Bike accidents can be devastating for the cyclist who is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Because they have little to no protection to keep them safe, cyclists are often severely hurt in crashes, particularly those caused by motor vehicles like cars or trucks. The injuries these unfortunate bikers suffer can both change their lives and put their financial future in jeopardy.
The personal injury attorneys at the New Jersey law office of Kim & Feliz, LLC can help. With our legal representation, we can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve from the person or the people who caused the cycling accident that got you hurt.
Causes of Cycling Accidents in New Jersey
Cycling accidents happen for a variety of reasons. According to a 2012 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more bike accidents were caused by motor vehicles than any other reason. However, even these crashes can happen in a variety of different ways, with more than one ultimate cause behind a crash.
Driver Error or Negligence
Perhaps the most common reason for a bike accident in New Jersey is simply a driver who is not paying attention to the road or who failed to exercise the caution that was necessary to prevent a crash. Many drivers do not realize how much space they need to give cyclists on the road or simply refuse to give them the room they need.
In other cases, drivers do not notice bikers until it is too late, often because the driver simply fails to look for them or does not expect a biker on the road. Crashes like these can be especially severe because the driver will often fail to even slow down before the collision, increasing the severity of the impact and the resulting injuries.
Similarly, distracted drivers can cause bike accidents in New Jersey. With their attention divided between the road and whatever it is they are distracted by – typically their phone, though distractions can come in a myriad number of forms – drivers fail to notice abnormal road hazards much more frequently than when they are paying full attention to their surroundings. Cyclists -- because they are (1) smaller and therefore less noticeable than cars or trucks; and (2) less frequently encountered and therefore less expected -- are more likely to fall through the cracks of a distracted driver's awareness.
Drunk drivers are less likely to cause bike accidents than regular crashes, mainly because most accidents involving intoxicated drivers happen after dark when relatively few bikers are on the road.
Ignorance of Bike Laws in New Jersey
Finally, car and truck drivers tend to only pay attention to the laws that apply to how they drive, rather than to how others are allowed to use the road. Ignorance of how New Jersey's traffic laws apply to bikers can quickly create confusion, which can lead to serious bike accidents. Cyclists make use of the roads in ways that are completely legal, which can come as a surprise to drivers.
Common Injuries Sustained in Bike Crashes
Unfortunately, bike accidents rarely end well for the cyclist. Even when they take the proper precautions and use all of the safety equipment available to them, bikers are still left very vulnerable in an accident with a motor vehicle.
Some of the most common injuries that a biker can suffer are:
- Broken bones, particular to the lower body and wrists
- Road rash
- Spinal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Fatal injuries
The medical treatment necessary to recover from these terrible injuries is neither inexpensive nor easy. From the emergency treatment you may need at the scene, to the surgical procedures necessary to overcome serious medical problems that the crash caused, to the extensive physical therapy you may need to bounce back to your prior lifestyle, these injuries can sideline you for months or even years.
Personal Injury Claims for Cycling Crashes
When the crash was not your fault, you deserve to be compensated by the person who caused it. By filing a personal injury claim, you begin the formal procedure of requesting them to pay their fair share of the costs that sprang from the crash that they created.
You can initiate this process by talking with a personal injury lawyer in New Jersey. Based on your statements and their independent investigation into the incident, your lawyer can file a complaint on your behalf. This document begins the lawsuit by explaining to the court – and to the person you are suing, now called the defendant – what happened and why you deserve to be compensated.
The vast majority of personal injury cases settle well before trial, as it becomes clear who was at fault and the costs of the accident. However, if negotiations break down and the trial date arrives, a judge and jury will resolve the dispute, instead.
The defendant's insurance company, however, can be counted on to try to step in and cut this process short, in a way that protects its own interests. Frequently, they will make you an initial settlement offer – often even before you have the opportunity to talk to a lawyer about your rights. This initial offer may sound good, but often it pays you a tiny fraction of what you deserve.
New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers at Kim & Feliz, LLC
The personal injury lawyers at Kim & Feliz, LLC in New Jersey can help. If you have been hurt in a bike accident in the state, contact us online or call us at (201) 585-2250 for the legal representation you need to recover the compensation you deserve.