Best New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers
Mazie Slater Katz Freeman are NJ car accident lawyers who specialize in car accident lawsuits. Recognizing our winning record and dedication to our clients, the Best Lawyers in America publication named our attorneys to its Best New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers list. Mazie Slater accepts all cases, including car accidents, under a contingency fee agreement, meaning there are no fees until we win. This policy guarantees your case is pursued with the energy and devotion it deserves. Call us (973-228-9898) today –– or fill out and email us a contact form –– if you would like to speak with an attorney.
Can I Sue for a Car Accident in New Jersey?
Yes, and at Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman, our car accident attorneys specialize in protecting the rights of car accident victims and fighting to recover damages for personal injuries and other losses. Our investigation team will assess your insurance policy, visit the site, take photos, document your injuries, and provide the most aggressive and effective legal representation. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, contact our New Jersey car accident lawyers. We’ll respond as soon as possible to discuss your case at no cost to you.
Why Choose Mazie Slater For Your New Jersey Car Accident Injury Case?
At Mazie Slater Katz Freeman, we have been incredibly successful in winning substantial verdicts and settlements for our clients who are seriously injured in car accidents, such as the following recoveries for our clients:
- $14.7 million settlement for a man whose foot was run over by a car, causing CRPS/RSD, a severe neurological condition.
- $12.75 million settlement for a man hit by a New Jersey Transit Bus while crossing the street.
- $11.24 million for a man paralyzed in a car accident.
- $10 million settlement for the woman injured by a New Jersey Transit bus which led to her leg being amputated
- $6 million settlement for a bus accident case.
- $5 million settlement for a truck accident for a man rear-ended by a tractor trailer.
- $5 million confidential settlement for the wrongful death of a child killed in a car accident.
- $3.9 million award for a woman hit by a car while crossing the street.
- $3.55 million settlement for a tragic car accident resulting in the death of a child.
- $3.18 million settlement for a fatal crash resulting in drowning when a car plunged into the Passaic River.
- $3.1 million settlement against the City of Newark for a fatal car accident resulting from a dangerous condition in a major roadway.
- $2 million settlement for a man hit by a New Jersey Transit Bus who suffered traumatic brain injuries
- $2 million settlement for drunk driving/liquor liability.
- $737,500 settlement for a client injured in a collision with a truck.
(Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.)
No Fee Unless You Win
Mazie Slater accepts car accident cases under a contingency fee agreement, which means that there are no fees until we win your case. This policy guarantees that your car accident case is pursued with the energy and devotion it deserves.
Do not worry about facing large insurance companies. At Mazie Slater, our expert legal team knows how to take on even the most powerful insurance carriers in the country, and we have proven it time and time again.
How Common are Car Accidents in New Jersey?
Car accidents are common in New Jersey because the State is home to 8.8 million residents and a staggering 6.7 million vehicles. As the most densely populated state in the nation, New Jersey has more than its share of car crashes. Last year, 63,333 car accidents occurred on Garden State roads. Over thirty-five percent of these crashes happened in populous parts of Essex, Bergen, and Middlesex counties. Despite safety advances, 586 fatal automobile and truck crashes occurred, causing a total of 627 car related deaths.
What are the Common Kinds of Auto Accidents in New Jersey?
What Type of Car Accident Were You Injured In?
When you are a victim of a car accident, it is important to know what kind of accident you were involved in as some are more complex than others. However, no matter how complex your vehicle accident was, at Mazie Slater, our skilled and experienced car accident lawyers are here to help. We have successfully helped a variety of car accident types including:
- Rear-end Collision – This is when the vehicle behind you hits the rear-end of your car.
- Head-on Collisions – When two vehicles collide together on the front end it can cause significant injuries and even death.
- Rollover Accidents – Rollover accidents are particularly common for larger vehicles due to their center of gravity and are very dangerous.
- Single-car Accidents – If your car is the only vehicle involved in the accident, for example you backed into a utility pole, give us a call to discuss your options.
- Multi-Vehicle Accidents – If there are three of more vehicles involved in your accident, it can be challenging to determine fault and liability. However, our car accident attorneys can identify the responsible parties and help you win your case.
- Commercial Vehicle Accident – These kinds of car accidents are when your vehicle collides with a tractor trailer, semi-truck, delivery van, buses, 18-wheelers etc.
Regardless of the type of accident you were in, Mazie Slater Katz and Freeman’s car accident lawyers are here to research, gather evidence, build a strategy, and help you obtain the most compensation for your injuries.
What Caused Your Car Accident in New Jersey?
No matter how safe you are on the road, there is always the risk that another driver will be negligent and cause an accident. This is where the car accident attorneys at Mazie Slater step in and help determine the cause of your accident and prove the other driver is at fault. Here are common causes for car accidents:
- Drunk Driving – Out of all the motor vehicle deaths in New Jersey during 2011, nearly one-third of the drivers responsible for those accidents had consumed alcohol, according to the State Police. We have won numerous drunk driving cases, including the landmark $135 million jury verdict for a two year old girl who was rendered paralyzed by a drunk driver.
- Hit and Run – Our NJ law firm has a long history of investigating complex auto accidents, such as hit and runs, and securing record-setting settlements on behalf of accident victims throughout New Jersey.
- Distracted Driving – Distracted drivers on New Jersey roads, such as drivers texting or using cell phones while driving, are an accident waiting to happen. We have extensive experience in handling cases for victims of car accidents caused by distracted drivers, such as a $3.55 million settlement for a 11 year old boy who was killed when another driver ran a stop sign.
- Garden State Parkway Accident – The Garden State Parkway (GSP) welcomes tourists, travelers and drivers across New Jersey. While trucks and commercial vehicles are prohibited north of Exit 105 at Asbury Park, car and pedestrian accidents are common throughout the 172-mile highway.
New Jersey Turnpike Accident – Our New Jersey automobile accident lawyers have handled multiple New Jersey Turnpike accidents resulting in personal injury and wrongful death of our clients, such as a $1.47 million settlement for a man killed by a tractor-trailer on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Did the Car Accident Cause Serious Injury?
- Brain Injury, both traumatic (TBI) and acquired (ABI) are life-changing events.
- Spinal Cord Injury, including Paraplegia, Quadriplegia, Hemiplegia, and more.
- Chest Injury, affecting ribs, heart and/or lungs.
- Fractures or Broken Bones caused by trauma.
- Internal Organ Damage to the spleen, kidneys, liver, bowels, etc.
- Joint Injury in the knees, ankles, wrists, shoulders, elbows, etc.
We are Proud to Serve Clients in New Jersey
Mazie Slater Katz and Freeman are proud to serve clients throughout New Jersey in counties such as (but not limited to): Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, and Warren County.
Understanding The New Jersey Car Accident Laws
Car accidents happen, so understanding how to protect yourself and your family in a time of crisis is essential. Every driver should have a general knowledge of auto accident laws in their specific state. For New Jersey residents, awareness of the No-Fault system and comparative negligence laws can help you and your family win the compensation you deserve after a personal injury. Keep in mind, New Jersey has a statute of limitations on filing a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver. Don’t waste time, contact Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman for a free consultation.
What should I do after being involved in a car accident?
- Evaluate the scene
- Call emergency personnel.
- Take photos of the accident scene
- Wait for police to arrive.
- Wait to be evaluated by a medical professional.
- Seek appropriate medical treatment as soon as possible.
- Contact your insurance company.
New Jersey Car Insurance Law
Because New Jersey is one of several no-fault states, car accident victims can recover compensation in one of two ways. First, a lawyer can initiate a no-fault claim against the driver’s own insurance company. It is common for carriers to limit benefits for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and ongoing care, even when the driver has Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. Property damage claims are covered by collision insurance. If these options do not work, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver before the two-year statute of limitations ends.
Follow these guidelines after a car accident to protect your legal rights:
- Exchange information with the other driver or drivers.
- Get the driver’s policy number, carrier, plate number, and vehicle information.
- Identify eyewitnesses and copy their contact info.
- Contact local law enforcement or 9-1-1.
- Do not reveal the details of your insurance coverage.
- Never sign insurance documents before contacting a qualified lawyer.
- Take pictures of the accident scene to document damage.
- Never admit liability.
How Car Insurance Coverage Works in New Jersey
There are a few things you should know about how insurance coverage works in New Jersey.
A deductible is the amount you have to pay out of pocket to make a successful insurance claim. So, for example, if you make a successful claim for $10,000 and your deductible is $1,000, you’ll receive $9,000 ($10,000-$1,000). You can think of a deductible as the “cost” of receiving your insurance payout.
Insurance will also often require you to pay a copayment (or “copay”) when receiving insured services. So, if your copay for a doctor’s visit is $20 and your doctor charges you $100, your insurance company will pay $80 and you will pay $20.
The details about deductibles and copays should be included in your insurance policy.
Basic vs. Standard Policies
In New Jersey, when you buy insurance you have to choose between a Basic or a Standard Policy. Basic policies are cheaper, but they offer significantly less coverage for losses and damages incurred as the result of a car accident. In New Jersey, current legislation requires basic policies to cover only $15,000 in personal injury protection and $5000 in property damage liability. You can opt for an additional $10,000 in bodily injury liability insurance, but that’s optional.
The realities of modern healthcare mean that medical bills can quickly rise well above those relatively low coverage limits.
Standard policies offer much more substantial coverage, including up to $250,000 in personal injury protection, $100,000 in property damage liability insurance, and $500,000 in bodily injury liability protection. (Standard policies allow you to opt for less extensive coverage. These are the maximum limits although there are some exceptions which allow for higher limits.)
There are other important differences between standard and basic policies. For example, basic policies don’t allow you to sue for “non-economic damages” – also called “pain and suffering” – after an accident, except in very specific circumstances
Additional Standard Policy Insurance Options
Standard policies allow to select from a wealth of additional coverage options, like:
- Death benefits
- Funeral expense benefits
- Essential services (like paying for someone to do your laundry or clean your house if you’re too injured to do so yourself)
- Income continuation
- Additional underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage
Car accidents are a leading cause of serious injuries and personal injury lawsuits in New Jersey. Our firm will completely manage your case. Our approach is to be very aggressive from the outset — and to keep the pressure on the defendant throughout the lawsuit. We will interview witnesses, take photographs of accident scenes, and perform similar tasks. In addition, where appropriate, we hire certified accident reconstructionists to act as our experts in reconstructing the accident. Throughout the entire process, our lawyers will work to ensure that your legal rights are protected, and that you receive the best possible representation — and recovery.
New Jersey No-Fault Law
New Jersey uses the no-fault system, in which the insurance policy for each driver covers that driver’s medical expenses regardless of fault. This law is designed to protect healthcare providers and curb litigation. However, if you have been seriously injured in an auto accident, contact Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman to learn how you can get the compensation you deserve.
New Jersey Comparative Negligence Law
Comparative Negligence provides a way to allocate fault between parties in an auto accident when the answer to this question is not entirely clear. Before filing a lawsuit in court, an attorney from Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman will review the merits of your claim, with no cost or obligation.
Frequently Asked Questions about Auto Accidents and Car Collisions
Q: Can I recover for personal injuries and damages I suffered as a driver in an automobile accident?
A: Yes. You can bring a lawsuit against any other driver who is at fault for a car accident for non-economic damages (pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life) and economic damages (property damage, lost wages, future lost wages, special damages).
Q: Can I recover for personal injuries and damages I suffered in a car accident if I was a passenger in one of the vehicles?
- Yes. You can pursue a claim against any of the drivers at fault for an automobile accident, even against the driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger.
Q: Can I recover for personal injuries and damages suffered in a car accident if I was a pedestrian struck by another motor vehicle?
- Yes. The same rules apply as if you were an occupant of a vehicle at the time of the accident.
Q: Can I recover for property damage suffered in an automobile accident against another driver?
A: Yes. Under New Jersey law, property damage is almost always paid for by either your or the other party’s insurance company depending on who is at fault. If your insurance company pays for damage to your car, you will have to pay the deductible on your policy, however, if the other party’s insurance company pays, they will pay the entire cost of repairs/replacement and reimburse you for any amount of the deductible that you may have already paid. As to a rental car, whether or not your insurance company pays for it depends on your insurance policy benefits, but if the other party is at fault, you can add the cost of the rental car into your claim for damages against the at fault driver.
Q: Who pays my medical bills if I am in an automobile accident, car accident or truck accident?
A: Your own automobile insurance company will pay your medical bills if you are involved in an accident up to the PIP limits contained on your insurance policy. If your PIP benefits have been exhausted, your health insurance company may pay for your medical bills.
Q: What is “PIP?”
A: PIP stands for “Personal Injury Protection.” This is your medical coverage for injuries you (and others) suffer in an auto accident. PIP pays if you or other persons covered under your policy are injured in an auto accident. It is sometimes called “no-fault” coverage because it pays your own medical expenses no matter who caused the accident. PIP has two parts: (a) coverage for the cost of treatment you receive from hospitals, doctors and other medical providers and any medical equipment that may be needed to treat your injuries; (b) reimbursement for certain other expenses you may have because you are hurt, such as lost wages and the need to hire someone to take care of your home or family.
Q: What is the “verbal threshold” or “limited tort threshold” on my automobile insurance policy?
A: The verbal threshold or limited tort threshold is an option selected by most policyholders in New Jersey to lower the cost of the insurance policy. If selected, the verbal threshold requires the injured party to show objective medical evidence of a permanent injury in order to maintain a personal injury lawsuit in New Jersey without risk of dismissal by the Court.
Q: What Are Limited vs. Unlimited Right to Sue Options?
A: Lawsuit threshold and unlimited right to sue offer different remedies in the event you’re injured in a car accident. Limited tort is cheaper but restricts your ability to sue after an accident. You can only sue for pain and suffering in certain situations, whereas full tort coverage always allows you to sue for pain and suffering from injuries caused by a car, bus or truck accident.
Q: What are my legal options if the other driver’s insurance policy is not enough to cover my personal injuries and damages?
A: You can pursue a recovery if your policy contains underinsured (UIM) motorist benefits. For example, if you sustain injuries in a New Jersey automobile, bus or truck accident valued at $100,000 and the other driver only has $15,000 in bodily injury coverage, you can pursue a claim against your own insurance company if your policy contains underinsured motorist coverage in excess of $15,000.
Q: What are my legal options from the perspective of a New Jersey car accident lawyer if the other driver has no insurance or I am not sure of the identity of the other driver?
- If the other driver does not have insurance or you are unable to identify the other driver at fault in the accident because of a “hit and run” or “phantom vehicle”, you can pursue a claim against your own insurance company if your policy contains uninsured motorist benefits (UM).
Q: How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit against another driver in New Jersey?
A: The statute of limitations in New Jersey for a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident, unless you are a minor under the age of eighteen. In other words, you must file your lawsuit with the court within two years or you will be forever barred. In other states, the statute of limitations may vary so it is important to contact an attorney as soon as you are in an accident in order to preserve your rights.
Q: Do I need to notify my insurance company even if the other driver is at fault?
A: Yes. In order to fully obtain the benefits and rights under your automobile insurance policy, you must put your insurance carrier on notice of the accident, regardless of who is at fault.
Q: What should I do if the other driver’s automobile insurance company contacts me?
A: Do nothing. Direct that individual to speak with your attorney and let your attorney know that you have been contacted and who contacted you. Do not become a victim of an insurance company’s attempt to coerce you into giving a statement that can be used against you.
Q: If I decide to sue, how do I pay for my New Jersey car accident attorney?
A: Almost every attorney in New Jersey will accept the case on a “contingency fee” basis. Under a contingency fee arrangement, an attorney will not be paid unless you recover damages, either by a settlement or jury verdict. If you recover nothing, you are not responsible to pay the attorney. If there is a recovery, the New Jersey attorney will take a specified percentage of the recovery as a fee and will be reimbursed off the top for any expenses advanced for the litigation. The client is responsible for the payment of all outstanding medical bills and liens regardless of whether there is a recovery.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a serious motor vehicle accident, please contact Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman and we will contact you within twenty-four (24) hours to discuss your car accident case and potentially have you work with one of our New Jersey car accident attorneys.
These questions and answers should not be relied on, are not intended to constitute legal advice, and are for informational purposes only.
Watch David Mazie interviewed on Dateline. His $135 million drunk driving car accident jury verdict is the largest in New Jersey history.
Q: How Do I Negotiate with Insurance Companies?
After an accident, many injured people will be contacted by their own insurance company, or the insurance company covering the other driver. A lot of injured people assume that the insurance companies have their best interests at heart and simply want to help them get back on their feet after a traumatic event. This is not true.
Insurance companies are motivated by their own financial interests. And it is in their financial interests to pay you as little as possible by settling your claim without going to court. That’s why it’s in your interest to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can after an accident, even before signing a release of your medical records or giving a statement to the insurance company.
Personal injury lawyers can ensure that your rights are respected and protected as you move through the insurance claims process. They’ll negotiate your claim with the insurance companies and, if the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, they’ll go to court for you and seek damages at a trial.
Q: How Does Getting Compensation From An At-Fault Driver After An Accident Work?
Very often, drivers injured in car accidents incur damages far in excess of their personal injury protection limit. It’s not uncommon for even moderate injuries to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct medical expenses, and that’s not even counting the significant secondary expenses from ongoing care.
Luckily, if you’re injured in a car accident by an at-fault driver, there’s a chance that you can recover damages from them. The likely success and size of your claim will depend on all sorts of factors, however.
The elements of negligence
Proving a negligence claim requires that you prove all the “elements” of the tort. Basically, that means you need to prove that:
- You suffered damages
- The person or company you’re suing owed you a “duty of care”
- The person or company you’re suing failed to discharge their “duty of care”
- Your damages were caused by the other driver’s negligence.
In other words, you need to show that the defendant did, or failed to do, something that caused you harm in a situation where they had a duty to keep you from harm.
A common example is a road accident. Every driver owes a duty of care to every other driver to drive reasonably safely and to refrain from actions that might reasonably lead to harming someone else. If a driver breaches that duty, they are generally liable for the harm they cause.
Above all else, you’ll want to keep limitation periods in mind. A limitation period, sometimes referred to as the “statute of limitations,” restricts the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit against the person or persons who injured you. In New Jersey, that time period is usually (but not always) 2 years from the time of the accident.
That may sound like a long time but, considering how much work goes into filing a lawsuit, it’s not a very lenient limit. That’s especially true when you consider that there are some cases that considerably shorten this period, sometimes to as few as 90 days against a public entity.
Reaching the Point of “Maximum Medical Improvement”
While you’ll need to file your lawsuit quickly, before you can reach an accurate estimation of your damages you’ll need to achieve the point of “maximum medical improvement.” This is the point at which you’re no longer recovering from your accident and your medical condition has permanently stabilized.
Suing for Pain and Suffering
If your insurance policy allows for it, you may wish to consider suing for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced as a result of the car accident. These are considered “non-economic” damages, as they don’t arise directly from a bill paid to a medical or other service provider. Instead, they’re in consideration of the mental anguish you’ve gone through because of the accident.
Contributory and Comparative Negligence
In personal injury law, it’s not always the case that one party was 100% at fault while the other party was entirely innocent. It’s frequently the case that both parties involved in an accident contributed equally or differently to the event.
This means that, even if you were partly to blame for the accident, it’s not necessarily true that you can’t recover any money from the other person. In New Jersey, as long as you weren’t more than 50% at fault, you might still be able to recover damages.
It can be extremely hard to determine your own or someone else’s degree of fault in an accident. That’s why it’s best to speak with a New Jersey personal injury attorney about all the facts in your situation to help get an unbiased opinion about whether you’re likely to recover damages in the event you pursue a claim.
Sometimes, the state of the road you were driving on, or some other feature within the control of a municipal or state government, might have contributed to the accident you were in. If that’s the case, and you’re considering including the state or a state employee in your claim, you’ll certainly benefit from assistance from a New Jersey attorney.
Special rules come into play when you sue a government body or official and it’s a lot more complicated than suing a private individual or corporation. Unless you comply with those special rules, you run the risk of having your otherwise meritorious claim dismissed.
Settlements vs. Trials
Most personal injury cases in New Jersey are settled before a trial. However, your ability to successfully litigate a trial can significantly impact the size of the settlement offer you get from the other side. That’s why it’s important to have skilled trial counsel in your corner as you move through the negotiation phase of the process.
A good New Jersey personal injury attorney can also help you decide whether or not to accept a settlement offer that’s been made by the other side. Sometimes, while an offer can seem “fair,” it may not actually cover all your damages or take into account your full situation.
In the event that you do proceed with a trial, it’s even more critical that you have an experienced New Jersey litigator at your side. The courts are a complicated environment and the rules of evidence can be confusing. It’s almost always in your best interest to get your own lawyer.
Q: What are the Different Types of Car Accidents?
Different types of car accidents bring with them different types of recurring legal and evidentiary issues. Here are just a few of them.
Commercial vehicle accidents and truck accidents
Getting involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle or truck can be devastating. The increased size and weight can cause significant injury to you and your loved ones. Additionally, the fact that you’re dealing with a commercial truck means that – legally speaking – you have to consider many more potential parties to a lawsuit, including the owner of the vehicle, the driver leasing the truck, the manufacturer of the vehicle and its parts, and anyone else involved in the vehicle’s operation.
You can also bet that a commercial trucking company will have experienced investigators and attorneys working to protect it from liability, so you’ll need skilled representation in your corner to protect your own rights. On the plus side, commercial trucking companies usually carry extensive liability insurance so – in the unfortunate event you or a loved one do suffer harm in a commercial accident – your lawyer may very well be able to recover significant damages.
It’s important to recognize that New Jersey’s no-fault insurance rules do not cover motorcycle accidents. In other words, motorcycle drivers can’t rely on their personal injury protection limits to cover damages incurred as the result of a motorcycle accident. This means that if you’re injured by another driver while riding a motorcycle you will typically have to recover damages from the other driver to compensate you for your losses.
Contrary to common beliefs, the pedestrian does not “always have the right of way,” legally speaking. While cars, buses and trucks must yield to pedestrians, those crossing a street in New Jersey have a duty to cross carefully, and at crosswalks. The comparative negligence laws of New Jersey apply equally to accidents involving pedestrians as they do to accidents involving only vehicles. That means that, if you’re a pedestrian who’s been injured by a vehicle but you’re found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you won’t be entitled to recover damages from the driver involved in the accident.