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If an accident does not occur during the course of employment, you may still be entitled to receive compensation if the accident was caused by the negligence of another person. Examples of such negligence claims include: motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, injuries caused by a dangerous product, negligent security resulting in a criminal assault, and negligent supervision. Such claims may be filed either in the State(s) where the respective parties reside, or where the accident occurred. If you are contacted by the other party’s insurance carrier following an accident, and that carrier wishes to negotiate a settlement for personal injuries, you should call an attorney prior to signing any Release Agreement. With regard to motor vehicle accidents, you should immediately report the accident to your own insurance carrier, in order to obtain coverage for your medical bills and any damage to your vehicle.

If the accident did occur at the workplace, you may have two possible claims — a negligence claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. In general, an employee cannot file a claim for negligence against his employer. However, if you are injured during the course of your employment, and the accident was caused by a third party unrelated to your employer, you may sue that third party for negligence, in addition to collecting workers’ compensation benefits. The workers’ compensation carrier will have a “lien” on your third party claim, for any benefits it paid out to you. If negligence was clearly committed, the compensation available in a third party claim is generally more generous than the benefits allowed through the workers’ compensation system. Accordingly, both claims should be pursued if possible.

Why You Need A Lawyer

Do not fall into the trap of speaking with a claims adjuster for the other driver’s insurance carrier following a motor vehicle accident.  These adjusters are sneaky!  They may ask you to tape their conversation and make it sound as though your injuries are minor.  It very well be that a day or two after an accident you do not feel the full effect of your injury.  It may not be until weeks or months later that the full effect of your injuries are understood.  So do not make the mistake of allowing the insurance carrier to use your own statements against you.  Rather, tell the claims adjuster that you are uncomfortable speaking with him or her, and provide him with your attorney’s contact information.

Here Are Some Essentials Of New Jersey Personal Injury Cases:

In New Jersey, the injured party is referred to as the “Plaintiff,” while the person or entity whose careless or reckless actions caused the injury is called the “Defendant.” 

In order to succeed in a claim, the Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant failed to exercise the ordinary care that a reasonable person would exercise in similar circumstances. 

If both parties were partly to blame for the accident, the Plaintiff will be barred from receiving any award if his negligence was greater than 50% of the cause of the accident.  This concept is known as the doctrine of comparative negligence. 

The Plaintiff must also prove that his injuries are causally related to the accident, in order to obtain compensation. It is not enough for a Plaintiff to simply state that he was injured as a result of an accident.  The injuries must be proven in Court by a “reasonable degree of medical certainty.”  To fulfill that burden, a physician (preferably a treating doctor) must examine the Plaintiff and write a report regarding the nature and extent of the injuries, and their causal relationship to the accident. 

Deadlines For Filing A Claim

In New Jersey, a Complaint for personal injuries must be filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey within two years of the date of the accident.  However, two years will go by very quickly when you are injured, so you should not delay in retaining an attorney.  If you make the mistake of waiting until a few months prior to the deadline, you may have difficulty finding a lawyer.  The reason for this is that it may take months for an attorney to properly investigate your accident and gather all of the records necessary to evaluate your case.  So it is advisable to retain an attorney early on in the process.

In addition, if a governmental entity or agency is responsible for the accident, a Notice of Claim must be filed with the agency within 90 days of the date of the accident. 

What Will It Cost Me To Hire A Lawyer?

Nothing – it will not cost you a dime up front.  In personal injury cases, most lawyers work on a “contingency fee” basis in which your legal fee is based upon a percentage of the settlement award or judgment you receive as a result of the litigation.  In New Jersey, the standard legal fee is 33 1/3 % of the award.  The fee is reduced to 25% for minors (under the age of 18). 

Pezzano Mickey Law

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(908) 923-0020