As more people choose to walk or ride bicycles for transportation or leisure, the risk of pedestrian and bicycle accidents has increased. These accidents can result in severe injuries or even fatalities, leaving victims and their families with physical, emotional, and financial hardships. Pedestrian and bicycle accidents often occur when drivers fail to yield at crosswalks, open car doors without looking first, are distracted, intoxicated, or are driving recklessly. Fortunately, New Jersey personal injury law provides legal protection for victims of pedestrian and bicycle accidents. Here’s what you need to know.
Negligence and Liability
Under New Jersey law, drivers have a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care while operating their vehicles, paying attention to their surroundings, including when sharing the road with bicyclists and pedestrians. When a driver fails to meet this duty of care and causes an accident resulting in injuries, they may be held liable for their negligence.
Proving negligence and liability requires evidence that the driver’s actions, or lack thereof, caused the accident and subsequent injuries. This evidence can include eyewitness accounts, police reports, medical records, and expert testimony.
Personal Injury Law
In the event of a pedestrian or bicycle accident, personal injury claims can be filed against the at-fault driver or other parties responsible for the accident, such as the manufacturer of a defective bicycle part or a municipality responsible for maintaining safe road conditions.
New Jersey personal injury law also allows for comparative negligence, which means that both the victim and the at-fault party can be assigned a percentage of fault for the accident. This can affect the amount of compensation the victim is entitled to receive. For example, if a pedestrian was jaywalking at the time of the accident, they may be assigned a percentage of fault, and their compensation may be reduced accordingly.
In addition to compensatory damages, victims of pedestrian and bicycle accidents may also be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the at-fault party for their behavior and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior in the future. For example, if a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, they may be subject to punitive damages.
In New Jersey, the law requires that drivers carry a minimum of $15,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages for the pedestrian. However, this amount may not be sufficient to cover all of the victim’s expenses and losses, particularly in cases of serious or catastrophic injuries.
In some cases, bicyclists and pedestrians may be able to recover compensation through their own insurance policies, such as uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This can be especially important when the driver who caused the accident is uninsured, underinsured, or cannot be located.
Compensation for Damages
If a pedestrian or bicyclist can prove that the driver or property owner was negligent and caused their injuries, they may be entitled to compensation for their damages. This compensation can include:
- Medical expenses: This includes past and future medical expenses related to the accident, such as hospital bills, doctor visits, rehabilitation, and medication costs.
- Lost income: If the victim is unable to work due to their injuries, they may be entitled to compensation for lost income and future earning potential.
- Pain and suffering: This includes compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Property damage: If the victim’s bicycle or personal property was damaged in the accident, they may be entitled to compensation for repairs or replacement.
Statute of Limitations
It’s important to note that victims of pedestrian and bicycle accidents in New Jersey have a limited amount of time to file a personal injury claim. This time limit is known as the “statute of limitations” and varies depending on the circumstances of the accident. In most cases, victims have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as when the victim is a minor or when the injury wasn’t immediately apparent.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian or bicycle accident in New Jersey, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. The law provides important protections for victims of these types of accidents, but it can be complex and difficult to navigate on your own. A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and work to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other losses.
Contact CourtLaw Today For a Free Consultation About Your Personal Injury Case
At CourtLaw, we understand the devastating impact that pedestrian and bicycle accidents can have on victims and their families. That’s why we’re committed to providing top-notch legal representation to those who have been injured in these types of accidents.
Our experienced attorneys have a deep understanding of New Jersey personal injury law and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve. We take a client-centered approach to our work, ensuring that we understand your unique needs and goals.
We know that recovering from a pedestrian or bicycle accident can be a long and difficult process, both physically and emotionally. That’s why we’re here to support you every step of the way. Our team will handle all aspects of your case, from negotiating with insurance companies to representing you in court.
We believe that everyone deserves access to quality legal representation, regardless of their financial situation. That’s why we offer our services on a contingency fee basis, which means that you won’t pay any legal fees unless we recover compensation for you.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, don’t hesitate to contact CourtLaw. We offer a free initial consultation, so you can discuss your case with one of our experienced attorneys and get the answers you need. Let us help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.