Each year, it seems as though our cars get new safety features. Yet even though our cars keep getting safer, the number of car accidents remains shockingly high. According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), there were 276,861 motor vehicle accidents in the state in 2019 alone. Of these accidents, 59,850 resulted in injuries – and 524 involved fatalities.
If you have been injured in a NJ car crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your full range of losses. A skilled auto accident attorney can evaluate the facts of your case and work with you to help you get the money that you deserve for your injuries.
At Bross & Frankel, we are dedicated to advocating for car accident victims throughout the Garden State. We offer free case evaluations for all prospective clients, and handle all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis – which means that you never pay a fee unless we recover money for you.
Filing a Claim for a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Accident
New Jersey is considered a no-fault state. This means that if you are hurt in a car crash, you can seek compensation from your own insurance company regardless of who was at fault for the collision. This is done through the personal injury protection (PIP) coverage of your insurance policy.
New Jersey also requires all drivers to carry liability insurance. If another driver caused the wreck, then you may be able to file a claim against them for your losses with the help of a skilled New Jersey car accident lawyer. Through a personal injury claim, you may be able to recover money for all of your losses (damages), including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more.
Auto accident cases are usually based on a theory of negligence, which is the failure to use the level of care that a reasonable person would in a similar situation. Negligence has four elements:
- Duty: the driver (defendant) owed others on the road a duty of care to drive safely and in accordance with New Jersey law.
- Breach: the other driver breached or violated that duty.
- Causation: this breach was the “but for” or proximate cause of the accident.
- Damages: you suffered damages as a result.
Motorists can be negligent in any number of ways. They might engage in distracted driving (such as texting and driving), run a red light, fail to look both ways before turning, or drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. In some cases, an accident might be caused by a moment of inattention.
Whatever the case may be, if you have been hurt in a NJ car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, a personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation that you deserve. This may also include filing a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one is killed in a fatal motor vehicle accident.
Generally, this process starts with a free consultation, where your lawyer will listen to your story and explain your rights and options for pursuing a car accident claim. If you decide to hire the law firm, then they will send a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
A demand letter lays out the facts of the automobile accident, the legal reason why their insured was responsible, and makes a demand for compensation (damages). After receiving a demand letter, the insurer will typically respond with a counteroffer. In the majority of cases, the case will be settled without having to go to trial.
However, there are some situations where an insurance company refuses to make a fair settlement offer for your car accident case. Your personal injury lawyer may then recommend filing a car accident lawsuit. Even after a lawsuit is filed, your attorney will continue negotiations. If necessary, they will take the case to trial and ask a jury to find in your favor.
Why You Should Hire a NJ Accident Lawyer
If you have been in a car accident, you may be tempted to try to settle the case on your own. You may have already been approached by the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster. They may have told you that they accept liability and are prepared to offer a settlement.
When you are recovering from the physical and mental trauma of a car crash, signing a settlement offer may seem like a better option than going through the stress of a legal claim. Unfortunately, these settlement offers are often far less than what you need to cover your medical expenses – or what you are entitled to under New Jersey law.
Remember: insurance companies aren’t in business to help you get the highest possible recovery for your losses. Their goal is to maximize profits. To do that, they often minimize or deny legitimate insurance claims.
The best way to level the playing field and get the money that you need for your injuries is to hire a skilled New Jersey auto accident lawyer. According to studies, working with a lawyer can help you recover as much as 3.5 times more in a settlement, compared to representing yourself. Your attorney is obligated to fight for your best interests – unlike the insurance company.
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you won’t pay any money up front. Instead, you will only pay an attorney’s fee if your lawyer obtains a settlement or verdict at trial for you. In this way, you can hire a lawyer even if you don’t have the cash on hand to pay them out of pocket.
How Long Do I Have to File a Suit After an Accident?
Under New Jersey Law, you have 2 years after an accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This is known as the statute of limitations. If you fail to file a claim within this time period, then you may not be able to file a lawsuit at all.
While there are exceptions to the statute of limitations, its existence means that it is important to consult with a New Jersey auto accident lawyer as soon as possible after your crash. Doing so can help to ensure that your claim is filed in a timely manner — and that your attorney has access to evidence and witnesses while their memories are fresh.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
There are certain steps that you should take after a motor vehicle collision. First, and most importantly, you should seek medical treatment immediately. This can help you get an accurate diagnosis and will establish a link between the accident and your injuries.
If you are able to do so, take pictures and videos of the scene and your injuries, and get the names and contact information for any witnesses. You should also exchange information with the other driver, but be careful to not admit fault. If the police are called to the scene, you can also request a copy of the police report. Finally, contact a New Jersey car accident lawyer as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation about your case.
Do You Need a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?
There are some situations where it might make more sense for you to handle a car accident claim on your own. Typically, you don’t need a lawyer for a car crash if it was relatively minor and no one suffered any injuries. In this case, you can probably work with the insurance companies to get coverage for property damage to your car.
However, if you suffered an injury, working with a personal injury attorney can help to ensure that you get the full compensation that you are entitled to under the law. A lawyer will use their experience and knowledge of the law to fight to get you the highest possible recovery.
Help for New Jersey Car Accident Victims
After a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed by physical pain, mounting bills, lost wages, and the emotional aftermath of the crash. The thought of pursuing a legal claim may be too much to handle. Our law firm will advocate for you, working hard to get you the money that you deserve for your car accident injuries.
Based in Mount Holly, Bross & Frankel represents clients throughout New Jersey. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers is dedicated to fighting for the rights of injury victims. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a New Jersey car accident attorney, reach out today at 856-795-8880 or fill out our online contact form.