Determining Fault in a Car Accident


Car accidents are the top cause for personal injury claims. On average, 60,000 injuries occur each year from car accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. What do you do if you are one of these statistics? The first step you should take upon getting evaluated by a physician is to contact a trusty car accident attorney who has experience negotiating with insurance companies, as it is your own insurance company who is responsible for paying your medical bills and lost wages in the State of New Jersey, regardless of who was at fault.

No Fault State

New Jersey is what is considered a “no fault” state, which means that regardless of who caused the car accident, you are able to seek damages from your own insurance company. This is to prevent the long process of determining fault and to allow good drivers who become injured to receive compensation without having to bear the burden of proof. If you have no fault insurance in New Jersey, your insurer is the first company you turn to to pay medical bills and compensate you for any lost wages that were a direct result of the car accident. In this scenario, proving who is liable for damages is moot.

As a unique no-fault state, New Jersey also gives drivers the option of selecting traditional insurance coverage. If you select traditional insurance coverage, you have the option to file a personal injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company, or pursue a personal injury lawsuit. All options are on the table if you carry this type of insurance. In order to pursue a lawsuit, it’s important to determine who is at fault.

Determining Liability

Determining liability in a car accident is a tricky, but insurance claim adjustors do it all the time. They mostly rely on evidence from police reports and the driver’s account of what took place. For this reason, it is extremely important to document hard evidence by taking pictures of the accident scene before it clears, if possible. Jot down as much information about the accident as you can and relay that information to your New Jersey car accident attorney as soon as possible. Photographs of where the impact took place and of your own injuries are extremely powerful in this situation to build a strong case for your claim.

Comparative fault laws are alive and well in the state of New Jersey. If you were even partially at fault for an auto accident, the percentage of fault is deducted from the damages you win after a claim has settled. For example, let’s assume you are involved in an accident with another driver and you file a lawsuit in court seeking monetary damages from him. After all the evidence is considered, the jury decides that the damages you deserve equal a grand total of $100,000. If the jury also decides, based on the evidence, that you are 20% at fault for the crash, you only walk away with $80,000. As a modified comparative fault state, if you are found to be more than 50% responsible for a crash, you receive nothing.

When you seek legal counsel following a devastating car accident in the Garden State, you need a passionate car accident lawyer with plenty of negotiation experience to ensure a fair financial reward. Contact Attorney James Vasquez of The Law Offices of James Vasquez, PC for a free legal consultation today by calling 862-247-8711.