Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents are all too common in New Jersey and across the country. The causes of these incidents vary greatly. Many accidents are unavoidable. In most cases, these causes come down to someone’s negligence.
Often, it is a driver’s inattention or behavior that is to blame. In other cases, it is an oversight on the manufacturer’s assembly line or on the part of a mechanic or technician. Sometimes, a public entity responsible for road maintenance is at fault. Other times, the work requirements at a transportation or delivery company may be the root of the problem.
Some other common causes of car accidents are listed below.
Whether it is the lone cause or a contributing factor in a collision, speeding is often cited as being a major influence in the probability and severity of dangerous car accidents. Speeding reduces driver control as it increases the chances that any impact will have disastrous effects.
Running Red Lights and Stop Signs
Disregard for signs and signals that determine right of way creates danger on the roads by undermining the need for clear communications and behavioral expectations among all road users. All drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians must respect these indicators for them to effectively keep people safe.
Smart phone use behind the wheel is the most publicized example of dangerous distracted driving. Texting, making calls, seeking directions, or searching the internet are all forbidden activities for drivers, as these activities are known for diverting the driver’s attention away from potential dangers in their path. Other non-phone distractions include fiddling with the radio or other dashboard controls, eating, drinking, and interacting with passengers.
Keeping your distance from the car in front of you is one of the surest ways to avoid an accident. Allowing enough space creates more reaction time and can go a long way in preventing rear-end collisions.
Being aware of your blind spots and overcompensating by double-checking odd angles and mirrors can make a big difference in avoiding accidents. Being mindful of blind spots is especially important during lane changes and when backing up.
Unfortunately, road rage is real. If you are confronted with another driver speeding, flashing their lights, beeping their horn, or otherwise expressing impatience on the road, just get out of their way. It can help to report such behavior to the authorities, but attempting to confront an agitated driver or trying to prevent their extremely irresponsible behavior just increases the danger for everyone.
Driving While Under the Influence
Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drivers should remain in control of all their faculties to drive safely. This approach should also apply to the use of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications as well, as those can affect a driver’s abilities in similar ways to other intoxicants.
Hazardous Road Conditions
Although no one can control the weather and road surfaces can be unpredictable, drivers must adjust their driving to incorporate inclement weather conditions or unexpected road hazards. Slowing down and being extra aware of your surroundings is called for when driving conditions are less than ideal.
Faulty Auto Parts and Defects
Car manufacturers are constantly improving their safety features, but their efforts are imperfect. Sometimes, car parts or design features are actually the cause of the problem. When a part or system fails to prevent an accident, the manufacturer can be held responsible for any injuries or deaths that result.
Understanding No-Fault Rules in New Jersey
New Jersey is one of several states that is governed by no-fault rules when it comes to car insurance. What this means is as a driver in the state, you must purchase personal injury protection (PIP) as part of your car insurance policy. New Jersey’s no-fault system also establishes that in most cases, if you are involved in a car accident, you will have to file a claim with your own insurance provider, rather than claim compensation from the other driver’s insurance carrier.
The advantage under this system is that it enables policyholders to collect timely compensation that will pay for medical costs and other financial damages without having to prove who was at fault in the accident. However, the no-fault rules also limit when you can seek compensation through a lawsuit against the driver responsible for the accident, since qualifying lawsuits must meet a threshold of involving extremely devastating injuries.
In New Jersey, when people who have suffered losses in a car accident seek damages, certain rules apply that incorporate their degree of liability for the accident into any calculations of claims for their losses.
New Jersey car accident laws subscribe to the theory of modified comparative negligence. This theory applies when the fault for an accident is shared by two or more people. Modified comparative negligence restricts claimants from receiving damages if they were more than 50 percent at fault for the accident.
Injured parties who were less than 50 percent responsible for the accident may receive damages that account for their level of fault. For example, a driver who was found to be 40 percent at fault for their accident will only be able to recover 60 percent of the total for their claim. For example, a person who suffered $100,000 in damages but who was 40 percent responsible for the crash that caused those losses would only be able to recover $60,000 in damages.
Does a Car Accident Have to Be Reported?
Regardless of fault, drivers in New Jersey must report accidents that cause personal injury or death or that result in more than $500 in property damage, which includes damage to the vehicles as well as any possessions inside either vehicle or otherwise on the site at the time of the accident. Any driver involved in a such a collision must report the incident to the local, county, or state police as soon as possible, which usually means to call in the accident by phone from the crash site.
In addition to making that call, a written accident report must be completed and filed within 10 days of the accident. Drivers can obtain this form from the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Lawsuit?
When filing a car accident lawsuit in New Jersey, a statute of limitations applies. In most cases, the deadline for filing a car accident lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident. Extensions are possible, but only in certain instances. Waiting longer than two years to bring suit in a car accident case makes it very likely that the case will be denied by the courts.
Hazlet Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Help Clients Financially Recover From Collisions
If you were hurt in a serious car accident, you may be due compensation for your losses. Financial compensation can help address the costs and alleviate some of your stresses. Our Hazlet car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova can help you understand your rights to monetary damages. Call us at 732-705-3363 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Ocean County, Sussex County, Neptune, Middlesex County, and Pennsylvania.