Getting Compensation for Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in New Jersey
Was your loved one – a spouse, a child or a parent – killed as the result of a motorcycle accident? The driver of the vehicle that struck the motorcycle or the manufacturer of a defective part can be liable. A motorcycle accident lawyer will evaluate the case and let you know if you can file a wrongful death action to recover compensation.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018, 4,985 motorcyclists died in traffic accidents. The number of motorcyclist deaths in 2018 was down from 5,229 in 2017, a 4.7 percent decrease. Of the 2018 motorcycle fatalities, 53 were in New Jersey. The number decreased from 84 in 2017.
A motorcyclist is much more likely than a vehicle driver or vehicle passenger to be seriously injured or killed in a crash. This is due to multiple factors:
- Motorcyclists lack the protection of persons driving or riding in enclosed vehicles.
- A motorist is less likely to see a motorcycle because of its size. Other vehicles may block the view of the motorcycle, the motorcycle may not be as visible at night or in poor weather conditions, or it may be harder to see around curves or other road conditions.
- Certain conditions in the road, like potholes or debris, can cause a biker to lose control of their motorcycle.
- Motorcycles are not as stable as cars and other vehicles. The front of a motorcycle may shake when it travels at high speeds.
Causes of motorcycle accidents
What are some common causes of motorcycle accidents?
- A driver fails to yield the right of way to an approaching motorcyclist. Many motorcycle accidents occur at intersections, where the driver does not see or misjudges the speed of a motorcycle.
- A driver moves into another lane without checking blind spots.
- Distracted driving can cause a collision with a motorcycle. A driver may fail to operate their automobile in a safe manner because they are texting, talking on the phone, adjusting the radio, eating, putting on makeup or daydreaming.
- A driver may strike a motorcycle because they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- A part, such as a frame or a wheel, may be defective, causing the motorcyclist to lose control of the motorcycle.
Liability for a motorcycle accident
To prove the liability of a driver of a motor vehicle that strikes a motorcycle, a motorcycle accident lawyer must show that the driver owed the motorcyclist a duty. All drivers owe a duty to other motorists to drive in a reasonable and safe manner. A lawyer must show the driver breached the duty owed to the motorcyclist, for example, by driving too fast. Finally, the lawyer must show the driver’s breach of duty caused the motorcyclist’s injuries.
If a defective part caused the accident, the manufacturer of the part may be liable. The lawyer does not have to show the manufacturer was negligent. They only need to show that a part was defective and that the defective part caused the accident.
The motorcyclist can also be at fault for the accident. If the motorcyclist is more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, their loved ones cannot recover in a wrongful death action. If the motorcyclist’s fault is 50 percent or less, the recovery is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the motorcyclist.
If your spouse, child or parent is killed in a motorcycle accident, you may file a wrongful death action against the person responsible for the accident. You can recover for the loss of the decedent’s future income as well as compensation for the loss of companionship and services of the decedent.
Get legal help
A lawyer will provide a free consultation to evaluate the merits of your case. If the lawyer accepts the case, they will gather evidence to establish who is at fault for your loved one’s motorcycle accident. The lawyer will visit the scene of the accident, interview witnesses, check to see if a traffic or surveillance camera captured the accident, and hire experts if needed.
While you grieve the loss of your loved, an attorney can negotiate with the insurance company or the lawyer for the other side and work toward getting you a settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, the lawyer can file a wrongful death action against the at-fault party.
Did your loved one lose his or her life in a motorcycle accident? Talk to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer at Petrillo and Goldberg at 856.249.9295.