Our New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help

When it comes to car accidents in New Jersey, there are a few things to know. This includes the deadline for filing a lawsuit, drivers’ legal duties to report accidents, and rules regarding shared fault in an accident. In this article, we’ll describe multiple facets of filing car accidents in New Jersey.

When Did The Incident Happen

If your vehicle was damaged in a traffic accident or you suffered injuries as a result of a car accident, then you probably want to know how to receive compensation for your losses. There are a few laws in NJ that can affect your case. Take note that the state of NJ is a no-fault car insurance state. 

Since it’s a no-fault car insurance state, you will have to file a claim under your insurance coverage if you want to receive compensation for financial losses, including medical bills. These steps apply regardless of who is at fault. You can bring forth a claim against the at-fault driver if your injury claim meets specific criteria. In the next two sections, the information considers you can do that, but we will also cover no-fault rules in NJ.

Statute Of Limitations In New Jersey 

New Jersey has a statute of limitations law, which means you only have a limited time to file your lawsuit. If the time limit passes but you file your lawsuit anyways, the court will likely dismiss your case. The only way you’ll be able to file after the deadline is if there’s a rare exception that allows you to supersede this rule. 

Generally speaking, from the date of the accident, you have two years to file your lawsuit. After two years have passed, you will likely have your lawsuit dismissed if you try to claim. Two years is the statute of limitations.

 

Comparative Negligence

The results are usually predictable when one driver was entirely at fault. Often, it will be the other driver’s insurance company that will pay to cover your losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. However, if you were partly at fault, then what happens? 

When multiple parties share blame for an accident, then the modified comparative fault rule is followed by the state of NJ. In most cases involving car accidents, the jury calculates two things based on the percentage of fault of the parties involved in the accident and the total amount of the damage incurred by the plaintiff. Under the comparative fault rule, the more at fault a plaintiff is, the less their award will be. 

For example, if your lawsuit is deemed to be worth  $120,000 from the jury, but they decide you are 40% responsible for the accident, then you won’t get the $120,000. Instead, you’ll be awarded $48,000. As for why the jury would decide you’re at fault, this could be you were speeding or ran a red light. Sure, you’ll still receive something, but you could have collected the total amount if you shared less of the blame.   

However, if the jury found that you were half responsible for an accident, then you would not receive anything. This is because NJ is a modified comparative fault state. In some states, you can recover damages if you’re more than half at fault in an accident. The bottom line is if you want to be awarded anything in the state of NJ, then you need to be found to be no more than half at fault. 

Car Accident Law Firm 

The comparative negligence rule in New Jersey bounds judges and juries. Not only that, but insurance claims adjusters will keep the rule in mind when they are evaluating your case.

However, this shouldn’t stop you from filing a lawsuit. What you want to do is speak to an attorney. Tell them about your situation, and then they’ll tell you what action you should take. 

Reporting A Car Accident

If death or an injury occurred as a result of a car accident you were involved in, or if damage occurred to a vehicle or another property (and it’s damage appear to be $500 at the minimum), then you have to contact the local police department and file a report. Alternatively, you can report the accident to the state police or the county police. As for when you have to report the accident, you should do so immediately. Generally speaking, reporting the accident via cell phone is the best way to make a report. 

The last thing you want to do is nothing at all. By law, you have to report the accident. As previously mentioned, you should report the accident right after being involved in an accident. 

A written accident report typically needs to be filed by the driver, and this has to be done no later than ten days since the date of the accident. There is a form called ‘Self-Reporting Crash,’ and that’s the form that needs to be filled out and then filed. The form can be downloaded via the NJ Department of Transportation’s website. If you want to learn more about the rules, then you can check out section 39:4-130 of the NJ statutes. 

No-Fault Car Insurance Laws In New Jersey

As previously mentioned, NJ has a no-fault car insurance scheme. This means passengers and drivers who are injured in an accident will usually need to contact their own insurance companies. They’ll need to do this if they want to receive compensation for lost income, medical bills, and other financial losses as a result of a crash. This is regardless of whether or not you’re at fault in the accident. 

Only in certain circumstances can you bring forth a claim against an at-fault driver. If you want to know if you can, then take a look at the NJ no-fault car insurance rules. Remember, it’s always best to speak to an attorney before filing a lawsuit.