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  • Writer's pictureAlexander J. Kemeny

What to Do and When to Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident in New Jersey

Updated: Jan 19

            After a motor-vehicle, it's crucial to take certain steps to protect your health, well-being, and potential legal claims. Here's a detailed guide on what to do after such an incident and why promptly contacting an attorney promptly is important, you believe you may have been seriously injured.

 

What Actions to Take After a Car Accident

 

1.      Stay at the Scene and Exchange Information:

 

            Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal in New Jersey. Stay at the scene and exchange information with the other people involved. You should collect names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance details, and license plate numbers from all parties involved. Use your phone to take pictures of documents for accuracy.

 

            If the accident results in an injury, death, or more than $500 worth of property damage, the accident must be reported to the police. Reporting the accident to the police creates an official record. This report is crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings.

 

2.      Check for Injuries and Seek Medical Services Promptly When Appropriate:

 

            Assess injuries for yourself, passengers, and others involved. If you are injured, do not delay is seeking medical services.

 

            Obtaining prompt medical care safeguards your health and well-being. Certain injuries may not be revealed by immediate symptoms, they can deteriorate over time, leading to lasting harm. Obtaining a timely diagnosis and treatment is essential to prevent complications and enhance the recovery process.

 

            The medical care you receive establishes vital documentation of your injuries and their link to the accident. Medical records help demonstrate the nature and extent of your injuries and can help ensure you receive  appropriate compensation. An absence of medical documentation can create challenges in demonstrating the extent and cause of your injuries.

 

3.      Gather Evidence:

 

            Capture images of the accident scene, vehicle damages, road conditions, and any relevant details. Take down the names and contact information of potential witnesses. Keep in mind that the evidence you gather at the scene may help prove who was at fault in the accident. This information can be crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings.

 

4.      Avoid Admitting Fault:

 

            Refrain from admitting fault or making promises at the scene. Determining liability is sometimes complex and should be done with legal advice.

 

5.      Notify Your Insurance Company:

 

            Inform your insurance company promptly. Failing to report on time might jeopardize your coverage. It is also important that you cooperate with your insurance company's investigation by providing necessary information and evidence but be careful about what you say. Seek legal advice if you feel your claim is wrongfully denied.

 

6.      Consult with an Attorney:

 

            If the accident involves serious injuries or significant property damage, consult an attorney before signing anything from the other party's attorney or insurance company.

 


The Importance of Promptly Contacting an Attorney if Seriously Injured

 

            Promptly hiring a personal injury lawyer can assist you in maximizing your recovery. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you in many ways.

 

1.      Preserving Evidence:

           

            Evidence, such as medical records and accident scene details, can degrade over time. An attorney can help preserve crucial evidence.

 

2.      Statute of Limitations:

 

            There's a limited time to file personal injury claim (statute of limitations). Prompt legal action ensures compliance with these timelines.

 

3.      Communication with Insurance Companies:

 

            Attorneys can handle communications with insurance companies, ensuring you don't make statements that may compromise your claim. Insurance companies may employ tactics to minimize payouts. An personal injury attorney can safeguard your interests and negotiate on your behalf.

 

4.      Legal Expertise:

 

            Personal injury cases involve legal intricacies. An attorney provides guidance through the process, ensuring you understand your rights and options. Attorneys can assess the viability of your case, taking into account the circumstances, injuries, and potential liability. If your case goes to court, an attorney acts as your legal advocate, presenting your case professionally and persuasively.

 

5.      Understanding Damages and Maximizing Compensation:

 

            Attorneys can help you understand the types and extent of damages you may be entitled to, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They can also assist with strategies to maximize the compensation you receive, considering both economic and non-economic damages.

 

            The immediate aftermath of a car accident involves crucial steps to ensure safety, documentation, and compliance with legal requirements. If seriously injured, promptly contacting an attorney is essential for preserving evidence, understanding legal complexities, and navigating the process to secure maximum compensation.

 

 

What is the Cost of Hiring a Car Accident Attorney in New Jersey

 

            Most, if not all, car accident attorneys in New Jersey represent clients on a contingency basis whereby the attorney only gets paid a legal fee if money is recovered for the client. Typically, the legal fee charged is calculated by first calculating the client’s “net recovery” and then calculating the legal fee from the net recovery.

 

            The net recovery is the total or gross recovery (the amount of money the client receives) after subtracting court costs and other expenses such as the cost of obtaining records and paying expert witnesses is deducted. The legal fee is then ordinarily calculated as follows:

 

·         33 1/3% on the first $750,000 of the net recovery;

·         30% on the next $750,000 of the net recovery;

·         25% on the next $750,000 of the net recovery;

·         20% on the next $750,000 of the net recovery; and

·         an amount to determined by the court on any additional part of the net recovery.

 

            When the amount recovered is for the benefit of a client who is a minor or mentally incapacitated, the contingent fee charged is usually the same except in cases where the claim is settled before a jury was empaneled or, in a bench trial where there is no jury, the start of plaintiff's opening statement or the testimony of the first witness. In those limited situations, the contingent fee is capped at 25% of the net recovery.

 

            Clients also have the right to retain counsel based upon the attorneys’ hourly rates. However, the legal fees and costs that would often been incurred, as well as the client’s desire to ensure that the client’s interests and the attorney’s interest in the case are financially intertwined results in clients hiring lawyers on a contingency basis for the vast majority of personal injury cases in New Jersey.

 

            The attorneys at Kemeny, Ramp & Renaud, LLC are available to assist you. We provide free consultations for people injured as a result of motor-vehicle accidents as well as other accidents. Call us at (732) 853-1725 to schedule a consultation. Visit our website at: www.KemenyLaw.com

 

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