Once a personal injury claim has been made after a car accident, many different wheels are set in motion to determine the amount of compensation that the victim will receive. Economic costs, such as medical expenses, medications, and lost wages, are objective and can be documented and paid out accordingly. When there are other damages that fall into the non-economic category, such as pain and suffering, these are more subjective and open to debate.
Car accident claims are built around establishing who was at-fault for the crash and gathering evidence. Neither of these are always clear paths with easy answers, but the stronger the case, the better the chances are for fair and just compensation. There are also other factors that come into play, but liability and the extent of the injuries are two of the most important ones.
How Does Liability Factor in?
Car accident victims have to make personal statements about what occurred, and it is essential to remain consistent at every stage of the case to determine liability. The victim will have to repeat the details to law enforcement officers, insurance companies, physicians, and their lawyers. The police report will detail the location, date, and time of the accident, with a description of what happened based on the evidence observed at the crash scene. It will also have contact information for all involved.
Pictures and video evidence can determine who caused the accident. It is always a good idea to record as much information from the scene as possible. If there were any witnesses, they may be able to provide testimony to help prove that another driver was responsible for the accident. However, this could cause problems if there are several witnesses and their stories do not match up.
If the other party is found to be 100 percent liable for causing the crash, the injured party’s compensation will be higher. However, New Jersey follows the comparative negligence rule, which impacts the damages awarded. Insurance companies and courts determine responsibility for accidents in proportion to the fault of those involved. In short, if each person is 50 percent at-fault, damages can be collected. However, if a victim’s fault percentage is greater than 50 percent, they cannot collect damages.
What About My Injuries?
If a plaintiff’s injuries are not that serious and only require minimal medical care and expenses, the amount of compensation will be less. When injuries cause temporary or permanent disability, plaintiffs may find it difficult or even impossible to return to work, resume normal activities, or lead a normal life, which can impact the compensation. Major injuries that lead to surgeries, long-term medical treatment, and recovery times can result in larger monetary awards.
Proof of this can be provided through medical bills, treatment plans, and evidence of lost time at work. Although it can be challenging to keep accurate records while undergoing medical treatment, this is of the upmost importance in car accident cases. Injured car accident victims should also seek out treatment as soon as possible after an accident, since many injuries are not detectable right away and can worsen with time. Seeking immediate treatment also helps establish if the injuries were directly caused by the accident.
Are There Other Factors to Consider?
Driving under the influence, driving over a posted speed limit, running red lights, and other major safety breaches are very dangerous and could lead to larger compensation if the plaintiff can prove it. Another factor is whether the plaintiff is single or married; married individuals may be the head of their household, with families that rely on them for support. Serious injuries can prevent people from earning their expected wages, and this can affect anyone who lives with them.
Lost wages also affect damages received, so a record of previous paystubs can help show the victim’s previous earnings. Some lines of work pay higher than others, so this could also be reflected in the damages. If the victim had a physically demanding job and cannot return to it in the same capacity, this too could result in a larger settlement. Additionally, if the car accident was caused by a third party, such as a defective car part manufacturer, a large company could be found liable. This could also affect the amount of compensation received by the injured party.
What if the Case Goes to Court?
A jury can determine the amount of damages that a car accident victim receives. If a defendant was a drunk driver, jury members may vote for the plaintiff. On the other hand, if a plaintiff acts angry or disinterested, the jury may not feel that sympathetic towards them. The jury will also think about the extent of the injuries, how the accident occurred, and how severely the vehicles were damaged.
Hazlet Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Help Victims Receive the Compensation They Deserve
If you were seriously injured in a car accident due to another party’s negligence, contact the Hazlet car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova today. We help car accident victims receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Call 732-705-3363 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Ocean County, Sussex County, and Pennsylvania.