NJ Motor Vehicle & Auto Accident Lawyers
Personal Injuries From a Motor Vehicle Crash: Learn Your Rights
Motor vehicle and auto accidents are the leading cause of serious personal injury or death in the United States. They happen every day and the statistics on auto accidents are frightening. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes result in over 2.74 million injuries and over 36,00 fatalities. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States. In New Jersey alone there are roughly 60,000 injury-causing accidents and over 520 fatal crashes each year. Insurance companies know these statistics, and specifically train their adjusters how to undermine or deny otherwise valid injury claims. This is why hiring an experienced auto accident attorney in New Jersey is essential to protect your rights after an auto accident causes serious personal injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one.
Our NJ Auto Accident Lawyers Have you covered
Here at the Law Offices of John Allegra, we have over 30 years of experience handling serious and catastrophic personal injury cases throughout New Jersey. We are committed to justice and we will not let overreaching insurance adjusters and aggressive defense lawyers keep victims from obtaining the compensation they deserve for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and other damages due to a negligent or dangerous driver. We offer FREE consultations and can meet you at home or in the hospital to discuss your legal rights. We also accept cases on a contingency fee basis which means we only get paid a percentage of what we recover for you and only after we recover it for you—guaranteed no-fee unless you get paid.
Common Injuries from Auto Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents can cause all types of personal injuries, even in minor crashes or low-speed collisions. While some injuries may appear mild, oftentimes they can quickly become debilitating and require surgery. Other times injuries from an auto accident could be catastrophic. In fact, car crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries and the second leading cause of hospitalizations for traumatic brain injuries.
Some of the most common injuries include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) including concussions, diffuse axonal injuries, coup-contrecoup, and brain bleeds
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) including paraplegia, quadriplegia, monoplegia, and other paralysis
- Amputations or loss of a limb
- Broken bones or fractured bones, including the need for surgery (open reduction)
- Knee injuries including a torn meniscus or damaged ACL, PCL, MCL, or LCL
- Torn rotator cuffs in the shoulder
- Orbital blowout fractures
- Nerve injuries, including brachial plexus injuries
- Organ damage, including heart contusions, liver lacerations, bruised kidneys, and other organ injuries
- Significant lacerations or disfigurement, including foreign objects or debris (scatters glass)
- Shoulder separations or dislocations
- Burn injuries, either from fires, explosions, or chemical
- Back and neck injuries, including slipped discs, herniations, annular tears, and other damages
- Wrongful death, and
- Other injuries that our auto accident lawyer in NJ could recover for you in a personal injury action.
Liability for Auto Accidents in NJ
A victim injured in an auto accident needs to establish fault, or liability. Most motor vehicle crashes are premised on negligence or a violation of a vehicle and traffic law. A party is negligent when he or she has a duty of care, breaches that duty, and the breach causes damages to another.
Under New Jersey law, all motorists owe other drivers a duty of care under the common law, or judge-made law. This duty requires motorists to exercise reasonable care in the use or operation of a motor vehicle. It requires motorists to see what there is to be seen, comply with the vehicle and traffic law, and avoid causing reckless harm or damage to others. A driver who acts negligently and causes injury to another could be liable for a victim’s injuries.
In addition, a violation of the vehicle and traffic law that is meant to protect innocent people from harm could automatically establish liability through the doctrine of negligence per se. This doctrine allows a victim to focus on establishing damages.
Example of Liability for Rear End Collisions
Rear-end collisions are some of the most common causes of a motor vehicle collision. Both the common law and the statutory law seek to prevent rear-end collisions.
Under the common law, a vehicle hitting another vehicle from behind is presumed to be negligent and the cause of a crash. These are generally easier to prove cases and the defendant will have to establish a non-negligent reason for the crash.
Under New Jersey statutory law, NJ Stat. section 39:4-89 governs following too closely and provides “[t]he driver of a vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to the speed of the preceding vehicle and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the highway.” A driver hitting another vehicle from the rear usually violates this statute and can be liable for a victim’s injuries.
Example of Liability for Rear End Collisions
Some common examples of negligence causing auto accidents in NJ include the following:
- Drunk driving or driving while intoxicated
- Improper left turns/crashes at intersections
- Running a red light
- Following too closely
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Distracted driving such as texting, cell phone, or using the radio
- Aggressive driving or road rage
- Drugged driving or driving under the influence
- Improper lane change
- Driving while fatigued or falling asleep at the wheel
- Mechanical errors such as tire blowouts, steering column failures, or braking failures
- Crossing the centerline
- Improper U-turns
- Backing up unsafely/parking lot accidents
- Running a stop sign
- Reckless driving, and
- Many other common causes our auto accident lawyer in NJ could prove for you in court.
Tractor-Trailer Accidents and Commercial Vehicle Crashes
Large commercial vehicles like tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, big rigs, flatbeds, tankers, buses, garbage trucks, and other trucks are some of the most dangerous vehicles on the road. Their heavyweight and large size generate considerable momentum even at low speeds. This means high force upon impact, usually to a smaller passenger vehicle or motorcycle. As a result, trucking accident cases involve some of the most catastrophic damages.
While state law imposes many rules for truck drivers and trucking companies, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has created a complex matrix of regulations. These regulations apply to a truck driver or trucking company no matter what state the truck is from, presently in, or going to. The FMCSA regulations set the minimum requirements that a truck driver and trucking company must comply with. Many common causes of tractor-trailer wrecks can be proven negligent through the FMCSA regulations and guidance.
Unfortunately, most personal injury lawyers do not know the FMCSA regulations well-enough to wield them as a sword against a negligent trucking company or insurance carrier. This is why having an experienced auto accident lawyer like the Law Offices of John Allegra in Jersey City, NJ is essential to protecting your rights to compensation. We know the FMCSA regulations and use them against reckless, careless, or negligent truck drivers and trucking companies harming innocent people.
Motorcycle crashes are unique types of motor vehicle accidents. Motorcycles are thin, small, and often missed in a driver’s mirrors. These traits also make motorcycles harder to see. Motorcyclists are also poorly protected and exceptionally vulnerable in a collision. Other than a helmet, a motorcyclist does not have a seat belt, airbag, or even just the walls of a vehicle to protect them.
If it was not bad enough that motorcycles are harder to see and motorcyclists are prone to serious injury, many defense lawyers and insurance carriers unfairly blame motorcyclists for their injuries. Sometimes a judge or jury will even believe that improper stereotype. Ask an experienced auto accident lawyer in NJ like our firm how we can fight back when this happens.
Injured in an Uber or Lyft? Hurt in another ridesharing crash? If you think that you will be able to just submit your claim and get it paid, you are often mistaken.
These ridesharing companies and many others have created extensive liability shields and defenses to ensure you have a harder time getting the compensation you need. Common defenses and reasons for unfairly denying coverage include the following:
- The driver was an independent contractor
- The app was off
- The ride was over
- The driver’s insurance is primary, not our ridesharing company
- Your injuries are not related or are preexisting
- Another motorist was responsible, and
- Other unbelievable claims to deny your coverage.
This is an evolving area of law and often a very complicated type of liability case. Do not let an inexperienced lawyer handle your claim. Call the Law Offices of John Allegra for help today during a FREE consultation.
Pedestrian Knockdowns and Bicycle Collisions
When it comes to serious damages, pedestrians and bicyclists are often the most severely injured in an auto accident. Like motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists have no seat belts, air bags, or even a steel shell to protect them. Pedestrians also do not have a helmet, and some bicyclists do not either. In addition, most pedestrians and bicyclists also do not see the negligent vehicle until it is too late.
Victims injured in New Jersey after being hit by a car as a pedestrian or during a bicycle collision need to ensure their rights are protected. With over 30 years of representing personal injury victims in New Jersey, the Law Offices of John Allegra is your best chance to get what you deserve under the law.
Auto Insurance in New Jersey
When it comes to auto insurance, states can either be an “at-fault” or a “no-fault” state. In an at-fault state, a claim for damages is brought against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. In a no-fault state like New Jersey, an injury victim submits a claim to his or her own insurance carrier for lost wages and medical bills.
However, a claim for non-economic damages (pain and suffering) cannot be compensated. A victim also cannot commence an action against an at-fault driver unless there has been a serious injury. This threshold requires a victim to have a displaced fracture, loss of a fetus, significant disfigurement, loss of a body part, significant scarring, death, or another type of permanent injury.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claim
Uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage can help cover the costs of a serious or catastrophic auto accident if the defendant driver does not have sufficient coverage to pay for your damages. This coverage extends beyond the normal policy limit. It is optional, but highly recommended to an amount as high as a family can afford. It can really prevent a family from a serious financial hardship.
For example, if you are involved in a motor vehicle crash for $50,000 and the at-fault driver has only $15,000 in coverage, you would collect $15,000 from the defendant and receive $35,000 from your UM/UIM policy.
Injured in a Car Wreck? We Can Help
With over 30 years of experience representing victims of auto accidents in NJ, the Law Offices of John Allegra has a proven track record of success. We offer FREE consultations and can meet you at your house or hospital after a serious collision or personal injury accident. We also guarantee no fee unless we recover compensation for you.