Drivers often share the roadways with a number of other people in motion, whether it be other drivers, motorcyclists, bikers, or pedestrians. Safe coexistence relies on all parties following the rules of the road. When one or more parties fail to hold up their end, people get hurt.
Bikers and pedestrians are the most at-risk groups that use roadways. This is because of their lack of protection. Where a driver might have tons of metal in between them and other cars, bikers usually only have a helmet. Pedestrians rarely have any protection whatsoever. When they get involved in an accident, they feel the full force of the vehicle.
If you were a pedestrian or a biker who was injured in a traffic accident, you are likely entitled to compensation for the damages you have suffered. Contact the Summit, New Jersey attorneys of Smith & Schwartzstein today to discuss your case.
Common Causes of Pedestrian and Bike Accidents
Accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists are often caused by distractions, failures to be aware of surroundings, and confusion regarding traffic rules. These are made worse by factors such as lack of visibility due to lighting or weather conditions, and confusion regarding right of way. Even when streets have dedicated bike lanes and sidewalks, pedestrians and cyclists are at risk every time they are required to enter the roadway. This is why it’s important for drivers to always be aware of their surroundings and to check their mirrors and blind spots any time they turn or change lanes. When they don’t, they risk cutting off or running into cyclists or pedestrians.
Damages Available in Pedestrian and Cycling Accidents
If you have been involved in a pedestrian or cycling accident, there are a few different types of damages you could be eligible to claim. These come in the forms of physical injuries, mental/emotional damages, and property damage.
Physical Injuries in Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Injuries are often severe in pedestrian and bicycle accidents and can require immediate medical attention and rehabilitation. This can become costly very quickly, and out of pocket expenses can be overwhelming. Fortunately, these expenses are compensable. With help from an experienced attorney, you will be able to file claims for the damages you are eligible for and you can avoid paying exorbitant amounts in out of pocket expenses.
Proving physical injuries requires a combination of medical records, doctor testimony, and interviews regarding your health before and after the accident. It’s vital to have a medical checkup immediately following your accident. This will make sure that you have medical records showing your injuries.
Some common injuries in pedestrian and cycling accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken/fractured bones
- Spinal injuries
Mental/Emotional Damages in Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
If your accident has caused you serious mental harm through trauma or anxiety, you may be eligible to file a claim for emotional damages. Trauma can impact every aspect of your life, from making it difficult to focus at work to damaging personal relationships. These can be proven through medical records from mental health professionals to personal journal entries to testimony from friends and family.
Property damage refers to any assets that have monetary value and need to be replaced or repaired due to the accident. If you were a pedestrian and had a crystal vase in your backpack that was broken in the accident, you can be refunded the value of the vase. If you were a biker who relied on your racing bike for your daily commute, you can have the cost of repairing or replacing the bike covered.
Property damage claims must be for items with monetary value, and does not include items that only hold sentimental value. You cannot be compensated more than the item was worth, as determined by an assessor. If you thought your bike was worth $2,000, but the court-appointed assessor valued it at $750, you will either need to successfully challenge that determination, or you won’t be able to earn any more than $750 for the bike. Assessors determine value based on similar item’s market rate and the condition the item was in prior to the accident.
Building a Solid Case
Before you file your claim, you’ll want to know that it is rock solid. As a pedestrian or a cyclist, you know the dangers of the road. You know how reckless drivers can be with your safety, and it’s important to stand up for yourself when their actions have consequences. This means showing the negative impacts the accident had on your life, and holding the at-fault party accountable. Our lawyers are here to help.
The New Jersey Attorneys of Smith & Schwartzstein are ready to talk. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free case evaluation. We will help you understand your options and determine the best course of action for your situation.