The Process of Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in New Jersey

By Greg Kohn
Partner

You’ve just been in a car accident in New Jersey. Feelings of shock, confusion and worry overwhelm you as you try to gather yourself and make sense of what just happened. In the aftermath of an accident, it is critical to remember there are specific steps you still need to take that can help protect you and also ensure you receive your due compensation. This guide by our experienced New Jersey attorneys, will help walk you through the process of filing a car accident lawsuit in New Jersey. 

Immediate Actions Post-Accident

The safety of all parties involved is the priority. Some immediate post-accident actions to be taken include:

  • Seeking medical attention if there are any injuries, and keep records of all medical treatments, visits, and expenses.
  • Documenting the scene by taking photographs of the vehicles, road conditions, and any other relevant information, such as witness statements and contact details.
  • Report the accident, as this police report is critical for your case. 
  • Notify your insurance company

And above all, do not admit fault or liability at the scene. This can only be determined later through the legal process and consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. 

Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney

Not every accident is likely to follow with a lawsuit. However, it is advisable to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who specializes in car accident cases. Your attorney will provide you with capable advice based on the details of your accident and the evidence collected. Through this process, you will be guided through the legal requirements to help you to understand your rights and options. 

File an Insurance Claim

New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state. What this means is your insurance company will cover your medical expenses and lost wages up to a certain limit, regardless of who was at fault. You are also able to file a claim under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage for medical expenses. 

Filing the Lawsuit

If you decide to pursue legal action, then your attorney will begin the process of filing a complaint in the appropriate court. This complaint will outline your allegations from the accident and the damages you are seeking. New Jersey has a two-year statute of limitations (N.J. Stat. § 2A:14-2(a)) from the date of the accident for filing personal injury claims. Remember, it is important to act promptly to preserve your legal rights. 

Discovery Phase

At this phase, both parties exchange information relevant to the case. This can include: 

  • Interrogatories
  • Document requests
  • Depositions

Discovery is helpful to your case as it gives each party the opportunity to build their case. While discovery may seem lengthy based on the complexity of the accident, your attorney will be there to provide expert assistance. This phase is critical as it sets the stage for your lawsuit. 

Settlement Negotiation

You could come to an agreement to settle or resolve your claims before going to trial. Settlements can occur at any stage of the lawsuit, and typically involves discussions between the parties, led by both attorneys. If you choose to settle, you can save time and resolve the dispute quicker. You should never settle or negotiate without your attorney, as this can cause unnecessary legal repercussions.

Trial Phase

If a settlement cannot be reached, your case will go to trial. During this phase, you and the defendant will each present your case and the jury will deliver a verdict, which determines whether the defendant is liable to compensate you. 

Consulting With an Attorney Is Always the Best Option

This guide outlines the necessary steps to help you deal with the aftermath of a car accident in New Jersey. You do not have to navigate the legal system alone as our expert attorneys can provide the legal representation you need. Helping you to secure the best outcome for your case is our top priority. Contact us today to explore your legal options.

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.