New Jersey Personal Injury FAQs: Questions You may Face after being Injured 

At Cohen & Riechelson, we want you to make an informed decision about your personal injury claim. Our years of experience have taught us that everyone’s situation is different. We are prepared to meet with you and discuss your individual circumstances and options for seeking compensation. For useful reference as you face lots of questions in the face of accident injuries that may have been caused by the actions or inactions of another party in New Jersey, we answer some of the most common questions that we receive from clients about personal injury.

What Qualifies as a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury claim is a legal complaint regarding an accident caused by another person’s reckless, negligent, or careless behavior that has resulted in you being injured. Injuries can impact a victim physically and emotionally, temporarily or permanently. It also includes any physical disabilities and pain and suffering.

What Kinds of Situations can Lead to Personal Injury Lawsuits?

There are many circumstances in which a personal injury claim can be made:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents – This includes the driver, passenger, or pedestrian.
  • Medical Malpractice – Doctors, nurses, lab techs, pharmacists, radiology technicians are some of the professionals who have been sued in situations of surgical errors, medication mislabeling or with incorrect dosage indications, surgical errors, lab tests or radiology exam result mix-ups, misdiagnosis, mistreatment, or birth injury among others.
  • Wrongful Death – This unfortunate category includes vehicle accidents, nursing home neglect, medical malpractice, and construction accidents.
  • Workplace Accidents – In the state of New Jersey, injuries on the job are handled through workers’ compensation. However, it is still wise to hire an attorney as it is a complex process with strict requirements and deadlines. Also, there are cases in which you can file a personal injury claim.
  • Premises Liability – An accident caused by a dangerous or defective condition on someone’s land can qualify as a personal injury case. A faulty staircase, a spill that wasn’t cleaned up and caused you to fall, tripping over a broken sidewalk or turning your ankle in a hole in the ground, even being attacked by a dog or a cat are all examples of this kind of injury.
  • Products Liability – This is one of the broadest categories and includes faulty auto parts, children’s toys, prepared food (typically containing foreign objects), and just about anything that is manufactured.

How do I Know if I have a Personal Injury Case?

There are 3 basic requirements for a personal injury case. The first requirement is that the offending party was negligent. Next, their carelessness caused personal injury to you. Lastly, your injury resulted in bodily harm and other damages that can be recovered via legal action.

Let’s look at an example:  A commercial truck runs a stoplight in red because the driver was texting and driving, broadsiding you on the passenger’s side and pushing you into another vehicle.  You and your passenger are hospitalized for several days.  Your next step should be to call an attorney immediately to begin your personal injury claim.

How Much Is My Case Worth?

There is no way to determine the exact value of your case without an attorney who analyzes many factors, including the following:  1. Lost income. 2.  Pain and suffering. This is short and long-term physical and mental pain. 3. Previous, current, and future medical care. 4.  Emotional distress such as insomnia, depression, PTSD, anxiety, and night terrors resulting from the traumatic event. 5.  Property loss such as a vehicle that was totaled in an accident or a wedding band that had to be cut off due to a hand injury.

What If I Was Partially at Fault For the Accident?

New Jersey’s Comparative Negligence Act allows for personal injury awards even when the fault of the defendant is not 100%. This provides juries a way to establish each party’s percentage of the damages. If your percentage of negligence was less than 50%, you are entitled to seek damages.  If the jury determines that the defendant is 60% at fault, they are obligated to pay you compensation. If the jury finds them 50% at fault, you are entitled to half of the damages sought.

How Do I File a Personal Injury Claim?

Maybe you weren’t injured very much and only missed a few days of work. Settling with an insurance company is very simple, but keep in mind that it is the job of the insurance company to pay as little as possible, even when they know that what they are offering is unfair.  Most of the time after a regular accident, within a few phone calls to the insurance adjuster, you should be on your way. Your right to be compensated has a lot to do with plain observation and the facts of the situation. However, in more complex cases with significant injuries and possibly life-altering trauma, your best bet is to speak with a New Jersey personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They can examine the situation, determine the validity of your potential claim for damages, negotiate with the insurance company and never take their first offer, and potentially litigate the case in court to obtain the maximum compensation via a verdict decision.

How Long Do I Have to File?

The statute of limitations on personal injury cases in New Jersey is two years from the date of the accident or to date upon which a reasonable person would be aware that they had been injured. This means immediately after an accident, the time can start ticking for you go to court and file the complaint.  If you do not make the deadline, your right to compensation is lost.

Do I Need An Attorney?

You do not have to have an attorney to file a personal injury claim, however, your chance of success increases greatly if you do. One major reason is that the clock is ticking.  From the day of your accident to two years in the future, you must file your complaint. Two years seems like a long time, but it goes by very quickly. Also, you will come up against aggressive and experienced insurance companies and attorneys who frequently handle these cases and know how to deny your right to compensation or entice you to accept much less than you deserve. That’s why it is crucial that you have your own personal injury lawyers such as those at CR, who are prepared to take on the big dogs: multi-million-dollar insurance companies, major manufacturers, and big business. With countless cases behind us, we do not back down when pursuing the financial resources you need and should receive with the right attorney on your side.

How Can An Attorney Help Me Obtain Compensation for my Injuries?

Your lawyer can provide all of the legal legwork for your claim, submit documents, and make sure your case complies with the state’s timeline.  They can assess the possible worth of your claim.  They can also calculate the financial liability of the at-fault party.  Your attorney can interview witnesses, doctors, the police, and anyone else who can contribute to your case. They can gather evidence, go over medical files, and get expert witnesses who will testify in your favor. Your lawyer is your advocate, the one who can assist you with taking the case through negotiating a successful settlement or arguing the case before the court. Every step of the way, you want a personal injury legal professional whose knowledge demystifies what can often been an intimidating and overwhelming challenge.

How Do I Pay For my Attorney after being Injured?

The legal costs are paid on contingency, which means after you have a successful verdict, a portion of the financial award goes to the law firm.  The first step is to pay the firm back for any out-of-pocket expenses that took place during the preparation for the case, such as fees for the court reporter, copies, mileage, and filing fees. The lawyer is then normally paid 33.3 percent of the amount that is left, without importance to the number of hours spent on the case. So if you were awarded $60,000, your lawyer would receive $20,000.  If you received $120,000, you would pay $40,000. Or perhaps you recover $5,000,000. Then your lawyers receives a third. This is a great model, as it encourages the lawyer you choose to obtain the largest amount possible.

How Do I Choose the Proper Attorney to Handle my Personal Injury Case?

The best way to choose your attorney is by finding someone who has the knowledge, skill, and track record demonstrating that they are prepared to represent you. Make a list of criteria that lists what you are looking for such as availability, how many cases they have won, how they handle fees, years of experience, and access to resources. It is also important to find someone with whom you are comfortable and can trust. You want a lawyer whom you firmly believe has your best interests at heart and will do everything they can to fight for you.

Now that you know more about personal injury cases, you are better prepared to choose someone to manage your case. If you or someone you know wants to file a personal injury claim in New Jersey, the Law Offices of Cohen & Riechelson is on the case. We work hard for you to build evidence on top of evidence in your favor. We take pictures, investigate videos, interview professionals and witnesses. Our goal is to get you an award that truly places you in good standing on the road to recovery. Our years of experience and concentration in this realm of law has helped many clients to get the compensation they deserve.  Now, it is your turn.

Contact us at (609) 528-2596 or online for your free, confidential consultation today.