Auto Accidents are stressful and sometimes extremely painful
They happen every day in Monmouth County and throughout New Jersey. In fact, we drive past them quite often. After you call the police and your car is towed, the initial shock passes. Then you might start to think about the pain and of the injuries that you may have suffered.
Will I recover from these injuries? How will I be able to afford to miss work for the time that I am recovering? Will I be able to work at all when all is said and done? Who is going to protect me and my family in regards to my concerns and injuries?
The answers are complicated!
The laws, as written, require one to follow a strict set of procedures in order for you to be compensated for your injuries. The insurance companies will work hard to avoid, or, at the very least, reduce paying you on your claim, often taking a “no pay” or “pay very little” position. This is why skillful and knowledgeable Ocean County attorneys, like those at Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC, are helpful when standing up to the insurance companies and help you fight for what you deserve. Every one of our clients has a personal stake in his or her lawsuit and we understand that. We go to bat for you!
Our statewide practice allows us to serve accident victims with our Monmouth County auto accident attorneys, Ocean County attorneys, Mercer County lawyers, Middlesex County lawyers, as well as others.
What will Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC do for me?
At our firm, a primary practice area is personal injury; therefore, we frequently encounter questions and concerns from our clients who have fallen victim to an auto accident. On this page you will find some of the most commonly asked questions, followed by brief, but helpful answers. After reading these and when you are comfortable and ready, we recommend that you consult Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC before you communicate with any representatives of or from the insurance companies, including adjusters from the other driver’(s) insurance company, as well as your own.
Call your own insurance company first and put them on notice of the accident. In New Jersey, the State has what is called Personal Injury Protection laws, otherwise known as PIP. Under PIP, your own auto insurance will pay for medical treatment arising from an auto accident in which you are involved regardless of who is at fault. Therefore, in order to receive the benefits of PIP you will need to inform your insurance company of the accident and injuries. If you were also able to obtain the other driver’s information at the scene of the accident, you can also notify their insurance carrier as well. However, your first priority is to have one of our attorneys involved at the earliest possible time, in order to ensure that these insurance companies don’t trick you into making harmful statements that could ruin your chances of recovery. When Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC is involved, our attorneys take care of communicating with the insurance companies up and through the day the case goes to trial, if need be.
Stop at the scene! Get the other driver’s information even if it appears that there is minor damage to your car, and that no one seems to have been injured. There are several reasons for this. The laws of most states require the police to be called, and the accident to be reported if the damage to the vehicles is even above a very minimal amount. Report it to be on the safe side and to avoid a possible motor vehicle or criminal violation for failure to report an accident.
If you are going to make any sort of claim against the other driver’s insurance company, you want to know his/her name, license number, insurance carrier, etc. This information will all be provided in the Crash Investigation Report that will be written by the responding officer(s). Do NOT ADMIT FAULT and DO NOT APOLOGIZE! If it was your fault, the Crash Investigation officer will most likely uncover who the culpable party is. Everything may have happened so quickly that it may have appeared to be your fault. However, you most likely did not see a host of things that happened that may prove that you were not at fault. However, if the other driver(s) talk to you or the police after the accident, listen carefully to what he/she says and, as soon as possible, write down exactly what was said. His/her statements may be useful later on. If you feel it is the other driver’s fault, without talking to much about what you did, tell the officer what the other driver did that was wrong.
If you feel any pain or discomfort take a ride in the ambulance and get Medical Treatment! Even if the pain is not significant now, it may be the sign that something serious is wrong with you. In all reality, you do not know what latent injuries might arise from the impact of the accident. Some injuries are to such isolated and obscure body parts, that it takes a while for the pain to set in or for the injuries to manifest themselves. Many of times you are in shock and your adrenaline masks the pain that you would be otherwise feeling. This is particularly true with spinal injuries in the neck and low back. Let the doctors tell you it is ok to go home and sleep it off! Do not make that judgment call yourself. Never say at the scene, “I feel fine.” At the very least, you should express that you are “shaken up” and are “uncertain” as to your medical condition. Even if you have not sought medical treatment at the scene, nor left the scene in an ambulance, if you are feeling pain, seek medical treatment immediately! You can start by going to an emergency room or your primary physician, but it is often a good idea to see specialists who focus upon your type of injuries.
The attorneys at Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC work with a team of doctors who will provide the medical expertise to protect your legal rights and maximize your recovery.
When New Jersey drivers purchase auto insurance, they are asked to select either the “verbal threshold” (also known as the “limitation on lawsuit threshold”) option or the “zero threshold” (also known as the “no limitation on lawsuit threshold”) option. If the driver purchases the “zero threshold” option, there is no limitation on that driver’s ability to sue for so-called “noneconomic damages” or “pain and suffering,” if that driver were to be injured in an automobile accident. However, if the driver selects the “verbal threshold” option, the driver can only sue for “noneconomic damages” or “pain and suffering” in certain circumstances.
If a driver who is subject to the “verbal threshold” is injured in an auto accident, that driver must submit a certification by a physician stating that, based on “objective clinical evidence,” the driver has suffered one of the injuries listed in AICRA (Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act of 1998). These injuries include: death and dismemberment, significant disfigurement or scarring, a displaced fracture, a loss of a fetus, or a permanent injury. An injury is permanent if it “has not healed to function normally and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment.” Our Attorneys can be instrumental is evaluating and building a case where the “verbal threshold” applies to a case.
No one case is the same; therefore, each case has its own lifespan. Cases vary greatly based on a number of factors including: the nature and extent of your injuries, required medical treatment, time missed from work, the complexity of the case, the number of experts required, the number of parties involved, the court in which the case is filed, the number of judges available to hear cases, motion practice and a host of other factors. However, it is safe to say that the lifespan of most personal injury cases, is anywhere from 6 months to four years before completion. Often, Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC., may attempt to settle your case before filing suit where feasible. Any attempt to settle will usually be attempted after all the necessary evidence is gathered to make a strong presentation and argument on your behalf.
Time is of the essence in most cases and you do not want to wait till the last minute. The medical treatment and evidence that will be compiled by our attorneys is most efficiently and effectively done while the accident is “fresh” in time. Generally the Statute of Limitations in New Jersey is two years from the date of the accident. However, it can vary with the circumstances of the case. For instance, a minor involved in an accident has two (2) years from the date of his/her 18th birthday to sue regardless of how long ago the accident occurred.
This is why it is very important to make an educated decision when choosing an auto policy in New Jersey. You want to choose a policy that will cover yourself and your family and have an adequate amount Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. These types of coverage, which are not automatically provided unless chosen, will compensate for any lack of insurance policy benefits of others. Even the most serious of injuries, in most cases, will only be covered up the policy limits of the coverage of the other driver involved and any additional contingency coverage that you have chosen. When choosing a policy, by having adequate coverage, you can count on your own coverage if the other driver was not responsible enough to have it themselves. A smart choice is to purchase UM/UIM coverage at the highest level you can afford. Feel free to contact Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC when making a insurance decision and we will be happy to review your insurance coverage with you.
Here is an example: If the other driver has a $15,000 policy and your injuries/damages are “valued” at $75,000, the recovery on that $75,000 that you will actually realize wwill depend on the UM/UIM coverage that you chose. If your coverage is for $100,000, the other party’s insurance company will pay his $15,000 and your own insurance will pay you the balance, or $60,000. If your UM/UIM coverage is only $15,000, you will not recover anymore than the $15,000 paid by the other driver’s policy. Although car insurance may seem like a mundane purchase made each year, it can have a serious impact on your finances in the future!