When Is a New Jersey Car Accident a Personal Injury Case?
If you or a member of your family has recently been in a vehicle accident in New Jersey, don’t wait to report it. It’s certain that the insurance company for the other side has already started to work against you. In fact, you have an obligation to report all automobile accidents to your insurer, and generally should report all injury-causing accidents to the responsible party. However, you also need to immediately report your accident to someone on your side. To protect your interest, the facts of your case should be quickly and clearly related to a qualified, experienced civil trial attorney.
Don’t delay in obtaining a consultation because you’re sure there are no witnesses or because you hit “the other car.” You may still have a case. A legal investigator can locate witnesses, obtain photographs and uncover evidence helpful to your case before conditions change.
Even without an investigator there are certain, easily recognizable circumstances, that can indicate a winning case. Perhaps one of these situations describes your New Jersey car accident:
- Rear-End Hit – Usually the rear car is found to be at fault but if a car in front stops suddenly for no good reason with non-working brake lights or is backing up, that can be an exception.
- Left-Hand Turn – When a car turning left is struck by an oncoming vehicle proceeding in the opposite direction, the turning car will likely be found at fault. This may be so even when the oncoming car is exceeding the speed limit. Point of impact will figure significantly in determination of fault.
- Stop Sign – A car entering an intersection without heeding the stop sign will more than likely be found at fault when the intersecting traffic is unregulated by signs or other signals.
- Uncontrolled Intersections – When all vehicles have equal responsibility for making proper observations, cases are decided on the basis of factors such as visual obstructions, respective speed of the involved vehicles, points of impact, arrival sequence and driver familiarity with the intersection.
- Hit-and-Run Accidents – Pedestrians, passengers and drivers injured in hit-and-run accidents will almost always recover damages. Where the striking car or driver cannot be identified, damages are generally paid by the victim’s own insurance carrier under the uninsured motorist provision of his/her insurance policy or by a special State fund that pays up to $15,000 plus medical bills. Notification must be made within 90 days to qualify for the State fund, so consult an attorney immediately.
- Passengers – Passengers are almost always entitled to damages if they are injured. Keep in mind that some circumstances necessitate prompt legal attention, particularly where the victim is a public transit rider or when an uninsured or underinsured driver is involved.
- Pedestrians – In New Jersey both driver and pedestrian have obligations to make proper observations. Fault in these cases is determined after a thorough investigation. If you are a pedestrian who has been injured, the earlier you seek legal help the more likely it is that you will recover money damages.