Motor Vehicle Accidents
You are never prepared for the emotional and financial toll an unexpected accident causes. If you are injured in a motor vehicle or motorcycle accident you can easily become overwhelmed when dealing with medical injuries, pain and a limited understanding of the law. Victims of car accidents are entitled to compensation for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and for permanent injury or disfigurement. Please be aware that adjusters and insurers may try to take advantage of victims who are not represented by an attorney experienced in accident law.
Statistics demonstrate that accident victims who retain a lawyer receive three times the compensation paid to individuals who are not represented. Stark & Stark attorneys will fight to recover all the benefits you deserve.
Whenever you are in an auto accident there are many important steps to follow to safeguard your safety and rights.
When should I report an accident to my insurance company or agent?
Immediately! You should report all accidents to your insurance company, broker or agent as soon as possible so that they are not in a position to deny any legitimate claim that you may have.
In addition, your automobile insurance provides you with many benefits and services of which you may be unaware. Contacting your insurance company immediately ensures that you will receive the benefit of the services you have paid for.
When should I contact an auto accident attorney?
Immediately! The laws regarding automobile accidents in New Jersey are increasingly complex and can be very confusing. Whenever you have been in an accident, as a driver or passenger, and have any questions, feel free to contact any of the automobile accident attorneys at Stark & Stark - free of charge. Stark & Stark automobile accident attorneys earn a fee only if money is collected on your behalf.
How do I get my medical bills paid if I am injured in an accident?
Please see our Personal Injury Protection Benefits Legal Guide for Personal Injury Protection Benefit and Medical Expense Benefit information.
Who pays for the property damage to my car?
If you are not at fault, you have two options. You can contact the insurance company of the person who is at fault for the accident. This insurance company will pay for the damage to your car only if they determine that their insured caused the accident.
In the alternative, if you purchased collision coverage, you can contact your own insurance company. Your insurance company will pay for the damage to your car, less any deductibles, no matter who is at fault for the accident.
Once you decide how to proceed, the insurance company will send an adjuster to estimate the damage. The insurance company is responsible for paying the amount it costs to fix the car or the fair market value of the car, whichever is less.
Can I receive reimbursement for my lost wages if my doctor has prohibited me from working as a result of injuries due to the accident?
In New Jersey, most people who are employed are covered by State Temporary Disability Benefits. These benefits are earned through deductions from your paycheck throughout the year.
If injured and unable to work, most people are eligible to collect up to 70% of their gross wages while disabled. These benefits have a maximum duration of six months.
If you are not eligible for State Disability, your employer may provide a private plan. Ask your personnel office about the benefits you are entitled to receive.
Finally, your own auto insurance policy also provides limited benefits for lost wages. These Income Continuation Benefits pay for lost wages for a minimum of 52 weeks in the amount of $100 or more per week. This amount can be greatly increased in both weekly amount and time period of payments by selecting available options. These benefits receive a credit for any Temporary Disability Benefits you are entitled to receive (whether or not you actually receive them). Therefore, you must apply for Temporary Disability Benefits immediately upon stopping work.
Do I have the right to receive money for my injuries and pain and suffering caused by the accident?
The answer to this question is complicated. In order to have any right to collect compensation for your injuries, the other driver involved in the accident must have been at fault. If you did not cause the accident and have been hurt, your ability to recover money depends on the type of insurance you have selected and the severity of your injuries.
Please see our Lawsuit Threshold Legal Guide for information on your ability to make a claim for non-economic loss or pain and suffering and our Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act of 1998 Legal Guide for information on how these benefits may be changing.
If you are responsible for the accident, you cannot recover money for your injuries but are entitled to the many benefits discussed above.
What if the person who caused the accident has no insurance?
Please see our Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Benefits Legal Guide for information on sources of recovery when the party causing the injury does not have insurance or has insufficient insurance to satisfy the claim or claims being made.