Long Branch Car Accident Lawyers
With millions of registered drivers in New Jersey, car accidents are unfortunately a common occurrence. Car accidents can be quite traumatic, especially to those who are unprepared. With complicated laws, car repairs, insurance adjusters, and medical bills, having an experienced Long Branch car accident lawyer on your side is essential after a collision.
If you experience an accident in New Jersey, there are a few laws that you must understand before filing a claim. You should know that New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state. In the state, every registered driver should turn to their own auto insurance should they get into a car accident. This means that you do not file a claim against the at-fault driver or the one who is responsible for causing the accident, you file with your own car insurance carrier instead. Drivers are also required to carry personal injury protection (PIP). However, it is possible for an accident to fall outside a no-fault insurance case, but this requires certain conditions to be met.
No-fault insurance has advantages and disadvantages. New Jersey drivers may find it beneficial that no-fault insurance allows them to receive the medical benefits from their policy quickly without their insurance carrier having to sort out liability. However, the downside is that the settlements are often lower than a traditional liability case.
What Damages Are Available in New Jersey?
Auto insurance claims are designed to address economic losses, such as medical bills; they are easily calculable. You should know that the type of auto insurance you have will affect what you can collect and if you can sue a driver. In New Jersey, you can either have a basic policy or a standard policy. All drivers must have a basic policy at minimum. A standard policy gives you additional legal protections but has higher premiums.
A basic policy has a limited right to sue, whereas a standard policy, you can choose between the limited right to sue or the unlimited right to sue option. Under a basic policy, you can only sue a driver if you have suffered one or more of the following:
- Loss of a body part.
- Significant disfigurement.
- Significant scarring.
- Displaced fracture.
- Loss of fetus.
- Permanent injury.
Non-monetary damages can only be sought in a third-party car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
To collect compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, it must be proven that the other person had a duty of care, they breached that duty, they caused your accident, which led to your losses. Negligence includes actions such as driving recklessly or operating an unsafe vehicle.
What Is Modified Comparative Negligence?
Even if a plaintiff files a liability claim against the at-fault driver, there is no guarantee they will receive the full amount of compensation. That is because New Jersey follows the legal principle of “modified” comparative negligence.
Under this rule, the plaintiff cannot be found 50 percent or more at fault for the accident that caused their injury, or they will not receive any compensation. Furthermore, their percentage of fault will be deducted from the overall compensation award. For example, if a plaintiff is found to be 25 percent liable for an accident, they can only receive 75 percent of the damages.
What Are Common Causes of Car Accidents?
Every accident is different. However, statistics have shown that many car accidents happen because of driver error. Because they are caused by human error, it is safe to assume that most car accident are, in fact, preventable. The most common causes of car accidents include:
- Distracted driving: One of the leading causes of car accidents is distracted driving, not just in New Jersey, but in the entire country. Distracted driving could be anything that takes the motorist’s attention away from the act of driving, such as texting, eating, drinking, or playing with the radio.
- Drowsy driving: Another major issue in the country is drowsy driving. Many people forgo sleep to get more tasks done, which is detrimental when they get behind the wheel. Many symptoms of drowsiness are like drunkenness and just as dangerous.
- Drunk driving: Drunk driving is a major problem. Drinking and driving is never okay, no matter how many drinks you had. In fact, studies show that even one drink can cause a driver to lose focus and cause an accident.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident in Long Branch?
A car accident can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Your adrenaline is running high, and you may be confused on what exactly you need to do. Here are a few steps to keep in mind if you are ever involved in a car accident in New Jersey:
- Check for injuries: The first step you should take is to check yourself for injuries, as well as your passengers and the driver of the other vehicle. Adrenaline often masks pain, and you may not know that you are injured.
- Move to safety: If possible, move your vehicle to a safer location if possible. If you can, help whomever else involved move to a safe area as well.
- Call 911: In New Jersey, you are legally required to report a car accident to the police if there are any injuries, death, or property damage over $500. Calling 911 will also produce a police report that is helpful in any insurance claim, as well as bring medical help to the scene if needed.
- Receive medical care: Accept the medical care from the paramedics who will come to the scene, as they will ask questions to see if you are injured. Even if you feel like you are not injured, you still want to get evaluated by a professional, as some injuries do not manifest themselves until hours or days after the accident. Additionally, the longer you wait to receive medical attention, the more difficult it would be to claim an injury.
- Obtain information: Obtain information from the other driver involved, including their name, insurance information, and contact details. Also, get the information of any witnesses involved and their contact information, as well as any businesses in the area that might have security cameras. It is important to keep any conversations, either with the other driver or police, to just basic details and not to admit any guilt.
- Gather evidence: Gather as much evidence of the accident as you can using your phone’s camera, making sure you collect photos of the damages to the vehicles, license plates, injuries, and other details.
- Contact insurance company: Contact your insurance company and let them know what happened, sharing all the information you collected along the way. This will get your claim started.
- Contact a lawyer: Although New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, the limits of the insurance coverage may not be enough to cover your damages. Your next step is to contact an experienced Long Branch car accident lawyer.
Long Branch Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Help Those Injured by Negligent Drivers
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact one of our experienced Long Branch car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova today. Our knowledgeable team has years of experience and can build your case. Call us at 732-705-3363 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients in Ocean County, Sussex County, Neptune, Middlesex County, and Pennsylvania.