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Bicycles are a really popular form of alternate transportation, especially in cities. However, this also makes large metropolitan areas a hotspot for bicycle accidents.
Bike Accident Statistics for New Jersey
The number of fatalities in New Jersey bicycle accidents is alarming. In 2021, there were a total of 26 reported bicyclist deaths throughout the state. This accounted for nearly 4% of all traffic-related fatalities in New Jersey. In addition, 16 of these victims were above the age of 50, and two of the victims were under 16 years old. Unfortunately, the yearly trend is even worse. Since 2019, the annual number of cyclist deaths in New Jersey has increased by 116%. That’s a faster increase than any other accident category.
The data for Hoboken and surrounding townships isn’t much better. In 2021, Hudson County had more bicyclist fatalities than 18 of the 21 counties in New Jersey. The only counties with an equal number of deaths are Cape May and Essex County.
Typical Causes of Bicycle Accidents
There are several ways a bicycle accident may happen. However, many of them involve the carelessness of drivers on the road. Some of these common causes include:
- Crossing a bike lane without looking;
- Sideswiping a bicyclist when passing;
- Opening a door in front of a bicycle;
- Not yielding at stop signs or other crossings;
- Driver inattention or driving while intoxicated;
- Making improper left-hand turns or u-turns; and
- Tailgating a slow-moving bicycle.
All of these situations, even at low speed, are incredibly dangerous for bicyclists. Since bicycles don’t offer the same protection as a car, any accident has the potential to cause severe injuries.
That’s why it’s important to consult an experienced bicycle accident attorney if you get hit. Even injuries with few symptoms may result in long-term complications.
How To Know If You Have a Case
Knowing whether or not you have a strong claim depends on a number of things. However, to receive compensation for your injuries, the law requires proof of the four factors of negligence. These are known as:
- Duty of care: The other party had a responsibility to drive in a reasonably safe manner. In bicycle accidents, this may be as simple as showing that the person who harmed you had a duty to follow the rules of the road.
- Breach of duty: Actions by the other party breached their duty of care to others. When a driver breaks a traffic law and causes a collision, that is typically enough to show they breached their duty of care.
- Causation: The other party’s actions directly caused the accident that led to your injuries.
- Damages: You sustained damages, whether physical, emotional, or financial, because of the other party’s negligence.
Proving the elements of negligence can be quite challenging at times. However, a bicycle accident lawyer knows how to collect evidence that shows each of these elements. That evidence may vary, as it can be anything from photos and traffic camera footage to accident reconstruction and witness testimony.
In most personal injury cases, including those involving a bike accident, there are three categories of damages. Two of these categories, economic and non-economic, are known as compensatory damages. These damages are meant to compensate a victim for losses associated with the accident.
The last category, punitive damages, is rare and only applies in cases of intentional misconduct or reckless disregard for the safety of others. Generally, compensatory damages are the most important, so we’ll focus on those.
Special or economic damages are the first part of any bicycle accident case. Essentially, they are the financial losses sustained as a result of the collision.
While that may seem like a limited definition, it actually includes any past or future losses due to the accident, like:
- Medical treatment costs,
- Rehabilitation or physical therapy,
- Lost wages during recovery,
- Reduced earning capacity, and
- Property damage.
When building your case, a cycling accident lawyer adds up any bills, receipts, or estimates related to these costs. For more complicated losses, like reduced earning capacity, they may ask your employer for a statement or estimate future lost wages based on past paychecks.
General or non-economic damages aren’t as easy to calculate. That’s because they are intangible or subjective losses associated with your injuries. So, what does the law consider intangible?
Basically, it’s anything that reduces your overall quality of life, including:
- Pain and suffering,
- Bodily injuries,
- Severe disability,
- Disfigurement, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
All these losses affect victims in different ways. It is important you hire a lawyer that can present the evidence of your injuries in the most compelling way possible to ensure maximum financial recovery.
The Role of New Jersey’s No-Fault Law
Even when riding a bike, New Jersey’s no-fault law applies. This means that a victim may file a claim through their own auto insurance provider for any economic damages they have from the accident. This coverage, known as personal injury protection (PIP), comes with standard policies offered by insurers within the state.
Why Hire a New Jersey Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bicycle accidents are incredibly devastating for victims. In many cases, insurance companies prey on the victim’s suffering by enticing them with a very low offer of immediate money. Unfortunately, some take the bait and accept an offer much lower than they deserve. And once a victim accepts a low offer, they can never go back for more regardless of how much their injuries end up costing them over the long haul.
A good cycling accident attorney knows these tactics and isn’t intimidated by the insurance adjustor’s threats.
A good attorney can help with every aspect of your claim, including but not limited to:
- Gathering evidence from the scene of the accident;
- Locating potential witnesses and asking for their testimony;
- Handling communication with the insurance company;
- Consulting with experts to determine the full extent of your damages;
- Negotiating a potential settlement with the defense; and
- Preparing your case for trial if needed.
At Glugeth & Pierguidi, P.C., our New Jersey and New York attorneys passionately fight for bicycle accident victims. They know what’s at stake for victims and their families, so they use every resource available to pursue maximum compensation.
Contact a Hoboken Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you sustained an injury in a Hoboken bike accident, you don’t need to fight for your recovery alone. At Glugeth & Pierguidi, P.C., we know that there’s more to injuries than just financial strain.
Victims may suffer lifelong consequences, both physical and emotional.