyers at Clark Law Firm represent men and women involved in motorcycle accidents. Popular motorcycle brands and manufacturers include Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, Triumph, and Ducati. There are also various kinds of motorcycle types available including cruisers, sports bikes, touring, and street bikes. Motorcycle accidents in New Jersey happen all too often. Whether due to operator error, unfavorable weather conditions, or other situations, motorcycle accidents in New Jersey and the United States are prevalent. It is important for motorcycle operators to understand their rights and better prepare themselves for riding on the roads.
According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System report conducted by the National Highway Traffic Administration, over 40,000 deaths have resulted from motorcycle accidents in the United States between 1999 and 2006. On top of that, motorcycle crashes increased each year between 1997 and 2003 according to the NHTA with a total increase of seventy percent. According to the same 2004 report, approximately 50% of fatal motorcycle accidents are single vehicle.
Motorcycles are popular due to their being relatively inexpensive to purchase and maintain, including gas, as compared to automobiles. In light of the resurgent demand for motorcycles, there is a growing need to be aware of the laws governing their use and of safety and accident concerns about motorcycles. Motorcycle accidents can result in serious or fatal injuries, so it is imperative to obtain experienced and qualified legal representation to zealously advocate for the rights and interests of people harmed in motorcycle accidents. The lawyers at Clark Law Firm are experienced in taking on complex accident cases including on behalf of the victims and families of motorcycle accident injuries. When you get injured, you want the best lawyers to handle your case.
A motorcycle crash will tend to result in more serious injuries than a regular car or auto accident because there is far less on the typical bike to protect the rider. While some motorbikes may have leg guards or other limited safety devices, there is nothing to hold the rider on the bike in the event of a crash, and even if there were, there is nothing separating the rider from impacting the road or other vehicles in a crash. Unlike a regular passenger car, there is no compartment to protect the rider or bike passenger.
The risk of injury on a motorcycle may also tend to be greater because since it only has two wheels instead of two in a car, it is a less stable riding platform. If a motorbike hits a large pothole or another defect in a roadway or riding surface, the rider it is more likely to lose control of the motorcycle and wind up in a serious accident. This can more so be the case at high speeds.
All automobiles in New Jersey are required to have insurance to cover injuries and other losses in the event of an accident. The same is true of motorcycles in the Garden State. The State of New Jersey requires motorcycle owners/operators to have insurance policies with mandatory minimum limits to protect both the riders and others in the unlikely event of an accident. The law requires the owner/operator to purchase a policy providing a minimum amount of liability coverage for all persons injured in a motorcycle accident. In addition, to this liability insurance coverage, a motorcycle owner/operator should strongly be considering purchasing additional coverage for uninsured and underinsured (“UM and UIM”) motorist coverage. Such UM and UIM coverage provides coverage and protection in the event a party is injured by another who either has no insurance (against the law) or a policy that is insufficient to cover the extent of damages and serious injuries in a motorcycle accident.
Unlike the personal injury protection (“PIP”) benefits contained in automobile insurance policies, motorcycle insurance policies do not provide for the payment of medical bills for the owner/operator and or passenger of the motorcycle involved in an accident. Such protection is provided to pedestrians who may be stuck by motorcycles. A close examination of the particular motorcycle insurance policy is required to determine if such coverage was available from the insurer and chosen by the insured. If you have been involved in such an accident, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced accident lawyer familiar with insurance law to guide you through the process. The issues insurance coverage and payment of medical bills is largely dependent upon the availability of other insurance policies which may provide such benefits to those injured in the accident. Motorcycle insurance policies provide various types of coverages and options to choose from. An early and thorough review of all applicable insurance policies by a skilled attorney helps ensure that your rights are well-protected.
Generally, a case involving a motorcycle accident may be one of two types:
(1) a general negligence case in which another party was negligent in failing to exercise the appropriate standard of care to protect another from injury and/or harm and this failure caused harm or damage to that person, and (2) a products liability case in which design and/or manufacturing defect in a product (i.e. the motorcycle or a part of the motorcycle) poses a known, and oftentimes undisclosed, dangerous risk of harm and injury to the user of the defective product as well as others who may come into contact with that product.
Negligence is defined as a failure to exercise in the given circumstances that degree of care for the safety of others in which a reasonably prudent person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances, such as driving unsafely or in an unsafe manner on the roadways. Negligence may be the doing of an act which the reasonably prudent person would not have done, or it may be the failure to do that which the reasonably prudent person would have done under the circumstances. Negligence is a departure from this standard of care of the reasonably prudent person. A party must not only prove the negligence of the other party, but also prove that this negligence was a proximate cause of the motorcycle or car accident. Proximate cause means that the negligent conduct of the other party was an efficient cause of the accident or that it set the other causes in motion and naturally and probably led to the accident. Therefore, if a motorcycle or other vehicle owner/operator failed to exercise the appropriate standard of care while operating his/her vehicle and this conduct proximately caused an accident in which another party was harmed or injured (including a motorcycle rider), then that party may have the basis to file a negligence claim. Choosing the right trial lawyer who is not afraid to bring your case before a jury and that has experience actually taking courtroom personal injury verdicts from real juries is an important choice.
Products liability law concerns the duty of manufacturers and sellers to make and sell products that are reasonably safe to consumers, this includes motorcycle manufacturers, foreign and domestic. Manufacturers owe this duty to direct users of the product, to reasonably foreseeable users of the product, and to those who may reasonably be expected to come into contact with the product. A successful product liability claim against a manufacturer proves that the product causing harm was not reasonably safe for its intended purposes. Therefore if a motorcycle, or a component part, is defective which makes it unreasonably safe for its intended use (that is, riding it) and a party is injured or harmed as a result, there may be a basis to file a products liability claim.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you should do the following:
- Seek necessary medical care and preserve medical documentation of your injuries
- Report the accident to the police department and to your own insurance company
- Do not speak with the insurance company of the vehicle which hit you without first consulting with an attorney
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible to conduct an early investigation and preserve critical evidence
- Do not settle without first consulting with an attorney – especially when you consider that the insurance company is really your adversary and will not have your interests in mind in any negotiation process
If you or someone you know was involved in a motorcycle accident, contact the bike lawyers at Clark Law Firm, PC to see if you may have a claim for compensation for serious personal injuries. At your free consultation our attorneys will listen to your story and where appropriate discuss a potential case and prospects for recovery. If we agree to represent you in your motorcycle accident case we will discuss your reasonable expectations and take the necessary time to explore options and alternatives for a monetary recovery provided for under the law. We will provide support, guidance, and advocacy, and rest assured your rights and claims are well protected.
If the time ever comes, it is important to have a lawyer that understands the dynamics of motorcycle accidents and to guide you through the process of recovering costs for injury, suffering, wage loss, medical expenses, and further damages caused as a result of the motorcycle accident. Contact the NJ personal injury attorneys at Clark Law Firm to see if they can help you in your New Jersey motorcycle accident case.