Car Accidents Caused by Negligence
New Jersey is a choice no-fault state with regard to car crashes. That means that you can choose between a basic policy and a standard policy. The former policy provides no-fault coverage, which means that you first turn to your own coverage, regardless of who caused the accident, for your out-of-pocket losses. You only step outside the no-fault system to sue after a rear-end collision or another car accident caused by negligence in New Jersey if you have a serious or catastrophic injury. At Leopold Law, Bergen County car accident lawyer Howard Leopold can evaluate whether you may have a basis to sue, and he can represent victims in a lawsuit for damages.Car Accidents Caused by Negligence
The benefit of the no-fault system is that medical expenses are typically paid quickly, and you do not need to go through time-consuming litigation. If you have no-fault coverage, you can only go outside the no-fault system and sue a negligent driver when a crash results in the loss of a body part, significant scarring, a displaced fracture, significant disfigurement, the loss of a fetus, permanent injuries, or death.
Compensatory damages that you may be able to recover for serious injuries depend on which type of insurance coverage you elected. If you chose a basic policy, the insurer covers the medical expenses up to a particular limit and restricts your right to sue for pain and suffering, except for very serious injuries. However, if you chose standard coverage, you have the right to pursue pain and suffering damages for an increased premium, as well as additional benefits like income continuation and essential services.
You have two years from the injury date to sue someone after a car accident in Bergen County or elsewhere in New Jersey. You will need to establish the other party's negligence to recover damages, which means that you will need to show that the defendant owed you a duty of care and prove a breach of duty, causation, and actual damages. A driver can breach the duty to use reasonable care in many different ways, including by distracted driving, drunk driving, running a red light or stop sign, speeding, failing to yield, weaving, aggressive driving maneuvers, cell phone use, and tailgating.
Often, defendants raise the defense of modified comparative negligence in response to a car accident lawsuit. This means that the jury will look at evidence to decide whether you were partially or fully to blame for the accident. If you are found to be more than 50% at fault for a car accident, you are barred from recovering damages. If you are less than 50% at fault, your damages are reduced by an amount equal to your degree of fault. For example, if the jury decides that you were 30% at fault, the defendant was 70% at fault, and the damages are $300,000, you can recover $210,000 from the defendant.
There is no set formula for noneconomic damages. Typically, the jury will consider your testimony about how much your life has changed as a result of the catastrophic injuries. They will also consider what they believe is reasonable to suffer after injuries of the type that you prove. An experienced attorney can make a difference to the amount of damages that you recover, not only by showing liability but also by presenting the full spectrum of losses that you experienced as a result of your injuries. For example, if you were a young woman with a modeling career, a facial scar after a truck accident will have changed your life forever. If you used to play basketball every day and take care of your kids, but you are no longer able to do these things due to paralysis, an injury attorney can make clear to the jury how much your quality of life has been degraded by your injuries.Consult an Experienced Car Crash Lawyer in Northern New Jersey
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident caused by negligence in Bergen County or the surrounding areas, you may be concerned about taking time off from work to recover when you are facing a mountain of bills from doctors, hospitals, emergency services, rehabilitation therapists, and others. Call Attorney Howard Leopold in New Jersey at (201) 345-5907 or in New York at (646) 650-2106. Our firm represents people who have been struck by texting drivers and other negligent motorists in Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, and Essex Counties and throughout Northern New Jersey, as well as in some areas of New York.