Newark Car Accident Laywer
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 attorneys can help you understand the legal options available to you.
Types of Car Accidents
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 Car Accidents Occur
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.
Common 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.
How New Jersey’s No-Fault Insurance Works
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
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.