Personal Injury in New Jersey

When you have been injured by someone else's carelessness, it is important to take some initial steps toward making sure your injury claim can be settled fairly and as quickly as possible:

Write down everything you can remember about how the injury occurred, including the names, addresses and phone numbers of potential witnesses, police officers, insurance company representatives (or company or workers' compensation representatives if it was a work injury)

Talk to a New Jersey personal injury lawyer before making any statements, written or verbal, to insurance company adjusters or representatives

Let anyone you think may be responsible for the injury know right away that you are intending to file a claim against them

Take steps to protect any evidence you may need to prove your injury, such as your totaled car, photographs of an accident or injury scene, clothing you were wearing, damaged personal belongings, and so forth

How Do I Figure Out Who Is At Fault?

In most cases, in order to collect on an injury claim in New Jersey, you must prove the person who caused the injury was "negligent" – they did not exercise reasonable care. In New Jersey, you must prove:

  • The existence of a duty owed to you by the person who caused your injury
  • The other person failed to carry out the duty that they owed you
  • You suffered damages
  • The other person's failure caused you to have the injury

New Jersey's "comparative negligence" law allows you to recover against another person, even if you were also negligent, as long as the other person was more negligent than you. If more than one person was negligent towards you, they are each proportionally responsible to you for their share of the damage that they caused. If one of the people is 60% or more responsible for the injury, you can recover the full amount of the damages from them directly, and they will have to seek recovery for the portion above what they were responsible for from the other person who was responsible for the injury.

If you have been injured using a consumer product, the manufacturer or the seller of the product may be responsible under a "products liability" legal theory if the product was not reasonably safe for use by you. Under New Jersey law, you would need to prove that:

  • The product had some sort of defect, either in how it was designed or in how it was made, or it did not have adequate warnings
  • The defect or lack of warnings caused your injury
  • You suffered damages

What Is My Claim Worth?

Under New Jersey law, the person who injured you is responsible for:

  • Past, current and future estimated medical expenses
  • Time lost from work, including time spent going to medical appointments or therapy
  • Any property that was damaged, such as your vehicle
  • The cost of hiring someone to do household chores when you could not do them
  • Any permanent disfigurement or disability
  • Your emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, fright, shock, and any interference with your family relationships
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Change in future earning ability due to the injury that you suffered
  • Any other costs that were a direct result of your injury

A lawyer will know what type of expert witness to hire to best prove your damages.

How Long Do I Have To File A Legal Claim?

In New Jersey, you only have two years to file a lawsuit against the person who injured you. If your lawyer has not been able to come to an agreement with any involved insurance companies, you will definitely want to file a lawsuit before the two-year statute of limitations runs out.

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