Auto Accidents

Car Accident Lawyers

Despite what their name suggests, car accidents rarely happen by accident. Often, they are the result of someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness. If you have been in a car accident that resulted in injuries or property damage, you have the chance to file a personal injury claim and receive compensation.

Since the process of filing a personal injury claim and getting compensation is so complex, it is important to have experienced personal injury lawyers helping you. At Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq, we can offer help for those who have experienced injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering because of a car crash.

Who Gets Into the Most Car Accidents?

Although it is possible for anyone to get into a car accident, people are more likely to cause car crashes when they engage in certain behaviors.

Distracted Drivers

In the state of New Jersey, as well as in the rest of the country, distracted drivers are a serious concern. Distracted driving is highly dangerous and claims an average of 3,522 lives each year in the United States. It refers to any activity that shifts your attention from driving to another activity. It can include driving while:

  • Texting
  • Speaking on the phone
  • Reaching for something
  • Fiddling with the stereo
  • Using the GPS
  • Speaking to passengers

Distractions can be manual, visual, or cognitive. Handheld cellphone use causes an average of 1,000 car accidents each year in New Jersey. When you take your eyes or your mind off the act of driving, you do not have the ability to respond to changes on the road.

Intoxicated Drivers

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is very dangerous and makes up one-third of all car accidents in New Jersey. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, so it makes your reaction times slower and hinders your coordination. This is a potentially fatal combination.

Across the whole of the United States, the legal blood alcohol concentration limit is 0.08%. Being below that number does not mean you should be behind the wheel, however, since even one drink can impair your concentration levels.

Being under the influence of drugs is also highly dangerous. Prescription medications like opioids make it more likely for drivers to have slowed reaction times or even fall asleep at the wheel. Other types of drugs, like stimulants, make you more impulsive, leading to reckless driving.

Young Drivers

Young drivers also tend to experience car accidents more often. Those who have just received their licenses do not have the experience needed to anticipate hazards on the road or prevent accidents in critical situations.

Young drivers often engage in risk-taking behavior as well, including speeding. Risky behavior combined with inexperience increases this age group’s chance of getting into a car crash.

Types of Car Accidents

There are numerous types of car accidents. The specific kind of accident affects the severity of the potential injuries and the likelihood of fatalities.

One of the most common types of car accidents is the rear-end collision. These accidents frequently occur because of the driver’s inattention to what is happening on the road or because they have been driving too close to the car in front of them.

Maintaining a safe distance between cars allows you some time to brake or maneuver if something changes on the road. Distracted and intoxicated drivers are the ones most commonly involved in rear-end collisions.

Injuries from rear-end collisions can range from mild, like whiplash or bruises, to more severe, like brain injuries. Even at low speeds, crashes can cause serious harm, including spinal cord and neck injuries.

Side-impact collisions occur when a car going in one direction strikes another at a perpendicular angle, forming the shape of a “T” when they collide. The sides of vehicles have less mass, so they are not always able to absorb the impact adequately.

That is why side-impact collisions are particularly dangerous for those in the car that is struck from the side. Most of the time, these accidents are caused by a driver’s failure to stop at an intersection, yield the right-of-way, or respect traffic signals.

Head-on collisions are some of the most dangerous types of car crashes, though they tend to be less common. Their dangerous nature stems from the fact that both vehicles are moving toward each other, magnifying the force of the impact.

These collisions are more likely than others to result in serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries and even death. Distracted driving, intoxicated driving, speeding, and reckless driving can all lead to head-on collisions.

When two or more vehicles are moving parallel to one another, and one of the cars strikes the side of the other, a sideswipe accident occurs. These crashes are common when people are using their phones while driving or when they are turning to look at someone in the back seat.

Sideswipe accidents are dangerous, especially at high speeds, because the impact can cause both vehicles to spin out of control. A car that is no longer under the driver’s control may cause many more accidents and more severe injuries.

Single-vehicle accidents are common, and they occur when a driver hits something in their path, like a barrier, animal, or debris. Striking the obstacle can cause the car to veer off the road and hit something else, leading to further injuries.

Some single-vehicle accidents can be the result of negligence, however. If another person is engaged in reckless driving, you may swerve off the road to avoid them and hit a barrier or other obstacle.

Multi-vehicle accidents can be very dangerous and often result from a chain reaction rear-end collision. If a car is trapped between other cars, passengers in the middle car can suffer severe injuries.

These kinds of car crashes are also complex for claims since there are so many insurers involved, and the fault of the accident may be unclear. Turning to a car accident lawyer is essential in these kinds of instances.

Rollover accidents are more likely to cause catastrophic injuries. The force of flipping in a moving vehicle may result in fires, passenger or driver ejections, organ damage, traumatic brain injuries, and death. Speeding, reckless driving, intoxicated driving, and drowsy driving can all lead to rollover accidents.

Before merging or changing lanes, all vehicles have to check their blind spots, but not everyone does so every time. Smaller vehicles, including motorcycles, can become almost invisible, especially to trucks. This can lead to sideswipe accidents that cause serious injuries.

What To Do After a Car Accident

When you are in a car accident, the first thing you need to do is call for help. If you have injuries or see that others are hurt, reach out to emergency services, or ask someone else to do so. Police will be able to direct traffic around the scene and start gathering evidence. Officers can also add their own observations to the report, which can help you if you are not the at-fault party.

If the accident results in an injury or property damage that adds up to at least $500, you have to report it to the New Jersey State Police, the local police department, or the nearest office of the county police. You will also have to file a report using New Jersey’s self-reporting crash form within 10 days of the accident.

In addition, assess your injuries and let the emergency services know whether you have wounds or are experiencing pain. You still need to have medical professionals check you, even if you feel fine. Some injuries take days to make themselves known, and only medical professionals can identify them ahead of time.

You need to exchange information with the other driver or drivers. Make sure to avoid speaking about what caused the accident. And if there are witnesses, you should get their contact information.

If you are well enough to do so, take pictures or record videos of the scene. Have someone do it for you if you need to go to the hospital. This will all be hugely important when it comes time for you to file any kind of claim.

The next step should be to reach out to a personal injury lawyer. With the right lawyer helping you, you have a much better chance of effectively dealing with insurance companies when filing a claim. A personal injury lawyer can handle all communications with the insurance company on your behalf.

If you speak with your insurer, do not accept any compensation offers they make without first consulting your lawyer.

Insurance Requirements

The state of New Jersey has minimum insurance requirements that all motorists have to meet in case they are in a car accident. Liability insurance is what covers damages if you are at fault, with minimum limits being:

  • $5,000 for property damage
  • $15,000 for the injury or death of one person
  • $30,000 for the injury or death of more than one person

Additionally, no matter who was at fault, you need to have personal insurance protection (PIP), which covers the medical expenses that might occur after a car accident. You need this kind of coverage because New Jersey is a no-fault state.

The minimum limit per person per accident is $15,000, as well as $250,000 for certain serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injury or disfigurement. PIP also covers a minimum of 52 weeks of lost wages, as well as reimbursements for any special services needed, like childcare.

If a death occurs, your PIP can also cover up to $1,000 for funeral expenses. PIP in New Jersey offers up to $10,000 in income continuation benefits as well.

Although it is not a requirement in New Jersey, it is helpful to also have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This type of insurance covers you in case you are in an accident with someone who is uninsured or underinsured.

You want to remember that New Jersey is what is called a “choice no-fault” state. This means that you can choose between standard and no-fault policies. Having a no-fault policy offers lower limits and does not provide liability coverage for bodily injury.

It can expose you to potential risks, including having to pay out-of-pocket — especially if you are at fault. With a standard policy, you get much more coverage and higher limits. It also includes liability coverage for bodily injuries. Even if you are at fault, your insurance covers the other party’s medical bills.

The Financial Burden Caused by Car Accidents

Being in a car accident puts a huge financial burden on you and your loved ones. When dealing with injuries, property damage, lost wages, and so much more, adding financial hardship impounds on the suffering, which is why getting compensation is so important.

Property damage can make up a huge part of your expenses. Your car may have been totaled, which means you have to buy or rent a new one. This can affect your ability to get to work or other obligations.

The process of getting compensation from the insurance company is also stressful, and you may be unable to obtain a fair amount for the car. Even if the insurance company agrees to pay for repairs, it can mean spending days or weeks without transportation. All of this adds to your expenses.

The biggest chunk of expenses typically stems from your medical bills. If you receive an injury that requires a hospital stay, physical therapy, or special equipment, the expenses can quickly escalate. Having the right insurance coverage means being able to get compensation for:

  • Ambulance fees
  • Medical supplies
  • Physical therapy
  • Ongoing care and treatments
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Doctor consultations
  • In-home care services
  • Permanent disability costs

You might also experience lost wages because of the car accident itself. If you receive injuries that require hospital stays and therapy, you lose all of the wages you would have made during those days. And if you are the breadwinner in the family, that loss makes a huge impact on all of your loved ones.

In some cases, you may even be able to receive lost wages from the insurance company, even if you were given paid time off. This includes sick leave.

You may also incur out-of-pocket expenses like over-the-counter medical supplies, parking fees, towing, and much more because of the car accident. If these are costs that you would not otherwise have had to pay, they are a financial burden that the accident caused.

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How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?

Every car accident is unique, and many factors come into play when determining how much a claim is worth. People who have sustained minor injuries, for example, will usually be able to get less compensation than those who suffered catastrophic ones.

Compensation considers:

  • Medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages

The kind of insurance coverage you have, as well as who was at fault, will also impact the amount you receive. If you have a standard policy in New Jersey, for example, you can sue the person who was at fault for expenses that your PIP might not cover. If you have a no-fault policy, however, that is not the case.

When you turn to car accident lawyers, you get the chance to maximize the amount you receive. Even if you are unsure what your claim may be worth, turning to professionals with experience is vital.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

The only instance in which you do not need a car accident lawyer is when no one is injured and no property is damaged. In any other type of case, getting someone to represent you is essential.

Whether the accident was your fault or not, getting a consultation from an experienced lawyer can help you answer any lingering questions. Even if you think it is a clear-cut case, there may be factors you do not know about or do not fully understand.

For example, you may not realize that the other party was texting while driving and was not paying attention to the road. As a result, they were not able to react in time to avoid the collision. There could also have been a defective part in your vehicle or in the other person’s, which led to the accident.

A car accident lawyer also knows how to avoid common mistakes that people make when negotiating with insurance companies. Insurance companies are notorious for under-settling or for using threats to make people accept low-ball offers.

Personal injury lawyers know state and federal traffic laws and understand insurance policies. All of this helps us determine how to get the best compensation for you.

Lawyers also possess investigative skills, and we work closely with accident reconstruction professionals, which helps if it is unclear who was at fault. We know how to gather evidence as well, including witness statements, medical records, police records, and more.

Another important benefit that car accident lawyers offer is the chance to calculate damages, including future damages. This is crucial in cases where permanent disability or long-term injuries are a concern.

Personal injury lawyers have litigation experience. If your case is not progressing or if the parties cannot agree on a settlement, it is necessary to go to trial to get you the compensation you deserve.

Even if you think the case is a minor one, turn to car accident lawyers. We will be able to help you understand your claim and help you seek fair compensation.

Why Hire GGL?

When you turn to Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq, you are getting help from people who have been practicing personal injury law for more than 30 years. We are committed to helping you get the compensation you deserve after being in a car accident and suffering property damage, injuries, and pain and suffering.

Furthermore, we are dedicated to advocating for our clients so that they can have an easier time after going through such a traumatic experience as a car accident. We represent people of all ages, and we never under-settle a case. Instead, we maximize case value by preparing each one for trial.

One of the ways that GGL stands apart is our high level of communication with clients. We understand how stressful it is to deal with a lengthy process like a personal injury claim, so we keep you in the loop. This reaffirms that the case is about you. We are here for you.

When you come to Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq, you know you are not getting nonsense. Instead of just saying what you want to hear, we get to the point and provide guidance that you can count on.

It is not enough to have representation after going through a car accident — you need the right representation. Reach out to GGL today.

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