Bike Injury Claims Against NJ For Road Hazards
Are you or a loved one an avid bicyclist? If so, you know the dangers bicyclists face on New Jersey roads each day. From distracted and reckless drivers to road hazards, bicyclists are at a significant risk of being injured in a bicycle accident each time they ride. When a negligent driver causes a bicyclist to crash, that driver can be sued for damages arising from the accident. However, who is responsible if road hazards cause the bicycle accident?
Types of Road Hazards That Cause Bike Injuries
There are numerous dangerous conditions on roads that can cause a bike injury. Below are some of the more common hazards faced by New Jersey riders:
- Objects falling from pickup trucks, cars, or commercial vehicles;
- Uneven pavement, worn bridges, potholes, and other hazards caused by improperly maintained roads;
- Road debris from vehicles, storms, and other road construction;
- Broken or damaged utility lines;
- Obstructions caused by improperly maintained foliage or poorly planned landscaping;
- Equipment and debris caused by road construction;
- Poorly placed traffic signs, missing or damaged traffic signs, improper lane markings, and malfunctioning traffic signals; and,
- Poorly designed roads.
Any one of the above dangerous conditions can result in a tragic bicycle accident that leaves the victim with life-altering injuries. When the cause of a bicycle accident is a dangerous road condition, the state can be held responsible for any damages caused by the accident.
Filing a Claim Against the State of New Jersey
It can be difficult, but not impossible, to recover compensation from a government entity such as the state or a municipality. The state and local governments have a duty to maintain roads that are safe to use for everyone, including bicyclists. When the state fails to maintain the road or fails to correct a dangerous situation regarding the road, the state can be found liable for any damages arising out of an accident caused by its actions.
However, you must prove that the state was negligent and that its negligence was the cause of your bicycle accident. For example, if the state is aware that a difficult winter resulted in deep potholes but did nothing to remedy the situation, you could argue that the state knows harsh winter conditions can result in potholes and should have inspected roads to correct any potholes that developed over the winter.
Another example of a potentially negligent behavior is in failing to cut back foliage that blocks the view of bicyclists and motorists. If a motorist cannot see clearly at an intersection, the motorist could pull into the path of a bicyclist causing a crash.
Filing Deadlines for Claims Against the State
If you are successful in your claim, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, emotional suffering, and physical pain. However, you must act quickly. New Jersey law requires you to file a tort claim notice within 90 days from the date of the bicycle crash. If you fail to file the notice, you will lose the right to file a lawsuit against the state.
The Department of Treasury’s Bureau of Risk Management provides instructions for filing a notice and a copy of the Notice of Claim that must be used to file a claim. The notice is filed with the Tort Claims Unit by mailing the form to the following address:
Dept. of Treasury Bureau of Risk Management P.O. Box 620 Trenton, NJ 08625 Attn.: Tort Claims Unit
The claim form is five pages in length and requests detailed information regarding the accident and your injuries. In addition to mailing the completed form, you must also enclose copies of:
- Itemized bills for medical expenses and other losses
- Appraisals and estimates of property damage
- Reports by expert witnesses and medical professionals
- Letter from employer verifying lost wages
Filing a claim against the state can be a difficult undertaking. If you have been injured, you can call us to discuss your legal options and how we can help you with your claim.