In New Jersey, and throughout the United States, car accidents commonly give rise to serious injuries, and therefore, to actionable personal injury claims. Given the near-ubiquity of car accidents (a large portion of the adult population has been directly or indirectly involved in a car accident at some point in their life), it is very likely that first-time litigants come to engage with the framework of personal injury litigation through the car accident lens.
Overall, the “category” of car accident litigation is quite a bit broader than many plaintiffs initially expect. Though your accident may involve a car collision, for example, the way in which you approach a hit and run accident case will be substantially different than the way you approach a case involving a head-on collision (that incapacitated the defendant’s vehicle, thus preventing them from escaping the scene).
If you’ve been harmed in a car accident due to the fault of another party, then New Jersey law may entitle you to significant damages. At Folkman Law, our team has extensive experience working with car accident plaintiffs and helping them not only successfully resolve their disputes, but to maximize the available compensation. Curious about how to advance your claims? Contact a skilled Cherry Hill car accident attorney at our firm today to learn more about our services.
Failure to Yield Accidents
Right-of-way violations can give rise to a serious car accident if the parties involved do not have enough time to recognize the problem and avoid a collision. Traffic signals and lane rules alike must be adhered to. If a driver fails to yield at a stop sign, for example, then they could potentially be held responsible for the accident that occurs due to that failure to yield.
Failure to adhere to traffic regulations may be considered “negligence per se” and could lead to an automatic negligence determination against the defendant-driver, thus giving the plaintiff a significant advantage in the ensuing litigation.
Hit and Run Accidents
Hit and run accidents are unfortunately common, despite the fact that fleeing the scene of a car accident (except in extreme situations where the life of the defendant is at-risk) is illegal under New Jersey law. Drivers are required by law to provide identifying information to the victim and to police officers who arrive at the scene of the accident.
It’s worth noting that while a driver who fled the scene is violating the law, it is not “proof” of guilt with respect to your injuries. You must still introduce sufficient evidence to prove that the defendant’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct led to your injuries. Of course, the fact that the driver fled the scene will likely undermine their arguments and put them at a substantial disadvantage in litigation (before a jury). As such, you may be able to resolve the dispute through settlement given how much pressure you can apply, though you will have to first identify the responsible party before you can litigate your claims.
Head-on collisions often lead to catastrophic injuries due to the nature of the accident — in a head-on collision, the two vehicles involved combine their individual impact forces, thus enhancing the severity of the accident to a significant degree. Head-on collisions are so dangerous, in fact, that many safety improvements by car manufacturers have been designed specifically to reduce the risk of injury and death in such scenarios.
According to one study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), head-on collisions account for 13% of all fatal crashes in rural areas, and 7% of fatal crashes in urban areas.
If you have sustained a serious injury, the damages are likely to be substantial. A seasoned Cherry Hill car accident attorney can assist you in identifying the best possible strategies for maximizing and securing the compensation necessary to cover all your losses.
Front airbags, for example, are meant to prevent one’s skull from slamming the dashboard when rattled by a head-on collision. Similarly, the design of the bumper and front area of the vehicle is meant to allow for the absorption and spread of the impact forces through crumpling.
Intersection accidents may arise from a variety of contributory factors. Common forms of negligence leading to an intersection accident include, but are not necessarily limited, to the following:
- Failure to yield
- Failure to adhere to traffic signals
- Speeding or distracted driving
- Failure to recognize immediate dangers and maneuver around them (i.e., seeing a pedestrian crossing illegally, but choosing to drive through the crosswalk anyway, thus exposing the pedestrian to an unreasonable risk of harm)
Uniquely, intersection accidents often involve the negligence of the party who is responsible for developing or maintaining the traffic signals, crosswalks, and adjacent properties at-issue.
For example, if you are passing through a traffic light and are t-boned at the intersection, then you might have a legitimate claim for damages against the driver who t-boned you, but a deeper investigation may also reveal that the traffic light itself was malfunctioning — given these new facts, you could ostensibly bring a claim against the City for failing to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition.
Multi-vehicle accidents may involve many complex issues of fault and causation. If you’ve been injured in a multi-vehicle collision (i.e., a multi-car pileup at a traffic light) and are attempting to impose liability on the defendant-drivers, then you may come up against two primary concerns.
New Jersey applies the principles of modified comparative fault. As such, you are entitled to recover damages so long as you can show that you were not “more” at-fault for your losses than the defendants. This can be represented mathematically as a 51 percent fault contribution.
In situations with multiple defendants, you can secure damages against each of the responsible parties, though you’ll have to prove that each is liable for the specific fault amount asserted. You cannot recover 100 percent of your damages from a party that is only 20 percent at-fault, for example.
In New Jersey, and elsewhere, a car accident plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant’s negligent, reckless, or intentional behavior “caused” them to suffer the harm at-issue. If there is no causal link, then liability will not attach.
Causation can be viewed as a chain link of events that can be broken when there is an unforeseeable, intervening event. Whether an event is unforeseeable depends on the circumstances. For example, if a car sideswipes you and you slam into a telephone pole, then the court will likely find that the risk of collision with a static hazard (such as a telephone pole) was a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s actions in sideswiping you.
In the multi-vehicle accident context, causation is a crucial issue, as each defendant is likely to argue that they are not responsible due to intervening causes. For example, the first car in a multi-vehicle pileup may argue that there were multiple other cars in-between, and that those cars broke the chain of causation. To succeed in imposing liability on that first car, you will have to show that the multi-car pileup itself was a foreseeable consequence of their actions.
Rear-end collisions are among the most dangerous, as the injured driver and passenger(s) may not have any time to anticipate the accident and brace for impact. The inability to avoid or otherwise minimize the risk of harm makes rear-end collisions somewhat more straightforward to successfully litigate, as a jury is likely to sympathize with your feeling of powerlessness during and following the accident.
Rental Car Accidents
Rental car accidents are much the same as standard car accidents, though you may run into insurance coverage issues in certain circumstances (i.e., if your or the driver’s insurance coverage does not apply).
You may also have an independent claim for damages against the rental car company in situations where the rental car itself was poorly maintained, defective, or otherwise flawed such that it contributed to the accident at-issue.
Rollover accidents are most common with trucks and SUVs, which feature somewhat lopsided and unbalanced structural profiles, and are therefore more prone to “rolling over” when improperly loaded with cargo. Unfortunately, too little care is often taken when loading cargo, and as such, drivers on New Jersey roadways can be unfairly exposed to a heightened risk of harm.
Rollover accident liability may be imposed if the defendant was:
- Speeding with a heavy load of cargo
- Taking a sharp turn that their vehicle was incapable of while loaded with cargo
- Engaged in ever-corrective steering
- Failed to inspect the cargo to ensure that it was properly loaded
Single Vehicle Accidents
Single vehicle accidents are not uncommon, though they involve a somewhat different set of issues in many cases. Except in limited situations where you — the plaintiff-driver — are fully responsible for the accident, most single vehicle accidents are caused by some major external factors, such as a poorly-maintained road, malfunctioning brakes, etc. If you collide with a tree due to your brakes failing at an inopportune time, for example, then you could potentially bring a product defect action against the car manufacturer for their defective brakes.
Texting and Driving Accidents
Distracted driving contributes to a great many car accidents on New Jersey roadways, and texting (while driving) is perhaps the most common form of distracted driving. According to the NHTSA, sending or reading a text message takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds, which, at a speed of 55 miles per hour, is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with his or her eyes closed. To illustrate the severity of this problem, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately nine people are killed and over 1,000 more are injured every day in the United States due to accidents involving a distracted driver.
If you’ve been injured by a driver who was texting and driving at the time of the accident, then you may have an effective claim for damages, though you’ll have to prove that the driver was actually using their phone. The Cherry Hill auto accident attorneys at Folkman Law can provide the investigatory and representative assistance you need to litigate successfully.
Side Impact Crashes
Side impact crashes lead to severe injury in many cases, as there is simply insufficient material located on the side of the vehicle to absorb the impact forces and shield the driver and passengers from harm.
Car manufacturers have made some attempts at reducing the potential for harm, primarily by installing side impact airbags and by developing crumpling pylons for some car models, but these safety features are not yet universal.
Unsafe Lane Changes
Drivers must exercise due care when changing lanes to ensure that they are traveling at a reasonable speed under the circumstances, and that they have sufficient room to make a safe lane transition. Drivers must also signal when changing lanes to notify others of their intentions. Failure to satisfy these requirements could expose the defendant to liability.
Unsafe lane changes are caused by:
- Moving too fast or too slow while merging
- Failing to check for traffic when merging
- Failing to signal
- Traveling “between” lanes for too long
- Moving between lanes too frequently
- And more
Ridesharing has become increasingly popular over the years, and regulations are only now getting “caught up” with this new market.
If you’ve been injured by a rideshare-driver (who drives for a company like Uber or Lyft), then you may access liability insurance coverage through the rideshare company (companies are required by law to provide a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage to riders). However, the coverage amount can vary depending on if the driver was actively picking up a customer, was driving a customer, or was simply logged into the app.
In limited circumstances, typically where the driver was unqualified to operate their vehicle and a proper background check was not performed, you may also be able to bring a lawsuit against the rideshare company directly.
Contact Folkman Law for a Free Consultation
At Folkman Law, our Cherry Hill car accident lawyers have decades of experience advocating on behalf of New Jersey plaintiffs who have suffered injuries in car accidents due to the fault of another (i.e., the defendant’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct). Over the years, we have litigated extensively for clients in a wide range of car accident scenarios, from rollover accidents to multi-vehicle and hit and run accidents.
Car accidents are among the most common sources of personal injury claims in the United States. Though many plaintiffs initially believe that their case will be straightforward, there are a number of ways in which such disputes can complicate over the course of litigation. We are here to provide the sophisticated legal representation necessary to successfully resolve the dispute and secure the damages you’re owed under the law.
Ready to speak to a seasoned Cherry Hill car accident attorney about your motor vehicle claims? Call us at 856-354-9444 or fill out an online form through our website to request a free and confidential consultation today. We are available 24/7 to respond to client inquiries.