Motorcycle accidents can happen for many different reasons. Maybe a motorist wasn’t paying attention and hit you out of nowhere, causing you to be thrown from your bike. Maybe you were speeding and you weren’t wearing a helmet. This is an important factor in a case, seeing as New Jersey has specific helmet laws in place. In fact, under statute Title 39 of Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations, it is stated that nobody should operate a motorcycle unless he or she wears a properly fitted protective helmet and could get a fine of up to $25 for violating the helmet law of New Jersey (SoNJ). However, there are many other reasons why you may have become injured in a motorcycle accident, especially reasons stemming from another person’s negligence. It is important to get to the bottom of this, which will typically involve the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
What are some common causes of motorcycle accidents?
Motorist Error: Distraction on cell phones or loud music, fatigue, driver inexperience, reflex delay, intoxication, and road rage
Traffic Law Violations: Failure to yield right-of-way, speeding, illegal lane changes, and failure to heed traffic signals
Who is at fault when a motorcycle accident occurs?
Negligent driving, in many cases, is the cause of motorcycle accidents. A motorist is actually breaching his or her duty of care when they drive negligently and cause an accident that severely injures or even kills a motorcyclist. A motorcyclist has a legal right to seek compensation for damages involved in their case. A motorcyclist and motorist have duties of care to look out for one another, comply with applicable traffic laws, and use all reasonable means necessary to avoid an accident.
There must be evidence of negligence involved in your case to prove a personal injury claim. If a motorcyclist cannot establish that the motorist was 100% at fault, then the motorcyclist will be seen as comparatively negligent and will receive an award that deducts his percentage of fault. There is some evidence that may be needed to prove a case.
That could include any of the following things:
Helmet: As mentioned previously, in New Jersey, helmet laws are a big thing and have even proven to make or break a case. If you were wearing a helmet, this could work in your favor because wearing a helmet is an excellent way to prove that you did not contribute to your own injuries. If you were not wearing one and you received severe injuries to the head or face, it may be difficult to prove that a motorist was responsible for those injuries.
Police Incident Reports: Police at the scene of the accident will create a police report. In the report, diagrams will be made of the scene and witness contact information will be gathered. Weather conditions and traffic citations will be noted as well.
Photographs: You should always try to gather photographs of the scene of the accident. Injuries and other disturbed objects should be photographed as well.
Witnesses and Statements: Witness statements can be vital to a case and you should always have evidence that a witness was spoken to and that you have their name and contact information. Note what the witness saw in all aspects of the accident.
Journals: Note your observations of what happened at the scene. If there were admissions of guilt, you may want to make note of them. They will go against interests and be valuable at trial.
Medical Records: You must have medical records to support your claim if you hope to receive compensation for your injuries. If you were taken to the emergency room, you will want copies of medical notes. You should also have diagnosis information as well as other treatments you receive in time to come (Calisi).
In the event of a motorcycle accident, you do not want to be alone representing yourself. This is why it is in your best interest to speak to a personal injury attorney about your best options. At MDL, we have experience handling motorcycle accidents specifically and can be of help to you. So what should you do if you have been injured in one of these unfortunate accidents? Call us today to schedule a consultation and get started.