Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers
Throughout the United States, people are injured each year in car accidents, with a significant majority of them sustaining a permanent injury from the incident. These injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to major ones such as broken limbs, a traumatic brain injury (TBI), or even death.
The consequences can be devastating. You may be unable to work again or need long-term medical care, including physical therapy or rehabilitation. You may be forced to give up activities you love. You could be forced from your job, meaning a loss of income while having to pay for treatment for your injuries.
If you suffer injuries in a car accident, you should be compensated for them. Unfortunately, insurance companies may not always be as forthcoming when providing the compensation for which you are entitled. When this situation occurs, talk to a car accident lawyer, who will stand up to the insurance company and get you the results you are seeking.
What are Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents?
Given the number of car accidents that occur each year, there are a few common causes that lead to them. In many cases, these are circumstances or conditions that you can easily avoid before you get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
A few common causes of car accidents include the following:
- Aggressive driving: This type of driving can lead to road rage and occur when a driver chooses not to obey the rules of the road and drive with their emotions. Drivers will speed, cut others off, and weave in and out of traffic. This behavior causes others to react quickly, which can lead to an accident.
- Auto defects: Over the life of a car, wear and tear can start to affect different parts of the vehicle. In certain instances, defects can be the result of a problem during the manufacturing process. These defects can cause drivers to lose control of the vehicle, which may result in an accident.
- Distracted driving: This is a more common problem recently as cell phones have become more sophisticated. These devices are more than phones; you can use them to send messages to friends, play music, play games, or check the internet. Unfortunately, drivers try to sneak a message to friends while driving or, worse, attempt to play games. When you are distracted, you are not paying attention to the road and may not see it when a car is stopped in front of you or if there is any other type of obstruction in the road.
- Drowsy driving: When you are behind the wheel, you must be aware of your surroundings, including other drivers. When you are tired, your reaction time is slower, making you more susceptible to accidents.
- Drunk driving: When you drink, your senses become impaired, meaning your reaction time slows significantly, as does your ability to focus. Getting behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not only dangerous, but also illegal. It can cause a motorist to drive carelessly through traffic, risking the lives of everyone on the road including you.
- Speeding: This is another form of aggressive driving. Although everyone occasionally drives faster than the speed limit, it can be a dangerous practice because it reduces the amount of time you have to react to what is in front of you and again forces others to react to you, which could cause them to get into an accident.
There are other causes of car accidents that do not involve the poor performance of a driver but the conditions that are on the road. Those include:
- Poor weather conditions: When the weather is bad, it can be difficult to see the road. Strong winds can cause the car to shift on the road, making it difficult to control. Heavy rains or snow can lead to slippery road conditions that can also cause you to lose control of your vehicle. It is best to wait out a storm or for the conditions to improve before embarking on a trip. If you find yourself caught in a storm, the best move is to pull over until it is safer to drive.
- Poorly maintained roads: Road conditions in New Jersey can be notorious. Potholes, along with construction sites and lack of signage, can make it difficult for a driver to keep control of their vehicle, especially when they are driving through an unfamiliar area or driving at night. It is best to avoid these circumstances if possible and if not, try your best to drive carefully through them.
In many of these instances, the driver can take the necessary precautions to prevent the type of behavior that can cause an accident. In certain instances, it makes sense to plan a long trip in advance to avoid drowsy driving and prevent the belief that you need to rush to get to your destination.
How Do I Make a Claim in New Jersey?
Since New Jersey is a no-fault state, the method for obtaining compensation for your accident is not as simple as it would be in other states. The no-fault classification means that if you are in an accident, you can just file a claim on your insurance to receive certain compensation for your accident regardless of who is at fault for it.
When seeking compensation from your own insurance, you will file a claim against your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This coverage will cover basic out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills, loss of income, and medical treatments. If you are seeking compensation beyond those expenses such as pain and suffering and the like, it may become necessary to file a claim on the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. There are certain circumstances that must be present to file this type of claim. Those include the following:
- Loss of a body part
- Significant disfigurement
- Significant scarring
- Displaced fracture
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent injury
However, New Jersey insurance is complicated because a driver can give up their right to sue the at-fault driver and never even know it. When you first purchase car insurance in New Jersey, you have the option to purchase basic or a standard policy. The basic policy, although less expensive, does impose limitations on what an injured driver can recoup should they be in an accident. The basic policy includes:
- Property damage liability coverage of $5,000: This covers damage you inflict on another person’s vehicle or property. It will not cover your own vehicle or property.
- Personal injury protection coverage of $15,000: This applies to each person per accident. It covers those injuries that you sustained as well as anyone else that the PIP would cover. It can allow for as much as $250,000 for certain serious injuries.
The basic policy does not include any bodily injury liability coverage, although you can add $10,000 in bodily injury liability coverage to the policy. A standard policy does include a bodily injury liability. It has a range of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident to $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident.
Another aspect of the standard policy is the inclusion of two options, which are the limited right to sue and the unlimited right to sue options. The former, while less expensive, will limit your ability to obtain compensation for anything outside of incurred expenses. By selecting the latter category, all options are available. In other words, there are no limitations regardless of the level of injury, and you can even file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help You Recoup Any Expenses Incurred Due to Car Accidents
It can be a frightening experience when you are involved in a car accident, especially if you sustain a major injury. Figuring out your options can be complicated in New Jersey. The Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will work with you to reach the resolution that is right for you. We help victims receive the compensation they deserve and move on with their lives. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.