Non-contact accident caused by car's failure to yield...
It was Saturday afternoon (10/29/16), in a residential neighborhood. I was traveling on my motorcycle going straight about 20 mph. There were two (2) cars traveling in the opposite direction. The first car went straight and the second car, right behind the first car, made a left turn right in front of my motorcycle, cutting me off and not giving me right of way.
I should state the car making a left at the time stopped in the middle of my lane, blocking my right of way. As a result, I completed a quick swerve and lost control and laid my motorcycle down, skidding along the curb about 20-30 feet. Note, there was no contact between my motorcycle or the car, as I wanted to avoid a head on crash.
After the accident the driver came out in panic saying, "Oh my god, I did not see you." I did not sustain any injuries. The motorcycle has been scratched and in my opinion it will cost +/-$2,000 for repairs.
Police were called and statements were taken. Also, there was a witness that completed their statement saying it was the car driver who cut me off. Also the witness stated I was going slow and wasn't speeding and it was a good thing I swerved.
Important: The car driver is a relative of a 'known' person in town. After police were called, the 'known' relatives arrived to the crash site and were present during the conversation between the car driver and police. I'm concerned the police report might not reflect the true story in it's entirety, and affect my chances of being compensated.
After I pick up the police report, then should be calling the driver's insurance to submit a claim? Currently I don't have the driver's insurance name. I have called my insurance but most likely will not claim the damage due to high deductible.
If the car driver's insurance company declines to pay for my motorcycle damage, what should I do next? Small claims court?
Currently, I am in the process of contacting the witness to gather the official statement for future use, in case I decide to take the drive to court.
I hope the above is a good enough description of my side of the story. I would like to know what are my chances to receive compensation for damaged motorcycle. Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Non-contact accident caused by car's failure to yield...":
Luke (New Jersey):
You are on the right path. Obtain a copy of the police report. Then contact the driver's insurance company and file a property damage claim with them.
In addition, drivers in accidents involving property damage are required to share with each other their insurance information, names and address, and registration numbers of the vehicles involved in the accident.
New Jersey Statutes, Section 39:4-129 (b)
In New Jersey, drivers involved in a car accident must also report the crash to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, if there was property damage in excess of $500. The driver must report the accident to the local police department, the nearest office of the county police, or the New Jersey State Police.
You can download the required accident report here.
If the insurance company refuses to pay for the damage, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in small claims court. New Jersey Small Claims Courts have limited jurisdiction. The maximum amount you can sue for is $3,000. In your case, because the damage is about $2,000, small claims court may be the right decision.
For more information on filing a lawsuit in one of New Jersey' Small Claims Courts go to the New Jersey Judiciary Small Claims FAQ.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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