Being involved in a car accident is emotionally stressful and physically taxing. Plus, you likely have medical bills and other costs. If you pursue a personal injury claim, you may be eligible for compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other related damages. Understandably, prospective clients want to know how much they will receive if they pursue a personal injury case. However, there is no such thing as an average settlement for a car accident in New Jersey. Each accident case and client is unique. The compensation you might receive varies based on your specific circumstances. Below, the attorneys at Glugeth & Pierguidi, P.C. describe the factors affecting car accident settlements in New Jersey. Speak with our car accident attorneys today!
What Factors Impact NJ Settlements for Car Accidents
It is important to understand how attorneys and insurance companies calculate settlement amounts and what you may be able to recover for damages. Most commonly, your settlement depends on the extent of your injuries, damages, liability, and available insurance coverage.
Injury Type and Severity
The severity of your injuries forms the basis for calculating a potential settlement. Severe or life-altering injuries may result in higher settlements than minor ones. For example, a broken finger may have fewer related costs than a broken back.
Suppose at the time of the accident, you already suffer from an injury with long-term effects, such as chronic pain or disability. This may also impact your potential recovery. The other driver wouldn’t be responsible for your prior chronic pain. They’d only be liable if they worsen your condition.
You’re entitled to recover all damages related to the accident. Typical damages in a car accident include:
- Medical expenses, such as hospital bills, doctor’s visits, medications, diagnostic testing, and physical therapy;
- Lost wages, including future loss of earning capacity;
- The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other damaged property; and
- General damages, such as physical and emotional pain, loss of consortium, or loss of enjoyment of life.
Even in similar accidents, damages differ drastically. That is why calculating an average New Jersey car accident settlement is complicated.
The third factor that impacts your potential settlement is the issue of liability. Your possible compensation depends on who was at fault for the crash and whether you played a role in causing the accident. Two accidents with similar damages and injuries could resolve for vastly different amounts depending on who was liable.
Most car accident cases rely on the negligence standard. To prove negligence, you must show the following:
- The driver owed you a duty of care to drive safely or follow the rules of the road,
- They breached that duty,
- Their breach caused the accident, and
- You suffered damages from the accident.
You must prove all elements to prevail on liability. That requires strong evidence, such as police reports, witness statements, photographs from the crash scene, and medical records documenting your injuries. Plus, you’ll need proof of your income if you claim lost wages due to your injury.
New Jersey uses a modified comparative negligence system in calculating damages. Under this system, an injured person cannot recover any damages for their injuries if they are more than 50% responsible for the accident. This applies even if the other driver was also careless.
The modified comparative negligence system assigns a percentage of fault to both parties. If an injured person can prove that the other driver was 50% or more at fault, they may be eligible for compensation. Compensation, however, is proportionate to the relative blame assigned to each party. For example, let’s say your total damages are $100,000. If you are 30% responsible for the collision, you could receive 70% of their damages, or $70,000. If you’re 51% or more responsible, you will receive nothing.
New Jersey Automobile Insurance
Auto insurance may affect your potential settlement. Insurers are notorious for trying to undervalue insurance claims. Typically, they try to get injured parties to accept low settlement offers to keep their costs down. You may not even know the extent or long-term consequences of your injuries when you get an insurance settlement offer.
New Jersey’s no-fault car insurance system also can complicate settlements. Generally, most drivers must purchase personal injury protection and file a claim with their own insurance company for physical injuries arising from any car accident.
This system also limits your ability to sue the other party for your injuries, except if your injuries are significant. Accident injuries that allow you to circumvent the regular no-fault system include:
- A displaced fracture,
- The loss of a limb,
- Permanent disfigurement,
- Permanent injury, or
Drivers can opt out of the no-fault insurance system, which also has drawbacks.
An attorney can help you negotiate with insurance companies to maximize your compensation. You should speak with a New Jersey car accident attorney for more information on pursuing a personal injury claim in a no-fault system.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in New Jersey for Car Accidents?
The statute of limitations in New Jersey for car accidents is typically two years from the accident date. That means you must file a lawsuit within two years of the car accident or risk losing your right to compensation.
Some cases have a different filing deadline, sometimes less than two years. For example, in an accident with a vehicle owned by a government entity, you might only have six months to file a claim. Act quickly and speak with a New Jersey car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident to ensure that you meet the deadline for filing a lawsuit.
How a New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Hiring an experienced attorney is an essential step following a car accident. You need someone who can help you calculate the value of your case. An attorney can help you account for the damages in your case and estimate the maximum amount of compensation. A lawyer also can help by gathering evidence to prove liability, negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf, and representing you in court if necessary.
Contact Our New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you suffered car accident injuries, it’s crucial to understand your potential settlement value. Rather than look online for an average settlement for a car accident in New Jersey, contact Glugeth & Pierguidi, P.C. Our skilled team of New Jersey car accident lawyers has years of experience assisting injured victims like you. Don’t let someone else’s careless actions keep you from getting justice. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and get the help you need.