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The Motorcycle Diaries of Jerry Friedman, Esq.

The Motorcycle Attorney

Lawsuit Limitations

The Lawsuit Limitation Many riders injured in motorcycle accidents may not be able to make a claim or sue for money damages as a result of the “lawsuit limitation.” Under New Jersey law, when you purchase automobile insurance, you must choose either the “lawsuit limitation” or “no limitation”. The “lawsuit limitation” limits your right to sue those who injure you unless you have very serious or permanent injuries. Close to 90% of New Jersey drivers have elected the lawsuit limitation because it results in a cheaper premium. Even though there is no lawsuit limitation choice when you buy your motorcycle insurance, as a result of New Jersey Court decisions, if you choose the “lawsuit limitation” on your car policy, it applies to you in a motorcycle accident as well. As unfair as it sounds, your right to sue for your injuries will be limited. While motorcycle accidents can result in severe injuries which overcome the lawsuit limitation, many times they do not. In those cases, even though you may suffer for years with the injuries you sustained, if you have chosen the lawsuit limitation, you will not be able to sue for your injuries. I suggest that you talk to your automobile insurance agent and find out if you have the lawsuit limitation. Have the agent price out your policy without the limitation. Some car insurance companies have better rates than others, so shopping around could help. Motorcycle accidents can have a devastating impact on the life of the injured rider. Nowhere is this more apparent than in my law practice, where daily I deal with riders injured in... read more

Is Your Motorcycle Covered by No Fault?

Under New Jersey’s No Fault Law, automobile policies provide for payment of a policyholder’s accident-related medical expenses without regard to fault. These medical benefits are referred to as personal injury protection benefits or PIP. Unfortunately, there are no PIP benefits available under either your automobile or motorcycle policies for injuries sustained while operating a motorcycle, even if you are injured on your motorcycle as a result of a collision with an automobile insured under No Fault. Since motorcycles are excluded from No-Fault coverage, the rider must look to alternative sources to pay their medical bills such as Medicare, HMOs or union plans, many of which either exclude motorcycles or require reimbursement of the benefits they pay from your monetary recovery against the driver who caused the accident. The other driver’s insurance will not volunteer to pay your medicals bills as incurred, nor are they responsible to do so. The other driver has a “liability” policy with his/her insurance carrier. Their carrier is obligated to pay on claims for which their insured is liable. They are not obligated to pay up front for medical bills for people injured by their insured. Your medical bills, if unpaid, become part of your liability claim against their insured. Your claim also includes your injuries, pain and suffering and lost wages. Eventually, either by settlement or judgment, the other driver’s insurance company will pay your claim. But that could take years. New Jersey requires that all vehicles carry a minimum of $15,000.00 of liability insurance. Unfortunately, almost 40% of all vehicles in New Jersey are either totally uninsured or carry the minimum $15,000.00 required.... read more

New Jersey’s “Golden Rule” Laws

New Jersey’s “Golden Rule” Laws N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4.5 a) Any person driving an uninsured automobile involved in an accident cannot sue for their injuries, property damage, lost wages or other damages, even if the accident was entirely the other driver’s fault! b) Any person involved in a motor vehicle accident found guilty or who pleads guilty to drunk driving cannot sue for their injuries, property damage, lost wages or other damages, even if the accident was entirely the other driver’s fault! Section a) includes the term automobile only. This “golden rule” was intended to preclude drivers who don’t insure their cars from suing others who do. It does not apply to uninsured motorcycles. The language of section b) is broader and refers to operating a motor vehicle while drunk. Operating a motorcycle would be included in this section. These laws are pretty severe in prohibiting a claim for personal injuries even where the accident was entirely the other driver’s fault. Always make sure that the vehicle you are driving, yours or someone else’s is properly insured and don’t drink and drive! According to the State of New Jersey….You’ve been warned! Ride Safely, Jerry Friedman, Esq. The Motorcycle Attorney Stay up to date by signing up for our mailing... read more

Helmet Law Banned

THE LEGAL CHALLENGE TO NEW JERSEY ‘S HELMET LAW. October 26, 2001, a New Jersey Superior Court Judge banned the enforcement of New Jersey ‘s motorcycle helmet law in the case of Buist v. State of New Jersey. Mr. Buist was represented in the case by New Jersey attorney Jerry Friedman, whose statewide law practice specializes in representing motorcyclists. Mr. Buist was issued a ticket on July 1, 2001 in the Borough of Manasquan for wearing an illegal helmet. New Jersey’s helmet law mandates that motorcyclists wear helmets from a list approved by the Director of New Jersey’s Division of Motor Vehicles. The helmets must meet certain specifications set by DMV. In the lawsuit, Friedman claimed that 1.) DMV has never created such a list and 2.) New Jersey’s helmet specifications are inconsistent with those adopted by the U.S. Department of Transportation. According to Friedman, DMV’s failure to adopt the federal specifications, commonly referred to as FMVSS218, rendered the helmet law unconstitutional. FMVSS218 was adopted in 1973 under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which provided for uniform national regulation of motor vehicle safety equipment, including motorcycle helmets. Although the Judge did not strike down the helmet law as unconstitutional, he banned the enforcement of the helmet law until DMV adopted helmet specifications consistent with FMVSS218. On December 3, 2001, DMV used an emergency procedure to adopt temporary helmet specifications consistent with FMVSS218, thus ending the ban on the enforcement of the helmet law. The legal basis alleged by DMV for the use of an emergency procedure was “imminent peril to public health, safety and welfare.” At... read more

An attorney on the side of ‘the riders’

Cheryl Squadrito, Courier-Post May 12, 1999 Attorney Jerry Friedman is big on empathy. It was his compassion for fellow motorcyclists that led him to a career representing other riders. A 1975 graduate of Rutgers University, Friedman makes sure “bikers” get what they’re entitled to, especially after an accident. “Eighty-six percent of all accidents involving motorcycles are the other guy’s fault,” Friedman says. That’s a lot of people to represent. Friedman says motocycle law is different than automobile law, especially in New Jersey. Insurance coverage varies as well, he says. Friedman built his practice to fight for motorcycle riders’ rights. “I distribute newsletters that tell riders about changes in the law,” he says. Thanks to his Web site, “I get calls from across the country.” His Internet address and toll-free number are easy for Harley-Davidson riders to remember — 800-Law4Hogs. (“Hog” is biker lingo for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Friedman adores his 1987 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Custom.) Although many of clients meet him at public events or organized rides, others find him through his hard-to-miss billboard on the Black Horse Pike near Mays Landing. The gigantic, orange-and-black advertisement reads, “We ride. We know,” with a happy hog giving the thumbs up. “I’ve handled the entire spectrum of cases, from wrongful death to road rash cases,” says Friedman, who has offices in Marlton and Somers Point. The 48-year-old who lives in Medford disperses free advice to people who request it. Friedman knows the intricacies of motorcycle insurance laws and suggests ways for clients to protect themselves. One way is to get extra motorcycle insurance, in addition to their automobile insurance, just in... read more

Motorcyclist/lawyer says a few “bikers” have created a bias

Cynthia Collier, Gloucester County Times December 12, 1996 Harley-Davidson riders and other motorcyclists are customarily split into two distinct groups – motorcycle enthusiasts and bikers. The two factions mix at rallies and other events, but outside of a love of motorized “hogs,” they range from police to professionals to punks. “Motorcyclists are a tight knit group, as are people who polka dance,” said Williamstown attorney Jerry Friedman. “The rallies and the events are the most peaceful things I’ve ever seen. It’s a Woodstock thing,” Friedman said. “There’s more tension and aggression at an Eagles game.” Friedman is a member of several motorcycle clubs as well as a lawyer who specialized in motorcycle-related cases. Friedman rides for fun, but it’s also the heart of his law practice. His business cards show the classic blindfolded lady of justice holding a scale, but with one difference; she’s standing by a motorcycle. When Friedman is riding his Harley and wearing a leather jacket, it’s impossible to tell whether he’s an attorney, or something else, something more sinister. That’s why people shouldn’t make assumptions about riders, he said. “I hate the word ‘biker.’ They have the same civil rights as everybody else,” Friedman said. “I’ve been riding since high school. I’ve never been stopped by a police officer while on a motorcycle. I have been witness to situations when police stopped people,” Friedman said. “I’m aware of other people who’ve been hassled and for no reason.” Franklin Township Police Chief James Barnum said police officers know better than to stop someone just because they are on a motorcycle. “The stop has to be made... read more

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