Car Accident Lawyers in New Jersey
Automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, and buses are involved in accidents every day in New Jersey. While statistics show that safe driving campaigns plus companies manufacturing safer cars are working to reduce the number of car accident victims, thousands still occur nationwide.
Of the more than 32,000 fatal motor vehicle accidents in the United States each year, more than 500 of those occurred in New Jersey. The numbers increase exponentially for non-fatal car accidents, with more than 240,000 non-fatal car accidents in New Jersey each year. Reach out to a New Jersey car accident attorney at the Reinartz Law firm to receive your consultation. Having a car accident lawyer on your side could prove beneficial to your case.
Table of Contents
- Car Accident Statistics in New Jersey
- Who Gets Into the Most Car Accidents?
- Types of Car and Motor Vehicle Accidents
- What to Do Following a Car Accident?
- Insurance Requirements in New Jersey
- The Financial Burden Caused by Motor Vehicle Accidents
- How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?
- Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Car Accident?
- How an Experienced New Jersey Car Accident Attorney Protects Your Rights
- About The Reinartz Law Firm
- Contact a New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer Today
About The Reinartz Law Firm
The Reinartz Law Firm is an experienced New Jersey car accident law firm. We deal directly with the insurance companies and pursue compensation from all negligent parties who caused injuries. We handle injury evaluation, investigation, discovery, expert witness retention, litigation in court, and more. Our lawyers are nationally recognized litigators whose goal is to achieve the most successful outcome and provide our clients with personalized attention every step of the way.
Client care is our top priority. We recognize that this is your legal matter, and your injuries are at the heart of the case. We know that anyone dealing with the aftermath of a severe injury from a motor vehicle accident needs to have peace of mind about their legal case to focus on their own health and recovery.
We take the time to hear every detail of the accident and resulting injuries. We will investigate the accident to determine all causes and will bring legal claims against all responsible parties. This may include negligent motorists, passengers, product manufacturers, municipalities, insurance companies, and others.
We also deal directly with all insurance companies involved and assist clients with submitting necessary medical paperwork as needed. It is all part of our commitment to our clients. From start to finish, we will provide legal counsel with your best interests in mind, and we will always keep you updated on the steps we take on your behalf. If, at any time in the process, you have questions, we are always available to make things clear and understandable.
Car Accident Statistics in New Jersey
In one recent year alone, there were over 276,000 car accidents in New Jersey, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation. Of those accidents, nearly 60,000 of them resulted in an injury. While the number of car accident-related injuries continues to decline, the number of accidents continues to rise due to car safety and other factors. Of the 60,000 injuries due to car accidents, 524 resulted in death.
Who Gets Into the Most Car Accidents?
The Garden State, New Jersey, witnesses a considerable number of car accidents each year. While the reasons can be myriad, certain causative factors prominently stand out.
- Distracted Driving: Undoubtedly, distracted driving is a menace that's grown significantly over the years, especially with the ubiquity of mobile phones. When a driver's attention deviates from the road, even for a split second, it can result in disastrous consequences. According to a recent statistic, New Jersey experienced over 1,000 car crashes in a single year attributable to the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Whether it's texting, scrolling through social media, or merely answering a call, such distractions are potent enough to divert one's focus, increasing the risk of an accident manifold.
- Drunk Driving: While the dangers of drunk driving are well-known and extensively campaigned against, it remains a pressing concern for New Jersey's roadways. Alcohol impairs judgment, hampers reflexes, and reduces the overall ability of the driver to react promptly to unforeseen circumstances. Recent data indicates that nearly a third of all car accidents in the state can be traced back to driving under the influence. This statistic underscores the importance of stringent measures and continued public awareness campaigns to curb this perilous behavior.
- Young Drivers: Age and experience play a pivotal role in one's ability to navigate the roads safely. Young drivers, especially those who've recently acquired their licenses, often lack the experience to anticipate hazards and react appropriately in critical situations. Their relative inexperience, combined with factors like overconfidence or peer pressure, can be a recipe for disaster. As per the data, younger drivers are significantly more prone to being involved in car-related mishaps compared to their older counterparts.
Types of Car and Motor Vehicle Accidents
We handle cases including:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Uninsured Motorists
- Boating Accidents
- Uninsured Motorists
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Passenger Accidents
- Roll Over Accidents
- Hazardous Roadways
- Bus Accidents
- Uber & Lyft Accidents
What to Do Following a Car Accident?
Get medical help right away. Your well-being should be your primary concern, so seek immediate help if needed. Keep a copy of all your medical records.
Call the police and obtain a police report. This is the official public report of the incident and is extremely valuable in the event you need to file a claim later on. The police report contains key information regarding the details of your accident, including the identities of the parties involved, their insurance companies, and the police officer's impressions of the accident scene.
Contact a lawyer who focuses on car accident claims. It's always a good idea to consult a legal professional early in the process, so we can gather key evidence and properly prepare your claim. Personal injury lawyers typically work on a contingency fee basis, so there is no fee unless you recover compensation.
Have your lawyer handle all insurance communications. This includes contacting your insurance company — even if you were not at fault — to notify them of the accident and ask about your coverage and what you deserve. They may cover medical treatments and other damages.
It's a good idea to avoid social media. Insurance companies can use your comments and photographs against you later on. Your lawyer can advise on specific questions you have about what not to do following your crash.
Insurance Requirements in New Jersey
In New Jersey, motorists are required to meet certain minimum insurance requirements to cover costs in the event of an auto accident. The minimum required coverage includes:
- Liability insurance: These policies cover damages if you are at fault in an accident. The minimum limits are:
- $15,000 for injury or death to one person
- $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person
- $5,000 for property damage per accident
- Personal injury protection (PIP): This covers your medical expenses regardless of who is at fault. The minimum limit is $15,000 per person, per accident, up to $250,000 for certain injuries, like permanent or significant brain injury, spinal cord injury, disfigurement, or other severe injuries.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: While not mandatory, it's highly recommended to purchase this coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. Uninsured motorist coverage covers your expenses if you're in a car crash with a driver who doesn't have insurance or doesn't have enough insurance.
Is New Jersey a No-Fault State for Accidents?
In many states across the U.S., the auto insurance landscape is clear-cut — they either operate on a "no-fault" system or a "fault" system. However, New Jersey is a "choice no-fault state," which means drivers can choose between "no-fault" and "standard" policies. A no-fault policy, also known as a basic policy, has lower limits and doesn't include liability coverage for bodily injury. While the basic policy usually has cheaper premiums, it can expose drivers to potential risks. Without adequate coverage, a driver might have to pay out-of-pocket for significant expenses, especially if they're deemed at fault in an accident.
A standard policy includes higher limits and additional coverage options. Unlike the basic policy, the standard policy includes bodily injury coverage. This ensures that if you're at fault in an accident, your own insurance company can cover the other party's medical bills up to the policy limit.
In addition to helping you pursue an insurance claim to recover compensation, our experienced New Jersey car accident attorneys can help you understand your policy and coverage in the event of an accident.
What Should I Do if I'm in an Automobile Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
Getting into a car accident is traumatic enough, but discovering that the other driver is uninsured or underinsured adds another layer of complexity to an already challenging situation. In New Jersey, as in many states, it's a legal requirement for drivers to have auto insurance. However, some drivers either don’t have insurance at all or carry only the minimum required, which may not be enough to cover the damages in the event of a significant accident. Here’s what you should do if you find yourself in this predicament:
Your Rights and Options
You should follow the same steps after an accident with an uninsured motorist as you would in any other car crash.
- Report the Accident: Always report the accident to the police, even if the other driver pleads with you not to. Having an official record of the accident can protect your rights.
- Gather Evidence: Document the scene of the accident. This includes taking photos of the damages, collecting witness statements, and noting the other driver’s details (even if they are uninsured).
- Notify Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance provider about the accident and the lack of insurance of the other party as soon as possible.
- Medical Attention: Ensure you receive immediate medical attention, even if you feel fine. Some injuries might not manifest immediately.
- Consider Legal Action: Depending on the situation, you might consider pursuing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. While this is an option, remember that collecting damages from an uninsured or underinsured driver can be challenging, and should only be pursued with the help of a personal injury lawyer who handles uninsured motorist claims.
The Financial Burden Caused by Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents can be severe and life-changing for car accident victims. Injuries from accidents can range from herniated discs and broken bones to traumatic brain injury, permanent disfigurement, and even death. Often, when the injuries sustained in an accident are catastrophic, the car accident victim faces not only painful physical recovery but also the added stress of medical bills, lost wages, and depleted finances.
The Long-Term Implications of Car Accidents
Car accidents, regardless of their severity, can have lasting implications on a person's life. While some individuals might walk away from an accident with minor injuries that heal within weeks, others might find themselves grappling with consequences that last a lifetime. Some examples of these chronic injuries that might never fully heal include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Chronic injuries can lead to prolonged physical discomfort or pain, which may require ongoing medical treatments, surgeries, or rehabilitation. Conditions like paralysis from a spinal cord injury can also lead to a need for mobility aids, home modifications, and specialized care. Chronic injuries can necessitate ongoing physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, and routine medical treatment. These medical bills can accumulate significantly over time. Those with chronic injuries may need to give up hobbies, sports, or activities they once enjoyed. Travel can become challenging, and social interactions may diminish, leading to feelings of isolation.
Beyond the physical scars, car accidents can lead to lasting psychological trauma. PTSD, depression, and anxiety are not uncommon. The mental strain of adjusting to a new reality after a severe injury can be equally, if not more, challenging than the physical implications.
Other Potential Long-Term Costs Include:
- Diminished Earning Potential: Beyond immediate lost wages, a victim's ability to earn in the future might be compromised. For example, someone who was once a physically active professional might have to switch to a less demanding and possibly lower-paying job due to their injuries.
- Home and Vehicle Modifications: Chronic injuries might require modifications to a person's home or vehicle to accommodate their new physical state. Installing ramps, widening doorways, or adapting vehicles can be costly.
Our car accident attorneys understand the gravity of auto accident claims that involve serious injury and chronic conditions and are prepared to handle your case with the seriousness and compassion it deserves.
Your Insurance Policy May Not Be Enough to Support You After an Accident
While auto or health insurance may cover some financial burdens, certain insurance policies limit payouts. Additionally, insurance companies may deny claims for coverage or refuse to pay for certain desired medical treatments. When this happens, the injured person suffers as they cannot work and earn their full pre-accident income.
Often, the initial costs of emergency treatment and hospitalization are nothing compared to later surgeries, pain management, and rehabilitation. Ideally, the insurance company should cover all of these costs. But what if they are not? How will you get the medical care and treatment needed to recover from your injuries? How will you pay your bills? How will you provide for your family when you cannot work? These are all pressing concerns for accident victims.
Our experienced lawyers and support staff will not only investigate the cause of your accident to determine whom to hold liable for your damages, but we will also communicate with all involved insurance companies for you to recover the appropriate benefits. Dealing with insurance companies during this time can be frustrating and overwhelming. With an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer on your side, you can rest assured we will protect your best interests.
How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?
After experiencing the trauma of a car accident, once immediate medical needs are addressed, your thoughts inevitably turn to the financial repercussions of the incident. Perhaps your vehicle is damaged beyond repair, leaving you with the daunting challenge of finding funds for a replacement. The severity of your injuries might even force you to contemplate life-altering decisions, such as early retirement or the prospect of enduring long-term medical treatments.
These considerations are merely the tip of the iceberg when evaluating the full scope of compensation needed after a car accident. One of the common pitfalls many victims encounter is underestimating the true financial toll and, consequently, seeking a settlement that falls short of covering their real losses. Such oversights can result in significant financial burdens in the long run.
It's precisely in these intricate situations that the aid of a car accident attorney becomes invaluable. A seasoned lawyer is adept at thoroughly assessing all aspects of your case, ensuring that no detail is overlooked. They possess the necessary experience to accurately quantify your damages, factoring in both immediate and future needs. By seeking their guidance promptly after an accident, you're taking a crucial step to safeguard your interests and ensure you pursue the maximum compensation that your circumstances warrant.
If you've been involved in a car accident in New Jersey, you may be entitled to seek compensation for various types of damages related to the accident. This includes both economic and non-economic damages.
These are quantifiable out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the accident.
- Medical expenses: This can include hospital bills, the cost of medication, physical therapy, surgeries, and any future medical expenses related to the accident.
- Loss of earnings: If you have missed work due to injuries sustained in the accident, you can be compensated for your lost wages, including any future loss of earning capacity if you are unable to return to work or perform the same job as before.
- Property damage: This is compensation for damage to your vehicle and other personal property damaged in the accident.
These damages are not easily quantifiable but cover losses related to pain, suffering, and life experiences.
- Pain and suffering: This covers physical pain and emotional distress resulting from the accident and the injuries sustained.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: This compensation is for any activities or life experiences you can no longer enjoy due to the injuries sustained in the accident.
- Loss of consortium: This refers to damages awarded for loss of companionship or relationship with a spouse or partner due to the accident and subsequent injuries.
In certain cases, where the behavior of the at-fault party was particularly egregious or reckless, punitive damages may also be awarded. These are meant to punish the at-fault party and deter others from similar behavior. However, punitive damages are relatively rare in car accident cases.
Each car accident case is unique, and the specific damages available can vary greatly. It's important to consult with an experienced New Jersey car accident lawyer to understand what types of compensation you may be eligible for in your specific situation. They can guide you through the process and help ensure you get the maximum compensation you deserve.
Can I File a Lawsuit for a Car Accident?
In New Jersey, your ability to sustain legal action for bodily injury suffered in a motor vehicle accident depends on many factors. In this regard, a key question is whether the limited right to sue applies to your claim as a car accident victim. New Jersey offers car insurance policyholders a choice between a "limited right to sue" and an "unlimited right to sue," also referred to as a "verbal threshold" or "lawsuit threshold" option and a "no threshold" option, respectively. This choice affects your rights to file a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver for damages.
Where the limited right to sue, or verbal threshold, applies to your claim, you must prove that you sustained one of these permanent injuries:
- Significant disfigurement or scarring
- Displaced fracture
- Loss of a fetus
- Other forms of permanent injury
Thus, in addition to proving the other driver's negligence, you may have to meet the above damages requirement. A car accident lawyer can determine if your case meets these conditions and, if so, help you prepare a personal injury lawsuit against the liable parties.
Car Accident Litigation: What to Expect
The timeline and process of your claim will vary based on your specific circumstances and the details of your accident. However, your lawyer can provide an overview of what to expect, should you be eligible to pursue litigation. Based on the insurance plan you've opted for, you have the option to file a claim against the driver responsible for the accident, known as a third-party claim. When you're confronting the insurance provider of the party at fault, having an attorney by your side is invaluable. They can rigorously negotiate for you, striving to obtain the fullest compensation possible for the damages and losses you've sustained due to the accident.
However, there may be instances where the offending driver's insurance company might be reluctant or refuse to provide just compensation for your injuries. In such scenarios, your legal representative can escalate the matter, which may involve initiating formal legal proceedings and, if required, presenting your case in court.
To secure financial restitution in a third-party claim or through a lawsuit, the injured party, or plaintiff, is obligated to meet certain legal criteria. It is paramount to establish that the driver in question had a responsibility – a duty of care – to operate their vehicle with caution and prudence. This duty of care must be shown to have been breached by the driver's negligence. Furthermore, it is essential to link this negligence directly to the resulting accident and any subsequent physical harm or injuries sustained.
Having an adept attorney becomes crucial in these situations. They possess the knowledge and legal know-how to guide you in establishing all the requisite legal components of your case. Their goal is to ensure that you receive the complete monetary compensation to which you are entitled.
Time Limits on Filing a Claim
New Jersey limits your time to bring a claim against a third party. You typically have two years to file a claim after the incident, so move forward with a potential claim as quickly as possible. If you fall outside the time limit, you might not receive compensation. Once you initiate the claims process, your New Jersey auto accident lawyer will help ensure that you don't miss any important deadlines.
Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Car Accident?
Often, victims of motor vehicle accidents will simply file claims with their insurance companies, expecting that the insurance company will do the right thing and pay all of their incurred expenses and medical bills. However, if you do not have an attorney working on your behalf, you can lose out on the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Insurance companies are not your advocates. Rather, insurance companies are in business to make a profit and will scrutinize your accident claim, no matter how severe the injuries are. If your claim is untimely, incomplete, or otherwise deemed deficient, an insurance company won't consider denying it.
Our skilled motor vehicle accident attorneys know how to prepare and present claims to insurance companies to maximize our clients' benefits. We know the law and will gather the documentation needed to support your claim. We will fight to ensure that you receive proper benefits after an accident. Additionally, we will pursue compensation from all wrongdoers who caused your injuries and will hold them accountable under the law.
What if My Car Accident Was Minor?
Minor car accidents often brushed off as mere 'fender benders,' can seem inconsequential in the immediate aftermath. You might feel relief that it wasn’t a major collision. However, even these seemingly minor incidents can lead to injuries that manifest later.
While your car might only have a small dent or a scratched fender, your body might not be as lucky. Many victims of minor car accidents report feeling pain or discomfort days or even weeks after the event. It's vital to treat every car accident, no matter how minor, with seriousness. Seeking medical attention after the incident can be crucial for your health and any future compensation claims.
If you're second-guessing the need for legal consultation for a minor accident, remember that many car accident lawyers offer free initial consultations. They can guide you on potential compensation, even for seemingly minor injuries or damages. Remember that in car accidents deemed less severe, insurance companies might opt for settlements to avoid drawn-out legal battles. However, the initial offer might not reflect your true needs. A knowledgeable attorney can help you evaluate offers and decide the best course of action, whether it's accepting a settlement or proceeding to trial.
How an Experienced New Jersey Car Accident Attorney Protects Your Rights
When dealing with a car accident claim, interactions with insurance companies can be complicated and overwhelming. An experienced New Jersey car accident attorney can significantly ease this process, offering valuable assistance in various ways:
- Handling Communications: Your attorney can manage all communication with the insurance company, protecting you from potentially damaging statements or admissions. Remember, insurance adjusters' main aim is to minimize the payout, and they might try to use your statements against you.
- Claim Preparation: A car accident attorney can help you prepare a comprehensive insurance claim, ensuring all necessary documentation is included. This involves gathering evidence, medical records, police reports, witness statements, and any other relevant information.
- Claim Negotiation: Insurance companies often start with a low settlement offer. A seasoned attorney has the skills to negotiate with the insurer effectively, advocating for a settlement that adequately covers your losses.
- Legal Representation: If the insurance company refuses a fair settlement, your attorney can file a New Jersey car accident lawsuit on your behalf and represent you in court.
As an accident victim, it's essential to remember the following when dealing with insurance companies:
- Don't rush: While it may be tempting to consider accepting an initial settlement offer, it's rarely in a claimant's best interest to do so. It's important to understand the full extent of your injuries and damages before agreeing to a settlement. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to help you understand the full scope of your damages and their financial consequences.
- Be cautious of recorded statements: You are not obligated to provide a recorded statement to the at-fault driver's insurance company. Anything you say could potentially be used against you later, including seemingly casual remarks. Your attorney can help you prepare for any necessary communications. However, for the most part, your legal team will take over the majority of all such interactions.
- Avoid signing medical authorization forms: Don't sign any forms from the insurance company without having them reviewed by your attorney. Some forms might give the insurer access to all your medical records, not just those related to the auto accident.
Having an experienced car accident attorney on your side can be immensely helpful in securing a fair settlement or successful court verdict should your case go to trial. Our lawyers understand the strategies employed by insurance companies and can counter them effectively to protect your interests.
Contact a New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer Today
Contact The Reinartz Law Firm today if you are struggling with injuries due to a serious motor vehicle accident. Our New Jersey injury lawyers will fight for your rights and help get you back on the road to recovery.
The Reinartz Law Firm - Hackensack Office
"Richard guided me in my suit and made me feel confident in my decisions during my entire case. He made recommendations that I otherwise, would not have known about."