New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Despite the inherent risks, riding a motorcycle remains a popular leisure activity and a convenient mode of transport for millions of Americans. Riding a motorcycle can have many mental, financial, and practical benefits, but it's riskier than many other forms of transportation.
If you or someone you love was recently injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, protect your rights by contacting a New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer. You might receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and even your pain and suffering. Contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney at Reinartz Law Firm today to discuss your case and your legal options.
Table of Contents
- Should You Call a New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
- Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
- Motorcycle Accident Injuries
- Contact a Skilled New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Why Choose Reinartz Law Firm for Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
Nationally recognized trial lawyer Richard A. Reinartz established Reinartz Law Firm to vigorously fight for the rights of wrongfully accident victims, to provide them with high-level personalized legal services, and to fight for the best possible result in every case. Through the years, the personal injury lawyers at Reinartz Law Firm have recovered millions in verdicts and settlements for our clients. Contact us today for your free consultation and case evaluation, and let us fight for justice and the compensation you need and deserve.
Do I Have a Motorcycle Accident Case?
Negligence is a key legal concept in personal injury cases, including motorcycle accident claims. To establish a successful motorcycle accident claim based on negligence, the plaintiff generally needs to prove four key elements, which include:
- Duty of Care: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed them a duty of care. In the context of a motorcycle accident, this means showing that the defendant had a responsibility to act reasonably and prudently to avoid causing harm to others on the road.
- Breach of Duty: The plaintiff needs to establish that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to them. This involves demonstrating that the defendant's actions or inactions fell below the standard of care expected in similar circumstances. For example, if a driver failed to yield the right of way or was speeding, it could be considered a breach of duty.
- Causation: There must be a direct link between the defendant's breach of duty and the injuries sustained by the plaintiff. The plaintiff needs to show that the defendant's actions were the proximate cause of the accident and resulting harm. In other words, the injuries would not have occurred but for the defendant's negligence.
- Damages: The plaintiff must provide evidence of actual harm or damages resulting from the defendant's breach of duty. This can include medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other quantifiable losses.
If the plaintiff can successfully establish all four elements of negligence, they may have a strong basis for a motorcycle accident claim. However, navigating legal matters can be complex, and it's crucial to seek guidance from a personal injury attorney who can assess the specific details of the case and provide advice.
What Compensation is Available to Motorcycle Injury Victims?
In a motorcycle accident claim, various types of damages may be available to compensate the injured party for their losses. The specific damages awarded can depend on the circumstances of the accident, the extent of the injuries, and the applicable laws. Here are common types of damages that may be sought in a motorcycle accident claim:
- Medical Expenses: This includes compensation for past and future medical bills related to the treatment of injuries caused by the accident. Medical expenses may cover hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitation, medication, and other necessary treatments.
- Property Damage: Damages related to the repair or replacement of the motorcycle and any other property damaged in the accident, such as protective gear.
- Lost Earnings: Compensation for income lost due to the inability to work during the recovery period. This can include both past and future lost wages.
- Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages intended to compensate the victim for physical pain, emotional distress, and the overall impact of the injuries on their quality of life.
- Loss of Consortium: Damages awarded to a spouse or family member for the loss of companionship, support, and services resulting from the injured party's injuries.
- Permanent Disability or Disfigurement: Compensation for long-term or permanent injuries, disabilities, or disfigurement resulting from the accident.
The strength of the evidence and the effectiveness of legal representation can influence the amount of damages awarded. Consult a personal injury attorney to understand your rights and pursue appropriate compensation based on the specific details of your case.
Should You Call a New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
One of the most important steps you can take after being involved in a motorcycle accident is to call an experienced New Jersey motorcycle accident attorney. Seeking legal guidance can be critical in obtaining compensation for out-of-pocket expenses and less quantifiable damages, such as pain and suffering.
By gathering evidence to pursue legal recourse and conducting a thorough investigation of the accident, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer is an invaluable ally in filing a strong claim against the negligent party.
After a motorcycle accident, an attorney can:
- Gather witness statements
- Collect accident and injury-related documentation from police and medical establishments
- Obtain photographs of the accident scene
- Reconstruct the accident
- Request and secure security camera footage
- Consult with medical experts
- Research the driving history of the at-fault motorist
- Obtain evidence to prove motorcycle manufacturer negligence if the accident is related to product liability
- Communicate with insurance companies on your behalf to negotiate a full and fair settlement
- File a legal case, if necessary, to obtain compensation
In general, personal injury attorneys can negotiate higher settlements or win larger court awards for their clients than they can secure on their own. Even after paying attorney’s fees, you can still receive more for your injuries than handling your claim alone.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can occur for the same reasons as other motor vehicle accidents. However, due to traffic laws and a motorcycle's small size, unique circumstances can result in motorcycle crashes.
Vehicles Turning Left
One of the most common scenarios for motorcycle versus other vehicle crashes happens when another car makes a left turn in front of a bike. Even if the biker keeps their eyes peeled and watches for signs that a car may attempt to make a left turn in front of them, they can still fall victim at intersections, gaps in traffic, or even in a parking lot or driveway.
Drivers frequently cut motorcyclists off because they either can’t see them or misjudge their speed and distance. Motorists are inherently used to dealing with other cars and other car drivers on the road. Motorcycles and their speed and distance often don’t register in their field of vision or don’t register soon enough.
Gravel or Loose Material on the Road
Hitting gravel or other loose material or any debris on the road can put a motorcyclist on their side or even send them flying from their bike. While motorcyclists must drive carefully while watching for such hazards, some motorcycle accidents result from the negligence of another party, such as the government agency in charge of the care and maintenance of the roads or third parties like a construction company.
Motorcycle and parts manufacturers must design, manufacture, and distribute parts safely. If they don't, they are putting others at risk. The manufacturer of a poorly designed or manufactured motorcycle or motorcycle part can be found liable for damages arising from the use of the defective part.
Vehicle Lane Changes
Most motorcyclists have found themselves in this situation at least once. A motorist fails to see them or misjudges their distance, cutting in front of them. Most motorcyclists know to be careful and do what they can to ensure other drivers see them. Still, the other driver is responsible for ensuring they have sufficient time and distance to make a safe lane change. If they cut a motorcyclist off and cause an accident, they must pay for the damages.
Hit From Behind
All drivers need to stop suddenly from time to time it can be a child running across the road after a ball, poor road conditions, or a tire blowout in a vehicle up ahead. Whatever the reason, each driver is responsible for stopping their vehicle and not hitting the car in front of them.
Motorcycles need to stop suddenly sometimes too. The drivers behind them are responsible for leaving enough distance that they can stop suddenly and not hit them. Sadly, many drivers don't do that. Without enough space between them and the motorcycle in front of them, they run the risk of a serious or even fatal rear-end motorcycle crash.
Motorists and passengers inside vehicles on the side of the road or in parking lots or driveways often don't stop to see what is happening around them before they fling open their car doors. However, they can cause a motorcycle accident if they open their door without looking and a motorcyclist is coming.
Other common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy or fatigued driving
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failing to obey traffic signals or signs
- Reckless driving
Most motorcycle accidents are preventable, although it often requires skill and knowledge from other drivers. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident and need a New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.
Does the Cause of a Motorcycle Accident Matter?
The cause of a motorcycle accident typically matters a lot. To determine who should be held accountable for your injuries and damages, your New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer may need to identify who is at fault. It's nearly impossible to pinpoint who is at fault without investigating the accident to determine precisely how it happened. Your lawyer might hire other investigators or accident reconstructionists to help piece together and make sense of what happened.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
In one recent year, over 5,500 motorcyclists succumbed to injuries sustained in accidents. This is the highest number recorded, with an 11 percent increase the year prior. In addition, 14 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities in one year were motorcyclists. This was more than double the same figure about 25 years ago.
Motorcycles are unfortunately prone to many injuries in an accident. Unlike other motorists and their passengers, they don’t have the protection afforded by modern vehicles and are highly vulnerable to injuries. Even with helmets, boots, and other special riding or safety clothes and gear, severe, catastrophic, and fatal injuries do happen. Some of the most commonly injured parts of the body include:
The Lower Extremities
In a crash, a motorcycle weighing hundreds of pounds can fall on top of a biker, resulting in injuries to the lower portion of the body, including legs, knees, calves, ankles, and feet. While these types aren't typically fatal, they can be painful and cause long-term disability. Broken or crushed bones, as well as road rash, are frequently seen in motorcycle accident victims.
The Upper Extremities
In motorcycle accidents, motorcyclists are often separated from their vehicles and thrown into the air. As in other accidents, victims instinctively use their arms and hands to brace for a fall. As such, motorcyclists who landed hard may experience shoulder injuries and torn rotator cuffs. Broken arms, elbows, and fingers are also common. Accident victims might experience permanent nerve damage to the upper body and road rash.
The upper trunk of the body, also referred to as the thorax, contains the heart, lungs, and other vital internal organs protected by the ribs. Blunt force trauma to the chest, as is common in motorcycle accidents, can cause severe internal bleeding, lacerations, and other damage to any of these vital organs.
Broken ribs are typical in motorcycle accident victims, and the sharp or jagged broken bone can puncture a lung or lacerate the spleen, kidneys, or liver. Lungs can collapse and bruise, sometimes requiring ventilation or surgery. Motorcyclists are also at extreme risk of suffering a torn aorta which requires immediate medical attention and surgery and can be fatal.
While wearing a motorcycle helmet can prevent or mitigate head injuries, it doesn’t prevent all head injuries in every crash. Head injuries are some of the most severe that a motorcyclist can suffer. They can cause lifelong physical, mental, and emotional disabilities.
Motorcyclists who fall from their bikes risk skull fractures and brain damage.
Other common head injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Bleeding on the brain
- Brain swelling
The Face and Neck
Face and neck injuries often happen in these accidents, as even when a rider has a helmet and other protection, it can leave the face and neck exposed. Common facial injuries include broken teeth, noses, and jawbones. In addition, riders might have permanent scarring and disfigurement from these types of injuries.
Additionally, motorcyclists who are struck from behind frequently suffer whiplash. This condition happens when a rider’s neck is suddenly and violently “whipped” back and forth upon crash impact.
Damage to the neck’s bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves is common. If the damage is severe, it can impact the ability to control head and neck movements either temporarily or permanently. Severe neck injuries can affect the spinal cord, resulting in partial or total paralysis.
The organs in the abdomen, including the liver and spleen, often face violent force in a motorcycle accident. Unfortunately, internal injuries are much more difficult to detect than external ones, and a motorcyclist might not be aware of their injuries until some time has passed. Injuries to the spleen or liver might cause internal bleeding and infection, sometimes resulting in death.
Symptoms of internal injuries after an accident can include:
- Stomach pain
- Low blood pressure
- Blood in urine
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately as their lives can be at risk.
Serious injury to the spine and spinal cord can be traumatic with lifelong consequences. Various forms of paralysis, including quadriplegia (total paralysis from the neck down), can result, as can respiratory problems, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction. Such severe and life-changing injuries necessitate a lengthy hospitalization and a long recovery involving appointments with medical specialists and physical/occupational therapists. Sadly, motorcyclists with these injuries often suffer chronic pain and cannot return to their jobs.
Contact the New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Reinartz Law Firm Today
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence of another person or party, you deserve compensation for your losses, including scarring and disfigurement, lost income, medical bills, and pain and suffering. The most effective way to seek compensation is with the help of an experienced attorney who can handle your case from start to finish. Your attorney can build your case, negotiate a settlement, and, if necessary, litigate your claim.
The Reinartz Law Firm - Hackensack Office
"Richard guided me in my suit and made me feel confident in my decisions during my entire case. He made recommendations that I otherwise, would not have known about."