Wearing proper protective gear, obeying traffic laws, and practicing defensive driving techniques aren’t always enough to prevent a motorcycle accident. Like in most other states, many causes of motorcycle accidents in New Jersey involve inattentive drivers, impaired drivers, and excessive speed. And these causes often occur because of the other driver, not the motorcyclist. When a motorcycle accident happens to you due to another’s careless actions, there may be insurance coverage or legal action you can take to recoup your losses.
New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Causes
The unfortunate reality of motorcycle riding is that it is inherently more dangerous than driving a car. Most crashes happen on short trips (less than five miles long), just a few minutes after starting the trip, and more than two-thirds occur when the vehicle driver does not see the motorcycle.
Speeding and Distracted Driving
The most common causes of motorcycle accidents are distracted driving and speeding. Motorists not paying attention to the road when using mobile devices, eating, or engaging in other distracting activities, may fail to notice motorcycles and cause accidents. Many states and companies have imposed a safety campaign encouraging drivers to “Look Twice!” because avoiding an accident is as simple as paying better attention. The New Jersey Motorcycle Manual also encourages riders to “See, Be Seen, and Be Heard.”
More than two-thirds of accidents result from speeding. Excessive speed reduces a rider’s ability to react to changing road conditions, increases the distance required to stop, and can make accidents more severe.
Other causes involve lane splitting, left-turn accidents, or maneuvering a corner. Lane-splitting is when a motorcyclist rides between lanes of slower-moving or stopped traffic. Lane splitting is not expressly illegal in New Jersey, but law enforcement could cite a motorcyclist for failing to keep right. Left-turn accidents happen when a car or truck makes a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle because the driver did not see the bike or misjudged the bike’s speed.
Although not specifically a cause of motorcycle accidents, 90% of the riders involved in crashes have no formal training. Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Training Programs are designed to help new or experienced riders suffer fewer injuries in the event of a crash or avoid crashes altogether. So, while we cannot control other drivers’ actions, motorcyclists can do their part to prevent accidents.
Am I Owed Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident?
Whether you can seek compensation generally depends on your insurance policy. As a no-fault state, New Jersey is one of a few states requiring all automobile drivers to carry no-fault insurance or personal injury protection (PIP). This coverage generally pays for medical expenses after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are not covered by New Jersey’s no-fault laws, and the state does not allow them to have PIP coverage.
Instead, injured bikers must file a claim against the other party’s insurer or a third party if one is involved. So, when the motorcyclist is less than 50% at fault, they could recover compensation for any injuries or property damage from the at-fault party. Ultimately, if the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage does not cover your losses, you may have to sue the at-fault party directly.
Finally, some motorcycle policies offer relatively small medical benefits called “med-pay.” But most policies do not provide medical benefits unless the at-fault party has too little or no insurance. Because medical benefits are hard to come by, if you had a motorcycle accident and sustained injuries, you might need to rely on your health insurance to help pay the bills. An attorney can help you determine the best course of action.
Motorcycle Attorneys Who Can Help
After a motorcycle accident, your options for compensation might be unclear. Maybe you are unsure what your insurance policy covers and whether you can file a claim for your motorcycle accident. The experienced attorneys at Petro Cohen understand the different facets of insurance coverage and the circumstances under which an injured motorcyclist can recover compensation. If you were in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, contact us today for a free consultation.