As enjoyable as it is to take a motorcycle ride on a beautiful fall day, when an accident happens the result can be catastrophic. Injuries are often incredibly difficult to recover from, and even if the victim of a crash survives, they are often left with broken bones, brain injuries, and disfigurement, all of which result in insurmountable medical expenses.
What’s worse, many victims are unable to fully recover unless they get significant compensation from their insurance company, but New Jersey laws and unfair insurance practices make recovering damages extremely difficult. Below I’ll tell you more about what to do if you are in an accident and how a Passaic County motorcycle accident lawyer at Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli may be able to help.
Factors Affecting Compensation After an Accident
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle drivers are 28 times more likely than people traveling in passenger vehicles to die in an accident. As you can imagine, this means that vulnerable motorcyclists are also far more susceptible to major injuries after a crash.
After a crash, most people assume their insurance company will cover their medical expenses, only to find out that this is not the case. For starters, New Jersey laws for motor vehicle accidents are different from many other states, so if you are new to the area or haven’t been in an accident before, the laws may come as a shock. New Jersey is known as a “no-fault state,” so even if someone else was responsible for your accident, you must file an insurance claim against your own policy rather than the at-fault driver’s.
If you are lucky enough to sustain only minor injuries in the accident, you will only need to file a claim with your own insurance company. But motorcycle accidents commonly result in severe injuries and exorbitant medical bills. This brings us to a second complicated part of New Jersey law: if your injuries qualify as serious under the state’s legal definition, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, even if you feel your injuries are serious, the law may not agree.
New Jersey limits serious injuries to bone fractures, permanent disfigurement, and injuries that disable a victim for 90 days or more during a specific six-month period. Injuries that result in a permanent inability to use a part of your body in the same way you could before the accident are also considered serious. If your injuries don’t qualify as serious, and your insurance company refuses to fully compensate you for them or your policy limit doesn’t cover your expenses, you may be unable to afford the treatment you need to recover. This is why it is best to work with a Passaic County motorcycle accident lawyer if you are facing serious injuries of any kind.
An aspect of New Jersey law that is a plus for motorcycle accident victims who were partly at fault for their accident is we are a comparative negligence state. If your injuries are determined to be serious and you qualify to file a claim against the at-fault driver, even if you were somewhat at fault for the accident (as long as you were considered less at fault than the other driver), you can recover compensation. For example, let’s say you got in an accident and were not wearing a helmet. The judge decides that this makes you 20 percent responsible for your injuries. The other driver is still considered 80 percent at fault, so your award amount will be reduced by the 20 percent you were at fault. If your case is worth $200,000, you would receive $160,000.
If comparative negligence or a serious injury is a factor in your case, it’s best to work with a Passaic County motorcycle accident lawyer to get the best outcome. If you work with an experienced attorney, they will have access to experts who can support your case and reduce your percentage of responsibility.
Types of Compensation in Motorcycle Accidents
There are two types of damages you can claim after a motorcycle accident: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are any quantifiable economic losses you endure because of the accident. Hospital or medical bills, as well as other out-of-pocket expenses qualify. These include:
- Medical treatments
- Physical therapy
- In-home care
- Treatments from specialists
- Costs of future medical care
- Lost income from missed work during recovery
- Future income you lose because of your injuries
- Property damage
Keep in mind that things like future expenses and lost income require you to have good documentation from a doctor or employer, but a motorcycle accident attorney can help you gather it. If you get treatment before you begin working with an attorney, just make sure to keep track of all of your medical bills.
The second type of damages you may be entitled to are called non-economic damages. These damages are more difficult to quantify, as they cannot be easily assigned a dollar value. Some examples include:
- Mental or emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering from injuries, personal disability or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
For non-economic damages, working with a personal injury lawyer is often the best thing you can do to ensure that you properly value your case. Personal injury lawyers who have handled motorcycle cases are incredibly experienced at valuing these types of cases, and can often help you recover larger compensation amounts than you could working alone. At Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli, it is always our goal to recover the maximum amount of compensation for you, no matter how hard we must work to do so.
Working with a Lawyer
The enormous costs of motorcycle accident injuries are best handled by an experienced Passaic County motorcycle accident lawyer who can get you the best possible outcome. At Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli, we are seasoned in fighting insurance companies who refuse to provide fair compensation. A motorcycle accident can be devastating, and we treat all of our clients like family: with compassion, care, and a willingness to listen.
Whether that means answering the phone outside of business hours or spending as much time as we need to to get you the best settlement possible, we’re here for you. We will work with you personally to get you maximum compensation you deserve. Get in touch with us for a free consultation today.
Contact us at (973) 785-9522.