Car Accident FAQ
NJ Personal Injury Attorneys Provide Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About New Jersey Car Accidents
When you’ve suffered the trauma of a New Jersey vehicle collision, it’s just the beginning of what you’re about to endure while trying to recover monetarily. Besides dealing with injuries and your damaged car, now you face the stress of filing an insurance claim and hoping to be fairly compensated for your medical and other expenses.
You probably have questions about what to do next. Hoyt & Hoyt, a New Jersey law firm with experienced attorneys who handle car accident cases in Morristown, Parsippany, Roxbury, and elsewhere in NJ, can answer many of the questions you may have. If all of your questions aren’t answered here, please call us 24/7 or tell us your story in the online contact page.
Should I still see a doctor if I don’t feel hurt or if my injuries are minor? When you’ve been involved in a serious car accident, you may be in shock and not realize the extent of your injuries. Short-term shock is the body’s way of protecting us and can mask pain. A medical record is essential evidence when you file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Often, injuries don’t appear until one to five days after an accident, which is why you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Should I call my insurance company immediately after the accident? Just after an accident, you are probably emotionally and physically traumatized. It may be best to wait until you remove yourself from the accident scene and have a chance to calm yourself so that you can more objectively report what happened. Before you call your insurance company, organize your thoughts and present the claim rationally.
Once I’m calmer, what should I tell my insurance company? You should only tell the insurance adjuster the basic accident facts: where the car accident happened and when it happened. Even though you reasonably think you can trust your own insurance company, that’s not necessarily so. An insurance adjuster’s job is to minimize the risk to their company and pay the minimum required, or nothing at all, for your accident. Do not admit fault for your accident when talking to the insurance adjustor.
What if I think the accident was my fault? Isn’t it right to admit it and deal with the consequences? Even if it feels like the right thing to do, you may very well be legally incorrect and risk your rightful, legal monetary recovery. Because so many factors may have contributed to your accident, admitting fault may be premature. For all you know, the accident was caused because of defective equipment, faulty brakes, a malfunctioning traffic light, or the other driver’s impairment. To accurately determine fault, expert analysis and qualified investigators may be required.
How is fault determined in a motor vehicle accident? Even when it seems clear who’s at fault, many factors are involved, including those detailed in Title 39, New Jersey Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations. The “rules of the road” list is lengthy and complex. While it may seem like any reasonable person can clearly see who was at fault for a car crash, that’s not always the case.
If I make a claim against the other driver, will that harm them? Generally, no. The insurance company will pay your claim, not the other driver.
Now that I’ve had time to reflect on what happened, my memory of the accident conflicts with what I said to the police and the insurance adjuster. Have I ruined my chance for fair monetary compensation? Any medical professional understands that a traumatized person’s perception may be impaired. An experienced car accident attorney should know how to handle these seeming contradictions in the correct way and find support for your renewed version.
The police at the scene knew I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt when the crash happened. Will that affect my chance of financial recovery? It may or it may not. New Jersey law requires all car occupants to wear seatbelts. Whether your lack of being seat belted during the car accident will affect your case outcome can be evaluated by your attorney.
What if the other driver’s insurance company calls and asks me to make a statement? Refuse, and refer them to your attorney. No matter how nice they may seem, their only intention is to eliminate or reduce their own monetary risk.
What if I’m asked by any party to provide my accident-related medical records? You should never release your accident-related medical records to anyone until a qualified car accident attorney advises you. Your right to monetary compensation could be damaged if your accident medical records get into the opposing driver’s or company’s hands. The only party to whom you should provide medical records is your own attorney and any expert witnesses they hire on your behalf.
New Jersey is a no-fault car accident state, so am I stuck with my insurance company paying only limited expenses? Though New Jersey’s no-fault car accident insurance laws limit recovery for car accident expenses, you have many options beyond recovery from your insurance company, including pursuing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
If I need to file a personal injury lawsuit to fairly recover all my damages, will I have to testify in court? Often, when an insurance company or opposing party knows that you and your attorney are serious about recovering your financial losses and are willing to fight for what you deserve in court, they’ll offer to mediate or arbitrate your case so that nobody has to go to trial. In the interest of saving everyone time and expense, a personal injury lawsuit rarely gets as far as a trial in a courtroom. Even if it does, your Hoyt & Hoyt personal injury attorney will be with you every step of the way.
Wouldn’t it be easier if I just let my insurance company handle everything? You can take your chances and hope that you will be treated fairly by your insurance company; sometimes that happens. But every accident is unique, and only an experienced car accident lawyer can evaluate whether you’re being treated fairly. Some cases might be simple enough to handle on your own, but other cases are complicated. Without an experienced New Jersey car accident attorney on your side, you may risk accepting an unfair settlement.
What if I was driving responsibly, and I think the accident may have been caused by vehicle equipment failure. Can that be proven? Yes. Qualified, licensed automobile engineers and investigators can determine whether your accident was caused by a manufacturing error or failure. If that’s proven to be true, you may be able to pursue damages in addition to compensation from your insurance company.
What if I rear-ended a vehicle? Is it definitely all my fault? Often, but not always. While drivers have a duty to maintain a safe distance behind a front vehicle in New Jersey, a rear-end collision could also occur when a driver reverses suddenly, stops to turn and then doesn’t, has broken brake lights, or fails to engage the hazard lights when pulling off the road. Accurately determining who was at fault often requires the help of an experienced car accident attorney.
Can I be compensated for lost income when I can’t work because of the accident? Although your own New Jersey auto insurance company won’t compensate you for lost income, a personal injury civil court lawsuit via mediation, arbitration, or trial may help you to receive compensation for lost income while you recover from injuries sustained in the car accident.
Who gets sued if the accident involved a company-owned car or truck? In company-owned vehicle accidents, many parties could be sued, including the driver, owner, lessor, manufacturer, or freightloader. Who gets sued and how to handle the lawsuit can be complicated, however, and often requires the help of a skilled motor vehicle accident injury attorney.
What if my loved one died in a New Jersey vehicle accident? In the event that your loved one died because of another motorist’s negligence and/or recklessness, or because of a vehicle manufacturing defect, you may be entitled to substantial monetary compensation through a New Jersey wrongful death lawsuit.
What can a personal injury attorney do for me that I can’t do myself in an auto accident claim? To begin, even if you’ve already filed an insurance claim, a car accident attorney can take over and communicate with insurance company adjusters and their attorneys, process paperwork, meet mandatory NJ statute of limitations deadlines, hire investigators and expert witnesses, depose scene witnesses, and negotiate the best monetary settlement allowed by law. If the insurance company’s offer isn’t fair or acceptable, a knowledgeable NJ car accident attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit in a civil court using a strategy designed to win your rightful financial recovery.
How do I know who is the best car accident attorney for my particular accident situation? Any attorney you choose should have documented evidence of decades of experience, and of high-dollar wins, and they should be willing to share their settlement victories with you. When a personal injury attorney has years of experience winning large settlements, that reputation makes insurance companies and their powerful attorneys take your case seriously. Further, because pursuing personal injury monetary recovery is expensive and time consuming, the attorney you hire should have the financial resources and support staff to assist as your case progresses through the complexities of the insurance and legal process. What’s more, the attorney should be an excellent communicator who treats you with respect and consideration, makes you feel comfortable and supported, is consistently accessible, and keeps you updated on the status of your car accident case.
How much is a car accident injury attorney going to cost me? A reputable personal injury lawyer will advance all costs for your case, so you won’t pay a penny upfront. Only when Hoyt & Hoyt wins your settlement will they get paid.
Free Consultation with a Knowledgeable Parsippany Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered injuries and property damage because of a motor vehicle accident, the NJ personal injury attorneys at Hoyt & Hoyt Law can help. With over 30 years of experience representing those injured in car accidents, we’ll guide you through the complex and confusing chaos of insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. We have offices in Morris County, Essex County, and Middlesex County, including but not limited to Boonton, Dover, Morristown, Morris Township, Mount Olive Township, Parsippany-Troy Hills, Randolph, Rockaway and Roxbury.
Statutes of limitations for New Jersey car accident claims restrict the time allowed for personal injury claims, so don’t delay. Call us today at 973.828.8187 for the quickest response to schedule a meeting with one of our qualified, experienced car accident injury attorneys.