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Frequently Asked Questions - New Jersey NJ Accident / Injury Case

Personal Injury / Accident Cases Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How much will a lawyer cost?

How long will my case take?

Will I have to go to Court?

Who pays the medical bills for my car accident?

Can I get a cash advance on my case?

Whose insurance will fix my car, mine or the other driver's?

How much will a lawyer cost?

For New Jersey accident cases including car accidents, bus accidents, trip and fall, slip and fall, medical malpractice, dog bite, and many others, our firm works on a contingency. We only earn a fee if we recover money for you for your injuries. Our fee, which is set by New Jersey law, is 33 1/3% of the recovery after expenses. For injured minors, under age 18, the fee is only 25%.

How long will my case take?

It depends. A personal injury case can take anywhere from 6 months to 4 years or more to resolve. Different factors can affect this time period. Most important is the medical treatment you receive for your injuries. Many people have to undergo physical therapy, chiropractic, or other treatment following a traumatic injury. Some people need MRIs, EMGs or other tests to identify the cause of the injury. More serious injuries may begin with a period of conservative care and then move to other types of treatment such as injections or even surgery. Neither our firm nor the insurance company can fairly place a value on your injuries until you have finished your course of treatment. We need to see your condition after the treatment and determine what, if any, permanent injuries, complaints, or problems are still there. In addition, we will need to obtain written reports from the treating doctors, describing your injuries, treatment, and prognosis. These reports are typically provided at the end of treatment. Once your treatment has completed, we will obtain all the necessary reports and forward them to the insurance company for the negligent party. Settlement negotiations then may begin. If the case can not settle, a lawsuit may need to be filed. While most cases are resolved without a trial, if your case proceeds all the way through to a trial, it could take up to 4 years. Again, this is only a small percentage of cases. On average, we estimate that most of our personal injury cases are settled within 2 years of the accident.

Will I have to go to Court?

Probably not. Less than 5% of all cases actually go to a trial. Most cases are settled before the trial. The decision of whether to go to trial or to settle your case will be up to you.

Who pays the medical bills for my car accident?

It depends. If you were injured in a car accident, there is usually some type of No-Fault Insurance to pay your bills. If you own your own car, your own insurance company will pay your bills, even if you were not in your vehicle when the accident happened. If you don't own a vehicle, but live with a relative who has a vehicle, your relative's insurance may be required to pay your bills. f you do not own a car and you do not live with any relatives that own a car, then the car insurance of the vehicle you were in may have to pay your medical bills. This will not make your insurance premiums increase. The insurance company can not 'charge' you for an accident unless you were at fault. Finally, if there is not other available coverage, the State of New Jersey has a special fund called NJPLIGA which will pay your bills. The important thing is that in almost any car accident, there will be coverage to pay your bills. To discuss the specifics of your situation, talk to an experienced attorney.

Can I get a cash advance on my case?

Lawyers can not issue advances on cases. You may have noticed that several companies advertise on television and radio about giving you a cash advance on your injury case. While this is legal, our firm strongly discourages our clients from contacting or dealing with these funding companies. The interest rates these companies charge are extremely high and unfair. As lawyers we recommend our clients to stay away from these predatory companies.

Whose insurance will fix my car, mine or the other driver's?

It depends. The first thing to determine is whether you have 'collision coverage' on your own policy. Most newer financed or leased cars will be required to carry collision coverage. Most owners of older cars will not carry collision coverage on their insurance because it is too expensive. If you do have collision coverage on your vehicle, you will want to see what your deductible is. Typically, they are $500, $1,000 or $2,500. If you use your own insurance to fix the vehicle, you will have to pay this deductible. We may be able to recover the deductible from the negligent driver's insurance later. The benefit of using your own insurance is that the vehicle will be repaired quicker. Usually, your insurance company will come out and inspect it and authorize the repairs within a week or two. If you don't have collision coverage you will have to contact the other driver's insurance for repair of your vehicle.

Another important factor will be whether the fault for the accident is clear or disputed. If you were stopped and rear-ended, it is likely that the other driver's insurance will accept responsibility and arrange to repair your vehicle quickly. If, on the other hand, both drivers claim they had a green light, the issue of fault will not be determined quickly and you will be best served by having your own insurance fix the car and try to get your deductible back later. Sometimes the other insurance company will only want to pay 50% or 75% of the damage. If you have been made an offer that you think is unfair, speak to a n experienced attorney.

The types of insurance available, facts of the accident, deductible amounts, and extent of damage to the car will all be important factors in determining how to proceed on fixing your vehicle. The most important thing we tell people is that if your vehicle was towed to a repair shop or lot, you need to get the vehicle out of storage immediately. These places charge up to $50 per day just for storage of the vehicle, so you want to get it out as soon as you can.

Damage to your vehicle, not having the vehicle to drive to work, worrying about the damage and repair, and dealing with body shops and insurance companies, are often the most stressful, complicated and difficult issues to resolve after an accident.

Additional resources provided by the author

More information can be found at www.jerseycitylawyer.com

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