Bicycles are an increasingly popular way of getting around in New Jersey. Cycling is a fun way to exercise and an environmentally friendly form of transportation that does not create any pollution. However, there is also a dark side to cycling: bicycle accidents. It can be dangerous for bicycles to share the road with cars and trucks because they are hard to see, tricky to drive behind and offer the cyclist no protection if they were to get into an accident with a motor vehicle. If you are a person who regularly rides a bike out on the streets of New Jersey, it is important for you to understand your legal options in case you get into an accident. Here is everything you need to know about bicycle accident law.
Bicycle Accident Laws Basics
If a cyclist is seriously injured in a bicycle accident, there are two primary avenues for seeking compensation, depending on the exact details of the accident: pursuing a negligent driver and pursuing a negligent municipality.
Pursuing a Negligent Driver
When motor vehicles and bicycles share a road, the operators of both vehicles should be cautious of each other to avoid accidents. Unfortunately, drivers are sometimes negligent and choose to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, drive recklessly, speed, or use a mobile device while behind the wheel. If you and your legal representation can prove in court that the negligence of a driver caused your injury, you may be able to recover damages.
Pursuing a Negligent Municipality
If your injury was not the result of a negligent driver but of a poorly maintained roadway or cycling lane, you can sue your local municipality for negligence. There are countless hazards that can make cycling unsafe if municipalities fail to address them, including obstacles that obscure visibility, blocked cycling lanes, weather conditions, pavement issues, and several other factors that lead to serious accidents and injuries. Additionally, not all bike accidents involve a collision with a moving car. Other bike accidents include car door accidents, bicycle vs. bicycle accidents, cyclist vs. dog accidents, and even product liability cases, some of which offer alternative avenues for compensation.
If you have been seriously injured you should know bicycle accident laws (through the negligence of a driver, a municipality, or other parties), so that you may be eligible to recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, the cost of rehabilitation, emotional distress, pain, suffering, loss of independence, and more.
What Should I Do If I Get Into A Bicycle Accident?
- Make sure that you are no longer in danger. If you are lying in the street, move yourself and your bicycle out of traffic. If you are unable to move, at least try your best to make yourself visible so that oncoming cars can see you and not injure you further.
- If you are having a medical emergency, call 911. If you cannot call emergency services yourself (because of your injuries or because your cell phone broke in the accident), ask someone to call 911 for you.
- If you do not have a medical emergency (such as a back injury, lacerations, head injury, neck injury, or broken bones), call the police so that they can file a report about the incident. The police report will document the location, date, and time of the accident and information about the driver involved (if there is one) and witnesses. The police will also give you the police report number and can help you get the name, contact information, and insurance information of any drivers involved in the incident.
- Record the contact information of witnesses who were present for the accident. Witness statements are often an important part of settling or litigating bicycle accident report claims.
- Take photos of the scene, including photos that document road conditions, the location of the accident, the damage to your bicycle, the damage to any other vehicles, and your injuries.
- If you require medical attention or you need to replace your bike, keep copies of all bills, quotes, and expenses so they can be part of your case.
Bicycle Accident Laws
The Law Office of Andrew S. Maze can help if you are in a bicycle accident. One of the most important steps to take if you are in a bicycle accident is contacting an experienced attorney in personal injury cases. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, it is very important to carefully consider your legal options. Please contact The Law Office of Andrew S. Maze so that we can help you explore your options and passionately represent your needs in and out of court.