Neptune Car Accident Lawyers
Although New Jersey has impressive public transit options, driving in New Jersey is a necessity for many of the state’s residents, as many communities are spread out over enough of a distance that it would be difficult to get to work, school, food, entertainment, and home in any other way. Even those who are using public transit are often driving to it.
The upside is that motor vehicles can get us where we want to go, quicker than many other ways. But the disadvantage is that car accidents happen all over the state every day. Unfortunately, the beautiful seaside town of Neptune is no different.
Because car accidents can lead to loss of life, personal injury, and financial losses, those who are involved in a traffic collision should contact a lawyer. New Jersey laws concerning car accidents are complicated, and the damage and bills from an accident are often high.
Because the Garden State operates under the modified comparative fault premise for car accidents, people involved in an accident may well not get the full amount they seek in damages following a collision.
Modified comparative fault, in practice, means any driver involved in an accident who is found to be less than 50 percent at fault can recoup damages, but less the amount that driver is found to be responsible for the crash.
For example, if an accident is found to be 30 percent the fault of one driver and 70 percent the fault of another, the driver who is 30 percent at fault can collect damages from the one who is 70 percent at fault, minus 30 percent.
Although this method of handling the hefty expenses that come with collisions can still result in sizable sums for the drivers, it will not pay the entire bill that results from the crash, unless there is one driver who is 100 percent at fault. If the accident is clearly completely the fault of one driver, the other drivers will not get any amount deducted.
However, because New Jersey is also a no-fault car insurance state, the financial impact of the modified comparative fault car accident laws is not as detrimental, in many cases, for the drivers involved. No-fault insurance means that the drivers involved in an accident turn to their own insurance plan, regardless of who was at fault, immediately following a collision for economic damages.
The problem with this method is that no-fault insurance often has payout limits that may fall well below the hospital and mechanic bills from an accident. For instance, if a driver chooses the basic insurance policy for their vehicle:
- Minimum coverage of $5,000 for property damage liability, which means the funds will go toward repairs for the other vehicles or property damage.
- Minimum coverage of $15,000 in personal injury protection, per person, per accident. This amount can go up to $250,000 for serious injuries.
Can I Sue an At-Fault Driver?
Because accidents can lead to severe injuries and no-fault car insurance usually comes with low financial limitations, auto insurance coverage may not meet the needs of the people involved. To go to court, a motor vehicle accident case must have resulted in:
- Loss of a body part
- Significant disfigurement
- Significant scarring
- Displaced fracture
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent injury
New Jersey is unlike other no-fault auto insurance states in that it allows a right to sue, an advantage for those who have been harmed in an accident and will need more care and funds than the no-fault insurance plan allows. If those prerequisites are met, the cost of counseling and help for other, non-economic damages, such as the loss of a spouse, parent or caregiver, and pain and suffering, can also be addressed in the compensation settlement amount.
With basic insurance, there is a limited right to sue for the insurance holder, and with standard plans, there is an option for either limited or unlimited rights to sue. However, the unlimited option comes with more expensive premiums.
There is another aspect to consider if you are considering filing suit for an accident in the Garden State: the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations is the deadline for a case to come to the court. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident.
What Steps Can I Take to Protect Myself Immediately after an Accident?
You may be overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions immediately following a car accident. But the steps you take following an accident are critical for you and anyone else involved in the accident. Here are a few actions that need to be taken following a collision:
- Check yourself for injuries. It is important to check yourself for injuries first. It seems like such a strange idea to check yourself for injuries because the thought is that the pain would be overwhelming and you would know if you were injured. However, that is very often not the case for people who are injured in car accidents. The endorphins and adrenaline allow for movement and mask pain, two things that might be very different a few hours later when the rush of these two hormones subsides.
- Check on others. Check others involved in the collision for injuries, in the vehicle you are traveling in and the other vehicle, or vehicles, as well as the area surrounding the accident, which might mean people on foot or bicycle.
- Move to safety. If you can, move to a safe place to wait for police and paramedics. If the others involved can be moved out of the way of traffic, help them get there. If possible, the vehicles involved should be moved.
- Call 911. There may be concerns about involving insurance companies, but in New Jersey, the law requires people involved in a car accident to report it to police if there are any injuries, deaths, or property/vehicle damage over $500. In addition, in accidents involving vehicle damage over $500, the police need to be notified.
- Document what you can. Your cell phone, or the cell phone of another person in your car, can be used to obtain pictures of injuries, damage, location, license plates, skid marks on the road, and other details of the accident. Even if the police are on their way, a traffic scene is chaotic, and you want to document what you can right away. You might need evidence later.
- Obtain insurance information. Get insurance information from the other drivers involved. This may be awkward, but you need to get the other drivers’ names and insurance information. You also need to get the names and contact information from any witnesses nearby. It is important to keep conversations to just that basic information, because any discussion of guilt or apologies can be used in court, or by insurance companies, later.
- Contact insurance company. Call your insurance company or broker and share all the information and pictures you have. The insurance company will need to know right away to get your claim started.
- Accept medical care offered. When the paramedics arrive, accept the emergency medical care. People often try to tough it out or assume that they are safe because they do not have pain right after the collision. An evaluation by a doctor is the best way to avoid making an injury worse or not knowing about something that needs to be dealt with immediately.
- Contact a lawyer. As stated, New Jersey is a no-fault auto insurance state, but the limits of no-fault insurance might not be enough to cover the cost of the damages that result from the accident. An experienced lawyer can help you get the compensation that is needed.
Neptune Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Advocate for Clients after an Accident
Car accidents can have life-changing impact, and not all collision damages are addressed by no-fault insurance coverage. If you are involved in an auto accident, reach out to the Neptune car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova. Our experienced legal team will investigate the cause of the accident and be your advocate to secure full and fair compensation for your losses. 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.