Drivers often share the roadways with a number of other people in motion, whether it be other drivers, motorcyclists, bikers, or pedestrians. Safe coexistence relies on all parties following the rules of the road. When one or more parties fail to hold up their end, people get hurt.
Bikers and pedestrians are the most at-risk groups that use roadways. This is because of their lack of protection. Where a driver might have tons of metal in between them and other cars, bikers usually only have a helmet. Pedestrians rarely have any protection whatsoever. When they get involved in an accident, they feel the full force of the vehicle.
If you were a pedestrian or a biker who was injured in a traffic accident, you are likely entitled to compensation for the damages you have suffered. Contact the Summit, New Jersey attorneys of Smith & Schwartzstein today to discuss your case.
Accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists are often caused by distractions, failures to be aware of surroundings, and confusion regarding traffic rules. These are made worse by factors such as lack of visibility due to lighting or weather conditions, and confusion regarding right of way. Even when streets have dedicated bike lanes and sidewalks, pedestrians and cyclists are at risk every time they are required to enter the roadway. This is why it’s important for drivers to always be aware of their surroundings and to check their mirrors and blind spots any time they turn or change lanes. When they don’t, they risk cutting off or running into cyclists or pedestrians.
If you have been involved in a pedestrian or cycling accident, there are a few different types of damages you could be eligible to claim. These come in the forms of physical injuries, mental/emotional damages, and property damage.
Physical Injuries in Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Injuries are often severe in pedestrian and bicycle accidents and can require immediate medical attention and rehabilitation. This can become costly very quickly, and out of pocket expenses can be overwhelming. Fortunately, these expenses are compensable. With help from an experienced attorney, you will be able to file claims for the damages you are eligible for and you can avoid paying exorbitant amounts in out of pocket expenses.
Proving physical injuries requires a combination of medical records, doctor testimony, and interviews regarding your health before and after the accident. It’s vital to have a medical checkup immediately following your accident. This will make sure that you have medical records showing your injuries.
Some common injuries in pedestrian and cycling accidents include:
Mental/Emotional Damages in Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
If your accident has caused you serious mental harm through trauma or anxiety, you may be eligible to file a claim for emotional damages. Trauma can impact every aspect of your life, from making it difficult to focus at work to damaging personal relationships. These can be proven through medical records from mental health professionals to personal journal entries to testimony from friends and family.
Property damage refers to any assets that have monetary value and need to be replaced or repaired due to the accident. If you were a pedestrian and had a crystal vase in your backpack that was broken in the accident, you can be refunded the value of the vase. If you were a biker who relied on your racing bike for your daily commute, you can have the cost of repairing or replacing the bike covered.
Property damage claims must be for items with monetary value, and does not include items that only hold sentimental value. You cannot be compensated more than the item was worth, as determined by an assessor. If you thought your bike was worth $2,000, but the court-appointed assessor valued it at $750, you will either need to successfully challenge that determination, or you won’t be able to earn any more than $750 for the bike. Assessors determine value based on similar item’s market rate and the condition the item was in prior to the accident.
Before you file your claim, you’ll want to know that it is rock solid. As a pedestrian or a cyclist, you know the dangers of the road. You know how reckless drivers can be with your safety, and it’s important to stand up for yourself when their actions have consequences. This means showing the negative impacts the accident had on your life, and holding the at-fault party accountable. Our lawyers are here to help.
The New Jersey Attorneys of Smith & Schwartzstein are ready to talk. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free case evaluation. We will help you understand your options and determine the best course of action for your situation.
Get a FREE initial consultation by calling Smith + Schwartzstein locally at 908-219-4457 or toll free at 800-779-4098, or you may contact us online by filling out the form below. We offer flexible appointment scheduling.
Q: How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
A: Typically you must have suffered an injury to your person as a result of someone else’s negligence, however, you can also have a nonphysical loss or harm, such as in the case of an assault or infliction of emotional distress or invasion of privacy.
Q: What is “negligence”?
A: Negligence occurs when a person owed you, or the general public, a duty of care and you were injured as a result of the person’s violation of that duty. Essentially, a person is negligent if he/she fails to act like an ordinary reasonable person would have acted in the same or similar situation.
Q: What if I cannot prove someone’s negligence caused my injury? If there any other basis for personal injury liability?
A: Yes, there is the concept of “strict liability” for certain activities that harm others, even if not done negligently or with wrongful intent. For example companies who manufacture defective products or persons who own dangerous animals can be strictly liable for injuries to others.
Q: What is medical malpractice?
A: Medical malpractice, or medical negligence, occurs when a hospital, doctor, nurse or another healthcare provider or medical technician fails to perform his/her duties to the standard of those with similar training or experience, resulting in harm to the patient. Some examples include misdiagnosis, surgical error, medication error or misread test result.
Q: How much could I recover in a personal injury action?
A: The potential financial recovery, or compensatory damages, of your personal injury action are dependent on a number of variables, including medical expenses as a result of the defendant’s negligence, psychological damage, permanent injuries or long-term incapacities as a result of the injury, anticipated future medical care, lost wages or employment opportunities now and in the foreseeable future.
Q: If I was injured a long time ago, can I still sue?
A: No, according to New Jersey law you must bring your lawsuit within two years of your injury, or upon learning of your injury.
Q: What if a person dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?
A: If a person dies as a result of their injuries from an accident, then the person’s heirs can bring a wrongful death action on behalf of the estate of the deceased.
Q: What is the difference between an injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit?
A: A legal claim is made with the responsible party’s insurance company to recover compensation for your injuries. A personal injury lawsuit is a formal legal action where you can seek compensation for injuries before a court jury to decide the merits of your case and your request for compensation.
Q: Why should I hire a lawyer to handle my personal injury claim and/or lawsuit?
A: A lawyer will explain the legal process, help you maneuver the system, and be your advocate. The responsible party or company’s opposing counsel or insurance company will try to settle your claim as quickly as possible, with as little payout as possible. A lawyer advocating for you will help even the playing field between parties and assist in getting you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Q: Will I have to pay you any money out of pocket or upfront fees?
A: No, we take all personal injury cases on a contingency basis. You don’t pay any money until your case is settled or we obtain a verdict.
Q: How long will it take to resolve my personal injury case?
A: There is no clear-cut answer to this question. It can depend on the extent of your injuries, whether a settlement can be negotiated prior to filing a lawsuit with a court, or whether the case is fully litigated, including going to trial. It can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. We try to move things along as quickly and efficiently as possible, but there are court rules that prohibit infringing on either party’s right to adequately prepare their side in a case.