What you can expect from a car accident case depends on a number of factors, including how significant the damages are and what role you played in the accident. Let’s review how this process works in different situations, and always keep in mind that contacting an auto accident attorney to help you with your case is often in your best interests.
New Jersey: A “No Fault State”
There are only a dozen or so “no fault” states, and our beloved New Jersey is one of them. Being a “no fault” state means that, in most cases, it doesn’t matter who’s at fault for a car accident when it comes to filing your insurance claim. If you’re injured in a car accident, you file a claim against your own insurance company regardless of whether you or the other driver was responsible for the accident.
The only exception to this that may allow you to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver is if your injuries meet the monetary or “serious injury” threshold for the state. In these cases, you need to contact an auto accident attorney to help you make your case.
Car Accidents in “Fault States”
The majority of states in the US are “fault” states, however. These states mandate that the negligent party’s auto insurance company is responsible for compensating the injured party for their injuries and property damages. The concept of fault is based on the idea that all citizens owe one another a reasonable amount of duty and care.
In order to file a claim against the negligent party’s insurer and receive compensation for your injuries, you need to prove that they had a duty to uphold, that they failed to uphold this duty and that this failure directly caused your injuries.
What if Multiple Parties are at Fault?
In some cases, the negligence of multiple parties caused the car accident. Different “fault” states have different standards for determining whether an injured person can still receive compensation for their injuries if their negligence contributed to the accident. In pure comparative fault states, the amount of damages a party can receive depends on their percentage of fault in the accident. If their total damages is $10,000 and they were 70% at fault for the accident, they can still receive $3,000 in compensation.
Modified comparative fault states still allow negligent parties to receive compensation as long as they were less than 50% to blame for the accident. So if a party’s damages is $10,000 and they are 40% responsible for the accident, they can still receive $6,000 in compensation. But if they are 70% responsible, they cannot collect any damages. Finally, contributory negligence states maintain that anyone who is in any way liable for the accident cannot receive any amount of compensation for their damages.
Contact an Auto Accident Attorney
Whether you live in a “fault” or a “no fault” state, understanding car accident claims and dealing with insurance companies adds more strain onto an already strenuous situation. Consult an auto accident attorney to help you through this difficult time. For those of you in New Jersey, contact one of our local Paterson, NJ experts at The Law Offices of Peter Davis to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.