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More people are turning to bicycles as a healthy, environmentally friendly way to travel. Unfortunately, that means more people are injured in bicycle accidents with pedestrians, other cyclists, and motor vehicles than ever before.
If you were harmed by a negligent person while riding a bike, consider contacting a Washington Township bicycle accident lawyer one our team. One of our personal injury attorneys may be able to guide you through the legal process of getting the financial compensation you deserve.
Steps to Take after a Bicycle Collision in Washington Township
Like in any other accident, the first step to take after a bicycle crash is to seek medical attention to ensure that any serious injuries are promptly treated. Cyclists often try to shake off the accident without getting medical attention, not knowing that they may be suffering from a latent injury that may become more severe as time goes on.
Cyclists should also be sure to:
- Report the bicycle accident to the police
- Gather the contact information of everyone involved in the biking accident, along with their insurance information
- Take pictures and videos of the scene, as well as any damage to the bicycle, helmet, or other vehicles involved
- Write down a description of the events as soon as possible
Common Types of Bike Crash Injuries
Cyclists can move at high speeds and have little protection from the impact of a moving vehicle, increasing the potential for severe injuries and even death in the event of an accident. Those injured in a bicycle accident often report the following injuries:
- Injuries to the face and eye
- Broken bones
- Back injuries
- Cuts and scrapes
- Internal organ damage
Severe head trauma is also common and is among the most damaging injuries a cyclist can suffer in an accident. It is essential to be on the lookout for signs of a concussion or other brain injuries after a biking collision.
Bicycling Laws in Washington Township
While state bicycle laws are meant to protect cyclists, many cyclists walk away from collisions without reporting them to police, not knowing that they may be entitled to financial compensation for their damages.
Cyclists are entitled to certain protections under state law, and riders should be aware of their rights. Common misconceptions about bicycle laws in New Jersey include:
- Cyclists have to stay on the sidewalk
- Cyclists are not entitled to the entire lane
- It’s okay to pass cyclists on the right
While state law allows bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk, this is often unsafe for pedestrians. For this reason, cyclists are permitted to use most roads. Under New Jersey Revised Statutes §39:4-14.1, cyclists are entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as motorists while on the road. This includes the right to use an entire lane as well as passing restrictions.
Additionally, cyclists are entitled to sufficient space – at least three feet – from motorists, regardless of how fast they are going. Our bike crash lawyers in Washington Township are familiar with the laws that protect cyclists and can help injured bicycle riders understand their rights after a crash.
Filing a Bike Accident Claim
Cyclists should be aware of several issues when filing a bicycle collision claim, including how fault is assigned and applicable deadlines. Washington Township courts follow a modified comparative fault model in personal injury lawsuits.
According to N.J.R.S. §2A:15-5.2, fault can be assigned to either or both parties in a lawsuit for a bicycle accident, but in order to recover damages, the cyclist must be found less than 51 percent responsible for their injuries. A cyclist who is found partially liable for their own injuries would see their compensatory award reduced to reflect their fault in the accident. Otherwise, if the jury finds that the cyclist was more responsible for the accident than the defendant, damages would not be awarded.
Another important consideration in biking collision claims is deadlines. According to N.J.S.A. §2A:14-2, personal injury claims related to bicycle crashes must generally be filed within two years. This deadline, called a statute of limitations, can vary depending on certain factors. Working with a Washington Township lawyer can alleviate some of the stress after a bicycle accident.
Call a Washington Township Bicycle Accident Attorney for Help
If you sustained injuries or property damage in a cycling collision, consider contacting a Washington Township bicycle accident lawyer. You may be dealing with insurance companies, unexpected medical bills, or lost wages, and an attorney may be able to help you determine whether you have a valid legal claim. Remember, deadlines may apply to your injury claim, so call our firm as soon as possible.