New Jersey Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Bicycles are a popular choice for people looking for fun and practical transportation. On New Jersey’s congested urban roads, bikes may get you to your destination faster than cars.
As you will read below, Americans use bicycles for many reasons. But the unfortunate truth is that as the popularity of bicycles has risen, so has the frequency of bicycle accidents. Anybody could cause a bicycle accident through dangerous driving practices, and unfortunately for cyclists, they are often the ones who sustain the most damage.
If you or someone you love were injured in a bicycle accident, you do not need to continue alone. A New Jersey bicycle accident lawyer can help you understand your rights and piece together a picture of how to move forward. Contact Jacoby & Meyers LLP today.
Were You Injured in a Bicycle Accident in New Jersey? Jacoby & Meyers LLP May Help You
Consult our legal professionals after an accident. An attorney could help assist you regardless of accident or injury severity. At Jacoby & Meyers LLP, our lawyers work to empower and educate clients as we assist them through the legal process. We offer free virtual consultations to facilitate all schedules, communication preferences, and safety protocols.
If you need help after a bicycle accident, reach out to us today to find out more about how our team can help. You will speak with a legal professional who can address your questions and help you begin paving a path forward.
Table of Contents
- New Jersey Stop Sign Bicycle Accidents
- New Jersey Street Defects May Cause Bicycle Accidents
- Bike Lane Accidents in New Jersey
- It Is Not Always Easy to Determine the Cause of a New Jersey Bicycle Accident
- Common Injuries After Bicycle Accidents
- Visit Your Doctor After Any New Jersey Bicycle Accident
- Recoverable Damages After a Bicycle Accident
- New Jersey Bicycle Accident FAQs
Why People Ride Bicycles
People use bicycles for different reasons. For some, a bicycle may be their only form of transportation; others may opt for a bike over a car for health or environmental reasons. Many people use bikes purely for recreational purposes; some people use them to commute to work, and others only use them for a joyride around the block.
Here’s the thing: no matter why someone is on a bike, they deserve to be safe when they are on the road. Reckless and negligent drivers often cause bicycle accidents that have lasting impacts on survivors’ lives.
Basic Safety Tips for Cyclists
Unfortunately, some bicycle accidents are unavoidable. Many people are injured in accidents like this through no fault of their own. Sometimes other people’s negligence or recklessness causes a bicycle accident and there is nothing you can do.
Cyclists can increase their safety on the road
by taking these steps:
- Try to stay away from high-risk areas (like intersections)
- Minimize time near trucks, turning lanes, etc.
- Avoid traveling directly next to vehicles
- Wear a helmet; use a helmet that meets safety standards
- Use hand signals when appropriate, such as indicating turns
- Wear bright clothing and reflective materials
- Ride single-file
- Ride in the direction of traffic
- Use accessories like headlights, bells, horns, etc. to improve visibility
Stop sign bicycle accidents are some of the most common bicycle accidents. A person may find themselves involved in one of these accidents for many reasons.
The unfortunate truth is that even though stop signs are designed to control traffic and promote safety, they can create confusion and chaos in some settings. Read on below to find out more about bicycle accidents at stop signs.
Failure to Yield
Failure to yield can be accidental or intentional. Some drivers simply do not want to give right-of-way to bicyclists or pedestrians; others may inadvertently fail to yield due to distractions or other factors.
Many stop sign accidents take place because vehicles failed to yield. If a vehicle moves into an intersection when it is a bicyclist’s turn to be in that space, an accident can occur.
Failure to Recognize a Two-Way Stop
Two- and four-way stops are very different. Many people assume that stops are four-way when, in reality, only two lanes of traffic are supposed to stop.
Ironically, many of these accidents do begin with the liable driver making a stop (as intended) at a stop sign. Problems occur when the driver assumes that an oncoming cyclist (traveling perpendicular to them) also needs to stop. Mistaking two-way for four-way stops is a common error, and it can be very dangerous.
More Causes of Stop Sign Bicycle Accidents
- Distracted driving: It is very common for people to drive distracted. In fact, many people do not even realize that they are doing it. Eating, listening to loud music, turning to talk to people in the back of the car, and heading onto the road while you are emotional all qualify as distracted driving.
- Reckless driving: Reckless driving sometimes overlaps with distracted driving and driving under the influence. Reckless behavior on the road is never acceptable—we all have a duty to keep each other safe on roadways. Driving recklessly leads to thousands of accidents every year.
- Driving under the influence: Obviously, nobody should ever drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Your vision and your ability to think and take action are all impaired.
- Impatience: In some cases, good old-fashioned impatience is enough to cause someone to run a stop sign or cause some other stop sign accident.
There are a wide variety of street defects that can lead to bicycle accidents.
Apart from the basics—like potholes and ponding—consider:
- Road hardware (i.e. manhole covers)
- Road cuts and trenches
- Construction plates
- Construction debris
- Improperly placed or marked speed bumps
If any of these have caused your bicycle accident, you may bring a case that presents the city or municipality you were injured in as liable. A lawyer can help you with this process. Accidents caused by hardware often circle back to utility companies.
Bike lanes exist to help keep cyclists safe. New Jersey has miles and miles of bike lanes for cyclists to use and enjoy. Bicyclists are legally required to use bike lanes when they are available.
Here’s where issues arise: even when bicyclists are safely using bike lanes to navigate the state, they may still suffer bike crashes. Other drivers can cause a bicycle accident even if the biker stays in the bike lane. Doorings, for example, occur in bike lanes when vehicles are stopped. More serious crashes can easily happen if vehicles are moving.
Some bicycle accidents have clear causes. If someone was driving under the influence and swerved into a bicyclist, for example, it is more likely that the driver could be found liable for what happened.
Sometimes things are not so clear. Let’s say it is storming outside.
If the weather appeared to cause an accident that hurt a bicyclist, you may feel inclined to say that nobody was responsible for the crash—but ask yourself:
- Should the driver have been out in bad weather at all?
- Was the driver distracted, which caused him or her to get into the accident?
- Did road conditions contribute to the accident?
These and other factors could all change how this particular case plays out. It is one reason why working with a lawyer can be so important; when a case boils down to the specific facts, an attorney understands how to pull them apart and find the truth. You would have a legal representative who is on your side and has your best interests in mind at all times.
Remember: every bicycle accident is unique. The same accident might cause different injuries in two different people. Even if you think that your injuries are minor, you should still seek medical attention and you may still have a legal case.
If you were injured in a bike accident, you may experience:
- Muscle pulls
- Muscle strains
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
Regardless of your injuries, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician after an accident. This is true even if you received emergency medical care, and even if you spent time in the hospital.
Going to visit your own doctor serves two purposes:
- It keeps him or her up-to-date on your condition
- It allows your doctor to examine you for delayed signs of injury
We recommend seeing your doctor as soon as possible after an accident. They may wish to schedule follow-up appointments to track your health and healing.
Some of the most common questions people have after bicycle accidents concern compensation. What damages can be recovered? How much can you recover? What expenses are eligible for compensation?
The truth is that this looks different in every individual case.
Nobody can tell you, with certainty, which of these damages you may recover, but this should help paint a picture of some of the compensation that bicycle accident survivors seek.
- Medical bills: Past, present, and even projected medical bills associated with your accident may be eligible for compensation. This includes emergency medical care costs, the price of customized care and equipment, surgeries, prescriptions, and more.
- Lost income: Many people face wage loss because of accidents. If you have been in a bicycle accident and missed time from work as a result, you could recover lost wages in court. Never underestimate the financial impact a crash can have on your life, and do not hesitate to ask your attorney about compensation for lost income either.
- Diminished earning capacity: Lost wages are one thing, but what about when an accident permanently alters someone’s ability to make money? This is where damages to account for diminished earning capacity come into play.
- Pain and suffering: Nobody deserves to endure pain and suffering; but, when a bicycle accident leaves you in pain and unsure where to turn, you may wish to pursue pain and suffering damages.
- Mental anguish: Mental anguish damages are similar to pain and suffering damages; they are meant to account for the emotional and mental experience of a bike accident.
- Cost of caregiver: Some people need caregivers to help them adjust to living after a bicycle accident; if this is you, the cost of your caregiver may be recoverable.
- Loss of consortium: If an uninjured spouse wishes to, he or she may pursue damages to help account for the loss of intimacy, marital benefits, and so on.
- Property damage: It is rare to get into a bicycle accident without experiencing some property damage. If your bike or other possessions were damaged during the crash, you may be eligible to recover compensation for property damage.
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disability or disfigurement
We Can Help After a New Jersey Bicycle Accident
We will address this in further detail below, but we want to stress it here: an attorney may help you if you were in a bicycle accident. The best way to determine whether a lawyer can assist with your case is to schedule consultations with a handful of legal professionals. You will get several opinions on your potential case, and afterward, you can decide on the attorney who best suits your individual needs. Contact Jacoby & Meyers LLP today to find out if we’re the right firm for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bicycle Accidents
Can bicycle accidents be prevented?
Are bicycle accidents preventable? Yes. In plenty of circumstances, bicyclists do everything right to stay safe but they still get hurt in crashes because of irresponsible drivers and government entities.
With that said, you can take three easy steps to decrease the odds of a bicycle accident:
- Use front and rear lights: Whether you are on a bike or in a car, you should use both front and rear lights to help you stand out on the road. Bright lights that function properly will help keep you and the people around you safe. Boosting visibility in traffic is often essential to maintaining safety on the road.
- Move in the direction of traffic: This one is pretty obvious for drivers, but bicyclists should cycle in the direction of traffic too. Motorists entering and exiting roadways, parking lots, and other spaces expect traffic to come from the opposite direction. They do not anticipate someone beside them traveling the same direction. Always travel in the direction of traffic to give others ample time to prepare for your presence.
- Avoid distractions: Both cyclists and vehicle drivers need to avoid distractions while they are on the road. Most distractions are actually things the average person does while driving, too. Eating, turning to talk to people in the back of the car, and taking your eyes off of the road for any reason all can qualify as distracted driving.
I was hurt riding my bicycle in New Jersey. Can I sue the driver who caused my accident?
Can I sue the driver responsible for my bicycle accident? It depends. If the driver caused your accident (even if only partially), your lawyer might recommend you sue them. Ask an attorney for more information.
What is my New Jersey bicycle accident case worth?
How do I know the value of my bicycle accident case? You can’t determine the value of your bicycle accident case until it wins or settles. Even your lawyer can’t give you a certain figure that represents your case’s worth.
With that said, most attorneys will offer case value estimations. Oftentimes, you can ask about your case’s potential value before you even hire a lawyer. Try asking during the consultation phase to see if your case has high- or lower-value estimations. Remember, these are not absolute.
Some examples of things that can influence case value include:
- The type of injuries you received and how long they take to heal
- The cost of medical treatment
- Whether you missed time from work
- The emotional and physical impact of the accident
- Whether your injuries have long-term consequences
What are some common causes of New Jersey bicycle accidents?
Why do New Jersey bicycle accidents happen? Sometimes, a vehicle driver who wants to turn left fails to yield to an oncoming cyclist first. This is referred to as a left-hook bicycle accident. Some data suggests that left-hook accidents cause nearly one-quarter of all bicycle accidents.
Other examples of bicycle accident causes include:
- Bicycles crossing in front of vehicles: When bicycles cross in front of vehicles it is very dangerous. If you are on a bicycle you should always make sure that you avoid crossing in front of vehicles. Always ensure your own safety and take extra time to wait to make sure you are safe.
- Right-hook accidents: Right-hook bicycle accidents occur when bicyclists and vehicles travel in the same direction; when the driver in the vehicle turns right, it is possible to hit the biker and cause an accident. Some data suggest that nearly half of bicycle accidents occur when bikes and traffic travel in the same direction.
- Bike lane crashes: Bike lanes help keep bicyclists safe while they are on the road; but sometimes, even when these lanes are clearly demarcated and bicyclists are using them as intended, accidents happen. Even a parked vehicle can cause a crash in a bike lane. Bike lanes should never be obstructed (it is illegal), but some obstructions occur regardless.
Unsafe road conditions can also cause bicycle accidents. A lot of bicycle accidents occur because of unsafe road conditions. These may include poor signage, rough or dangerous roads, and other conditions outside of drivers’ control.
If your bicycle accident was caused by unsafe road conditions, you may be eligible to bring a premises liability case. We recommend finding a lawyer who offers representation for both bicycle accidents and premises liability clients.
Premises liability law requires some knowledge to navigate successfully.
- Premises liability law puts landowners at responsibility for injuries that occur on their properties.
- Premises liability applies when a case involves harm due to unsafe conditions on a property.
What is dooring?
What are dooring accidents? Dooring refers to accidents that occur when someone in a car opens the car door into the path of the oncoming bicyclist. Sometimes, doorings are seen as minor accidents; but they can actually cause a lot of damage. It is very easy for a cyclist to be injured during dooring, or to be so shocked by the dooring that they are injured in another way.
People in cars should do their due diligence to keep bicyclists safe and prevent doorings.
Keep these facts in mind next time you are near bicycles while in a parked car:
- The space around a parked car where doors open is called “the door zone.”
- The door zone is about two to four feet; it exists next to all parked and stopped vehicles.
- Bicyclists who cycle in door zones are at risk of injury or death due to doorings.
What should I do after a New Jersey bicycle accident?
What to do after a New Jersey bicycle crash happens? We could write up an entire guide on the best steps to take after a bicycle accident; but, here are the three basics:
- Do not leave the scene; request medical help for yourself and anyone else who needs it as soon as you can.
- Collect contact information from other drivers involved in the accident.
- File an accident report with the police before you leave the scene.
Who can be held liable for a New Jersey bicycle accident?
Who can be responsible for a New Jersey bike accident? Different parties (people and entities) may cause a bicycle accident. Many bicyclists who are injured in crashes are hurt by other drivers on the road. Others may be struck by public transit or government vehicles; some may be hurt because of poor road conditions or inclement weather. All of these circumstances can point to different liable parties.
Some examples of potentially liable parties in bicycle accident cases include:
- Other drivers
- Bicycle manufacturers
- Government agencies
- Other bicyclists
- Companies or landowners
How can I prove liability for my New Jersey bicycle accident?
How can I prove who caused my New Jersey bicycle accident? Proving liability after an accident is not simple. It is one reason why so many people choose to work with attorneys after they survive a crash. When you work with a lawyer, he or she can help you prove liability.
They may use evidence, expert input, and other tools to strengthen your case.
- One thing that can help prove liability is the police report from your accident; police reports can be filed on-scene or they can be filed online after an accident has occurred.
- Document evidence at the site of your accident if you can; videos and photographs can make a big difference in proving liability.
What if I did not collide with someone during my New Jersey bicycle accident?
Someone else caused my New Jersey bicycle accident, but we did not collide. Now what? It is very common for accidents to occur without an actual collision. Many people (whether bicycles are involved or not) get into crashes without hitting another person.
We are all responsible for keeping each other safe on the road. So, if someone else causes you to crash (even if you do not collide with them), that person or entity may be held liable in the eyes of the law.
You have the right to bring a case against someone who has caused you injuries, even if you did not collide.
- Many bicyclists have to take evasive maneuvers to try to stay safe; when these maneuvers fail, it may not be the bicyclist’s fault.
- The law requires that you prove someone else’s responsibility for your accident; as long as you can do that, the details of how your accident occurred are secondary.
What if my New Jersey bike accident injuries were not serious?
I was hurt in a New Jersey bicycle accident but my injuries are minor. What can I do? Remember what we said before: even minor injuries have the potential to be very serious. You should never discount your potential case because of your injuries.
If you were hurt in a bicycle accident, you may deserve legal support and you deserve to heal from your injuries, regardless of what the accident or injuries look like. The best steps you can take are to consult with a medical professional (to ensure your safety) and then to find an attorney. Your lawyer can help you prove that your injuries have impacted you in court and help you pursue compensation for your experiences.
How can a lawyer help after a New Jersey bicycle accident?
Can a New Jersey Bicycle accident lawyer help me? A bicycle accident lawyer can help you after you have been hurt in a bicycle accident. You do not need to fight for compensation or work to heal on your own. If you were hurt or experienced loss due to a crash, we can help you.
- Your attorney will help you communicate with insurance companies, medical billing entities, and more.
Lawyers help their clients by organizing evidence to help prove liability in court; and when someone else is found liable for your accident, you may be eligible to recover compensation to account for your losses. Some attorneys even work with experts across industry lines (like auto sector professionals) to help strengthen their clients’ cases.
Do not speak to insurance adjusters after a bicycle accident. If you can avoid it, do not talk to insurance adjusters after your accident. This task is better left to an attorney who can represent you with the eyes of the law in mind.
There is no promise that something bad will happen if you speak with an insurance agent. The issue is that it gets the insurance company one step closer to convincing you to agree to something that might be unfair to you. The settlement offer might be too low. Every time you give insurance companies more information or you agree to something they want, you could be helping them push that number lower and take advantage of you.
Partnering with a reliable lawyer can help solve this issue. Your attorney will field insurance calls for you and help defend your rights if things start to go sideways. This way, you do not need to worry about communicating with insurance or other entities at all.
Your lawyer will help you gather evidence. Collecting evidence is a crucial component of any successful legal case, but it is not always easy. When you work with a lawyer to collect and document evidence, you improve your chances of success in the legal sphere.
Jacoby & Meyers LLP: Serving Bicycle Accident Victims in New Jersey
If you or someone you love were hurt in a bicycle accident in New Jersey, you have legal help available. You do not need to face the aftermath of your accident alone.
At Jacoby & Meyers LLP, our team of bicycle accident lawyers works diligently to help clients pursue the compensation they deserve. We offer free initial consultations to help accident survivors determine their legal standing after a crash. Our team can help you document evidence and prove liability so that you can recover the maximum amount of damages possible after your accident.