In today’s world, driving has become a necessary part of daily life. It provides the means for you to get where you need to be. Unfortunately, driving a vehicle comes with many responsibilities that many drivers do not take seriously. This leads to accidents and injuries that can severely impact a person’s life. Even the most careful of drivers are often the subject of a serious car accident.
There are nearly six million car accidents every year in the U.S. Three million people are injured in these accidents each year. Of those three million, more than have of them will face an injury that causes a permanent disability. This means that in addition to the high costs of medical care and ongoing treatment, these people will face being unable to work and provide for themselves or their families due to the injuries.
Fortunately, there are methods for getting compensation to assist with these costs and losses. However, these methods can be confusing and complicated for those unfamiliar with the process needed to receive these benefits. This is why it is often very important to seek the assistance of an attorney to help in these situations.
How Do I Get My Medical Bills Paid if I Am Injured in an Accident?
New Jersey is considered a No-Fault state. This means that each driver is supposed to carry insurance that will cover any and all medical expenses from a car accident, no matter who is at fault for the accident. This Personal Injury Protection coverage is maintained on your own policy or the driver of the vehicle you were in when the accident occurred.
With the Personal Injury Protection, there are limits to the amounts they will pay for certain procedures. In addition, there are copays and deductibles that are the responsibility of the injured party. Once you have paid your deductible amount on the medical costs, the insurance pays 80% of these costs up to $5000. Once that threshold Is met, the insurance will pay all expenses up to $250,000. There are also optional plans that provide coverage up to $1 million in medical costs.
Contacting the insurance provider is the best method for starting a claim. They will collect information about the accident and the injuries that occurred. This insurance will pay the medical bills for all injuries that have resulted due to the car accident. However, this process can be complicated, and denials are very common for many aspects of medical care. An attorney can assist in filing this claim to ensure the full costs of these medical bills are paid.
Who Pays for the Property Damage to My Car?
Although it does not matter who caused the accident to get the insurance to pay medical bills, property damage costs are different. It is often the responsibility of the person that caused the accident to pay the costs of property damage. This is why it is required in the state of New Jersey to carry liability insurance.
If you are determined at-fault in a car accident, you are responsible for paying the costs of the other vehicle, as well as the damages to your own vehicle. Liability insurance provides coverage for the other vehicle in this type of accident. However, liability insurance does not cover your own vehicle. You would need to pay these damages out of pocket, unless you had further coverage, such as collision insurance, to cover these costs.
If you are determined not at fault for the car accident, the other driver will be responsible for any damage to your vehicle. Their liability insurance will provide compensation to cover the costs of damage to the vehicle caused by the accident. If the person who was at fault is in dispute, it could be complicated getting the compensation needed to cover these damages. Fortunately, an attorney can offer advice and guidance in this situation.
Once it is determined whose insurance will cover the damages, an insurance adjuster will be sent to inspect the vehicle. This inspection will detail all damages and determine an estimated cost of repairs for the vehicle. If the repair cost is higher than the value of the car, the insurance company may provide the fair market value and take possession of the vehicle.
Can I Receive Reimbursement for My Lost Wages if My Doctor Has Prohibited Me from Working as a Result of Injuries Due to the Accident?
There are many cases where an injury results in an inability to return to work for a period of time or even permanently. This can make it impossible for the injured person to be able to provide for themselves or their families. Fortunately, there are options available that can assist with providing reimbursement for lost wages due to these injuries.
Most people employed in New Jersey are able to receive benefits from the State Temporary Disability Benefits. Deductions are taken from your paycheck throughout the year to cover the costs of these benefits. If the injury is severe and your doctor has prohibited you from working due to that injury, these benefits could provide up to 70% of your gross wages for a maximum of six months.
For those who are not eligible for this state plan, your employer may have other options. Employers that do not provide the state benefit options to employees often provide private plans that may provide benefits. It Is important that you discuss this with your employer to find out what benefits, if any, you are entitled to receive.
In addition, the Personal Injury Protection on your insurance policy may also be able to assist with limited benefits to help with lost wages. These benefits will pay lost wages of one hundred dollars or more per week at a minimum of 52 weeks. These amounts can be larger if you opted for these benefits when you chose your auto insurance policy. These benefits also receive a credit for Temporary Disability Benefits you are entitled to. This makes it important that you apply for those benefits as soon as you stop working.
When Should I Contact an Auto Accident Lawyer?
Contacting an au6o accident lawyer can provide benefits and assistance in every step of the process after a car accident. You should contact the attorney as soon as you are physically able to do so. This allows the attorney to begin immediately on your case. However, not calling an attorney immediately does not remove their ability to help you. Even if you have started the process to file a claim for damages, you can still contact an attorney for assistance or advice.
When an accident occurs, the first thing you should do is to get medical treatment. Even if you think you are fine, it is probably a good idea to be checked out since some injuries do not present themselves until later. If any symptoms arise after the accident, it is important to seek medical assistance right away, even if you did not receive immediate care after the accident. Delaying this step can make it more difficult to get compensation and other benefits needed for your injury.
It is also important to keep all records available from the accident. This includes getting a copy of the police report from the accident. The police report will detail the accident and provide an important information needed for your case. In addition, you should also maintain all records and receipts for any medical care you received, including prescriptions needed to treat the injuries. You should also hold on to any receipts or bills due to the damage of your vehicle and any photos that were taken at the scene.
Another important step to take after an accident is to write it all down. Once you are calmed down from the accident, you should take a moment to write down anything you can recall about the accident. This should be a detailed description of everything you can remember while it is still fresh in your mind. This can assist your attorney as well as help jog your memory when you need it later.
When Should I Report an Accident to My Insurance Company or Agent?
You should report your accident to your insurance company or agent right away. It may be impossible to call them immediately after the accident due to the severity. For example, if you had serious injuries and needed immediate care, that should always come first after the accident. However, once you are physically able to do so, you should contact the insurance company. Many companies have 24 hour answering services for filing claims to ensure you able to do so as soon as you can.
By delaying a report to the insurance company, the insurance company becomes more able to deny legitimate claims. They may consider the delay questionable and give them reason to not fully approve the claim. Your insurance company may also have benefits that could assist you in this difficult time that you may not be aware of. Delaying this report can prevent you from utilizing these additional benefits.
After your contact your insurance company, they will often be very quick in providing a settlement offer for your damages and injuries. These settlements can often be far lower than the costs you will incur from this accident. Sometimes, these settlements are offered before you are even fully aware of the extent of your injuries. Insurance companies are for profit businesses that make every attempt to keep their payouts low.
It is important that you do not accept the first offer the insurance company gives you. If you do accept it, you will not have any recourse to get more compensation if you find that your costs are far higher than the settlement offer. It is important that you have an attorney review this settlement first. They can provide unbiased look at the offer and help you decide if that is enough to cover all of your current and future costs.
Do I Have the Right to Receive Money for My Injuries and Pain and Suffering Caused by the Accident?
If you are not the at-fault driver, you may be entitled to pain and suffering compensation. However, this is very complicated and depends a lot on the insurance policy you hold. In general, private insurance companies carry a Limitation on Lawsuit or Lawsuit Threshold. However, you do have the option to choose the No Limitation on Lawsuit type of insurance.
If you chose the No Limitation on Lawsuit option on your insurance, or the insurance provided by an immediate family member has this option, then you can sue to get compensation for what is considered non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, from any injury caused by an automobile accident. There is no limit or threshold you must meet to seek compensation for pain and suffering.
If you are subject to the Limitation on Lawsuit option, then things get far more complicated when you attempt to get pain and suffering compensation. To even be able to pursue pain and suffering under this option, you must meet one of six types of injuries. The first five types of injuries are:
- Dismemberment (any loss of arms, legs, fingers, or toes)
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
- Broken Bones
- Loss of an unborn child
The sixth type of injury is not as self-explanatory as the first five and is often more complicated to prove. This is a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, not including significant scarring or disfigurement. The injured party must have a permanent injury where the body part or organ has not healed and will not function normally and will not do so even after further medical treatment.
The sixth type of injury also requires a certification by the treating physician or a board-certified physician that you were referred to by the treating physician. Soft tissue injuries can qualify for this threshold, but they must meet the objective requirement with provable evidence, such as clinical examinations or test results.
With soft tissue injuries, you must prove that these injuries have impacted your life. If you have missed no work and can continue with your normal activities and exercise, it can be impossible to prove that the injury has caused pain or suffering. In addition, being treated by a doctor for less than four to six months does not show significant impacts to your life and your claim will most likely be rejected by the New Jersey courts.
However, not everyone is subjected to these limits, even if you selected to receive the Lawsuit Threshold. If the vehicle that caused your injury is a commercial vehicle, such as a taxi or tractor-trailer, or an out-of-state private passenger vehicle with insurance that does not do business with New Jersey, the Lawsuit Threshold will not apply. In addition, New Jersey Transit buses do not carry Personal Injury Protection insurance, but privately-owned buses do. An attorney can assist in determining if the Lawsuit Threshold applies to your case.
What if the Person Who Caused the Accident Has No Insurance?
Under New Jersey law, every driver on the road is required to carry at least the minimally required amount of insurance coverage. However, there are many circumstances where a person is unable or unwilling to carry insurance, or they do not have enough insurance to cover the costs of an accident. In these instances, it can be difficult for a person to get the compensation needed to cover the costs of an automobile accident.
New Jersey state law requires private passenger auto insurance policies to require uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage must provide up to $15,000 per person injured in an auto accident, up to a total of $30,000 for all injuries in an accident. There is also coverage for property damage, as well. This is at least $10,000. Policy holders can choose to receive higher limits if they wish.
There is also underinsured motorist coverage available. This is not a requirement by the state of New Jersey. If you choose this coverage, it provides additional protection for damages that are not fully covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance. Very often, vehicle damages and costs of injuries far surpass the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage. When this occurs, underinsured motorist coverage provides additional benefits.
These claims are often resolved directly between the insurance company and your lawyer. However, they may require arbitration if the claim is contested. An auto accident attorney can assist you in determining whether your insurance will cover any damages that are not covered by the other driver and assist you in resolving these claims with your insurance provider.
What Caused My Accident?
There are many possible causes of an accident. However, it is often important to find out the exact cause of the accident to accurately determine who is at-fault. The at-fault party is usually held responsible for any costs and damages associated with the accident. Usually, the at-fault party is another driver on the road, however, this is not always the case.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have a serious impact on a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. This is why it is illegal to do so. Unfortunately, not everyone follows this law and serious car accidents occur. If a driver is found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are not only responsible for any damages and injuries that occur, they can also be held criminally responsible.
Distracted driving is another major cause of accidents on the road. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road for even a moment can cause a serious accident. With the increased usage of mobile devices, such as cellphones, distracted driving accidents have become very common. Distracted drivers are often the at-fault driver in an accident.
Unsafe road conditions can also be the cause of an automobile accident. When there has been lack of proper road maintenance by the local municipality, the road can become unsafe for driving. In addition, defective road design, missing traffic signals, or even road hazards can be a factor in an accident. When this occurs, it is the person or people responsible for maintaining the road’s fault for the accident. An attorney can assist you in determining who is at fault in these situations.
Poorly maintained vehicles can also be a major problem on roadways. Whether it is due to the driver of the vehicle, the garage where repairs were performed, or even the manufacturer of the vehicle, unsafe vehicles can be very dangerous on the road. The responsible party should be held liable for any damages and injuries they caused.
How Do New Jersey Accident Laws Protect Me?
The auto insurance law in New Jersey makes it illegal for a vehicle to be on the road with specific limits of insurance coverage. This protects you in two different ways. If you are in an accident due to another person’s fault, your damages will be covered by the other driver’s insurance. In addition, if you are at-fault for the accident, your insurance will cover their vehicle damages. This protects you from having to pay these high costs of repair out-of-pocket.
No-fault rule is another New Jersey law that helps protect you when in an automobile accident. If you are injured in an automobile accident, your medical costs will be covered by your own insurance no matter who is at fault. This ensures that the injured person gets the care they need immediately without worrying about who will pay for it.
Shared fault rule or the modified Comparative Negligence law can help and hurt you when in an accident. This law allows the insurance company to determine if each party contributed to the accident. They will then determine a percentage of fault for each driver. Compensation payments will be reduced by this percentage. This can help in situations where you are at fault, but the insurance company determines the other driver is also at fault. However, it can also reduce your payments if the insurance company determines you are partially at fault in an accident caused by another driver. An attorney is important to assist with these determinations to ensure your rights are protected.
Car accident reporting laws are also very important for New Jersey residents. This requires that an accident where someone was injured or there are significant property damages, a police report must be filed with the police. This report serves as vital evidence when pursuing a claim for damages or injuries. If it were not a law, those who caused a serious accident could leave the scene of an accident making it more difficult for you to seek damages.
There is also a statute of limitations in the state of New Jersey. If you are injured in a car accident and wish to pursue compensation for injuries, it must be filed within two years of the injury. After the time limit, the courts will refuse to hear your case. This makes it important to start your case as soon as possible to ensure you receive the compensation needed.
Why Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
It is not required that you contact an attorney when you are in an automobile accident. However, not doing so leaves you subject to figuring out the laws and clauses in your insurance policy on your own. These laws and policies are quite complicated and can be difficult for someone inexperienced with them to understand the proper processes required to navigate them. This can also leave you unaware of many of your rights to receive proper compensation for damages and injuries.
Contacting an attorney as soon as possible is strongly recommended, especially when there is an injury. If you are injured in an accident, you should be focused on your recovery and treatment. However, dealing with an accident can consume a lot of time and cause a lot of frustration. Hiring an attorney can help relieve some of that burden. This can allow you to focus on healing and coping with your injury.
Relying solely on the police report or the findings of an insurance company may not provide the whole picture necessary. Both the police report and the insurance findings depend on the accounts given by you and the other driver only. This can leave out important information and witness testimony. An attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of your crash.
A car accident attorney will conduct an independent investigation of the accident to ensure all the facts are present. This can include gathering evidence from the scene of the accident. The attorney will also interview any witnesses of the accident. If needed, they may even consult an expert to help reconstruct the accident. This ensures that you get a full and factual look at the entire accident before pursuing your case.
Your lawyer can also help gather and assess all the harm that you sustained in this accident. They will review medical records and consult with medical experts about your specific injuries and determine the costs of these injuries and any ongoing treatments you may need. They will also determine how this accident affected you emotionally and financially. This helps them create a full picture of all of your damages.
Once all the information is gathered, the attorney will review your case with you. Your attorney will provide you with a complete look at your case and discuss all the options available to you. They will also discuss with you the potential value of your case. The attorney will also discuss the steps involved in each option and how long it may take to be completely resolved. This helps you determine what the best course of action should be.
Once your best course of action is determined, the attorney will assist you in filing all the necessary paperwork to proceed. The process often includes filing numerous documents with the insurance companies involved, the courts, and any other lawyers in the case. The attorney will ensure that all paperwork is filled out accurately and submitted in a timely manner to ensure completion by any deadlines.
Your attorney will make attempts to resolve your case through a settlement when possible. However, insurance companies are notorious for challenging liability and amounts of damages. If a settlement cannot be reached, the attorney will prepare to take your case to trial. The attorney understands the importance of this compensation and will fight to get you what you deserve.
How Much Does an Attorney Cost?
After an automobile accident, the costs of damages and medical care can begin to pile up. It may be difficult to manage your daily costs to survive, especially if you are unable to work due to the injury. This can make it frightful to take on additional costs of an attorney. However, not hiring an attorney can often cause you to lose more than any costs they may charge.
Many attorneys that deal with car accidents understand that this is a difficult time and that finances are often difficult to manage after an accident. This is why many attorneys offer free consultations to review your case. The attorney will review your information and determine if their services are a good fit for your particular case.
Car accident attorneys understand that these times are often confusing and frightening for those injured and unsure of their options. This is why many car accident attorneys do not charge anything for their services unless they are successful in getting compensation for your damages and losses. This lets you focus on your recovery and healing time without worrying about additional costs.
When you are injured in a car accident, you need to stay focused on yourself and your family in this difficult time. A car accident attorney understands this and can help you get the care and compensation you need to back to whole or as close to whole as possible, so you can get back to your life and your family.