Newark Car Accident Attorney
A police officer and a 27-year-old woman were both taken to a hospital in Newark with non-life threatening injuries after an accident. The Saturday night accident occurred when the officer was responding to a report of a fight. At an intersection, he became involved in an accident with a 2014 Toyota Camry driven by the woman. The woman required extrication from her vehicle after the accident.
Car accidents in New Jersey have been steadily increasing over the past several years. In one recent year, more than 278,000 crashes took place, with 30,078 of those accidents occurring in the Newark area. If you were injured in a car accident, our experienced Newark car accident lawyers can help you understand the legal options available to you.
What Types of Car Accidents Occur in Newark?
Drivers in New Jersey experience all types of car accidents, including:
- Rear-end accidents: This is one of the most common causes of car accidents across the nation, resulting in more than 2,000 fatalities a year, as well as thousands of injuries, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Rear-end accidents involve the front of one vehicle colliding with the rear-end of another. These accidents are often the result of the following car tailgating the lead car. When the lead car stops suddenly or slows, it can cause the following car to be unable to stop before the crash occurs.
- Sideswipe accidents: Sideswipes occur when the side of one car collides with the side of another. This type of accident is most commonly associated with improper lane changes, where the driver who is attempting to overtake another vehicle either fails to get completely into the passing lane or attempts to cut over into the lane of travel after the passing is complete. Sideswipes may also occur due to a vehicle that drifts out of its lane or swerves into an adjacent lane in an attempt to avoid another collision.
- T-bone collisions: Also known as broadside or angle accidents, T-bone collisions involve the front of one vehicle striking the side of another. This type of accident generally occurs at an intersection and may be due to red-light running or failing to yield the right-of-way when making a left turn without a green traffic arrow. T-bone accidents can result in significant injuries, particularly to vehicle occupants sitting on the side of the vehicle that was struck.
- Head-on collisions: Head-on collisions, while relatively rare, account for a high number of fatalities. This type of accident occurs when the front of one vehicle strikes the front of another vehicle. One of the reasons this type of accident is so deadly is because the opposing forward motion of each vehicle increases the impact of the collision.
- Chain reaction collisions: This type of accident involves three or more vehicles. When many vehicles are involved, it is called a pileup. Generally, chain reaction collisions occur when two vehicles collide and one vehicle is pushed into a third vehicle.
Why Do Car Accidents Occur in Newark?
Just as there are many types of accidents, there are also many reasons why these accidents occur. One frequent cause of car accidents in New Jersey is distracted driving involving cell phone use. Cell phone use includes texting, talking on the phone, and other use, such as posting to social media, reading email, or browsing the internet.
In one recent year, more than 1,000 accidents were caused by hand-held cell phone use, including 371 injury accidents resulting in injuries to 503 people. There was one fatality in the state attributed to hand-held cell phone use. With hands-free cell phone use, 377 accidents occurred, resulting in 117 injury accidents and 160 individuals injured.
Some of the other reasons why car accidents occur include:
- Other types of distractions: Driver distractions include anything that draws the driver’s eyes from the road, hands from the wheel, and/or mind from the task of driving. Some common distractions include, in addition to cell phone use, eating and drinking, visiting with other occupants in the car, adjusting the stereo or vehicle controls, daydreaming, and external factors, such as previous accidents, billboards, and people in other cars. According to the New Jersey Attorney General’s office, distracted driving accounted for 80,000 accidents statewide during a recent four-year period. In New Jersey, distracted driving can result in a traffic ticket and penalties and fines ranging between $200 and $400 for the first offense.
- Speeding: Driving too fast for road conditions or exceeding the speed limit are major contributors to car accidents. Speeding decreases your ability to control your car, increases the amount of space required to come to a safe stop, and decreases the effectiveness of the vehicle’s protective features, such as airbags or seat belts. For example, two people were killed after the Porsche they were riding in launched off an embankment and into the second story of an office building. The sports car was reportedly traveling at a high rate of speed before crashing into a median and taking air off the embankment.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way: This includes red light or stop sign running, pulling out or turning when there is not a sufficient gap in traffic to safely do so, or cutting someone off in a lane of travel. For example, a 60-year-old man died in an accident at a busy intersection about an hour from Newark. He and the driver of the other vehicle were both transported to the hospital, where the man later died. The other driver was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
- Alcohol and drug impairment: Alcohol and drugs create deficiencies in the skills a person needs to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner, including the ability to maintain a single lane of travel, to control speed, and to make reasonable decisions. Impairment from alcohol begins long before the legal impairment limit of 0.08 percent. It actually starts with the first drink. In December 2019, a new law went into effect in New Jersey that requires all individuals convicted of a DWI to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, even if it is their first offense. The new law will also require drivers to obtain certification from the manufacturer of the interlock device stating that there were no attempts to start the vehicle with a BAC of .08 or higher during the last third of the penalty period before they are permitted to remove the device.
- Inclement weather: Issues such as icy roads or low visibility can cause accidents. The first major snowstorm of one winter season resulted in more than 400 crashes responded to by state police. These accidents resulted in traffic backups all over the state, as some areas saw as much as 14 inches of snow.
What are Some Common Newark Car Accident Injuries?
Individuals involved in a car accident can experience nearly every type of injury, and many of them are life-altering. Some common injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes include the following:
- Head injuries: One of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries in the United States is car accidents. The impact of a brain injury on a person’s ability to function depends on the severity of the injury and the portion of the brain that was injured. Brain injuries can cause deficits in day-to-day functions, including the ability to speak, memory, emotional regulation, coordination, and the sense of hearing, sight, or smell.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries can result in major impacts to the life of a car accident victim, including permanent disability. These impacts depend on the portion of the spinal cord that is injured, as loss of sensation and function generally occur below the site of the injury. Therefore, if the injury is high up on the spine or in the neck area, more of the body’s ability to function will be affected. Spinal cord injuries may result in paraplegia, which is loss of sensation or function in the legs and pelvis, or tetraplegia (also known as quadriplegia), with impacts the arms, legs, pelvis, torso, and even shoulders, chest, and the ability to breathe without assistance.
- Broken bones: Including broken ribs, which can cause internal damage.
- Internal damage: Including damage to the liver, kidneys, or lung. Internal bleeding may present with delayed symptoms, emphasizing the importance of having a medical exam after a car accident even if you don’t “feel” hurt.
- Deep lacerations: These can result in significant scarring as well as damage to the muscles and soft tissue beneath the skin.
- Burns: Caused by airbag deployment, contact with hot surfaces, or contact with dangerous chemicals.
- Whiplash and other soft tissue injuries: While often regarded as minor, soft tissue injuries can result in chronic pain for some individuals.
- Herniated disc: A condition in which the spinal discs rupture, causing the jelly-like center to seep out; herniated discs often require surgical treatment to repair.
- Trauma to the knees: Knee trauma can result in permanent loss of function and chronic pain.
- Limb amputation: One may either lose a limb in a particularly severe accident or the limb may require surgical removal after the accident due to the severity of damage.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological issues: Most individuals have some level of PTSD after an accident, and for some people, the effects are long-lasting and require psychotherapy.
Car Accident Injury Statistics in Newark, NJ
How Does New Jersey’s No-Fault Insurance Work?
New Jersey is one of a handful of states that uses a no-fault insurance system. With this system, drivers can choose basic insurance coverage, which requires personal injury protection coverage to provide compensation for expenses related to injuries, regardless of who caused the accident. It also provides a limited right to sue another driver for permanent or significant injuries, such as:
- Loss of a body part
- Significant disfigurement or scarring
- A displaced fracture
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent injury, which is a part of the body that is not expected to heal to normal function
The limited right to sue applies only to injury claims. An individual seeking to recover expenses for property damage (which is damage to your vehicle) may sue the at-fault driver for that compensation without reaching the impact threshold.
New Jersey drivers may also choose a standard policy, with coverage that includes:
- Bodily injury coverage of at least $15,000 per person or $30,000 per accident
- The coverage required in basic policies, which includes $5,000 property damage, $15,000 personal injury protection, and $250,000 for personal injury protection that covers you in the event of acquiring serious injuries
With the basic injury policy, if you cause an accident, and someone chooses to sue you for their injuries, you may be financially responsible for the injuries that result. With the standard policy, you may also have the unlimited right to sue, which allows you to file a personal injury claim regardless of whether you’ve met the impact threshold, and you can seek non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Filing a personal injury claim in New Jersey is a complex process, particularly with the various insurance schemes in play in the state. A personal injury attorney can help you to understand how this process works and can provide other services to you, including:
- Carefully examining the details of your case to identify all sources of liability and insurance resources available to compensate you
- Establishing a value to your case based on the severity of your injuries and the impacts they have had on your life
- Negotiating a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- In absence of a settlement, filing a personal injury lawsuit within the jurisdiction where your accident occurred and within the statute of limitations
- Representing you at all pre-trial conferences and hearings, litigating your case, and providing continued representation if an appeal is filed
- Assisting in the collection of your settlement or award
Newark Car Accident FAQs
Victims injured in Newark car accidents immediately have many questions about how to move forward with their lives, especially concerning compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one were in a Newark car accident, contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, and let our firm help figure out those next steps. In the meantime, read on for answers to some of the most common questions we receive from our car accident clients.
1. How do I know who caused a Newark car accident?
In some cases, you may clearly see who caused your Newark car accident—a drunk driver, or a driver distracted by a cell phone or other activity in the vehicle, or a driver breaking any other rules of the road. In other cases, however, it can prove more difficult to determine who is responsible for a car accident.
A car accident lawyer may ask a few key questions to determine who caused the car accident as well as any outside factors that may have contributed.
- What did the accident look like? Often, the position of the cars after an accident can clearly show who caused the accident. For example, a T-bone collision in an intersection with only one stop sign may clearly show that the driver that ran that stop sign and t-boned the other vehicle is responsible for the accident. In a sideswipe collision, the position of or damage to the vehicles may clearly show which driver drifted out of their lane. Not all cases are so clear-cut, and there may even be shared fault. Even if you are partly at fault for an accident, however, you may still recover some amount of compensation, if the other driver was more at fault.
- What does the police report say? The police officer responding to the scene of an accident will take a statement from each driver and from any witnesses who saw the crash. The police may also evaluate the scene of the accident and note any obvious evidence suggesting who caused the accident. Often, the police report will even state which party caused a car accident. Sometimes, however, the police report may contain incorrect information about the car accident. If your police report inaccurately states that you caused the accident, your attorney may need to more carefully investigate the accident and available evidence to overcome the contrary evidence of the police report.
- Was the other driver on the clock when they caused the accident? If a driver was driving in their capacity as an employee at the time of the accident, the driver’s company may share liability for the accident. Employers with driver employees have special duties to train their driver-employees and make sure those employees are fit and safe to be driving, especially if the driver is operating a commercial truck.
- Did a mechanical failure contribute to your accident? Mechanical failure can cause or contribute substantially to an accident. For example, brake failure can make it impossible for a driver to bring their vehicle to a stop, while a steering failure can make it difficult for a driver to control their vehicle at all. If an accident is caused by a mechanical failure, a repair shop or a vehicle or component manufacturer may be liable. If a mechanic recently worked on the vehicle and certified it as road-worthy, but failed to complete needed repairs, the mechanic may share liability for the accident. If a vehicle manufacturer’s brake design had a defect, you may hold the manufacturer responsible.
Working with an attorney after your Newark car accident can make it easier to identify all parties who may share liability for the accident.
2. What should I do about my medical bills after a Newark car accident?
Newark car accidents can lead to severe injuries: traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, back and neck injuries, and broken bones. Any of these injuries may result in long-term conditions or pain, limiting victims’ functions and independence. In many cases, these injuries also result in immense medical bills, which can cause a substantial financial strain at a time when you may already have more than enough challenges to deal with.
Even as the injured party in a Newark car accident, you must make arrangements to manage your medical expenses. Bringing a lawsuit against liable parties can eventually provide much-needed compensation that will allow you to pay for those medical bills; however, before you secure a settlement or a court award for damages, you are responsible for figuring out how to pay the bills. Fortunately, some options can help you pay for the medical treatments while you are waiting for compensation.
PIP insurance. Newark drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. In addition to carrying liability insurance that will help offer compensation for anyone injured in an accident you cause, Newarkers must carry insurance that will cover their own car accident injuries. When it comes to PIP insurance, it does not matter who caused your accident. Even if you caused the accident, you should be covered. You can provide your PIP insurance information to the hospital where you receive emergency medical treatment.
Usually, PIP insurance covers a minimum of $15,000 of medical care. You may have some copays and deductibles, depending on your policy, but that coverage can cover some of your immediate medical expenses. You may have PIP insurance that offers additional coverage.
Health insurance. Health insurance can provide a great deal of financial protection in the event of a serious accident or injury. For victims who suffer injuries that may cause long-term limitations and require long-term medical care, health insurance can help provide essential coverage for the treatments, medical equipment, and medications.
Contact your health insurance provider as soon as possible after your accident to learn about the coverage you have for treatments related to your injuries. You should ask questions about the coverage you have for your specific needs, such as medical equipment, physical therapy, or in-home medical care.
You can always let us know when you’re having trouble with insurance companies that don’t want to pay you what you deserve. We deal with them all the time and may know how to help you.
3. What should I do if the liable driver’s insurance company offers me a settlement related to a Newark car accident?
In some cases, you may receive a settlement offer before you even have a chance to determine the severity of your injuries or estimate your total expenses resulting from the accident. This won’t stop the liable driver’s insurance company from jumping to make an offer to convince you to accept a quick settlement before you even know what you need or deserve.
Many injuries, including injuries like traumatic brain injury and spinal cord damage, will not heal according to a predictable timeline. Instead, your doctors may need time after your accident to see how much you recover and what trauma and setbacks you may face. Until you have had a chance to evaluate what your recovery might look like and the associated expenses, you won’t know how much compensation you should be owed.
You may also need time to figure out what expenses you will incur other than those that are medically-related, such as lost wages for the time you miss from work, or loss of future earning capacity if you are at first unsure whether you can return to as high-paying a job.
Instead of accepting an insurance company’s first settlement, talk to an attorney. An experienced car accident attorney can give you a better idea of the compensation you should expect after a severe accident, which may make it easier for you to decide when to accept a settlement offer and when to continue to negotiate. It may be tempting to take the quick money, but it will likely come at the cost of missing out on thousands and thousands of dollars you will need to fully recover.
4. Do I need an attorney to deal with a Newark car accident case?
Following a car accident that results in relatively minimal property damage, you might choose to pursue compensation through your insurance company, without needing to involve an attorney. On the other hand, if your accident involves serious injuries or severe property damage, having an attorney is often important to ensure that you get the compensation you really deserve for your injuries.
An attorney can:
- Help figure out the full scope of compensation you deserve for your injuries. Many car accident victims do not know how much compensation they should expect, so they end up accepting lower settlements than they really deserve.
- Pursue evidence related to your claim, to help build your case and establish a basis for the compensation you demand.
- Take over negotiations on your behalf, relieving a great burden off your shoulders, knowing that someone with legal experience will handle your claim while you focus on healing.
- Provide legal advice and services at every stage of your case, relieving you of having to figure out all the ins-and-outs of the legal system when you already have enough on your plate.
Many Newark car accident victims find that hiring an experienced car accident attorney helps minimize the stress they face while maximizing the compensation they can receive for their car accident injuries.
5. When should I contact a Newark car accident attorney?
You should contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon after your accident as possible. In Newark, you must file a car accident lawsuit before the state statute of limitations runs out; this is normally within two years of the accident. While this may seem like a lot of time, it ends up going by fast. Furthermore, waiting until the last minute to file a claim can make it much more difficult to gather the evidence you need to build a strong case.
Even if some time has passed since your Newark car accident, however, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced car accident attorney. There may be an exception to the statute of limitations in your case, and the available evidence may still be strong enough to bring a successful Newark car accident claim.
6. What should I do if I discover that I suffered more serious injuries than I initially thought? Can I still file a Newark car accident claim if I didn’t have to go straight to the hospital?
After a Newark car accident, especially one that resulted in any type of injury, you should always go to the hospital to get checked out. Your PIP coverage will help provide much-needed financial assistance managing those bills.
You might feel fine after an accident but unknowingly have a severe injury with latent symptoms. A doctor can help identify the full extent of your injuries and ensure that you receive any needed treatment. Often, people walk away from car accidents, only to discover weeks or even months later that they suffered more serious injuries than they initially thought.
Even if you discover your injuries sometime after a Newark car accident, you can still pursue compensation for those injuries. In these cases, it can be especially critical to consult with an experienced car accident attorney, who can help you track down evidence necessary to bolster your case.
7. How long does it usually take to recover compensation in a Newark car accident claim?
Newark car accident claims do not normally come to a quick resolution. Even a simple claim will need to go through several stages before you can receive compensation. The more complex your accident, whether it involves multiple liable parties or resulted in severe injuries that require compensation for long-term medical treatment, the longer it may take to settle your claim or obtain a final court award for damages.
- Investigation. Before filing your Newark car accident claim, your lawyer will want to investigate and gather as much evidence as possible. It takes time to collect evidence in a Newark car accident case, especially if your accident involved multiple vehicles or an employer with dangerous practices for its drivers. The other party’s insurance company will also want to investigate the accident.
- Healing time. Sometimes, your attorney will want you to take time to heal before pursuing your Newark car accident claim in earnest. It may take time to determine how severe your injuries are how much you can expect to pay for medical bills in the long-term, and your attorney may want to wait until you have had some time for treatment and monitoring to get a better idea of these things.
- Negotiation. Often, it takes several rounds of negotiation over many months before a defendant or an insurance company will make a fair settlement offer.
- Court. If the defendant refuses to agree to a fair settlement, you’ll need to take your case to trial. This includes many stages leading up to the trial, including discovery, in which both sides engage in intensive fact and evidence gathering.
Contact Our Newark Car Accident Attorneys Today
If you sustained an injury in a Newark car accident, consult Jacoby & Meyers, LLP for a case evaluation. When you contact us for a case evaluation, you can share information about your accident and your injuries and learn more about your legal options for recovering damages. Case evaluations are free, and you get to decide if and when you want to file a claim for damages.
Call Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s Car Accident Lawyers if a Motor Vehicle Crash Injured You
If you were injured in a car accident in Newark, our experienced accident attorneys are happy to discuss your case. Contact us today at (973) 643-2707 or write to us using our online contact form to schedule a free case consultation. We’re happy to discuss your case with you and see how we can help.
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Newark NJ 07102
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