If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident that was caused by another party’s recklessness, negligence, or intentional conduct, then you have the right to seek monetary compensation from the at-fault driver or their insurance company. In many cases, determining who caused an accident is not complicated. This still does not mean that an insurance company will work with you in a forthright manner. When there is a question regarding who caused an accident or what occurred, an insurance company will diligently fight you every step of the way. To help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, you need an experienced New Jersey car accident lawyer fighting for your rights.
The Reiff Law Firm has been representing injured New Jersey motorists and their families for decades. Our dedicated attorneys and staff have both the resources and knowledge to handle the most complex automotive injury cases. Our job is to provide you the legal support you need so you can concentrate on healing. Call our office at (215) 709-6940 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
Seven Common Causes of Preventable Car Accidents in New Jersey
There are times when an accident is just that – an unavoidable accident. When these occur, injured individuals turn to their own insurance companies. However, many car accidents are the direct result of negligent conduct on the part of another driver. The Reiff Law Firm represents hurt individuals in personal injury lawsuits stemming from a wide variety of car accidents. The way a car crash occurs in New Jersey could determine what parties could be held responsible for your injuries. Below are some of the common types of cases our office handles.
Drivers are supposed to adhere to traffic regulations, including the set speed limit. Operating a vehicle at an excessive speed places the driver and others on the road at risk. Simple maneuvers such as changing lanes become much more dangerous when a car is traveling at an unreasonable speed. Furthermore, the chances of suffering a severe or fatal injury increase when an accident is caused by someone driving at a high rate of speed.
Any time someone gets behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they endanger everyone else on the road around them. It is also against the law. Alcohol and drugs severely compromise a driver’s mental capacity, decision-making ability, and physical reflexes. All of this combines to increase the risk of a serious car accident.
One of the most dangerous activities many people engage in is distracted driving. Whether it is changing a radio station, eating, applying make-up, talking on the phone, or sending or reading a text, when a driver is focused on something other than the driving, they are unaware of what is going on around them. Distracted drivers often fail to see a car that has stopped in front of them, swerve into another lane of traffic, or miss a traffic signal or stop sign. Many injuries can be mitigated when a driver hits the brakes before an accident. However, when someone is distracted, they often do not realize a collision is imminent.
Reckless or Careless Driving
Speeding is a form of reckless driving. However, there are many other types of behavior that is either careless or reckless. When a driver does not check their mirrors before changing lanes, they could crash into another vehicle. Likewise, purposefully ignoring traffic regulations, such as refusing to yield, often results in car accidents. Another form of intentional reckless driving occurs when someone is experiencing road rage. When drivers purposefully drive recklessly, they should be held liable for any injuries they cause.
Driving while you are tired could be just as bad as driving drunk or distracted. When drivers are fighting to keep their eyes open, they are likely to make a devastating error or lapse in judgment. Falling asleep at the wheel is even worse, often resulting in head-on collisions. Driving while fatigued is a problem prevalent among truck drivers who spend long hours on the road but it often affects people who try to push their physical limitations.
Many accidents throughout New Jersey are caused by severe weather. A sudden snowstorm, thunderstorm, or thick fog could lead to a multi-car pile-up. Sometimes an accident is unavoidable. A driver could be taking every precaution and still hit an unseen patch of black ice. However, when a driver is not taking the current weather into consideration when the weather is terrible, they could be acting unreasonably. Drivers in New Jersey have an obligation to operate their vehicles in a safe manner, especially when the weather creates an additional risk.
In the types of accidents described above, the conduct of another driver was usually to blame. However, car accidents also occur when a car malfunctions. Defects in the brakes, steering systems, or tires could result in a single-car accident or collision between two or more vehicles. If an airbag fails to function, a passenger or driver could sustain worse injuries than they should have. When a car has a design or manufacturing defect, the manufacturer could be held accountable. In some cases, a mechanic could be held responsible if they failed to fix a known problem or made an unjustifiable error when working on a car. Our New Jersey car accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate any suspected defects after an accident.
Unsafe Road Conditions
Cities, townships, and other local governments are required to keep the roads reasonably safe. If a defect in the road results in an accident, the municipality could be held liable if it failed to address the road’s condition or provide adequate warning for drivers. Furthermore, construction crews often leave debris on the road, endangering people who use it.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident in New Jersey
If you are in a car accident in New Jersey, your first priority should be your health and safety, along with the health and safety of any passengers that might have been in your car. There are also some things that you could do that will increase your chances of filing a successful personal injury lawsuit. However, all the following suggestions assume you are physically capable of moving around without any additional risk to your health. If your injuries are severe, you should wait for medical help.
Call Local Law Enforcement
You should call 911 immediately to ensure that the local authorities dispatch law enforcement and medical help. The police will secure the area and address any potential hazards that exist. EMTs will provide medical assistance to those who were injured in the accident. The police will also gather the names of the drivers involved in the accident and possible witnesses. You should request how to get a copy of the accident report. The report could provide helpful documentation as to what occurred and if any drivers were issued citations.
Document the Scene of the Accident
The accident scene offers valuable evidence. Everything from the vehicles’ positions, skid marks, to the damage sustained is helpful in reconstructing what occurred. If you have access to a cellphone, you should take pictures of everything. Do not be afraid to take too many photos. Include close-ups of the damage, the road conditions, and any street signs. You should also take photographs of any injuries you suffered. In addition to documenting the accident, you should also get the contact information from any witnesses. While law enforcement usually gathers this information, it will be helpful if you can get it directly from the witnesses themselves.
Seek Medical Treatment
If you do not require immediate medical care at the time of the accident, you should still see your doctor within a day or two, at the latest. Many injuries suffered in a car accident are not obvious, especially if you experienced an adrenaline rush following the crash. Some back and neck injuries might take days or weeks to develop. If you hesitate to document your injuries, you not only risk more serious complications, but you decrease the likelihood of prevailing in a personal injury lawsuit. Medical evidence is a crucial component of the case our New Jersey car accident lawyer will build.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Car Accident Attorney
Before speaking with an insurance company, you should talk with a skilled New Jersey car accident attorney. Insurance companies are looking to limit their liability, so anything you say could be used to deny or lower your claim. More importantly, if you need to file a personal injury lawsuit, you do not want to hesitate. While New Jersey’s statute of limitations gives you two years to file a claim, any delay could be detrimental to your case. The longer our office must wait to begin building a case, the harder it becomes to gather evidence. In some situations, vital evidence could be lost or key witnesses might be unavailable. The goal in either working with an insurance company or filing a claim in civil court is to receive the compensation you deserve.
Compensation Available in a New Jersey Car Accident Lawsuit
When you are injured in a car accident because of another party’s negligence, you are entitled to seek monetary compensation for the damages you suffered. Compensatory damages in a personal injury lawsuit are typically broken down into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are those concrete losses you incurred because of your injury. Common damages in this category include medical expenses, physical therapy, home health care, medical modifications to your home, and any income you lost while recovering from your injury. Additionally, you are entitled to recover any income you would have earned in the future if the injury limits your earning capacity. While the previous list covers big-ticket items, you are also permitted to recover smaller out-of-pocket costs such as parking fees and prescription medication. Once you have completed your medical treatment or your treating doctors determine the future care you will require, our New Jersey car accident attorney will calculate the full extent of your financial losses. The amount will have to be supported by evidence, including bills, receipts, and other documentation.
Non-economic damages are a bit more difficult to understand. Sometimes referred to as intangible damages, this category includes pain, suffering, emotional distress, and other psychological harm you might have suffered. Car accident victims can seek compensation for the pain they endured. Because every person and injury are different, there is no exact formula to utilize. Two people who sustained a whiplash injury could be impacted in two very disparate ways.
Additionally, the psychological and emotional harm will vary from plaintiff to plaintiff. One accident victim could have insomnia because of the crash, while another person will experience debilitating anxiety when they get behind the wheel. Many crash victims are unable to enjoy life in the same way they could before their injuries. For example, a new father might not be able to lift his children after sustaining a devasting back injury. Through a personal injury lawsuit, an accident victim could be compensated for this type of emotional harm. However, our New Jersey car accident attorney will still have to provide evidence to support the amount of compensation sought. By working closely with the plaintiff, their healthcare providers, family, and close associates, our office will attempt to document the negative impact of the injuries.
Call Our New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Car accidents are an unfortunate part of driving. Luckily, many accidents only result in some damage to the vehicles involved and no significant injuries. However, in other cases, car accident victims suffer devastating harm. If you or a loved one was hurt in a car crash, you should contact our skilled New Jersey car accident lawyer immediately. The Reiff Law Firm has the professional staff, experienced attorneys, and valuable resources necessary to fight for your rights. Call (215) 709-6940 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and legal options.