Being involved in a car accident is never easy. Your primary concern should always be your health and safety, but getting the medical treatment you need and returning to life before your accident can be incredibly difficult and expensive. That’s why it’s important to take action and seek the compensation you’re entitled to in the aftermath of an accident that wasn’t your fault.
However, seeking compensation on your own can be challenging and many people aren’t sure how to get started and if and when they need to hire an attorney.
Continue reading to learn when you need to hire a car accident lawyer after being involved in a car wreck in Paterson, NJ.
When Your Insurance Doesn’t Cover Your Damages
The state of New Jersey operates on a “no-fault” insurance system and requires every driver to carry a basic amount of insurance. In a no-fault state, your auto insurance policy is responsible for covering your medical bills and other expenses, regardless of who is at fault for your accident. While your insurance coverage is absolutely vital, it may not fully cover all of your losses, especially in the event of a serious accident. For example, if your bodily injury policy provides coverage up to $15,000, but your medical bills total $20,000, you could be stuck paying the difference out of pocket.
Should the other party involved be responsible for the accident and your insurance limit not meet the cost of your injuries, you may be able to file a claim with their insurance company. However, this often involves navigating a complicated legal process and insurance companies will likely do whatever they can to pay you as little as possible. If you’re in this situation, an experienced car accident attorney will give you the best chance of receiving the full amount of compensation you need to recover your losses.
When You’re Partially Responsible
Not every car accident is the sole fault of one person. When multiple drivers are at fault for an accident, insurers must consider the concept of comparative negligence. This law states that any compensation you’re entitled to can be reduced by the percentage of responsibility you share in the accident.
For example, if you were found to be 10% responsible for the accident, your compensation may be reduced by that amount. It’s important to remember, however, that if you are more than 50% at fault, you likely will not be able to recover damages from the other party’s insurance company.
If you’re found to be partially responsible for your accident, navigating the legal process and getting the compensation you deserve can become even tricker. However, keep in mind that you may still be entitled to compensation even if you were slightly at fault for your accident. In these situations, you’ll want to have a lawyer by your side who can build a strong case on your behalf.
When You’ve Suffered Non-Economic Damages
While a lawyer can help determine and gather evidence for economic damages, like your medical bills and lost wages, they can also help support your claim for non-economic damages you may be owed. These kinds of damages are harder to quantify, as they include the impact your accident has had on your day-to-day life, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and decreased quality of life.
Insurance companies will often try to downplay the emotional impact your accident has had. That’s why having an experienced car accident attorney who knows how to properly determine a fair amount for any non-economic damages you’ve suffered will be incredibly beneficial. Putting the right lawyer on your side as soon as possible in these situations will make fighting for the true value of your claim much easier.
Get Help Today
So, when do you need to hire a car accident lawyer? If you’ve suffered serious injuries in an accident that wasn’t your fault, the answer is as soon as possible!