For over three decades, Nagel Rice LLP has been successfully handling car accident cases in New Jersey. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, consulting our skilled car accident attorney will greatly increase your chances of receiving just compensation. We are dedicated to providing you with the very best legal representation possible.
Though most of us have come through one or more fender benders unharmed, the trauma of a serious car accident is an entirely different matter. The consequences of a major injury go well beyond the expense and inconvenience of a parking lot mishap. At Nagel Rice, we know how overwhelming the physical pain, emotional stress, loss of income, and mounting medical bills can be — not to mention the recognition that a momentary occurrence may have permanently altered your life.
Understanding New Jersey’s Car Accident Laws
- New Jersey is a no-fault state which means that, regardless of who has caused your accident, your own auto insurance policy will provide coverage. The amount of damage it will cover depends on the personal injury protection (PIP) policy you purchased. In most cases, your no-fault policy will cover your medical costs and at least partial lost income. What no-fault insurance does not cover, however, is any non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. This is why you need our savvy car accident attorneys to fight for full compensation with a well-executed lawsuit.
- New Jersey’s Comparative Negligence Law
Under this law, you may not file a claim for personal injury damages if you are more than 50 percent responsible for the crash. Assuming that you fall below this threshold and are eligible to sue for damages, the court will deduct your percentage of liability from the settlement award. This means that if you are found to be 20 percent at fault and the court has awarded you $1 million, you will actually receive $800,000.
- Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists (UM or UIM)
Because some motorists are driving without insurance, all drivers are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage for their own protection. If the negligent driver who has caused you harm is uninsured, at least you can tap into available funds from your own insurance policy, though there are limits on the amount you can receive.
Our New Jersey Car Accident Attorney Will Calm the Waters
The turmoil of being seriously hurt in a car accident cannot be overstated. Suddenly, the life you have taken for granted becomes a maelstrom of problems related to insurance coverage, liability, inability to work, damage or loss of a vehicle, hospitalization, medical and surgical options, arranging for nursing care, making your home accessible, arranging for child care, pet care, household services, and even perhaps for help with personal hygiene. Underlying all the pain and confusion looms the question: How will I pay for all this?
Once our car accident attorneys meet with you at a place of your choosing, things will start to fall into place. We have many qualities that will stand you in good stead: in-depth knowledge of federal and state law, familiarity with courtroom procedures, awareness of tactics that may be used against us at trial use, and well-developed techniques to combat them. Most important, we have a long history of winning cases and have won over a billion dollars for our clients over our years in practice.
Once you become a client of Nagel Rice, you can trust us to:
- Handle all communications with opposing counsel and insurance adjusters
- Investigate the site of the accident
- Review the police report
- Examine your medical data
- Interview witnesses
- Have vehicles checked for mechanical defects
- Look into the other driver’s history for evidence of prior driving offenses
- Locate witnesses with relevant expertise (e.g. in medicine or automotive function) who may be able to offer testimony to bolster our case
With our team working for you, you will have access to information about how your case is proceeding without being inundated by phone calls, confusing questions, or documents you don’t understand. Part of our job is to stand between you and those who would interfere with your calm recovery. Above all, our sharp litigators will always make your best interests our priority and work tirelessly to create a strategy that will be persuasive at trial.
Most New Jersey Car Accidents Are Caused by Driver Negligence
In spite of ever-increasing safety devices — seatbelts, airbags, warning alarms of unsafe proximity to other vehicles or pedestrians — serious car accidents continue to occur too frequently. Contributing to the danger are higher-speed vehicles, more and more electronic distractions, and more and more distractible drivers, increasingly congested highways, and large numbers of impaired drivers behind the wheel.
Common causes of car accidents include:
- Distracted driving (while texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, reaching)
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Speeding or ignoring traffic signs or signals
- Driving while sleepy or fatigued
- Improper turning or lane changing
- Weaving among lanes
If your car accident injury was caused by any of the above offenses on the part of another driver, we may well be able to prove that person’s liability and collect the substantial damages you require to restart your life and secure your future.
Sometimes Third Parties Are Responsible for Car Accidents
Negligent or reckless drivers are not the only cause of car accidents in New Jersey. Although less common, a defect in your car or the other driver’s car may be the reason for the collision. If the crash occurred because one of the cars had malfunctioning brakes or steering, or an electrical problem that resulted in fire or explosion, a third party may be liable. In some cases, this third party is the car manufacturer who sold the car. In others, the responsible party is the car dealer or repair shop that performed a shoddy repair.
There are also occasions when the government agency responsible for road maintenance may be held accountable for your injury. If the street or highway was not cleared of snow or debris,
a large pothole was left unrepaired, traffic signals failed to work or a construction site was improperly cordoned off, the city, state, or county may be held liable.
When Car Accidents Are Caused by “Acts of God”
In some situations, no human may be responsible for your car accident. Falling into this category are:
- Wind gusts that blow debris against your windshield, temporarily blinding you
- An animal that runs across the road in front of your car
- An electrical fire caused by lightning that you veer to avoid
- The medical crisis of you or another driver
Though we cannot file a lawsuit against anyone for such occurrences, because New Jersey is a no-fault state, your own insurance company will usually pay if you have comprehensive coverage.
Types of Car Accidents
The nature and severity of your injury were likely affected by the direction both vehicles were driving, the speed they were traveling, the weather, the condition of the road surface, and the angle of impact. Though each accident is unique in some way, car accidents are typically categorized as one of the following:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end crashes
- Side-impact collision (T-bone)
It is noteworthy that serious injuries may result from low-speed collisions, depending on where the victim is seated relative to the point of impact.
Kinds of Injuries Suffered in New Jersey Car Accidents
No matter what financial compensation you require, our goal is to fight hard to see to it that you receive the damages you deserve to pay for all related expenses. At Nagel Rice, we realize that any of the following injuries will result in considerable pain and downtime and that some will cause long-term incapacity, permanent disability, or result in a fatality.
Cuts and Lacerations (the former caused by incisions and the latter by blunt force trauma)
may result from being hit by flying debris, banging into another occupant or into a part of the car itself (window, steering wheel, dashboard, front seat), or being thrown out of the vehicle. Though we tend to think of cuts and lacerations as minor injuries, they can cause excessive bleeding and may be life-threatening.
Burns commonly occur in car accidents in which there is an escape of hot water or steam from a ruptured radiator or a fire or explosion due to spilled gasoline or another flammable liquid. Burns in the third-degree or higher are among the most painful injuries and may result in permanent scarring and disfigurement.
Bone Fractures have to be casted or otherwise immobilized. Surgery may be necessary if the bone break involves a compound fracture or extreme dislocation. Bones take a long time to heal, and may leave patients with permanent damage in spite of one or more operations.
Soft Tissue Damage includes internal bleeding and damage to, or loss or, organs, as well as internal bleeding and damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Amputations of a limb or appendage may happen during the crash or may become medically necessary later if severe infection and gangrene develop.
Crush Injuries usually occur when the victim is compressed between two hard surfaces. In addition to causing bleeding and bruising, they may result in bones that are crushed beyond repair, and severe damage to muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.
Whiplash occurs when the victim’s head and neck snap backward and then forward, straining or spraining head and neck muscles and sometimes fracturing cervical vertebrae. The injury is not only painful but greatly restricts the range of motion. Severe whiplash may result in chronic pain and limited mobility.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) can cause a broad spectrum of symptoms. Depending on which part of the brain is damaged, victims may suffer:
- Nausea, loss of balance, dizziness
- Sensory impairment (e.g. loss of vision or hearing)
- Cognitive impairment (e.g. memory loss, confusion, disorientation)
- Psychiatric symptoms (e.g. anxiety, mood disorders)
Those who suffer from TBIs may remain permanently unable to work or require full-time nursing care.
Spinal Cord Injuries usually require surgical repair and ongoing physical and occupational therapy. Even with rapid intervention, a spinal cord injury may result in paralysis. Depending on the location of the tear, the patient may lose all feeling and mobility below the waist or from the neck down. Paralysis is always incapacitating and life-altering to a greater or lesser degree, often requiring lifetime nursing care.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric problem that can affect every area of the patient’s life since she or he may experience anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, an exaggerated startle response, sensitivity to light and loud noises, and even suicidal thoughts.
Though medications and psychotherapy may be helpful, PTSD can be an ongoing condition.
At Nagel Rice, we have dealt with too many car accident fatalities. Though we are painfully aware that we cannot make up for the devastating loss of a loved one, we will fight tooth and nail to bring you the closure of a successful wrongful death suit and the sense of justice it provides.
If the court determines that the defendant engaged in extraordinary recklessness and/or made a conscious decision to put lives at risk, for example by driving while intoxicated or distracted, the court may also award punitive damages to punish the offender and discourage others from similar misconduct.
Contact Nagel Rice Today to Start the Wheels of Justice Turning
Our priority is getting you and your family settled into the next phase of your life with comfort and financial security. Once you get in touch with our energetic, empathic lawyers, you will realize that you are now on the right path. We will provide you with vigorous legal and emotional support you need to move into the future with hope and a sense of empowerment. Contact us today!