While everyone who drives on the public roads in New Jersey theoretically has a license from the state, affirming they know how to drive safely and lawfully, far too many people instead act recklessly and carelessly behind the wheel. When someone else’s irresponsible actions lead to you getting hurt in a serious auto accident, understanding and enforcing your legal right to pursue financial recovery is crucial to protecting your long-term best interests.
There are several unique rules for car crash litigation that do not apply to other types of injury claims, so working with an experienced personal injury attorney is vital to pursuing this sort of case effectively. Once retained, your Bloomfield car accident lawyer can guide you through every step of the recovery process, working diligently to maximize the compensation you receive and ensure that common legal roadblocks do not get in your way.
Dealing with “Choice No-Fault” Car Insurance Claims
Most states take either a “fault” or “no-fault” approach to car insurance claims after auto accidents. This means that they either do or do not allow a person involved in a wreck to immediately file suit against someone else involved without first seeking restitution through their own insurance coverage. New Jersey, meanwhile, has a fairly unique “choice no-fault” system, under which an individual’s right to sue over an auto accident depends in large part on the type of car insurance they have.
When selecting a car insurance policy in New Jersey, drivers can choose between varying levels of PIP (personal injury protection). PIP is no-fault insurance, meaning it covers medical expenses and lost wages resulting from car accident injuries regardless of who was responsible for the accident. The higher the level of PIP protection, the greater the amount available to you in the event of an injury (but the more you will pay for your policy).
Unlimited Right to Sue
In addition to PIP coverage, drivers also choose whether their policy allows for an unlimited right to sue. Limited policies cost less, but only allow auto accident injury victims to seek compensation for medical expenses and lost wages (more compensation sources exist). The exception to this is in cases of severe injuries such as dismemberment, disfiguration, a lost fetus, or a permanent disability or injury.
With an unlimited right to sue, injured individuals can sue for pain and suffering damages in addition to medical expenses and lost wages. Pain and suffering damages often represent the largest portion of recoveries in a case. A skilled attorney in Bloomfield could help individuals who are injured in car crashes better understand their options. In rare situations involving extreme negligence or overt malice by the defendant in an auto accident claim, a court may impose additional punitive damages against that defendant and award those damages to the plaintiff. A knowledgeable Bloomfield attorney can provide further clarification during a private initial meeting about a person’s recovery options after sustaining injuries in a car crash.
What Happens if I Am Partially at Fault for My Car Accident?
Partial fault in injury cases is accounted for by what is known as comparative negligence. The concept of comparative negligence often plays a large role in personal injury claims, especially in motor vehicle accidents such as car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents.
The fault of an auto accident does not always fall fully on one person; this is the premise of comparative negligence. For example, one driver may not be wearing a seatbelt at the time of an accident caused by another driver. Not wearing a seatbelt caused the victim’s injuries to be worse than they would have been had the victim been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.
When the victim is determined to be partially at fault for their injuries, their total compensation is reduced by the same percentage of fault they are at. If an individual’s car accident injury claim would award $500,000, but the individual is found to be 20% at fault, they would only receive $400,000.
This is another key reason to retain the services of an experienced Bloomfield auto collision attorney. Many insurance companies will try to assign more fault to the injury victim in an effort to reduce the overall settlement awarded. Your attorney can ensure that you are not wrongly assigned fault, and that you receive the full amount of compensation possible in your case.
Speak with a Bloomfield Car Accident Attorney About Recovery Options
Auto collisions are not only stressful, but they can also result in catastrophic harm, including traumatic brain injuries, burns, amputations, spinal cord damage, and paralysis. In severe wrecks, injuries can be fatal. Numerous factors could affect the rights you may—or may not—have to pursue a lawsuit or demand a private settlement after a car wreck in New Jersey.
With so much at stake, pursuing the best possible course of action should be handled with guidance from someone with experience fighting and winning on behalf of plaintiffs like you. A seasoned Bloomfield car accident lawyer can be an irreplaceable ally through every step of your case. Call Fredson Statmore Bitterman LLC today to learn more.