NJ Car Accident Attorney When you’re in a car crash, your emotions can quickly overwhelm and terrify you. You may not know what to do or where to turn for help with insurance claims because it’s all so unexpected–and this is especially true if there were injuries involved. Thankfully, an experienced NJ motor vehicle attorney will be able to guide you through the process after a collision. An NJ car accident attorney will provide you with the legal advice, guidance, and representation that you need. How We Can Help Our NJ car accident attorneys have decades of experience as legal professionals. Stark & Stark can help you with your claim by: Reviewing the details of your situation and advising you on how to recover damages that may be available to you Negotiating an appropriate out-of-court settlement for your case, if possible Representing you in court, if negotiations fall through or if you decide to go to trial It is not always easy for someone who has been injured in a crash to navigate the stresses of insurance claims and lawsuits on their own. Stark & Stark can help ease that burden by taking care of all aspects of your claim so that you can focus on your recovery. Call a New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer Today If you’ve been in a car accident, Stark & Stark can steer the course for your recovery. You should not worry about dealing with insurance companies or navigating court systems when you are trying to recover from injuries sustained in an auto accident – let Stark & Stark do it for you. Call our office today to speak with an NJ car accident lawyer for free, friendly legal advice. What to Do After a Car Crash Stark & Stark recommends taking the following steps to protect your rights after being in a wreck: Call the police. Tell the police officer who arrives at the scene of the accident what happened. Stark & Stark will advise you on the process of reporting an accident and how to obtain a police report. Obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses. If possible, take photos of the scene of the accident as well as your car. Seek medical attention even if you think your injuries aren’t serious. Stark & Stark will help you with any insurance claims related to medical treatment and all other damages. Contact your insurance company. This is something Stark & Stark can help with – we will even call your insurer for you, if necessary. Avoid making any statements about the accident or accepting any blame until Stark & Stark has had a chance to investigate the case and review the police reports. If you or a passenger are seriously injured, you should first seek medical attention. Don’t worry about calling the police or speaking to witnesses; your wellbeing is the priority here. Remember that Stark & Stark can handle all aspects of your claim while you focus on recovery. Stark & Stark is there every step of the way, working hard to bring about an optimal resolution in your case. The Difference Between a Settlement and a Verdict You may have heard these two terms thrown around on TV or in newspapers, but what exactly do they mean? A “settlement” is a type of financial compensation which both parties agree upon without having to go to trial. A “verdict,” on the other hand, is a decision made by a judge or jury in court. It’s legally binding, even if both sides do not agree to the terms that have been laid out. A verdict will include financial compensation, and sometimes punitive damages are included as well (damages meant to punish gross negligence or intentional harm on the part of the defendant). Settlements are typically negotiated between insurance companies and lawyers. A good lawyer will ensure that their client gets significantly more than the bare minimum from a settlement. Stark & Stark will attempt to make a settlement before proceeding to trial, but if the proposed settlement is not fair and/or is not in your best interests, we will absolutely take the case to trial. It’s important to understand that settlements can be reached any time before the court date. For instance, the defendant could agree to the amount posed by your lawyer the day before you’re meant to go to court. If the case does proceed to trial and a verdict is made in your favor, you will likely receive the money within 30 days. What types of damages can I recover from my car accident? The compensation that accident victims are owed under the law can be substantial. In fact, statistics demonstrate how those who retain a lawyer receive three times more money than individuals without legal representation. This is because insurance adjusters try their best to take advantage when dealing with unrepresented parties, which means you should definitely think about hiring a car crash lawyer to represent yourself or your loved one. Without an experienced attorney, you are likely not going to get the compensation you deserve. You may even miss out on one of the types of damages that you are entitled to. Economic Damages Economic damages are those which you can put a dollar amount on. These include: Lost wages and future lost wages, including potential wage increases Loss of earning capacity Damage to property such as your vehicle Damages for medical costs and treatment of physical impacts from the crash, including headaches, neck problems, scarring Costs to remodel your house for your new needs due to injuries you suffered in the crash Costs for assistance during your recovery period Economic damages are calculated by adding up the financial expense of these needs. Non-Economic Damages Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate. These types of damages include: Pain and suffering in the days, months, or years that follow your crash Mental distress and anguish Loss of the enjoyment of life, such as no longer being able to enjoy your past hobbies and activities due to injuries you have sustained Mental and physical scarring, disfigurement, or disability Permanent injury or loss of bodily functions Loss of consortium, which includes a spouse being unable to provide the same level of care due to injuries sustained in a crash Non-economic damages are calculated by considering how your life will be affected from here on out. Punitive Damages Punitive damages are a way to punish the other party from being at fault. This type of damages is fairly uncommon and can only be awarded by a judge. Although rare, punitive damages may be awarded in the case of gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing in addition to your economic and non-economic damages. Understanding the types of damages you are owed after a car crash is crucial to understanding how much your case is worth. Hiring an NJ car crash attorney will give you an upper hand in negotiations with insurance companies and make sure that you get what you deserve for this life-changing event How much can I expect to recover from my accident? If you are injured in a car crash, you may be entitled to recover more than just compensation for your medical bills. Economic damages can include lost wages and future earnings, the cost of repairs or replacement for any damaged property, and the costs associated with any long-term care that is necessary as a result of the injuries sustained. Recovery also includes all the additional non-economic damages listed above. Since every case is different, there is no way to give an estimated dollar sum without knowing the details of your case. To find out how much you can expect to recover, call Stark & Stark attorneys for a free evaluation. We can help fight for the compensation you deserve. What is comparative fault in New Jersey? If you are involved in a car accident, it is possible for the court to find that you are partially responsible for causing the injury to yourself or another person. Historically, this would mean that your case would be dismissed. It would only take 1% of liability on the victim’s part to free the negligent party from any culpability. However, with comparative fault statutes, the negligent party can still be held responsible. The damages you can recover would be reduced by a percentage corresponding to your fault. For example, if you are found to be 25% responsible for causing a collision involving two cars, your compensation will also be reduced by 25 percent. This does not mean that you will pay 25% of the damages to the other party; rather, your compensation amount will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. Common Car Accident Injuries Traumatic Brain Injuries Traumatic brain injuries are caused by the sudden, violent movement of the head. This can be caused by being shaken or slammed against something during a collision. When your brain moves back and forth within your skull, it rips and tears at nerve endings and crushes blood vessels. If severe enough, this violent movement can cause bleeding on or around the brain, which could lead to permanent disability or even death. Traumatic brain injuries are diagnosed with CT scans or MRI scans that show the doctor signs of bruising or tearing in the brain tissue. Brain damage can be “mild,” causing you to become forgetful, experience mood swings, or have trouble concentrating. This is known as a concussion, and although concussions are usually less severe than other types of traumatic brain injury, they can have serious implications, especially if left untreated. Even concussions can have lifelong side effects. Spinal Cord Injuries The spinal cord is the information superhighway of your nervous system, which allows for communication between different parts of your body. When your spine is injured during a car accident, it can result in permanent damage to your nerves and result in loss of muscle control. This can cause weakness or paralysis throughout the body. If you are suffering from back or neck pain after a car crash, this may be the result of spinal cord damage. Burn Injuries Burn injuries are caused by intense heat, electricity, chemicals, or other substances. They can be very painful and cause permanent scarring. If the burn is deep enough, it could result in death. It’s important to seek immediate treatment after being burned. Not doing so can make recovery more difficult. Burns can be treated with plastic surgery to help with scarring. This is an extensive and painful process. Back Injuries Back injuries are the most common type of injury after an auto accident. If you feel pain, numbness, or tingling in your back, this could be a result of a herniated disc or other issues. Spinal cord injuries, herniated discs, and bulging discs can all result from a car accident. A herniated disc occurs when the gel cushioning between the vertebrae presses against the nerves, which causes pain and numbness. If your back injury is not treated right away, it will only get worse. This can affect your ability to work over time. Insurance is another reason why it’s so important to address your injuries as soon as possible. Reporting your injuries promptly to insurance could affect your ability to receive treatment. Contusions and Soft Tissue Damage Contusions are bruises that result from trauma. Just like cuts, bruises will take time to heal. If you were in a crash and have deeper contusion injuries, this could lead to muscle damage or soft tissue damage. Soft tissue damage is the most difficult injury for your doctor to diagnose because it’s not always clear that there is damage. The symptoms can become more apparent as the days and weeks pass by, but your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help with symptoms. If you do not receive proper treatment for soft tissue damage caused by a car accident, this could lead to permanent disability or even surgery. Broken Bones Broken bones are fairly common in car accidents. Just like contusions, broken bones take time to heal properly. If the bone was not set correctly during the initial stages of recovery, it can lead to permanent disability when you try to return to your normal activities. Common Types of Car Accidents Rear-End Collision A rear-end collision occurs when your car is hit by the vehicle behind you. The most common form of this type of accident happens when a driver falls asleep or gets distracted at the wheel. Rear-end collisions may appear mild if there is little to no visible damage to the vehicles involved. However, they still cause whiplash, back pain, and other types of injuries for the driver and passengers. Head-On Collision A head-on collision is caused when two cars traveling in opposite directions collide. This type of crash is usually much more serious than a rear-end or sideswipe collision. Head-on collisions are often deadly and sometimes result in multiple fatalities among occupants of both vehicles. Sideswipe Accident A sideswipe collision occurs when your car is hit on the side by a vehicle traveling in the same direction as you. This type of collision can result in serious impairment or fatalities. It’s possible for damage to be caused on both cars but it doesn’t generally result in major injuries unless there are additional factors like speeding or reckless driving. Vehicle Rollover A rollover occurs when your car flips or rolls over because of excessive speed or other factors that cause weight to shift. When a vehicle flips, the occupants are at greater risk for head, neck, and back injuries. Rollovers can result in death if weight is shifted onto passengers after impact. T-Bone Accident A T-bone accident occurs when a car is hit by an oncoming vehicle in a side-impact collision. T-bone collisions often result in serious injuries because they typically cause rapid back-and-forth and side-to-side movement. Also, the side of a car doesn’t offer the same level of protection as the front and rear of the vehicle. Contact an Experienced NJ Car Accident Attorney Today Stark & Stark NJ car accident attorneys focus on what their clients deserve. With extensive experience representing injured individuals and their families, combined with thorough analysis and preparation, our accident lawyers help victims obtain cash settlements for lost wages, the cost of future care, damaged personal property, medical expenses, emotional trauma, and more. Sometimes, the only way to get the compensation clients deserve is by going to trial. However, in many cases, our accident attorneys can secure favorable settlements during pretrial negotiations. This is often less stressful for clients who need financial relief. Call us today to find out how our experienced NJ car crash attorneys can help at 800-535-3425. Car Accident Questions and Answers When should I hire a car accident lawyer in New Jersey? Immediately! The laws regarding automobile accidents are becoming increasingly complex and can be very confusing. Whenever you have been in an accident as a driver or passenger, and have any questions, please feel free to contact the NJ car accident attorneys at Stark & Stark – free of charge. Stark & Stark injury attorneys will only earn a fee if money is collected on your behalf. When should I tell insurance after a car accident? You should report all accidents to your insurance company, broker, or agent as soon as possible so that they are not in a position to deny any legitimate claim that you may have. In addition, your automobile insurance provides you with many benefits and services of which you may be unaware. Contacting your insurance company immediately ensures that you will receive the benefit of the services you have paid for. What should I tell the police at the scene of a car accident? After being in an accident, we would advise that you be honest and truthful with the police for the entirety of their investigation. There’s no point trying to lie or cover up; most police officers wear body cam equipment and record all their interactions. Be truthful with the police and answer their questions, but don’t assume they’re on your side. Police are neutral parties who are trying to determine if a crime was committed and ensure the safety of all involved. They are not accident recreation specialists who can determine fault. They are not helping one party or another win their claim for damages. They are writing an official report that can be used as evidence in a trial. This is why it is important that you do not misrepresent yourself. Many people tend to brush off injuries or apologize when the accident wasn’t their fault. This can actually lead to a determination of fault that may prevent you from claiming compensation later on. Tell them exactly what they need to know, but do not embellish or assume. Don’t minimize injuries. Do not admit fault. What if the person who caused the accident has no insurance? Please see our Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Benefits Legal Guide for information on sources of recovery when the party causing the injury does not have insurance or has insufficient insurance to satisfy the claim or claims being made. Always protect yourself with the proper legal council. Who pays for the property damage to my car? If you are not at fault, you have two options. You can contact the insurance company of the person who is at fault for the accident, who will pay for the damage to your car only if they determine that their insured caused the collision. In the alternative, if you purchased collision coverage, you can contact your own insurance company who will pay for the damage to your car, less any deductibles, no matter who is at fault for the accident. Once you decide how to proceed, the insurance company will send an adjuster to estimate the damage. The insurance company is responsible for paying the amount it costs to fix the car or the fair market value of the car, whichever is less. Can I receive reimbursement for my lost wages if my doctor has prohibited me from working as a result of injuries due to the accident? In New Jersey, most people who are employed are covered by State Temporary Disability Benefits. These benefits are earned through deductions from your paycheck throughout the year. If injured and unable to work, most people are eligible to collect up to 70% of their gross wages while disabled. These benefits have a maximum duration of six months. If you are not eligible for State Disability, your employer may provide a private plan. Ask your personnel office about the benefits you are entitled to receive. Finally, your own auto insurance policy also provides limited benefits for lost wages. These Income Continuation Benefits pay for lost wages for a minimum of 52 weeks in the amount of $100 or more per week. This amount can be greatly increased in both weekly amount and time period of payments by selecting available options. These benefits receive a credit for any Temporary Disability Benefits you are entitled to receive (whether or not you actually receive them). Therefore, you must apply for Temporary Disability Benefits immediately upon stopping work.