How Fault Is Proved in Personal Injury Accidents
If you’ve been the victim of a car crash that left you with injuries, it’s important to find out who was at fault for the accident. There were more than 4.5 million medically treated injuries caused by auto collisions in 2017 alone, and these operations often led to major health care bills for victims. That’s why anybody who has been hurt by a reckless driver should reach out to a New Jersey personal injury lawyer who can hold the at-fault parties accountable.
Time Limits for Filing Personal Injury Lawsuits
It’s important to remember that there is a limited amount of time in which a crash victim can take action. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in any type of personal injury case is two years, which starts at the date of the initial injury. This is the case whether an individual is filing the lawsuit against another person or entity, such as an automaker or government agency. The ability to obtain compensation is lost entirely after these two years have passed.
Shared Fault Laws to Consider with Personal Injury Cases
New Jersey is considered to be a shared fault state for most types of personal injury cases. This means that compensation is determined based on the fault of the individual filing the lawsuit. More than 50 percent fault for the person filing the lawsuit means that no compensation will be awarded. If you are determined to be at fault by around 20 percent, the final compensation amount will be reduced by about the same amount. This reduction can be made at trial when in front of a jury or during settlement talks. Fault is determined based on an extensive investigation that collects evidence such as:
- A police report of the accident
- Photos of the injury and accident scene
- Cell phone records
- Witness statements
- Captured videos of the accident
The types of evidence that are gathered depend on what kind of accident has caused the injury.
Car Insurance Fault Differences
When it comes to a standard car insurance claim where an injury occurred, New Jersey is a choice no-fault state. This means that your personal injury protection insurance claim will provide compensation no matter who was at fault for the accident. The main focus of most PIP insurance policies is medical expenses, which are usually covered up to the specified limit on the policy. The types of additional coverage that a person is provided with will depend on the type of PIP insurance policy they select. Some of the losses and expenses that can be covered by these insurance policies include loss of wages because of the accident, funeral expenses and death benefits if necessary. Furthermore, a policy may cover obtaining services necessitated by the injuries, which can include everything from mowing the lawn to driving your children to and from school.
A person can file a lawsuit against another individual based on the type of PIP insurance policy they obtain. Everyone has a choice between obtaining a basic policy and a standard policy, the former of which provides the least amount of benefits. When a person selects a basic policy, they automatically have a limited right to sue. Anyone who obtains a standard policy can choose between a limited right to sue or an unlimited right to sue. Since medical expenses are already covered with PIP insurance, both the limited and unlimited right to sue apply to compensation relating to pain and suffering or other non-economic expenses. A limited right only allows a person to sue in the event of a permanent injury, such as:
- Displaced fractures
- Loss of a fetus
- Loss of a body part
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
If you’ve been hurt by another individual or entity that caused an accident, consider reaching out to a legal professional. Our New Jersey personal injury attorney can tell you more about how to proceed. Call our office in Parsippany, NJ, at 973-947-7111.