Car crashes in Vineland can involve commuters, locals, beach travelers, and many others. If you were hurt in an accident, it is important to understand how the law works for NJ car accidents and what you can do to get compensation for your injuries.
If you were hurt, work with a lawyer. Our attorneys can protect your rights and help you fight for compensation. Even when insurance claims fail and the insurance companies push back against your claims, our lawyers can stand in your corner and work to get you the compensation you and your family need.
For a free review of your injury case, call Legal Care New Jersey’s car accident lawyers today at (732) 838-9769.
How Car Accident Cases Work in Vineland, NJ
When you are injured in a car accident, New Jersey law presumes that you will get compensation not from the driver who hit you but from your own insurance. We technically use a choice no-fault system, where drivers who pay extra for an “unlimited right to sue” policy can always file a claim against the at-fault driver if they want to. But if you have a “limited right to sue” policy, then you will actually have to file with your own insurance, and you can only sue if you have what qualify as “serious” injuries.
To meet this threshold requirement, a dislocated fracture, a permanent injury, or loss of a fetus will qualify. You can also sue for a loved one’s death.
When you file an insurance claim alone with no lawsuit, you can only get compensation for “economic” damages related to your injury. This typically includes lost wages and medical expenses but does not include pain and suffering damages. Those damages and other “non-economic” damages can only be claimed through a lawsuit.
Our car accident lawyers can analyze your case and the damages you faced and help you pursue at least initial compensation from your insurance company. This can help pay for medical services and other bills and expenses in the immediate time after your accident while you wait for your lawsuit to resolve. We can also start putting together your lawsuit – if it is possible to file one – and negotiating with the at-fault driver and their insurance company to get you the rest of the damages you are owed.
Determining Who Caused a Car Crash in Vineland, NJ
Before a court can award damages in a lawsuit for a car accident, the jury needs to determine who was at fault. Looking at who caused an accident can often lead to confusing questions, where it might look like one person was at fault if you look at the case one way, and it might look like the other driver was at fault if you look at it another way. Generally speaking, most cases are more straightforward than they seem, and some elements of NJ law allow cases to be resolved more simply than you might expect.
For a court to hold someone liable for an accident, there must be sufficient proof that they committed negligence. Negligence has four legal elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. First, there must be a duty that the defendant owed the victim; without a duty saying what they were supposed to do, you cannot claim that they did anything “wrong.” Second, there must be a breach of that duty – the actual thing that the driver did wrong to cause the crash. Then, you must show that that breach of duty actually caused the accident. If the accident would have happened anyway or the driver’s mistake was disconnected from the crash, then something else might be the cause. Lastly, there must be damages you suffered, like injuries and economic damages.
When a court finds negligence, it usually looks for traffic violations. So, for example, if one driver was going through a green light and another driver was going through a red light, the crash would be the driver who had the red light’s fault. Some cases involve not a traffic violation but unreasonable actions, such as taking your eyes off the road to read an advertisement.
In some car accident cases, both drivers are less than innocent. When the victim was doing something like driving 45mph in a 40mph zone or looking down to adjust the radio, they might fear that they technically committed a violation and might lose their case because of it. New Jersey law does not ignore the other driver’s contribution to the accident when the victim does something wrong and instead uses a “comparative fault” rule.
Under this rule, courts can assign a percentage of the fault to each driver involved – potentially including the victim as well. Then, each driver pays for that share of the damages and the victim simply loses out on being reimbursed for their share of the damages.
This rule applies as long as you are 50% at fault or less. After that point, it is difficult to call that driver the “victim,” and they cannot recover compensation. Keep in mind that in the face of a dangerous violation like the other driver’s drunk driving or texting while driving, it is unlikely that mild speeding or a rolling stop will be enough to lose you your case.
There are some common cases where it is difficult to parse out who is at fault, but these rules help clarify fault. For example, when two cars crash in an intersection with lights, the lights will tell you who had permission to go and who was the at-fault driver. Similarly, 4-way stop signs have rules dictating the order of who can go, and anyone who went out of turn or failed to stop could be legally responsible for your crash. If both drivers made mistakes, the court will decide whether and how much that mistake contributed to the crash and how the division of fault affects damages.
Call Our Car Accident Attorneys in Vineland, NJ Today
For a free evaluation of your potential injury claim, call Legal Care New Jersey’s car accident lawyers at (732) 838-9769.