How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help if You’re Being Blamed For an Accident

By Greg Kohn

When another driver causes a car accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages. However, allegations of comparative negligence could reduce the amount of money you receive for your injuries and damages. A New Jersey car accident attorney helps you fight allegations of blame so that you can receive compensation for the total of all damages caused by a negligent driver.

Proving Fault for the Cause of a Car Accident in New Jersey

Before discussing comparative negligence, it helps to understand what you must prove to recover money for a car accident claim. The injured party has the burden of proving that the other driver was negligent. A negligence claim requires you to prove four legal elements:

  • Duty of Care – All drivers have a duty of care to follow traffic laws and operate a vehicle with reasonable care.
  • Breach of Duty – The other driver failed to take reasonable care while operating the vehicle to avoid causing a car accident. 
  • Causation – The driver’s conduct was a direct and proximate cause of the car accident.
  • Damages – You sustained damages because of the car accident. 

A car accident attorney investigates the cause of the crash to prove how the car accident occurred. The lawyer must also have evidence proving the other driver’s conduct or failure to act was why the accident occurred. Once you prove causation and fault, you can demand compensation for damages. 

What Is the Insurance Company Blaming Me for Contributing to the Cause of the Accident?

The insurance company wants to avoid paying your claim. It can deny your claim if it can blame you for causing the car accident. However, if the insurance company cannot prove you were entirely at fault for the cause of the car crash, it might argue you contributed somehow to the cause of the car wreck. Shifting some of the blame to you can reduce the amount the insurance company pays.

Comparative negligence is a legal theory that assigns damages based on the degree of negligence each party has for causing an accident. In some states, if you are just 1% to blame for causing the car accident, you cannot recover any money for damages.

However, New Jersey adopted a modified comparative negligence law. The law states that contributing to the cause of your injury does not prevent you from receiving money for damages unless your negligence is 51% or greater. Otherwise, your compensation is reduced by your level of fault.

For example, if you are 55% at fault for causing a car crash, the law bars you from recovering any damages from the other driver. 

However, suppose a jury found you were 25% at fault for the car accident. In that case, you would receive 75% of the damages award. In other words, if the jury awarded you $100,000 for damages, you would receive $75,000.

Because insurance companies use anything you say to try to shift blame to you, it is best to talk with a lawyer before giving a statement or discussing the claim with an insurance adjuster. 

Contact Our New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation 

Do not let the insurance company try to blame you for causing an accident that was not your fault. Instead, contact our law office to schedule a free consultation with our experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney. Our legal team is ready to fight to get you the money you deserve after a car accident.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.