New Jersey Auto Accident Lawyer
Call or text me at 609-277-3166 If you or a loved one have been involved in a New Jersey Auto Accident, call me, Joseph Monaco, New Jersey auto accident lawyer for a Free Consultation. I will share my over 30 years of experience representing clients and their family members who have been wrongfully injured or killed in New Jersey motor vehicle accidents including car, bus, truck, motorcycle and pedestrian accidents. I will answer all of your questions and explain the various laws that will apply to your case. The laws can be complex so even if you believe the accident may partially be your fault or if you have the lawsuit limitation under your New Jersey policy of auto insurance, still call me because the laws may affect your case differently that what you initially think. You could be entitled to bring claims for property damage, lost wages, medical bills and monetary compensation for pain and suffering.
How Will I Help You with New Jersey Car Accident Case?
I, Joseph Monaco, help people who have been injured, or who have lost a loved one in a New Jersey auto, truck, bus or motorcycle accidents. Unfortunately, a New Jersey motor vehicle accident can lead to unexpected hardships, financial and emotional. As a New Jersey accident victim, you likely will experience pain and suffering and sleepless nights. You can also be confronted with the inability to pay financial obligations such as your rent or car payment because you are disabled from work or lost a loved one in a wrongful death accident. You may also be anxious about your medical bills or car repairs. The big insurance company may not be fair in their dealings with you. New Jersey’s complicated auto insurance laws can also increase an accident victim’s stress level. Not knowing who is responsible for paying your medical bills is frustrating.
As a second generation car accident lawyer, I can help navigate you through your ordeal with the goal of getting your life back to normalcy. I treat all of my clients like family by offering respect, empathy and wisdom from my over 30 years of experience as a New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer. I will personally handle your case from start to finish and will always be accessible for any questions you have about your case. If you need to speak to your lawyer, you will speak with me, Joseph Monaco. You will not be redirected to a case manager or assistant when your concerns need to be addressed by your lawyer. Before you consider another New Jersey car accident lawyer, call me and I will personally explain how I can help you and your family in this difficult moment.
After a New Jersey auto or pedestrian accident wherein you or a loved one are recklessly or negligently injured or wrongfully killed, hiring the right trial lawyer can be the difference between winning and losing. Receiving fair monetary compensation for your losses can be challenging. The big insurance companies and corporations are in business to make a profit, not give New Jersey accident victims the financial compensation they need to get their lives back in order. I represent clients throughout New Jersey who have suffered a wide range of injuries or wrongful death in car, bus, pedestrian, train, motorcycle and truck accidents. Each case is unique and requires the attention of a seasoned New Jersey Auto Accident Lawyer. For over 30 years, injury victims as well as other lawyers have turned to me to seek the compensation they or their referred clients deserve. I have handled and tried cases throughout New Jersey. for over 30 years.
How do you Determine Fault in a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Accident?
New Jersey car accident cases are considered to be torts, which involve principles of fault including intentional, reckless or negligent conduct. Negligence is the failure to act as reasonably prudent person or corporation would under the same set of circumstances. Other terms that often used are carelessness or lack of ordinary care. Fault may arise from doing an act such as driving or designing a highway or failing to perform an act such as replacing the brakes on a vehicle or or posting a dangerous curve ahead sign. Intentional or reckless behavior can lead to a monetary award for punitive damages.
Often, fault for a New Jersey auto, truck or pedestrian accident can be the responsibility of more than one party. In fact, New Jersey law can place fault with multiple parties under a concept known as comparative negligence, which compares the actions of all those who contributed to the happenings of the accident. The conduct of the injury victim is also evaluated and cannot be more than a 50% contributing factor. If the victim’s negligence is over 50%, he or she is not eligible for an award of monetary damages.
If the injury victim’s negligence is 50% or less, the award is adjusted according to the amount of comparative negligence placed upon the injury victim. For example, if a jury finds the victim to be 20% at fault for the accident, then the recovery will be reduced by 20%. An award of $100,000 would be reduced to $80,000. If no fault is placed upon the New Jersey injury victim, then the award of damages is paid in full.
If you or a loved one are wrongfully injured or killed in a New Jersey car, bus, pedestrian, truck, motorcycle or auto accident, you should contact a seasoned trial lawyer just like the big insurance companies and corporations do. Call or text me at 609-277-3166 for a Free Consultation. My winning claim handling and trial tactics are available to make sure your case starts off on the right foot. I will personally handle your case from start to finish. I will meet with you to go over every detail and determine the steps needed for a successful monetary outcome. Retaining a New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer early in the process will help get the highest settlement possible. A proper investigation including interviewing witnesses and working with the best doctors and liability experts will even the playing field with the big insurance companies, who are out there to make big profits.
What Insurance Laws Apply to New Jersey Motor Vehicle Accidents?
There are two questions that I am frequently asked since becoming a South Jersey Auto Accident Lawyer over 25 years ago. One of the questions is a variation of “Can I sue even though New Jersey has No-Fault auto insurance?” The other question is along the lines of “Why does my mother’s auto policy have to pay my medical bills when her car was not even involved in the accident?” These questions somewhat surprisingly require a similar answer that explains what exactly is No-Fault Auto Insurance.
New Jersey PIP or No-fault Benefits
Were you involved in a New Jersey motor vehicle accident? If so, you may be eligible to receive certain New Jersey no fault benefits, which are also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. These benefits are separate and apart from the damages you may collect from the person or entity that caused the accident. (click here for information about the damages recoverable in the tort liability aspect of a case). PIP benefits may include:
- Payment of medical expenses up to $250,000;
- Lost wages above New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Insurance;
- Essential services coverage for needs such as household help or child care; and
- Funeral and death benefits.
I am a New Jersey PIP expert who knows the in and outs of the complex eligibility requirements under New Jersey law. I will make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Call or text me today at 609-277-3166. If you or someone you love has been wrongfully killed or injured in an New Jersey car, truck, pedestrian, motorcycle or bus accident, New Jersey law will often be on your side. Recovering monetary compensation and achieving justice will go a long way in helping you or your loved one recover. Lowering one’s stress level has a profound affect on a New Jersey accident victim’s physical and emotional well-being. Achieving justice with the help of a seasoned New Jersey trial lawyer is not a privilege limited to a select few, but rather is a fundamental right that every victim is able to exercise. The big insurance companies and corporations hire the best lawyers so why shouldn’t you do the same thing. Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of wrongful death and bodily injuries each year in the United States and New Jersey is no exception. Although there have been significant advances in the safety of cars and roadways, motor vehicle accidents remain a leading cause of death and injuries throughout the country. In fact, wrongful death and personal injury accident lawsuits are likely the most common type of civil action filed in court systems across the country including the Superior Court of New Jersey. Unfortunately, even when someone else’s reckless of careless actions cause a new Jersey car accident, not every case will entitle the victim to monetary compensation. When the injuries suffered are not considered permanent, the auto laws of New Jersey may limit your right to recover damages. This why New Jersey is considered a no-fault jurisdiction. There is a misconception that no-fault laws like those in New Jersey eliminate an accident victim’s right to sue for damages but this is an incorrect assumption. New Jersey’s no-fault laws can limit the right to sue in certain cases but they do not completely bar recoveries in most cases.
Common Causes of New Jersey Auto Accidents
- Distracted driving
- Texting and driving
- Driving while intoxicated (alcohol or drugs)
- Driving while tired
- Reckless speeding or other unsafe behavior
- Failing to yield to approaching traffic
- Disobeying stop signs and red traffic lights
- Underriding (driving under) a truck or tractor trailer
Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents happen everyday across New Jersey. No one is above becoming a victim. It is equally troubling that every New Jersey car accident could have been avoided if every individual, corporation or governmental entity put safety first.
New Jersey public roads total over 37,000 miles. According to New Jersey traffic accident statistics, there were over 270,000 crashes on New Jersey public roads in 2018. This staggering number does not include motor vehicle accidents that happen in shopping mall parking lots or on other private properties. These public roadway crashes led to over 61,000 injury victims including 524 fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 90 percent of all vehicle crashes involve a private passenger motor vehicle.
In 2018, cell phone distractions were estimated to be the cause of 1015 New Jersey crashes. However, as a New Jersey Wrongful Death & Injury Lawyer, I know that this number is pure speculation. Bad drivers do not like to confess to being distracted especially if it involves talking or texting with their cell phone. Distracted driving has increased accident rate frequency over the past ten years.
Age also plays a major role in New Jersey motor vehicle crashes. Statistics on fatalities show that the age bracket with the most deaths is 25-35 years of age. The second highest age bracket is a tie between 45-54 and 74 and over. Surprisingly, the lowest number of deaths occurred between 21-24 and 65-74 years of age.
New Jersey Distracted Driving: Despite several laws being passed to combat texting and driving in New Jersey, distracted driving is a major cause of motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents. In fact, distracted driving has led to an increase in the frequency of New Jersey car accidents. Most drivers claim to not text and drive when you ask them, but in reality you can observe other drivers using their cell phone every time you drive. We all see the vehicles that are weaving about in their lane of travel.
Drunk Driving in New Jersey: Just like distracted driving, many New Jersey drivers believe that they are good enough of a driver to be able to drive safely after a few drinks. Buzzed driving is drunk driving. As a society we like to believe that we come down hard on drunk drivers but we really do not. A first offense in New Jersey will lead to no jail time and just a six suspension of driving privileges. There were over 21,000 DUI arrests in New Jersey in 2017. Be smart, have a designated driver or call Lyft or Uber for a ride home.
New Jersey Aggressive Driving: Being stuck in slow traffic can be frustrating but it is no excuse for dangerous aggressive driving along New Jersey roadways. Every New Jersey driver needs to realize that traffic is not going away any time soon and that getting angry will not change this fact. New Jersey aggressive driving often includes weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, speeding, cutting off other drivers or trying to intimidate other New Jersey drivers to move out of the way. If you observe an aggressive New Jersey driver, you should try to call 911 to report it to local authorities. If you or a loved one are wrongfully injured or killed by a New Jersey aggressive driver, I can help hold them responsible including seeking an award of punitive damages if their driving was reckless.
Violating New Jersey Traffic Laws: The New Jersey traffic laws are found at Title 39 – Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations. The common offenses include Section 39:4-50 – Driving while intoxicated, Section 39:4-97 – Careless driving and Section 39:4-96 – Reckless driving. Too often, New Jersey drivers do not follow laws put in place to keep the public safe. Accident frequency would be considerably reduced if every driver put safety first.
New Jersey Road Hazards: New Jersey drivers frequently encounter poor weather conditions including heavy rain and snow storms, These weather conditions can lead to large puddles along New Jersey roadways as well as icy roads. Potholes are a well known road hazard as well. If these conditions are due to neglect by the Sate of New Jersey or a local township, an injury victim only has 90 days to report a personal injury claim; otherwise, it can be barred forever.
I have outlined common causes of New Jersey motor vehicle accidents but the number of possible causes is endless. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in New Jersey, call or text me at 609-277-3166 to learn how to protect your rights. Sufficient evidence to prove your case needs to be gathered before it is lost or destroyed. As a New Jersey Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of experience, I know the types of evidence that are needed to prove fault. I will conduct a proper investigation to make sure you get the full extent of the monetary compensation you deserve.
New Jersey’s Law Governing the Right to Sue is Known as the Verbal Threshold or Lawsuit Limitation
No-fault auto insurance schemes including New Jersey’s, adopted the concept of limiting a New Jersey auto accident injury victim’s right to sue for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of life’s pleasures. New Jersey initially enacted a monetary threshold but, after several amendments over the past few decades, the current law known as the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act, provides for an optional verbal threshold. This threshold is known as the “lawsuit limitation, verbal threshold or limited tort.” If a policy holder chooses to maintain the full right to sue, this is often called the “zero threshold or full tort” option, and it calls for a higher auto insurance premium. NJ Statute 39:6A-8, NJ provides the type of injuries that are needed to bring a claim for non-economic damages: (1) death; (2) dismemberment; (3) loss of a fetus; (4) significant disfigurement or scarring; (5) displaced fractures; or (6) permanent injury. An injury is considered permanent when a body part or organ “has not healed to function normally and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment.” Further a treating medical provider must provide a certification, based on objective clinical evidence, that the injury is permanent. Like most things in the world, there are many exceptions. For example, if you do not own a motor vehicle nor reside with a close relative that owns a vehicle, you will have the full right to sue (zero threshold). An New Jersey accident involving a commercial vehicle may be an exception even if you chose the lawsuit limitation under your auto policy. Needless to say, it is important to contact me at 609-277-3166 to learn your rights from a New Jersey Auto Accident Lawyer. Contact me even if you believe you have the lawsuit limitation. I have handle thousands of these cases for over 30 years with success. When you are bound by the lawsuit limitation restricting recovery, the seriousness of your injuries will determine the outcome of your case. The more serious the injuries sustained in a New Jersey motor vehicle are, then the more likely a successful recovery will be achieved.
What is my New Jersey Auto Accident Case Worth?
Not surprisingly, I am asked this question frequently. I wish there was a simple and quick answer but wrongful death and personal injury claims are too complex and varied to have a canned answer. Plus, I do not like to provide case values at the beginning of the process for the same reason. Even with over 30 years of experience, I do not know until elements of the case develop. There are many factors including the seriousness of the injuries and impact between the vehicles, the amount of unpaid medical bills and lost wages and determining whether a client’s injuries including scarring are going to heal or be permanent. Until these damages are known, no experienced lawyer is going to answer “What is my case worth?”
How Long Will it take for My Case to Settle?
Just like the value of a case, this question is difficult to answer as well, especially at the beginning of a claim. Depending on the complexity of the South Jersey Auto Accident Claim in which you or your loved one are involved, it will likely take at least one year to settle the case but easily could get tied up in litigation for years. This unfortunately is very common. If settlement negotiations with the insurance company break down over the worth of a case, then a civil action must be filed within two years of the accident date. In New Jersey, claims are usually filed by a New Jersey Auto Accident Lawyer in the Superior Court of New Jersey, but some may be filed in the US District Court for New Jersey. Once the lawsuit is filed with the proper court, it can from that point forward take up to two years to get a trial date. Needless to say, bringing a personal injury or wrongful death claim in New Jersey is not a simple, quick process. Call or text me at 609-277-3166 to speak with a New Jersey Auto Accident Lawyer.
How Much Will it Cost Me to Bring a Claim?
New Jersey law allows a New Jersey Auto Accident Lawyer to handle cases on a contingency basis, which means that my firm will only get paid if I win a recovery on your behalf. We also pay costs like fees for police reports and expert witnesses as they come due. The law in New Jersey allows law firms to charge 1/3 of the recovery after costs are deducted for any settlement or verdict below $750,000. New Jersey law lowers the fee percentage for recoveries above $750,000.
History of New Jersey’s Auto Laws by a New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer
New Jersey’s first No-Fault Auto Insurance Law was enacted in 1973. It was known as the “New Jersey Automobile Reparation Reform Act,” also referred as the “No-Fault Act,” It mandated that auto policies provide liability coverage, uninsured motorists benefits and medical benefits (PIP). The new law also included a monetary threshold to sue for pain and suffering of $200. I will discuss thresholds more below but, needless to say, $200 was not considered much of an obstacle to bringing a claim by the insurance companies, so their lobbyists worked hard to enact a verbal threshold, which describes the type of injuries that are serious enough to sue for non-economic damages.
As a 2nd Generation Trial Lawyer, I have listened (endured really) from a very young age to the origins of No-Fault Auto Insurance as told by my father. As a Philadelphia Trial Lawyer, who represented accident victims, he told the story with utter disdain and contempt. Explaining that No-Fault was lobbied hard for by the insurance companies to greedily take away accident victims’ right to have their day in Court. The original concept of No-Fault was to offer drivers auto insurance that provided unlimited wage loss and medical benefits coverage that would pay no matter who was at fault for the accident. However, the right to sue the reckless or careless motorist for non-economic damages like pain and suffering would be eliminated. This type of No-Fault Auto Insurance never gained much traction likely because the costs of providing unlimited wage and medical benefits would be incredibly cost prohibitive. By the late 1960s, the concept evolved with the input of Professors Robert Keeton and Jeffrey O’Connell. They proposed a limited No-Fault system that allowed auto accident victims to sue only for serious injuries controlled by a verbal or monetary threshold. With heavy lobbying by the insurance industry, limited or hybrid No-Fault laws were enacted in 24 states in the 1970s and 80s. Today, many of these States have repealed the laws because they did not lead to lower auto insurance premiums as promised. In an attempt to keep premiums low, policies were offered with limited amounts of wage loss and medical benefits coverage. No state has ever enacted pure No-Fault Auto Insurance
PIP medical benefits are viewed as a quick way for auto accident injury victims to have their medical bills paid without a decision needing to be made on who was at fault for the accident. Simply put, PIP is health insurance under a New Jersey auto policy that pays medical bills related to injuries caused by an auto accident. It will cover the named insured under the auto policy as well as their resident relatives. It will also cover occupants of an insured’s vehicle if they do not have their own policy of auto insurance nor reside with a resident relative that does. This answers a common questions I often hear: “Why does my mother’s auto policy have to pay my medical bills when her car was not even involved in the accident?” In a nutshell, your mother’s New Jersey auto policy has health insurance (PIP) that covers her and her children who reside with her regardless of whether the mother’s auto was involved in the accident. Call or text 609-277-3166 for a New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer to learn your options.
In 1984, New Jersey enacted the “New Jersey Automobile Insurance Freedom of Choice and Cost Containment Act,” which mandated PIP Benefits of $250,000. Because of never ending increases in the cost of medical care, in 1998, the Legislature passed the “Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act.” (AICRA). One of the changes under AICRA allows policyholders to select PIP limits below $250,000 to help lower their auto insurance premiums. The changes remain in effect today and allow a policyholder to lower the $250,000 PIP medical benefits limit to $15,000. A policyholder may also choose to have her health insurance be the primary payer of medical bills; however, one should make sure that their health insurance plan covers auto accident related injuries. Some health plans have exclusions for auto accident or work related injuries. If this happens, you will be assessed an additional $750 deductible on your PIP benefits.
Important Questions to Ask After a New Jersey Car Accident
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or wrongfully killed in a New Jersey motor vehicle or pedestrian accident, you likely have lots of questions and concerns on the steps that need to be taken to protect your rights. Fortunately, I am here to help. Call or text me at 609-277-3166 to schedule a free consultation. Together, we will review exactly what happened in your accident and go over all of your questions and concerns.
Q: Should I report the accident to my insurance company?
A: Yes. You have purchased various coverages under your New Jersey auto policy such as PIP medical benefits and collision coverage. Claims need to be set up so your insurance company can assign a claims representative to handle everything.
Q: Should I contact a New Jersey Auto Accident Lawyer?
A: Yes. I have had clients who initially tried to go it alone but it never seems to work out well. The big insurance companies and corporations have teams of lawyers in place to undermine the rights of injury victims. Don’t fall prey to their anticts.
Q: How long do I have to file a New Jersey motor vehicle lawsuit?
A: New Jersey has a two year statute of limitation for adults but two years to file after a minor’s 18th birthday. The statutes of limitation for property damage claims is four years; however, different insurance policies can shorten the time periods to bring a claim. In addition, you only have 90 days to report a claim against a governmental entity such as the State of New Jersey or a local township.
Q: How much does it cost to hire a New Jersey personal injury lawyer?
A: I handle wrongful death and personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis per applicable New Jersey law. A 1/3 fee of any recovery is charged after costs. My firm also offers the No Recovery, No Fee Guarantee.
Q: A distracted driver struck my vehicle. Can I file charges?
A: If the police officer does not file charges, New Jersey law allows the victim to file charges at the local Municipal Court. However, the pursuit of a civil action for damages is not conditioned upon criminal or moving violation charges being filed.
Q: Who pays my medical bills if the other driver was at fault for the auto accident?
A: New Jersey law requires that medical bills be paid under the injury victim’s own policy of auto insurance up to certain selected limits. Next in line to pay could be a resident relative’s policy of auto insurance. This is a very confusing area of law and should be addressed by an experienced trial lawyer.
Q: Should I accept a quick settlement offer made by the other driver’s insurance company?
A: No. You should not accept any offer of settlement without first consulting a lawyer. Insurance companies are known to make quick nuisance value settlement offers within a few days of the accident to try and cut their losses.
Q: Should I always see a doctor after a New Jersey auto accident?
A: Yes. Trauma induced injuries such as whiplash sometimes take days or weeks to develop.
Q: What happens if I feel I am at fault for an accident?
A: Never assess blame for an accident without first speaking with a New Jersey trial lawyer. New Jersey follows the legal principle of “comparative negligence,” which can deem each party partially at fault. Call or text me at 609-277-3166 to learn your rights.
Q: Should I speak with or give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company?
A: No. You are not obligated to provide the insurance company any information especially before speaking with a trial lawyer. Call me first and we can address the proper steps to take even with your own insurance company.
Q: Do I need too hire a car accident lawyer?
A: The big insurance companies will not be fair in their dealings with you. New Jersey’s complicated auto insurance laws can easily confuse and increase an accident victim’s stress level. Not knowing who is responsible for paying your medical bills is frustrating. Hiring an experienced lawyer is crucial to protecting your rights.
Q: What are New Jersey PIP or No-fault Benefits?
A: New Jersey no fault benefits, which are also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits are similar to health insurance. These benefits are separate and apart from the damages you may collect from the person or entity that caused the accident. You are able to select the limits of PIP benefits when you apply for New Jersey auto insurance.
Q: What does having the New Jersey lawsuit limitation mean?
A: For a reduced auto insurance premium, a New Jersey policy holder can limit her right to sue. NJ Statute 39:6A-8, NJ provides the type of injuries that are needed to bring a claim for non-economic damages: (1) death; (2) dismemberment; (3) loss of a fetus; (4) significant disfigurement or scarring; (5) displaced fractures; or (6) permanent injury.
Q: Should I report my New Jersey the accident to my insurance company?
A: Yes, but it is best to consult with a trial lawyer first. You do not want to compromise your rights especially if the insurance company requests that you give a recorded statement. Even your own insurance company is not on your side and the statement will be discoverable if you have to file a lawsuit to collect fair monetary compensation.
With my help and support, you will be on your way to establishing an award for the highest possible monetary settlement. My office will handle everything including setting up the PIP claim for you to receive proper medical care as well as dealing with endless inquiries from the various insurance companies. This allow you to focus on your recovery including getting your life back to normal. My hands on approach is a proven winner. I take pride in helping injury victims and their families through these difficult moments.
Contact An Experienced New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a family member have been needlessly injured or killed by another’s neglect, contact me. I, Joseph Monaco, will speak with you directly to answer your questions and address your worries and concerns. Your initial consultation is free. As a New Jersey car accident lawyer, I work tirelessly to continue my long tradition of fighting for the underdog against the big insurance companies. Plus, I only get paid if there is an award in your case because I work solely on a contingency fee basis. I offer the No Recovery, No Fee Guarantee. Contact me to get a seasoned New Jersey auto accident lawyer on your side.