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I Got Hit By A Car On My Bike Can I Sue?

I Got Hit By A Car On My Bike Can I Sue?

In recent years, the number of bicyclists sharing the road with motor vehicles has significantly increased, leading to a rise in accidents that often leave cyclists with serious, life-altering injuries. The aftermath of such incidents can be overwhelming, dealing not just with physical injuries but also with the financial and emotional toll they take. At Drazin & Warshaw, we understand the challenges you face as a victim of a bicycle accident caused by a motor vehicle, especially when it’s due to a distracted driver in New Jersey. Our dedicated team of personal injury and motor vehicle accident attorneys is here to provide the legal guidance and support you need during this difficult time.

Understanding Your Rights as a Cyclist in New Jersey

Cyclists have the same rights to the road as any motor vehicle in New Jersey, coupled with specific laws designed to protect them. It’s crucial to understand these rights because, in the event of an accident, they form the foundation of your legal case. New Jersey law mandates that drivers must maintain a safe distance when passing bicycles, adhere to speed limits, and yield the right of way to cyclists under certain conditions. Despite these protections, accidents still occur, often due to the negligence of the driver.

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents Involving Motor Vehicles

Bicycle accidents in New Jersey often occur under circumstances that could have been avoided had the motor vehicle driver been paying proper attention. Common causes include:

  • Distracted Driving: This is one of the leading causes of all road accidents, including those involving cyclists. Drivers using their phones, adjusting the radio, or distracted by other activities are less aware of their surroundings, including nearby cyclists.
  • Failing to Yield: Drivers who neglect the rules of the road, especially at intersections or when making turns, often fail to yield to cyclists, leading to serious accidents.
  • Speeding and Reckless Driving: Drivers speeding or engaging in reckless behavior can’t react in time to a cyclist’s presence, resulting in accidents that could have been avoided with safer driving practices.
  • Driving Under the Influence: Alcohol or drug impairment significantly decreases a driver’s reaction time and decision-making abilities, increasing the risk of accidents with cyclists.

Each of these factors can contribute to the driver’s liability in an accident, emphasizing the importance of understanding and documenting the circumstances that led to your injury.

What To Do After a Bicycle Accident

If you’re involved in a bicycle accident, taking the following steps can be crucial for your safety and for any future legal action you may pursue:

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Even if your injuries seem minor, some symptoms can appear hours or days later. A medical record also serves as important evidence in your case.
  • Report the Accident: Contact the police to file a report. This document is vital for legal proceedings as it contains an unbiased account of the accident.
  • Document Everything: Take photos of the scene, your bicycle, the motor vehicle, and your injuries. Collect contact information from witnesses.
  • Do Not Negotiate with the Driver: It’s important not to discuss fault or accept any offers at the scene. Such conversations can be used against you later.
  • Contact a Personal Injury Attorney: An experienced attorney can provide you with legal advice tailored to your situation and help protect your rights.

The Legal Process: What to Expect

The journey to justice and compensation in New Jersey involves several steps, and understanding what to expect can help prepare you for the road ahead:

Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation

The first step is to meet with a personal injury attorney for an initial consultation, which is typically offered free of charge. During this meeting, you’ll discuss the details of your accident, and the attorney will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case. This is an opportune time to ask questions and understand more about your legal options.

Investigating the Accident and Building Your Case

Your legal team will thoroughly investigate the accident, gathering all necessary evidence to support your claim. This includes obtaining the police report, interviewing witnesses, consulting with medical professionals regarding your injuries, and, if needed, reconstructing the accident scene to establish fault.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Most personal injury cases are settled out of court. Your attorney will negotiate with the driver’s insurance company on your behalf, striving to reach a settlement that adequately covers your damages. Experienced attorneys understand the tactics used by insurance companies to minimize payouts and will advocate aggressively for your best interests.

The Litigation Process

If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your case may proceed to trial. This involves filing a lawsuit, discovery (where both sides exchange evidence), and eventually presenting your case in front of a judge or jury. While the thought of going to court may be daunting, Drazin & Warshaw is equipped with seasoned trial attorneys who are prepared to fight for you every step of the way.

Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit

In New Jersey, there is a statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including bicycle accidents caused by motor vehicles. You typically have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Failing to act within this timeframe can result in the loss of your right to sue.

Contact Drazin & Warshaw Today to Schedule a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Accident Case

If you’ve been hit by a car while riding your bike, you don’t have to navigate the aftermath alone. Understanding your rights and the legal options available to you is the first step toward recovery and justice. The attorneys at Drazin & Warshaw are committed to providing the legal support you need to overcome this challenging time and secure the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation. Together, we can explore your legal options and set the course for a brighter, more secure future.

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