If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The insurance company’s job is to pay out as little as possible to injured victims. Often, injured victims accept the first offer an insurance company makes, because they are unaware that they have the option to negotiate, or do not know how to leverage a top dollar settlement.
After a car accident, contact the experienced New Jersey car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Mark S. Nathan right away, and do not admit fault to anyone—either the other driver or the insurance company—even if you think that you may bear some or all of the responsibility for the accident.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
There are many causes of car accidents, and every accident is different. There are two broad categories of factors that cause car accidents, which most other causes can be said to fall under: driver error, and unforeseen circumstances.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most accidents in the United States are caused by driver error. If you have been injured by a reckless or negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation.
Some of the more common driver errors that can lead to accidents include:
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving/driver fatigue
- Drugged driving
- Intoxicated driving
- Road rage
- Texting while driving
- Using a cell phone while driving
Distracted Driving, Drunk Driving and Drowsy Driving Specifics
Of these causes, distracted driving is probably the predominant cause of accidents today. One study by the National Safety Council (NSC) has shown that up to a quarter of all car accidents are caused by the use of a cell phone for either talking or texting while driving.
Although many people believe that they can multitask, researchers have learned that the human brain cannot actually focus on two tasks at the same time. Rather, it toggles back and forth between two tasks. This is called “micro-tasking.” Taking one’s eyes off the road for a single second at a high rate of speed, such as when travelling on a highway, can mean you are not looking at the road for the length of an entire football field.
In addition to distracted driving, intoxicated driving continues to be a problem. Nearly forty percent of all auto fatalities are caused by drunk drivers.
Although many drivers might not consider getting behind the wheel when tired to be as taboo as getting behind the wheel after a few drinks, studies have shown that drowsiness can have the same affect on our reflexes as consumption of alcohol.
In addition to driver error, the second, broad general “catch-all” category of unforeseen circumstances can include the following causes:
- Poor weather conditions (fog, rain, ice, and snow)
- Defectively designed car
- Defectively manufactured car
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Poor road or highway maintenance (potholes, debris on the road, etc.)
- Defective or broken traffic lights
No Fault Insurance
New Jersey has a no-fault car insurance system. What this means is that drivers and passengers who get injured must first turn to their own personal-injury protection through their own car insurance coverage, in order to get compensation for medical bills, lost income, and other out-of-pocket losses after a crash, no matter who may have been at fault.
The no-fault system limits your rights to sue for pain and suffering, except for in the case of the most serious injuries. This is why it is important to hire a New Jersey car accident lawyer at the Law Office of Mark S. Nathan to help recover the compensation you may be due.
Liability in New Jersey
In New Jersey, even if an injured person is found to be partially responsible for the accident, they still may be able to recover damages. The court will determine one’s percentage of fault and reduce the total award by that percentage. This is known as “modified comparative fault.” If a person is found to be more than fifty percent at fault for the accident, however, they cannot collect anything.
What Damages Can I Recover?
In New Jersey, an injured victim may seek what are known as “compensatory damages,” which are intended to make them “whole” again. These include compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and vehicle damage. In the event that a family member is killed in an auto accident, the family is entitled to compensation for loss of consortium, pain and suffering, medical and funeral expenses.
In car accident cases in New Jersey, you have two years to file a lawsuit. After that time period expires, you will not be able to file a lawsuit against another party. Further, New Jersey applies a damages cap on punitive damages, which may be available in cases of serious or malicious wrongdoing. Punitive damages are capped to five times the amount of compensatory damages or $350,000, whichever is higher.
What to Do After an Accident
After an accident you need to call the police and seek medical attention. Take photos of all vehicles involved, and the accident scene, as well as any injuries. Keep medical records and take photos of your injuries over time to demonstrate any healing or deterioration in your condition.
Get the names and contact information of all witnesses, as well as the insurance information of any other drivers involved. Even if you think you may bear some of the responsibility for the accident, do not admit fault. Contact an experienced New Jersey car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of Mark S. Nathan Represent Victims Injured in Car Accidents
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a car accident, call the New Jersey car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Mark S. Nathan at 856-232-5559, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Blackwood, New Jersey and serve clients throughout the state.