Overview of Personal Injury Law for Accident Victims
Summary: A personal injury lawyer can represent a victim after an accident or an attack. Legal support could help a person confront responsible parties with a claim for damages.
You may be familiar with the term personal injury in association with motor vehicle accidents. Across the whole population, the toll of these injuries is staggering. A report prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributed $18 billion in damages to crash injuries in one year. The majority of these costs hit people in the first 18 months after an accident.
Personal injury claims are not limited to traffic accidents. Common categories are:
- Car, truck, or motorcycle accidents
- Slips and falls
- Animal attacks
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Workplace accidents
- Assault and battery
- Wrongful death
- Product liability
- Premises liability
Even if the negligent actions that harmed you were not intentional, the individual or organization that made the mistakes could still be considered responsible. For example, a manufacturer of a defective product likely did not intend to cause harm, but the company failed in its duty to produce goods safe for consumers. Some cases actually do involve intentional actions, like an assault or nursing home abuse.
If financial pressures are mounting for you after an accident, a conversation with a personal injury lawyer could improve your ability to collect compensation. New Jersey personal injury law recognizes your right to pursue damages when a reckless, negligent, or otherwise responsible party harms you. During a consultation about your accident, we will inform you about important concepts related to personal injury cases.
Statute of Limitations
New Jersey grants you two years after your injury to take legal action. If you do not act within this time period, your ability to file a lawsuit could be very limited. There are extenuating circumstances that may make it possible to file after the two-year mark, but this must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the sooner you act, the easier it is to collect evidence, gather witnesses, and make an effective case.
Informal Settlement Versus Formal Lawsuit
Depending on the details of your case, we might determine that a private individual bears liability for your injury, but small businesses, corporations, or government agencies are common defendants as well. We are prepared to communicate your claim to any entity.
Initially, we might pursue an informal settlement. In this situation, we present the responsible party with evidence about the causes of the accident and your resulting expenses. We’ll advocate for your needs during negotiations until a written agreement and financial settlement results.
At times, a formal lawsuit becomes necessary. This takes the matter before a civil court. A personal injury lawsuit might still produce a pretrial settlement, but the possibility of conducting a trial before a jury remains.
The payment of a settlement is meant to cover the financial consequences of the accident. In New Jersey, personal injury damages could cover many types of expenses arising from your accident. Examples include:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Costs to retrofit a home for disability
- Property damage
- Funeral expenses
The details of your case and applicable insurance policies will play a role in determining the amount of damages that you might be able to collect.
The state has adopted a modified comparative negligence rule. This means that if you bear partial responsibility for what happened, the settlement could be reduced by the percentage of your personal fault. As long as evidence does not show your fault to be 50 percent or more, a settlement remains possible.
The Importance of Documentation
Many cases involve insurance companies that will look for reasons to reduce or deny compensation. We will work to counteract this effort by gathering police accident reports, interviewing witnesses, and consulting professionals like accident reconstruction specialists or physicians. Any accident scene photographs or videos, written notes, or witness statements that you can provide will also aid your chances of success.
Get Legal Help
Denis Driscoll is prepared to organize court filings and confront insurance companies on your behalf. Call or email our office to talk about your accident with our personal injury lawyer.