Determining Fault in Car Accidents
Call an experienced Northern New Jersey attorney
The weeks and months following a car accident can be a very difficult time. You’ve been seriously hurt and are trying to recover from your injuries. You may not be able to work just as your medical expenses are adding up. The other driver was negligent, and you just want to get the compensation you deserve so you can move on.
But unfortunately, it’s usually not that simple. Insurance companies will try to pay you as little as possible and may blame you for being at least partially responsible for what happened. That’s why you need an experienced New Jersey car accident lawyer. If you were hurt in Millburn or anywhere in Essex or Union counties, The Leigh Law Firm, P.C. can help.
New Jersey is a “no-fault” state. That means if you are hurt in a car crash, you generally turn to your own insurance company first to pay for medical expenses and lost wages. However, you can also take legal action to recover economic damages against an at-fault party. (Your right to seek non-economic damages such as pain and suffering may be limited by whether your policy has a “limited right to sue” or “unlimited right to sue” option.)
A lawyer who holds negligent drivers accountable
Attorney David Leigh knows how insurance companies approach claims. At one time, he represented them. They’ll question the seriousness of your injuries or seek access to your medical history to try to prove your injuries were pre-existing.
Another tactic they use is to try to put at least some of the blame for the accident on you. Why? Because if you are found to be partially responsible for the accident, that’s less money they have to pay. Under New Jersey’s modified comparative negligence system, your compensation can be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you suffered $10,000 in damages in a car accident but were found to be 20% at fault, you would only receive $8,000 from the other driver’s insurance company.
That’s why determining fault in a car accident is so important. And it’s why our firm investigates your crash to get the facts. We review:
Examples may include vehicle damage, skid marks, debris on the road – such as shattered glass or tire pieces – as well as damaged property.
Photos and video
If you are able to do so, take plenty of photos and video of the accident scene after your crash. Document the damage to each vehicle. Take photos or video of the collision from different angles and distances. Also take photos of any nearby traffic signals or signs, landmarks, and any visible injuries you have.
Your accident report
If either local or state police were called to the accident scene, the responding officers will conduct an initial investigation of the crash. Their findings will be included in an official New Jersey accident report. This report will have information that could be valuable to your claim, such as the officer’s account of how the crash happened and whether the other driver was cited for any infractions.
Our firm identifies witnesses to your accident and then asks them questions during depositions. They may have seen the other driver speeding through a red light or looking at a phone moments before the collision.
Surveillance camera footage
We can review any video from traffic cameras, security cameras at nearby homes or businesses, and even dashboard cameras. This video may have captured the other driver acting negligently.
Whenever anyone uses a phone to talk, text, or use the Internet, a record is kept. We take legal action to gain access to these records from the other driver’s cell phone provider. This can help us determine if the phone was in use just before the crash.
If we think driving under the influence of alcohol was a factor in the crash, we may be able to identify the bar or restaurant where the driver was drinking and hold them accountable.
These records can help us determine the extent of the injuries you suffered. But they may also be able to help us prove negligence when compared to other evidence.
You need a car accident lawyer to build a strong case
Attorney Leigh understands the impact that injuries from an accident can have on victims and their families. He is dedicated to making a difference by building a strong case that proves the other driver was at fault for your accident. Then he fights for the financial compensation you deserve – whether that’s through a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict.