What Should I Know About Car Accidents in New Jersey?
Car accidents can happen to anyone. Many people are hurt or even killed in these accidents. Teenagers who are just learning to drive, elderly drivers, and new drivers of any age often get into accidents because of their inexperience. Moreover, some drivers in New Jersey simply overload themselves behind the wheel to the point where they cannot maintain control of their vehicles. Drivers need to know how to protect themselves, how to safeguard their families, and how to avoid accidents whenever possible. Drivers also need aggressive representatives who will fight for their rights after accidents occur.
We Provide Aggressive Representation for Car Accident Victims
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accidents cause 840,000 injuries and 1,700 fatalities each year. Many factors contribute to a car accident, and any resulting injuries can be devastating. The Cherry Hill car accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law help victims injured in car accidents and pedestrian accidents. We help victims recover damages, including lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Accidents can include a wide variety of objects and other vehicles. For example, most motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey include:
- Striking parked vehicles
- Striking fixed objects
- Sideswiping other vehicles
- Accidents while reversing
- Accidents during U-turns
A driver may not have been involved in one of these accidents yet, but they must be on the lookout for dangerous drivers and situations. There were nearly 28,000 instances of vehicles striking a parked vehicle in 2016 alone. People get distracted, and drivers do not want to fall victim to distraction and other issues that can cause accidents.
Our lawyers will thoroughly investigate the details of each accident to determine if another party is at-fault for causing the accident. We will also thoroughly assess any injuries to determine the amount of compensation victims are entitled to for present and future injury expenses, as well as pain and suffering. We work with medical experts to determine the level of care that is required up to and including disability coverage for someone who cannot work any longer.
What Causes Car Accidents?
Motor vehicle accidents can involve a variety of vehicles, such as trucks, cars, and buses. Additionally, motor vehicle accidents can occur for numerous reasons.
Aggressive driving and road rage: Aggressive drivers might tap their brakes repeatedly, cut off other drivers, or even threaten other drivers. Avoiding road rage is easy when drivers look for aggressive people on the road. If a driver can focus on the road, there is no need to engage with other motorists. Other people in the car are counting on the driver to make wise decisions. At the same time, drivers should attempt to avoid aggressive drivers, if possible.
Let people pass so that they can go on their way. If the aggressive driving is extreme, call the non-emergency number for that area. If observed that the aggressive driving may cause an accident, drivers are well within their rights to call 911. Road rage also goes hand-in-hand with distracted driving and drunk driving. Drunk drivers might become extremely aggressive if they have been drinking, and that aggression could spill over to the road. Distracted drivers might be upset about what is distracting them and take that frustration out on the cars around them. Do not allow people to get in the car if they are upset, drunk, high, or in an addled state that makes them unfit to drive.
Dangerous driving conditions: Dangerous driving conditions include inclement weather, construction zones, and even when the vehicle is not functioning properly. Careful drivers will slow down in these conditions, or they will be attuned to problems in the vehicle. When trying to drive quickly through poor road conditions, it is easy to lose control of the vehicle.
Distracted driving: Texting and driving is the most common form of distracted driving, but distracted drivers might also:
- Check emails
- Read maps
- Check navigation results on their phones
- Talk to other passengers
- Reach for something that has fallen on the floor
Drivers who take their eyes off the road could cause serious accidents. Ask for help, pull over, or wait until the car is parked at the final destination to make calls, check emails, or send texts.
Drowsy driving: Drowsy driving is common among overworked truck drivers, but car drivers can fall victim to drowsy driving after a long day at work, on long road trips, or early in the morning. Drivers may feel that they need another cup of coffee to get through their morning drive, or they might feel they can drive home because it is not that far. Use a ridesharing service, take a nap before driving, or stay at a friend’s house overnight to avoid falling asleep at the wheel.
Drunk driving: Drunk driving has long been a problem around America as people party and try to have a good time. Groups should always bring a designated driver to parties, or volunteer someone to be the designated driver. If drivers notice that someone on the road appears to be intoxicated or driving erratically, they should stay away from that driver and contact the local authorities.
Hit-and-run accidents: Hit-and-run accidents are serious, and they often leave victims with almost no legal recourse. Drivers should attempt to gather information from eyewitnesses. A hit-and run-accident can occur any time the guilty party leaves the scene before exchanging information, before the police arrive, or without even exiting the vehicle.
Hit-and-run accidents may be quite simple, but they can also include rear-end collisions, hitting parked cars and leaving the scene, or even striking a mailbox or signpost and fleeing. These accidents may not involve injuries, but someone needs to pay for the damage. In more extreme cases, hit-and-runs involve injuries that are worthy of major insurance settlements. The guilty driver might cause the accident and flee, strike a pedestrian, or strike someone in the aftermath of another accident.
Improper passing: Some rural roads and surface streets have passing areas, but drivers may not pass safely. Drivers must wait until they have dotted lines to pass the car in front of the other vehicle before oncoming traffic reaches their position. Improper passing on the highway includes cutting off vehicles in the fast lanes, cutting into slow lanes to weave through traffic, or passing someone only to stop suddenly. Improper passing might also include clipping another car, forcing that car off the road, and even sideswiping the other vehicle.
Intersection collisions: An intersection collision may occur when a driver speeds through a stop light, when two cars collide while turning, or when a driver strikes a pedestrian in an intersection. Drivers should be aware of when traffic lights are changing, stop when they see yellow, and never attempt to drive under a red light. If the driver is turning on red, he or she should look out for pedestrians, ensure that other cars are not passing through the intersection, and make room for drivers who might be making a protected turn.
When drivers come to intersections, they must wait for the light to turn green. According to AAA, there were 939 red light crashes in 2017 alone. AAA also found that 65 percent of the time, the injured or deceased party in a red-light accident was not the offending driver. AAA notes that this is a massive spike in stop-light crashes. A large number of drivers will drive through a stop light just after it has changed. Waiting a few seconds could save lives.
Left turns: Drivers who are making left turns into intersections must be aware of other drivers that are allowed to proceed in the intersections. In some cases, the opposite lanes are making the same protected turn. Additionally, a driver may be allowed to make a left turn, even though drivers may cross the intersection going the other way.
Careless driving at an intersection can easily cause an accident. Drivers must be aware of who is allowed to turn or who may pass through the intersection. Drivers may also want to allow large trucks to turn first because a large trailer does not turn in a curved line. Drivers that try to stay beside a large trailer could be clipped as the trailer makes the turn.
Lane changes: Careless lane changes can cause sideswipe accidents, rear-end accidents, and even force drivers off the road. Wild lane changes may cause multi-vehicle accidents when one driver must stop suddenly. A wild lane change could result in one car clipping another and possibly rolling over.
Multi-vehicle auto accidents: Multi-vehicle crashes can be quite complicated because they involve liability among several different drivers. A multi-vehicle crash could be caused by just one person, or a multi-vehicle accident may be caused by poor weather conditions, signage on the road, and even debris. The drivers who are caught in the middle tend to sustain the most damage.
Pedestrian accidents: Pedestrians can be killed by passing drivers at any time, but they could also be knocked down when they are crossing the street. Pedestrians could also be knocked down when drivers roll onto the sidewalk or disobey traffic rules when coming through an intersection. In all cases, pedestrians have the right-of-way when they use crosswalks. Even so, drivers should be aware of pedestrians who have walked into the road. Pedestrian accidents can also occur on rural roads. Rural roads often do not have sidewalks, the shoulder is not wide and sometimes non-existent, and the speed limits are much higher than they are on suburban surface streets.
Poor weather conditions: Drivers often move too fast for the prevailing road conditions because they believe that they can handle their cars in light rainstorms, against heavy winds, or even in the snow. While inexperienced drivers cause their fair share of accidents, experienced drivers often overestimate their ability to control their vehicles.
Drivers who grew up in cold climates often believe they can drive on snow and ice with no trouble. These drivers, however, cannot see black ice that has formed on the road. Ice may be hidden underneath the snow that has piled up, and slick conditions may cause cars to slide. Drivers may not see all the obstacles that are on the road in the dark. Due to this, driving too fast could easily cause an accident. Drivers may be blinded by the sun because they are driving directly toward the sunrise or sunset. Drivers must wear sunglasses and slow down if they cannot see well.
Rear-end collisions: Read-end collisions occur when drivers cannot make an emergency stop, cut off other drivers, or come to a rolling stop without realizing how close they are to another car. Rear-end collisions occur frequently at stop signs and stop lights often. When drivers are distracted, they can easily rear-end another vehicle. At the same time, a rear-end collision could be part of a much larger accident. A multi-vehicle crash is often made up of several rear-end collisions.
Reckless driving: Reckless driving includes irresponsible choices that the driver makes behind the wheel. While reckless driving is extremely dangerous, it is difficult to prove. The prosecution must show specific examples of the guilty driver’s behavior, how that behavior impacted other drivers, and how that behavior specifically caused an accident. Drivers who have been charged with reckless driving should retain a lawyer immediately so that they can prove they were not driving recklessly. At the same time, reckless driving could cause any of the accidents listed above.
Skateboarders: Skateboarders might use rural roads or surface streets to get where they are going. Drivers must be careful and look out for anyone who is not in a traditional vehicle. Drivers should also look out for people on scooters and bicycles. These vehicles are small and difficult to see. If the weather is bad, drivers may not see skateboarders or their friends at all.
Speeding: In 2017 alone, speeding was the cause of nearly 25 percent of all auto accidents. Drivers can easily lose control of their vehicles while speeding. Speeding reduces a driver’s reaction time, does not provide the best visibility, and increases a car’s stopping distance. When weather conditions are poor, speeding can cause a driver to slide, drive off the road, rear-end or sideswipe another vehicle, or get into an accident with a large truck. In many cases, different legal rules apply, depending on the type of accident and where it occurred, such as whether the accident occurred in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, as each state has their own motor vehicle statutes.
What are Common Car Accident Injuries?
Drivers must be aware of all the injuries that could occur when they are involved in an accident. Most car accidents result in minor injuries that can be treated by an EMT on the scene or a general practitioner. Drivers, however, should also be aware of hidden injuries that are difficult to see or even notice for several days after the accident.
These injuries will be more severe when riding a motorcycle, ATV, or scooter. While these vehicles are not as large as cars, the crashes can be quite severe. Riders can easily be thrown from a motorcycle, scooter, or ATV. If riders are on the open road, the impact from a car or truck will be much more severe, and riders should be extra diligent while driving.
An accident can involve multiple types of injuries:
Whiplash: This is a common car accident injury that causes severe neck pain. The pain can move into one’s shoulders, cause loss of sleep, and make it difficult to concentrate or drive. A doctor or EMT can check for whiplash right away, and drivers should be treated before symptoms worsen.
Cuts and lacerations: These are common in car accidents, but drivers should not walk away from the accident thinking they can put bandages on wounds. Cuts and lacerations could cause internal damage, muscle damage, and even infections.
Broken ribs: This injury happens more often than people might think simply because the seat belt pulls drivers and passengers back against their seats. The force of an accident can break several ribs. The pain can be debilitating, and drivers may have a difficult time breathing, walking, bending over, or sleeping. These injuries must be treated by a doctor because a broken rib could cause further internal injuries.
Broken bones: Drivers may have broken other bones that they are not aware of because they have a bruise or lingering pain. When drivers go to the hospital or doctor immediately after an accident, they can request treatment before the pain escalates.
Herniated discs: This injury may occur due to heavy impact during a crash. Some people may have herniated discs that they attribute to a bad back when, in fact, they have severe spinal damage. Get checked out by a doctor if it seems like the driver or passengers suffered serious back injuries in the car crash.
Leg trauma: This is common in automotive accidents because cars crumple on impact. The knees will be injured first, and one or both legs could be broken if the car does not have much leg room, or the vehicle crumples into the seating area.
Internal bleeding: This injury is impossible to see, and drivers should go to the emergency room or the doctor as soon as possible for an exam. Drivers may have lingering pain they believe will go away, but internal bleeding will continue unless accident victims see a doctor.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTDS): PTSD is a mental condition characterized by extreme anxiety, stress, and even recurring nightmares due to a traumatic incident. PTSD may make one afraid to drive, ride in a car, or return to the location where the accident occurred. Reach out to a licensed, therapist, counselor, social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist for help.
What Complexities are Involved in Car Accident Lawsuits?
Injuries from motor vehicle accidents can be devastating. The accidents often trigger many questions, including:
- Who will pay for medical treatment?
- How will the car get repaired?
- Who is liable?
- What if the other person does not have enough insurance?
- Are doctor referrals needed to receive treatment?
- Who will pay lost wages while out of work?
- Is there enough insurance to cover this?
- Is there a case?
Car accident cases can be extremely complex because of these multiple issues and require immediate legal attention so no mistakes are made in pursuing a claim.
Insurance Coverage and Motor Vehicle Accidents
Almost every car accident case involves insurance issues. Often, there could be multiple insurance policies in a household that can be applied to a case. These policies can provide additional benefits for medical bills, property damage, wage loss, and underinsured motorist benefits. However, insurance companies can be quick to blame the victim for an accident that is not their fault and try to deny important insurance benefits paid for as part of a policy premium.
In many cases, insurance companies want to take a recorded statement to lock in on the victim’s version of the accident and show that they were not hurt in the accident. Insurance companies may also try to hide behind the type of insurance coverage victims have, whether it is limited tort, as it is called in Pennsylvania, or a verbal threshold, as it is called in New Jersey. These selections on an insurance policy can significantly impact a case. There are many exceptions and variables to these tort selections, so it is important to call a car accident lawyer to assess an insurance policy.
What Steps Should I Take After an Accident?
The moments immediately following an accident are often overwhelming and may leave victims feeling somewhat disoriented; therefore, it is crucial to know the steps to take after being involved in any type of collision. First and foremost, pull off the road to a safe location and call for emergency assistance. Seeking medical attention for all injuries, no matter how minor they may seem, is critical.
Be sure to obtain the contact information of all parties involved in the accident, as well as any eyewitness information. If possible, take pictures at the scene of the accident and record notes about what happened. Keep all documents that may be pertinent to the investigation. Lastly, contact a car accident attorney who can provide experienced legal advice.
Why is Aggressive Legal Representation Important?
Our accomplished car accident lawyers aggressively fight for car accident victims and their families. We understand that dealing with the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident can be both frightening and overwhelming. We are here to assist victims during this stressful time. Motor vehicle accident laws are complex and attempting to settle an automobile accident claim alone can result in lower compensation awards.
Aggressive representation starts with an insurance claim. Do not give an insurance company any more information than necessary, and do not submit a claim to the guilty driver’s insurance company until speaking with an attorney. Allow a lawyer to file the claim and submit all the appropriate information so that the insurance company does not misinterpret what the claim says.
Insurance companies are trying to make money, and they have high-priced lawyers who will fight against every big claim. Drivers may be denied coverage or be asked to take a low settlement. Allow us to build the case, explain how to recover the appropriate compensation for the crash, and manage communications with all interested parties in the case.
Cherry Hill Car Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Represent Victims Injured in All Types of Car Accidents
Our Cherry Hill car accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law work with experienced negotiators, mediators, and litigators who handle all aspects of motor vehicle claims. We will communicate with the insurance representatives involved in your case and make sure you receive the medical treatment that you need. Call us at 856-414-0010 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Mt. Holly, Camden County, and Vineland.