You can sue for road rash in New Jersey if someone negligently caused your motorcycle accident. Road rash may lead to more severe health problems in the future, including nerve damage, scarring, and disfigurement. These issues are expensive to treat and may impact other areas of your life in profound ways.
You deserve compensation if negligence was a factor in your case. A New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer can determine whether you have a viable case as well as devise and execute a case strategy that seeks the best possible outcome.
Road Rash Is Not a Minor Injury
Road rash is a severe friction burn that occurs when your body scratches against something rough, such as pavement or gravel. This often occurs when a vehicle strikes a motorcycle and the rider is thrown from the bike and hits the ground. Motorcycle gear does not always stand up to road rash, especially for severe accidents.
Less severe injuries may only remove a few skin layers. However, even seemingly “minor” road rash injuries should receive medical attention immediately.
More traumatic road rash injuries may involve the following conditions:
- Nerve damage
- Muscle damage
- Tendon damage
- Bacterial infections
Road rash injury victims understand that the condition is not “just a scratch.” Medical care and recovery time is a vital aspect of healing. However, the costs associated with treating road rash are high, even for short-term injuries.
Costs Associated with Treating Road Rash
It is expensive to treat road rash and other motorcycle accident injuries. Even for minor injuries, you should visit a physician within 72 hours of the accident in general. You must typically notify your insurance company immediately, or at least within 72 hours, in order to ensure that your insurance company will cover your damages.
The living and medical costs associated with treating road rash may include:
- Emergency room visits
- Surgical procedures
- Long-term care
- Plastic surgery
- Lost wages for time missed
- Medical devices
- Prescription drugs
- Emotional distress
- Skin grafts
- Follow-up visits
- And more
It is also important not to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company unless you have retained an experienced motorcycle accident personal injury attorney. Insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind and will typically look to settle for pennies rather than what your case is truly worth.
Compensation Available for Road Rash
Federal and New Jersey laws protect your rights to compensation, or damages, if someone has negligently caused your accident. Every case is unique, which means that settlements or civil awards will vary according to the individual facts and circumstances of each case. Your lawyer can help you determine your initial demand amount and set out a strategy to handle your case.
Within the context of civil laws, there are three types of damages you may claim for road rash:
- Special damages
- General damages
- Punitive damages
Special damages are direct costs associated with your accident and injuries. They are more objective to estimate since they leave a paper trail, including:
- Current and future-estimated medical costs
- Current and future-estimated lost wages
- Property damage to your motorcycle
- Other recoverable special damages
General damages are the intangible losses you incurred from your injuries. They are more challenging to estimate since they are subjective by nature and include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Scarring & disfigurement
The third type of damages is punitive damages. Courts very rarely award punitive damages for road rash. It is a type of civil award reserved for the grossest acts of negligence exhibited by a defendant.
Proving Negligence After a New Jersey Motorcycle Accident
People generally think of negligence as careless or reckless actions. However, there are specific elements that your case must meet to prove that negligence was the cause of your motorcycle accident in New Jersey. Without supporting your claims, you might not receive the compensation you deserve.
The four elements of proving negligence include:
- New Jersey motorists owe each other a duty of care to operate a vehicle safely on roads.
- Failing to meet this duty results in a breach of that duty.
- This simply means that the other driver's breach of duty caused the accident and your road rash injuries.
- You suffered physical and/or mental injuries, and also incurred financial damages as a result of your injuries.
Documentation and witnesses are two of the most critical components of proving negligence. In many cases, a police report will indicate who the police determined to be at fault in causing the accident. It is important to obtain the police report and the names of any officers who were at the scene. In addition, it is important to obtain the names, addresses, and statements of any witnesses to the accident. The success or failure of your case may rest on whether a person witnessed the accident and can recall, in court testimony, who caused the accident.
Moreover, you can submit medical records, receipts, pay stubs, depositions, and expert testimony to assert your claims against the other driver. You may also want to keep a personal journal or diary that describes your pain levels and emotional health while you are in recovery.
Without a New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer, it is possible to make legal mistakes at any given point. Legal mistakes will negatively impact your case. Consider hiring legal representation from the outset to avoid common pitfalls.
Why Hire a New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
In New Jersey, you have up to two (2) years to file a motorcycle accident injury lawsuit. While this time may seem like plenty of time, cases become more challenging to handle the longer you wait. The memories of witnesses fade and documents are lost. Instead of waiting until you recover, hire a motorcycle accident attorney in New Jersey as early as possible.
Here are a few reasons why:
- Evidence and memories are fresher
- Injury documentation is better
- Lawyers can obtain depositions and expert witnesses
- No advance legal fees to handle your case
- Evidence preserves according to local rules
- Negotiations by an experienced attorney may lead to a better result
If your road rash medical costs are mounting quickly, do not wait to see how things work out. An insurance company may try to pressure you into taking a lower settlement. Instead, first consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney about your case.