Most financial issues that stem from a car accident are settled through one or both drivers' insurance companies. The insurance system is designed to produce exactly that result. And because New Jersey is a choice no-fault state, the processing of claims is virtually automatic. Still, there are exceptions and exceptional circumstances that change the story--and even when there are not, you want a good car accident attorney to make sure you are getting the compensation due to you.
When you are in an accident, you report the accident to the police and then to your insurer and the insurer for the other driver. But insurance companies don't make their profits by paying out the maximum value for every claim. Rather, they will offer a settlement that might seem reasonable, but in reality, does not compensate you for all of your damages: physical damage to the car, medical expenses for any injuries you sustain, and any lost work time or other kinds of loss that you sustain.
For this reason, you want to consult a car accident attorney to talk through your accident and the damages you have sustained. The insurance company, whether it is yours or the other driver's, is not entirely on your side. Your attorney will represent your best interests.
Whether you have no-fault insurance or not, some injuries that you can sustain take you outside of the limits that no-fault would otherwise create. If another driver causes an accident and you suffer a "serious injury", including dismemberment, disfigurement, or permanent injuries, your no-fault insurance does not limit your recovery from the other driver.
When you are injured in a car accident, don't expect your insurer to protect your interests at the expense of its own. Contact Stern & Stern LLP to find a car accident attorney who will fight for the recovery you deserve.
When you get into an auto accident, no matter who caused the accident, insurance companies usually provide the damage payments. But in New Jersey, just like everywhere else, an insurer will try to limit the amount it pays out. For this reason, when the other driver causes the accident, you must be sure to document the accident and all of your damages and meet with an experienced car accident attorney before filing your claim to ensure you get fair compensation.
The Police Report
As soon after the accident as possible, you must make a police report. If no one is seriously hurt, you should do this at the scene of the accident. The report serves as an official record of the car accident, so filing immediately helps get all of the critical facts on paper. The insurance companies involved will also rely on the information recorded here as part of how it determines what kind of settlement to offer.
Reporting to Insurance
You should exchange insurance information with the other driver after the accident as well. If you are at fault, or if you carry no-fault insurance that covers physical damage to your car, you will file a first-party claim with your insurer. When the other driver is at fault, you will file a third-party claim with the other driver's insurer. Use the contact information and policy name and number you receive to start the process in motion.
Speak with a Lawyer
The insurance company will usually come back in a matter of days with an offer for a settlement payment. Importantly, that offer is designed to give as little as possible to settle liability. Your attorney is a critical resource in helping you understand all of your damages and determine your right to recover.
If in addition to property damage you have been injured in a car accident, don't depend on an insurance company to offer the reasonable compensation to which you are entitled. Before you accept any offer, contact Stern and Stern. We will help you get the recovery you deserve.
The death of a loved one changes your life forever. If you depended on someone who dies because of someone else's wrongful conduct, you are entitled to recover damages for that person's death. To do so, though, you must file under the New Jersey wrongful death statute within two years after the person dies. Unless you meet certain exceptions, failing to file on time eliminates your ability to recover. Thus, it is important to contact a wrongful death attorney right away to help preserve your rights.
Reason for Statute of Limitations
Statutes of limitations exist to ensure the legal process can be effective. Over time, memories fade. Witnesses might not remember the events as clearly if too much time passes. It also allows people to move forward; by closing the window on when a suit can be brought, the law allows people to move forward in their lives without fear of a lawsuit that can spring on them decades after an accident.
When the Statute Starts
Under the wrongful death statute, you must bring suit within two years after the person dies. Some laws provide statutes of limitations that start to run when you discover or should reasonably discover that an event has occurred. In a wrongful death matter, though, only those who depended on the deceased may recover damages, so this window for discovery would not make sense. Rather than starting to run when you find out a person has died, the wrongful death statute of limitations begins as soon as the person dies.
When the Statute Does Not Apply
The wrongful death statute does provide exceptions for a defendant who has been convicted of murder, aggravated manslaughter, or manslaughter in connection with the death. In these situations, the statute of limitations does not apply.
If you have lost a loved one due to the reckless or negligent behavior of someone else, don't wait and risk losing your right to collect damages. Contact Stern and Stern today to work toward the recovery you deserve.
If you are injured in a car accident, you have a million thoughts running through your head. Still, there is a process to follow to help protect your rights. The following seven tips can help you slow down and understand what to do after a car accident.
Take a moment to catch your breath. It is normal to feel anxious, even scared after an accident. Try to focus and get your mind and emotions under control before you get out of your car.
2. Get the Other Driver's Information
Your rights begin with understanding who is at fault. The other driver and his or her insurer will be responsible for damages when that driver causes an accident. If possible, get this person's name and the name of the insurance company he or she uses.
3. Talk to the Police
Any list of what to do after a car accident must include talking to the police. Wait at the scene until someone arrives, and give your account of what happened. The police report represents an official report on the accident, so the more detail you can provide, the better.
4. See Your Doctor
Once you are done talking to the police, protecting your health is paramount. See a doctor for a full examination. Any health damage you have endured should be addressed and will be part of the damages to which you are entitled.
5. Contact Your Insurer
Once you have taken steps to protect your health, contact your insurer. You are required by your insurance company policy to contact your insurer after an accident. If you have PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance with your automobile insurance you must contact your insurer and fill out the appropriate application when they send it to you in order for them to pay your medical bills.
6. Collect Your Paperwork
Your medical records, the police report, and your notes from the accident all help you present your case to an attorney. Gather what you have.
7. See Your Attorney
No one understands what to do after a car accident better than an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact Stern and Stern today to help you protect your right to recover damages.
When you ride in a taxi, you do not have control over your travel. Unfortunately, this means that you cannot take steps to avoid an accident when it occurs. You may be injured by colliding with the divider in front of you, or directly through the impact of a collision. Whether your driver or someone else caused the accident, New Jersey personal injury law provides ways for you to get the compensation you deserve. Make sure you take steps to get the information you need before you contact your lawyer.
Your Driver's Information
Your driver will have on display his or her license and information in the taxi. You should get this information, including that of the company for which the driver works. Regardless of who was at fault, your driver's insurance may contribute to the damages to which you are entitled. You could get injured because of the safety equipment in a taxi or the partition separating you from the driver, so the driving itself or the structure could cause your injuries. You need to be able to identify your driver to gain the full benefit that personal injury law provides for you.
You don't have control of the driving, but you do have control over reporting the accident. Make sure you contact the police and wait on the scene until an officer appears. You can then collect the reporting officer's information and explain what happened. The police officer will give you the information you need to get a copy of your report, which you will then bring to your attorney.
Pictures and Notes
If you are able, take pictures at the accident scene and jot down some notes. Personal injury law uses a combination of laws and facts to reach its outcomes. Your information gathered at the site helps you keep the facts at hand.
If you have been injured in a taxi accident, you need strong, experienced representation. Contact Stern and Stern to get the compensation you deserve.
When you lose a loved one, your world changes instantly. You need to cope with the emotional impact of the loss and figure out how to move forward. But what if someone else directly caused it to happen? In New Jersey, a wrongful death action is available when someone else's action or negligence causes your loved one's death. Your attorney will help you understand your rights and get the recovery you deserve.
Explain Your Relationship
In a wrongful death action, one of the first things your lawyer will want to understand is the nature of your relationship with the deceased. This can feel uncomfortable, but under New Jersey law, you must show dependence or an inheritance right from the estate. Understanding what your relationshipis serves as a threshold issue before you have a right to recover.
Understanding What Happened
Your lawyer will then want to understand what happened. Before you can recover for wrongful death, you must show that the person who caused it had and violated a duty of care to your loved one. This can include something as simple as a duty to drivesafely,or to provide proper maintenance to private property. But not meeting the duty must be related to how the person died.
Beyond the duty itself, your lawyer will want to understand the sequence of events that led to your loved one dying. This again is not an easy story to tell, but you must be able to show causation. For example, if someone's speeding did not create the conditions that caused the death, the fact that the person broke the law is not enough for you to recover.
Preparing Your Case
After your initial meeting, you should expect your attorney to continue gathering information. The road to a trial or even a settlement is long, and your lawyer will continue asking questions along the way, all to help prepare and earn the best recovery for you.
If someone else's actions or neglect have caused the loss of your loved one, don't leave your case to just anyone. Contact Stern and Stern today.
When you think of what an attorney does for you, you likely imagine a singularly focused person with a great deal of knowledge in a narrow area. In fact, this is far from the truth. Your attorney needs to know a great deal in several areas to represent you in an auto accident case. He or she must put it all together to deliver the results you need.
Injuries you suffer in an auto accident come from a combination of the impact you suffer and a chain of events that occur in your body. Your attorney needs to understand the injuries you suffered, and how and why they occurred. Causation is a key element to any personal injury case, so the attorneys must know how to demonstrate it in court and their filings.
Engineering and Physics
Beyond injuries, your attorney must understand the role the vehicles involved play in the accident. Each vehicle has an intricate construction and parts that work in combination to move, stop and steer, and to protect the drivers. The way everything works — or sometimes fails to work — plays a role in the damages and sometimes the parties to a suit. Mechanical engineering and physics thus play a key role.
Your lawyer serves as your advocate and your counselor. This means being able to work with you on your needs, as well as understanding the mindsets of the other party, his or her attorneys, the judge, and the jury members. A deft command of human psychology thus becomes necessary to navigate through an auto accident case, from your first consultation through trial.
Finally, beyond everything else, your attorney must be an expert in the legal system: the laws and regulations related to driving, insurance, and personal injury law; the rules of civil procedure that govern your case; and the rules of practice in the individual court.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, you need someone who can wear multiple hats to get you the best result. Contact Stern & Stern today to reach the recovery you deserve.
After an auto accident, the wait until your trial can feel like an eternity. The accident likely occurred months ago or more. The way you felt immediately after has subsided; some injuries have healed, and you've become used to dealing with those that haven't every day. But after all of that, you need to be ready to give your version of events to a jury. To do so, you must work with your attorney and prepare carefully for your day in court.
Review the Details
As your court date approaches, take some time each day to review your memories and your notes about the accident. The opposing attorney will try to trip you up and pick at anything that does not match deposition testimony, police reports, or eyewitness accounts. You need to make sure you recall precisely what happened, how and why. For you to remember under pressure on the stand, you need to be able to remember during the buildup.
Practice Telling Your Story
Beyond remembering, you need to be able to tell the jury what happened. Your attorney will practice with you, both in terms of letting you tell the story on direct examination and answering questions oncross examination. Don't get discouraged when you make mistakes; this is your chance to work out the kinks and prepare so that, when the time comes, you can talk smoothly about your auto accident. While you practice, make sure you ask questions as well, so you can feel confident in what you're doing at trial.
This is the hardest part. Jury members react to nervousness in unpredictable ways, so you cannot risk looking flustered. In the end, though, your jobisto tell the truth about the auto accident and let your attorney and the system work for you.
If you have been hurt in an accident, contact Stern & Stern to get the representation you need.
If you've been in an auto accident, your mind tends to jump quickly from one thought to the next. You worry about yourself, your car, your family, and all the other obligations you have. All this makes it difficult to sort out your thoughts and focus on any one thing. But you need to take care of some details in the short term. These few important steps can help you move forward quickly.
1. File a Police Report
If you or anyone else in the accident was injured, or if there is any damage of more than $500 caused in the accident, you need to report it to the police. Besides it being a state law requirement, a police report is an official record of what happened, and you can rely on it later in court. Do not rely on the other driver for this; that person might not reportit, or may give false informationto to avoid taking responsibility. As soon as possible, tell the local or state police what happened.
2. See a Doctor
Injuries that you don't treat right away get worse quickly. Even if you don't feel hurt, the effects of an auto accident can hit you hours or even days after you sustain an injury. Don't wait until it hurts; see someone to get a diagnosis. In the midst of everything, you need to protect yourself first. Cars can be replaced, but you cannot.
3. Take Notes
Don't count on remembering everything that happened later on. Write down as much as you remember while it's fresh in your mind. Your ability to recover damages later depends in part on being able to explain what happened. Even before you contact a personal injury attorney, you need to make sure you understand what happened.
4. Find a Lawyer
After an auto accident, you'll have many people telling you what to do, but not all of them are on your side. A personal injury attorney can help you understand and exercise your right to recover. After an accident, contact Stern & Stern to get the help you need.
If you have lost a loved one because of someone else's negligence, it can be hard to keep going. You depended on this person for income and for personal and emotional support. Now, you find limits to whether and how you can pursue wrongful death cases in New Jersey. Before you give up your right to damages for the wrongful death of someone close to you, you should take the time to work with an attorney. He or she can help you understand your options and your rights.
Statute of Limitations
One aspect you need to keep in mind is that, after your loved one dies, you only have two years in which you can file a wrongful death action. This can go quickly; you don't have long to mourn and to understand what your rights may be before you have to decide whether to file a suit. There is good reason for this; as time passes, it can be difficult to keep track of witnesses and information critical to your case. In wrongful death cases, this can be especially difficult, since the person responsible may be facing related criminal charges. Your lawyer can help you navigate the system and find and serve the right person to get your case started.
Limits to Your Recovery Rights
Even after you get started, you can run into difficulties. New Jersey wrongful death cases depend on the rights of the person who died; the lawsuit essentially belongs to that person, and recovery becomes what he or she would have been entitled to in a suit. Furthermore, your options differ depending on your relationship and the extent to which you depended on that person. A good attorney can help you determine whether and how much you have a right to recover.
Understanding your rights in wrongful death cases can be difficult and frustrating. Before you trust your recovery to the estate's attorney or to chance, take the time to contact the lawyers at Stern and Stern. We will work with you to understand your case and get you the recovery you deserve.
If you've been through an auto accident, you know the process you go through to defend your rights and reach a result that you deserve can be daunting. Few results come quickly, and how much you can recover depends on the specific facts of your accident. The more information you can provide, the more your attorney can do to help you.
You should gather as much information about the accident as possible to discuss with your attorney. He or she will conduct an investigation as well, including getting a copy of the police report for the case. Any responsibility you may have for the accident will weigh in, as well as details about the other driver. A drunk driving auto accident can result in dram shop liability for those who served the other driver. If you lost a loved one in the accident, the state wrongful death statute comes into play.
The more information you can provide about the accident, the more your attorney can do to examine and review your legal options. Go in ready to discuss what happened in great detail so your attorney can go to work for you.
The other aspect your attorney will want to consider is what damages you have incurred. This includes damage to your vehicle and to you: medical costs, lost wages, loss of consortium, and any other personal or professional losses. You should always start by taking care of yourself. Your doctor will be the best source of information on any injuries you have sustained and the costs associated with those. You should then gather any information on the accident and its cost to you that you can recall and collect. Any detail of the impact the auto accident has on your life can make a difference in your recovery.
If you have been in an accident, take the time to gather the information you have, and then come to us. Stern and Stern has the experience and expertise to help you get the recovery you deserve. Contact us today to learn more.
No one plans to get into an accident. It's no wonder, then, that many people are not prepared for what they need to do after it happens. But if you do go through this, you can take steps to help yourself even before you see an auto accident attorney. These five tips can help you avoid some of the usual pitfalls.
1. See Your Doctor
It can be hard to tell whether you are injured after an accident. Your adrenaline will make you feel strong even if you have suffered major damage. Make sure you take care of your health by seeing your doctor right away.
2. Take Notes
You may have trouble remembering all the details of your accident. The longer you wait to write down what you remember, the less you are likely to remember later. Write down what happened, when, where and how. The more you can get about what the other driver did, the better.
3. Don't Take the First Insurance Offer
If the other driver caused the auto accident, his or her insurance company will want to make everything go away quickly. The chance at getting paid a settlement quickly may well be appealing, but it usually means you sign away your rights before you fully understand what they are. Listen, but don't take the offer right away.
4. Don't Jump at Non-Local Attorneys
Similarly, you will probably hear from lawyers before you even get home. Out of town lawyers scan accident reports and try to get you to agree to representation before you can look into the firm. Take your time, and make a thoughtful decision about who should represent you.
5. Seek Legal Help
While you don't want to jump at every attorney with a postcard and a promise, you do need to find legal help. If you have been injured in an auto accident, take the time to discuss your claims with an experienced attorney who understands how the process works. Contact Stern and Stern today and we will work to get you the recovery you deserve.