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Have you ever had a car accident and wondered what to do next? After a car accident in New Jersey, you should get compensation for your suffering.
This is money to pay for the physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial losses you endured during that devastating occurrence.
However, the car accident claims process can be confusing, discouraging many motorists from pursuing car accident claims.
Are you facing such a challenge? Here’s how to navigate through the New Jersey car accident claims process.
5 Steps to Take When Filling a Car Accident Claim in New Jersey
Report the car accident to the police
Once you come to and are sure you can move about after the accident, report it to the police.
You may be confused about whether or not to report the accident. If so, here’s what to look for;
- Did the accident result in a severe injury/death? If so, the law in New Jersey requires parties injured in a car accident to file an oral report with the local authorities immediately after the incident.
- Was any property damaged during the accident? If the property destroyed during the accident is over $500, you should file an oral report with the local police.
- Is an oral report all you need to file after an accident? No. You must also file a written report with the New Jersey Vehicle Commission within 10 days of the accident.
When you file a report with the police, they will have documentation of what happened, enabling them to investigate the accident thoroughly.
The more detailed you are, the easier it will be for them to establish who is at fault for the accident.
Remember to keep a copy of the report you give and the police report number you get for your court case.
Notify your car insurer of the accident
New Jersey has mandatory minimum insurance requirements you must be aware of.
It is a “no-fault” insurance state, so your personal injury protection (PIP) cover will pay for the injuries you suffer during the accident regardless of who is at fault.
You must also have liability insurance to cover payment for any damages or injuries to the other driver’s car or person if you are at fault and their PIP insurance is not enough to cover them.
Insurance companies need to get notification of accidents as soon as possible after they happen. So make a call to your insurer as quickly as possible after such an incident.
While talking to your insurer, avoid admitting fault. Limit the information you give them to details of the damages to your vehicle/person and add a short description of the accident.
Remember that any statements you make could be used against you later to deny you compensation. You could also pay for damages you are not liable for; therefore, let the insurance assessors investigate the accident and come to their own conclusions.
Collect information about the car accident
After you report the accident to the police and your insurer, take note of all the information you can from the accident scene. Start with the names, contacts, and insurance information of the drivers, pedestrians, and witnesses to the accident.
It would also be best if you took pictures and videos of the scene of the accident, focusing on the damaged parts of the vehicle and the injuries suffered by the people.
Record witness accounts of the accident, too. This information will favor you during a court case when you need to give a clear account of the accident.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
You will process your car accident claims faster with the help of a New Jersey car accident lawyer. The lawyer you choose must specialize in car accident cases as their experience will favor you in court and with the insurance companies.
Make sure you pick an attorney with whom you have a good understanding and cordial relationship. That way, you are assured they will listen to you and adhere to your instructions.
This will also make it easier for you to face the court case and achieve a fair settlement, especially if there are lengthy negotiations.
File your car accident claims lawsuit on time
While it is advisable to talk to the victims of an accident and negotiate for a fair settlement when pursuing an insurance claim, you can’t wait too long to pursue a lawsuit if talks fail.
There is a 2-year strict deadline for filing a car accident lawsuit in New Jersey. This means you only have two years after an accident to file a claim in the state.
So settle things as soon as possible with your insurance company and the courts after the accident to avoid missing the time limit.
What to expect from a car accident settlement case in New Jersey
Are you worried about your insurance claims case going to trial? There is no need to worry if you follow the processes mentioned here.
However, it’s good to note that car accident claims rarely go to court in New Jersey. Most people prefer to settle out of court to avoid losing a trial.
Negotiating a settlement with the people involved in the accident increases your chances of getting compensation. It also saves all parties involved from unnecessary expenses, stress, and loss of time.
Focus on being cordial during the settlement negotiations to ensure you come to a mutually agreeable result. Remember to put the terms of your agreement in writing for future reference in case either parties go back on their word.
If you disagree, the judge may try to help by ordering a mandatory settlement conference before or on the day of the trial, where he will act as a mediator.
This is to give you and the other parties involved in the accident another chance to agree. Otherwise, the case will go to trial if you can’t reach a resolution.
What average settlement can you expect in a New Jersey car accident claims process?
The settlement you get or pay for a car accident claim in New Jersey will depend on the damage caused to property, people, and vehicles in the incident.
To determine how much you should get or pay as compensation after an accident, here’s what to consider;
- Evidence of damages and faults identified by police and insurance investigators after the car accident.
- Any medical bills, car repairs, lost wages, and pain/suffering shouldered by the car accident victims.
- The insurance coverage you or the people at fault in the accident have to compensate for issues arising from the accident. Insurance companies rarely pay more than what is specified in policy limits.
Final Thoughts on Navigating a Car Accident Claims Process in New Jersey
A car accident can have a life-changing impact on your life.
You may require hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, and several follow-up visits with your doctors. These things will all require money.
If you do not get the right help, you may risk permanent problems such as an unforeseen disability. Therefore, you need help from a personal injury attorney to get adequate compensation for your accident.
The lawyers have the knowledge and experience to successfully get you through the New Jersey accident claims process. They will fight for you and ensure you get the necessary physical, emotional, and financial support.
Call a personal injury lawyer for assistance with your car accident claims process today!