If you sustain injuries in a car accident someone else caused through their negligence or carelessness, you probably qualify to receive compensation from the at-fault driver to pay for your medical bills and other related expenses.
You will need an attorney to help you with the complex and challenging process of successfully navigating a car accident injury claim. However, you may wonder when you should hire a car accident attorney.
You should hire a car accident attorney as soon as possible, especially if you suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in a crash. States impose strict deadlines on when you can file lawsuits in civil court, and you want to begin the process immediately to preserve evidence and increase your chances of getting the money you need sooner rather than later.
A lawyer can explain the car accident injury claims process and how they can get the compensation you deserve. For a detailed review of your case, contact an experienced New Jersey car accident attorney today for your free consultation.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help Me?
Just because a car accident hurts you does not mean you automatically deserve compensation. Most personal injury claims involve serious injuries, and you will need to establish the other driver caused and bears liability for your injuries.
After getting the medical treatment you need for your injuries, contact a car accident attorney as soon as you can. A personal injury lawyer can review your situation to determine whether you have a viable case. If you do, your attorney can help you with all aspects of the process, including:
- Gathering evidence. Your attorney will need to show the extent of your injuries and their related damages. Evidence can come through your medical records, medical bills, proof of lost income, and other documentation.
- Establishing liability. Your lawyer needs to show the other driver caused the accident through their carelessness or recklessness. Your attorney can collect police reports, eyewitness statements, photos and videos of the accident scene, and other evidence to establish the at-fault driver’s liability.
- Handling liability disputes. If a dispute arises about who caused the accident, or if the other party denies responsibility, an attorney can gather evidence, interview witnesses, and build a strong case to establish liability and protect your rights.
- Handling insurance company disputes. Insurance companies may minimize their liability or offer you a settlement that does not adequately cover your damages. In such cases, an attorney can fight with the insurer to get them to honor your claim and negotiate with them for you so you receive fair compensation for your losses.
- Navigating overwhelming, confusing, complex legal procedures. An attorney can offer you guidance and personalized support each step of the way through your car accident claim. A lawyer will know how to handle the paperwork, legal deadlines, and court procedures in your case.
- Calculating substantial damages. If you suffered significant financial losses, such as expensive medical bills, loss of income, property damage, or future rehabilitation costs, a car accident attorney can determine and calculate the compensation you need so you know how much to pursue.
- Representing you at trial. If you must take your case to court, an attorney can represent you at trial and present a compelling case to sway the jury or judge’s decisions in your favor. A lawyer will understand civil courts and procedures and possess effective trial advocacy skills.
An attorney can also provide peace of mind. You can rest easy knowing an experienced and zealous legal advocate will deal with the insurance company for you and handle all aspects of the process. The last thing you need right now is the added stress and worry of trying to get the compensation you need.
What’s the Process of Obtaining Compensation After a Car Accident in New Jersey?
Since insurance covers most car accident claims in New Jersey, your attorney will first seek compensation by filing an injury claim with the insurance company. However, because New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, drivers must first rely on their own auto insurance to cover damages from a car accident no matter who caused it.
All drivers in New Jersey must carry no-fault or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance on their vehicles. No-fault insurance typically covers:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Housekeeping and childcare
- If someone dies in an accident, PIP insurance will also cover certain end-of-life expenses, such as funeral and burial costs.
The minimum standard PIP plan covers $15,000, although many drivers carry far more coverage.
New Jersey offers motorists two types of no-fault insurance policies: basic and standard. The basic plan offers motorists a limited right to sue, but only in cases involving permanent injury, such as loss of a body part, displaced fracture, significant scarring or disfigurement, internal organ injuries, and pregnancy loss. It also includes wrongful death. Motorists may also choose an unlimited right to sue under the standard PIP policy that allows them to sue the at-fault driver no matter how minor or serious the injury.
Motorists must also maintain at least $5,000 in liability coverage for property damage, and they must purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist protection.
After getting treatment for your injuries, you need to hire an attorney and have them file an injury claim with your auto insurance provider. Your lawyer can advise you on your options for pursuing additional compensation once you exhaust your no-fault insurance coverage.
Will My Car Accident Case Go to Court?
Dealing with insurance companies is rarely easy. Most insurers do not like to pay on claims because it reduces their profits, and even your own insurance provider may make things challenging for you to get the benefits you deserve.
If you suffered severe injuries in the crash, your no-fault insurance may not cover your injuries. Then your attorney could pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, but getting that insurer to accept your claim and offer you the full amount of financial compensation you need to cover all your injury-related costs is easier said than done.
Whether dealing with your insurance provider or the defendant’s insurance company, your attorney may need to negotiate and wrangle with the insurer to get them to honor their policy, accept your claim, and agree to pay you the full and fair compensation you deserve.
In some cases, your attorney may advise you to take your case to court.
If settlement negotiations prove futile and you can’t reach a favorable settlement, your attorney may need to take the insurer to court and sue for the money you need. Your lawyer may also sue the insurer if they act in bad faith regarding your claim or violate any terms of the settlement agreement.
In addition, if a drunk driver caused the crash or a defective component in your car failed and caused the accident, you may take the defendant to court to hold them accountable and pursue exemplary damages. Your lawyer can discuss the possibility with you regarding your specific case.
New Jersey’s Statute of Limitations
Like all other states, New Jersey imposes a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in court. You have only two years from your injuries to file your car accident lawsuit. Therefore, act quickly and contact a car accident attorney to start on your claim.
Get Legal Help With No Upfront Costs
You may know you need an attorney, but you have reservations about hiring one because of the cost. Virtually all personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, so you can speak to a lawyer with no risk to determine whether you have a case and your chances of getting compensation.
What’s more, personal injury lawyers usually work on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay nothing upfront for them to represent you, and they will take a percentage of the compensation they recover for you from a settlement or jury award after the fact. Your lawyer can discuss their fee and how they expect you to pay them when you talk with them. Get it all in writing and make sure you understand it before you sign a contract.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today
You have no time to waste in contacting a personal injury attorney and starting the injury claim process. The sooner you start, the sooner you can get the money you need. Contact an experienced car accident attorney today for your free consultation on your claim and advice regarding your rights and options.