Navigating Motorcycle Claims and Lawsuits in NJ

July 14, 2017

For most motorcyclists, riding a bike is never about getting from point A to point B. It’s an adventure; cruising along the open road is freeing. Not to mention riding a motorcycle helps save money on gas, and sometimes even time as finding a parking spot you can fit into will never pose an issue.

But these benefits also come with significant risks. Motorcyclists are some of the most vulnerable individuals on the roads. In fact, the State of New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety states that motorcyclists have an 83% higher chance of being seriously injured from a traffic accident. The unsettling truth is that you’re unlikely to walk away from a motorcycle accident unharmed — which is why it’s imperative to know how to stay safe before, during and after you ride. From understanding the limitations of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance to the extensive liability issues that can arise post-accident as a motorcyclist in New Jersey, there are a few things you need to know:  

What is PIP?

Personal Injury Protection Insurance is often called the ‘no-fault’ insurance. PIP can cover some or most of the cost of treatment after an automobile accident, and can provide reimbursement for some of the wages you may have lost from your accident. However, as a ‘no-fault’ state, New Jersey laws require you to pay for your own medical care through private insurance if you have any, even if the accident wasn’t your fault. While you may be able to obtain reimbursement for medical costs from a defendant after a lawsuit, that will not help you get care or treatment from a doctor when you need it shortly after the accident.

Do I have PIP coverage as a motorcyclist in New Jersey?

Unfortunately, there is no PIP coverage for motorcyclists in New Jersey. So, if you’re involved in an accident while riding your motorcycle, any injuries you sustain will not be covered by PIP. Therefore, having private health insurance — before hitting the road —could not only save you thousands in medical bills, it could also save your life.

How can I be sure that the person who caused my accident is held responsible?

Liability issues are a major concern when determining who’s at fault for a motorcycle accident. Car/truck accidents have typical fault patterns that can usually be determined by evidence or third party witnesses. Motorcycles, however, are much more difficult to see on the road and sometimes drivers don’t think to watch out for them. To prove what might otherwise be a clear liability situation, ensuring the individual at fault is held responsible typically requires a liability expert, such as an accident reconstruction expert (an engineer trained in recreating accidents), or a Human Factors expert with experience litigating motorcycle claims.  

How can I determine future medical costs in a motorcycle claim?

Even the smallest mistakes on the road can have the most devastating impact for motorcyclists. And because there is no PIP for motorcyclists in New Jersey, future medical costs are an integral part of any motorcycle case in court. That said, special consideration should be made to have expert testimony (i.e., a treating or examining physician) regarding any potential future medical expenses. This expert testimony should be documented—it will help your attorney ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

In the State of New Jersey, you only have two years to file a claim after a collision. In legal terms, this is called a statute of limitations, and it’s one of the most important reasons to hire a personal injury attorney fluent in New Jersey Motorcycle laws. At Post Polak, we know how complicated it can be to navigate the after-effects of a motorcycle accident. Whether you’re trying to understand your coverage or trying to determine how or if you should pursue a motorcycle accident claim in court — we are here to help you. With years of experience and successes in personal injury claims in court, as well as an extensive knowledge of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Laws, we know your rights and we want you to know them too.

Call us today at (973) 228-9900 for your free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys, or contact us online.