Can I Sue if I Was a Motorcycle Passenger in an Accident in New Jersey?
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in NJ while riding as a passenger, you might be entitled to sue. There are rules that sometimes limit the ability to sue for drivers and operators, but these rules might not extend to passengers – plus, severe injuries usually qualify for lawsuits anyway. Our New Jersey motorcycle injury lawyer, Jerry Friedman, discusses how you might be able to sue for injuries and fight to get compensation if you were hurt in as a motorcycle passenger or while riding in a sidecar.
How to Sue for Injuries as a Passenger in an NJ Motorcycle Accident
Victims of accidental injuries can often sue for damages. In auto accidents in New Jersey, the law often limits drivers with “limited tort” insurance from suing, but with very severe injuries or injuries that meet a certain threshold for damages, you can always sue instead.
To sue for injuries, you file a lawsuit in court against the at-fault driver and any other responsible parties. For passengers, that might mean filing a lawsuit against the driver of the motorcycle you were riding. That is likely a friend or family member, so it is important to understand that filing a lawsuit against them is really just a legal and financial tool – it does not have to be something that will come between you and the driver. If you were hit by another driver, then there’s usually no problem with suing a friend – you would sue the driver who hit you instead of the person you were riding with, who would also be a victim.
There are rules about how to file, what court to file in, what documents need to be submitted, how to serve the defendant with the paperwork, and how to handle other matters in a lawsuit. An experienced NJ motorcycle accident lawyer like Jerry Friedman can help you handle all of these steps and rules so that you can focus on your recovery instead of how to accomplish the lawsuit.
Proving an Injury Lawsuit for Motorcycle Passengers in New Jersey
To win your case, you will need to prove your case “by a preponderance of the evidence.” This is a lower standard than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal cases, which often makes it easier to convince a jury in a civil case like this.
To win your case for you, your NJ motorcycle injury lawyer will need to show that the driver was at fault. This is usually shown by pointing to laws or driving safety rules that they violated. For instance, drunk driving, speeding, running a red light, or even failing to signal before making a turn can be considered violations. The court can use such violations to hold a driver responsible for a crash.
If your New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer can prove that the at-fault driver’s violation caused the crash – and thus caused your injuries – then the court can hold that driver accountable for any damages the crash caused. That can include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damages aren’t usually available through insurance claims, so you may need to go to court to get these damages.
You will also need to prove your damages in a lawsuit, so it is important to keep a record of what expenses you paid because of your injury, gather copies of your medical records, and keep a record of the pain and suffering you experienced in your case.
Can You Sue for Injuries from Riding in a Sidecar in a Motorcycle Accident in NJ?
Passengers on motorcycles sometimes ride in sidecars. Although these aren’t as popular today as they were in the past, properly secured sidecars are legal in New Jersey. Riders on a motorcycle and riders in sidecars need to wear helmets, and there may be age or weight restrictions limiting who can ride in a sidecar.
If these legal requirements are met, then whoever caused the crash can usually be held liable for injuries to a passenger who was riding in a sidecar. These cases work the same as they would for victims injured while riding on the bike with the driver or for people injured as passengers in a car. Just like in those cases, the injured sidecar passenger can sue for damages, holding the at-fault driver responsible.
If the injuries you suffered in a sidecar happened because the owner of the motorcycle failed to properly attach and secure the sidecar, you could have the right to sue the owner of the motorcycle. A motorcyclist must make sure that their bike or their sidecar is properly equipped to keep a rider safe, and a failure to do so could make them responsible. In some cases, it could also trace back to the person who installed the sidecar at a shop or dealership, which might mean you could sue them instead.
Should an Injured Passenger Sue or File an Insurance Claim for a New Jersey Motorcycle Crash?
The question of whether you should sue or file an insurance claim is often a big question for people injured in auto accidents and motorcycle crashes. In general, insurance claims are limited to paying only what the insurance policy covers – which usually leaves out pain and suffering damages. Another problem with insurance is that whether the insurance company pays your claim or not is up to their own judgment.
Lawsuits are instead able to pay pain and suffering damages, and they are handled by neutral judges and juries, but you need to prove your case to win. There are tradeoffs with both decisions, but an experienced NJ motorcycle accident and injury attorney can help you decide which route to take.
Call Our New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you were injured while riding as a passenger on a motorcycle or in a motorcycle sidecar, you could be entitled to substantial compensation for your injuries. Call Jerry Friedman today to get a free legal consultation and learn more about how our New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer can help. For your free case consultation, call us today at 1-800-LAW-4-HOGS.