Why do I need a motorcycle accident attorney?
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in New Jersey, you need to find an experienced accident attorney nearby. Our law firm has handled many motorcycle crash cases, and we will help you recover damages if you are the victim of an accident or represent you in court from matters arising from an accident.
How is fault determined in a motorcycle accident?
In a motorcycle accident, as in any other crash, a vital issue to be considered is fault or responsibility. At the time of the accident, fault may be apparent to all the witnesses and the drivers, but insurance companies will often seek to avoid liability by shifting the blame. Police may not arrive on the scene to make a report, or they may be rushed and make an incorrect report.
As a general principle, motorcycles must follow the same rules as any other vehicle. Accidents happen because, quite often, the other drivers simply did not see the motorcycle and continued on, oblivious to the danger. Motorcycle accidents tend to be more severe because the motorcycle is small and the driver and any passenger are completely exposed.
Certain types of accidents are common as a result:
In a rear-end collision, a vehicle behind the motorcycle doesn’t stop, and effectively runs over the motorcycle.
In any sort of rear-end collision, the vehicle in front, be it car or motorcycle, is not at fault. The driver of a vehicle must keep a careful watch of traffic in front, and running into someone or something is strong evidence of failure in that simplest of duties.
A crash can happen because of an improper left turn. Often, a car will make a left turn, across oncoming traffic. Because motorcycles are smaller and harder to see, they are often involved in such collisions, when a larger car would have been spotted. Again, this is usually the fault of the turning vehicle, which may only turn left if the road is clear and it is safe to do so. It is rarely held to be the fault of the oncoming vehicle.
An Newark motorcycle accident attorney with an understanding of the state traffic laws can assess your individual situation and advise you on the best course of action.
Can I still receive damages if I am partly to blame for the accident?
New Jersey is a comparative fault state. This means that if a victim is partly at fault in an accident, their award will be reduced by a certain percentage, reflecting the degree to which a judge or jury assigns blame. A victim can only recover damages from a party having more fault than they do.
This is especially important if the motorcycle rider wasn’t wearing a helmet. Helmets are mandatory for motorcycle riders in New Jersey, and while many find them uncomfortable or likely to reduce vision, nevertheless, the assumption is that a helmet reduces the risk of serious head injuries in any accident. Thus, failure to wear a helmet contributes to the accident, and this, in turn, will reduce the victim’s award, just like failure to wear a seat belt in an automobile.
A motorcycle accident lawyer in Newark is experienced in dealing with legal issues of fault, and can help present your side of the story in the best light, whether to the other driver, an insurance company or to a judge and jury in court.
What if I find a mistake in a police report?
Police will usually arrive at the scene of any accident involving personal injuries. They often arrive at other accidents where only property damage occurred. In either case, the police should interview the drivers and witnesses, inspect the scene, and prepare an accident report. This is designed to preserve the police officer’s impressions about the accident and the accident scene, so it is important to cooperate with the police officer in presenting your side of the story. If the police officer gets a factual detail like insurance or driver information wrong, it is usually fairly simple to supply the corrected information.
If the police do not file an accident report, the drivers must file accident reports with the New Jersey DMV within ten days of the accident, using an official form for the report.
It is not necessary to file a report if the police have already done so, however, it may be advantageous to file a report to correct a misunderstanding or to present your version of events.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Newark can advise you on the procedure to follow if you’ve been involved in an accident with no report filed by police.
Can I consult with a New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer if I’m uncertain about the viability of my claim?
A good Newark motorcycle accident attorney will take the time to explore the facts of your situation, and the strength of your case. A lawyer has both the practical experience and the legal knowledge needed to address questions like fault, and comparative fault, and the merits of your claim. An attorney can guide you through the process of filing an accident report, and of negotiating with insurance companies. An attorney will also represent you zealously in court, and will fight to ensure your rights are protected at every stage of the process. Get in touch with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Newark, NJ today: Call Premier Legal Solutions, PLLC at 267-824-2425.