When can I Collect Compensation After a Car Accident?

Posted on: February 9, 2021

When a victim receives compensation after a car accident, it can range from a few days to several months or longer, depending on the complexity of the case. Car accidents can be very expensive, whether it be due to property damage or medical costs. While hospitals and physicians may offer payment plans in some cases, auto body repair shops may not. Car accident victims can find themselves in precarious positions when these bills are due if the funds to pay them are not readily available. There can be complications involved when it comes to getting compensation after a car accident, so it helps to understand this process beforehand.

What Should I Do After a Crash?

The quicker a victim acts after an accident, the faster the process toward obtaining compensation will be. After an accident, they must check for injuries and call 911. Should there be injuries, dangerous situations, or impaired drivers, it is likely that law enforcement officers will arrive.

New Jersey requires that drivers stop at the accident scene and exchange their contact information, including their license and registration. If possible, right after a crash is the time to take pictures of license plates, any damage, skid marks, and other information that shows proof of what happened. Police on the scene will provide an accident report, but these have to be prepared and documented. Contact information will be necessary from the officer to request the report from the police department later on.

When Do I Contact My Auto Insurance Company?

Victims should contact their auto insurance as soon as possible. Most auto insurance policies include a cooperation or Notice of Occurrence clause that requires policy holders to notify the provider after accidents happen. Failing to do so could jeopardize any claims and possibly lead the company to cancel the policy. Premiums should not increase for drivers who do not cause accidents, but every insurance company is different.

When contacting the insurance company, it is best not to admit fault. There could be other factors that a driver is not aware of that could be the real cause of the crash, which could come to light during the investigation.

When Will I Get Paid?

The time frame for receiving compensation depends on several factors, such as the type of claim and cooperation of the parties involved. For a basic car crash, it can take a few days for the adjuster to call, and a bit longer for them to inspect the vehicle. Coordinating with the auto body shop and scheduling the work will add more time, meaning it could be a few weeks, barring complications, to receive any payments.

Medical injury claims can take longer, since there can be hospitals, physicians, rehab centers, and health insurers in the picture. If the health insurance company pays out first, they will usually file a claim with the at-fault driver or the car insurance provider. These time frames can be less predictable. It is important to file a claim when there are injuries and/or it is unclear who was at-fault. If no one was hurt and there was only negligible property damage, it may not make sense to file a claim. However, if a driver was clearly at-fault, the other party may want to file a claim.

Why is My Compensation Delayed?

Other factors can lead to a delay in compensation. For instance, when policy holders misunderstand their coverage, it can lead to discrepancies. In other cases, claimants, adjusters, and providers are hard to reach or do not provide the correct information to the other parties involved. Victims could lose out completely on any compensation if they miss the deadline to file a lawsuit. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations on when a victim can file a personal injury lawsuit is two years. If this deadline has passed, the claim will likely be dismissed.

Other New Jersey laws impact how and when compensation is received. It is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that drivers must use their own insurance providers first to pay for injuries and property damage. This way, medical expenses and repairs can be paid out faster, but this limits a person’s right to sue for pain or suffering unless their injuries are severe. In addition, New Jersey uses a modified comparative negligence standard that applies to personal injury cases. Under that rule, if one driver is found to be more than 50 percent liable for an accident, they will be barred from receiving damages.

Determining who was responsible for the crash could also affect the timing for receiving payment. Therefore, it is important to gather evidence at the scene. In addition to exchanging information with the other drivers, there may be witnesses willing to testify about how the accident occurred. The scene can also be investigated afterward to look for other evidence to corroborate the accident victim’s story.

Hazlet Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Help Victims Receive the Compensation They Deserve

Obtaining fair compensation for a car accident should not be a never-ending process. The knowledgeable Hazlet car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova will help you maneuver the process so you can receive the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us at 732-705-3363 or fill out our online form. Our Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey offices help clients throughout Ocean County, Sussex County, and Pennsylvania.