Factors That Impact the Outcome of a Car Accident Claim
You may have never expected to get into a car accident. When the unexpected happens, however, you must protect your rights with a proactive approach to the car accident claims process. Many different factors could affect the outcome and value of your car accident claim in New Jersey. The best chance of recovering fair compensation for your medical expenses, vehicle repairs and other losses is to hire a Union City car accident attorney.
No-Fault vs. Fault Insurance System
One of the first decisions to make after a car accident in New Jersey is if you will be pursuing financial compensation through a first-party insurance claim with your own provider or another driver’s insurance. New Jersey has a no-fault policy within the state. This policy requires all drivers to file claims with their own providers, regardless of fault. The law requires all drivers to carry personal injury protection insurance to provide coverage in first-party claims.
The only exception to the no-fault rule is if your injuries are serious enough to meet New Jersey’s threshold. In New Jersey, you can file an insurance claim against another driver if your injuries caused significant disfigurement or scarring, a permanent disability, the loss of a limb, broken bones, the loss of an unborn child, or death. If you have grounds for a fault claim against another driver, this could increase the value of your recovery.
Severity of Your Injuries
In most cases, the severity of a car accident victim’s injuries will directly impact the value of the claim. In general, the greater your injuries, the greater the award available. New Jersey provides larger awards for victims who will need lifelong medical care, such as surgeries, physical therapy and rehabilitation. If a car accident gave you or a loved one a permanent disability, expect to receive more money from the at-fault driver’s insurance company than with a minor injury. You could be eligible for both past and future damages with a catastrophic injury.
One factor that could affect the outcome of your car accident claim is the amount of insurance coverage available. Most parties involved in car accident cases do not pay for damages out of pocket. Instead, they rely on their auto insurance policies to cover losses. If coverage is not available, such as after a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver, this could impact your ability to recover financially. The amount available on your own policy could impact your claim as well, as could the number of victims. A car crash involving multiple victims may mean less coverage available, since the insurance benefits will be divided several ways.
New Jersey is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning your own contribution to the car accident could impact the value of your claim. The courts will reduce your recovery by a percentage that equates to your amount of fault for the auto accident. For example, if you were speeding and 20% responsible for the crash, you would receive 20% less in compensation from the other party’s insurance company. As long as you are less than 50% at fault for the car accident, you will still be eligible for financial recovery under New Jersey’s comparative negligence law. Being more than 50% at fault bars you from recovery.
Your Ability to Negotiate
Finally, your ability to negotiate could impact the outcome of your car accident claim. You may assume an insurance company will offer a fair amount for your losses whether you are skilled at negotiating or not. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Car insurance companies in New Jersey wish to limit their liability and save money by diminishing claim values. It will be up to you to either negotiate a fair outcome yourself or hire a car accident attorney to negotiate for you. Hiring a lawyer can increase your chances of recovering maximum compensation after a car accident.