Rear-end collisions (car accidents in which a driver strikes another vehicle from behind) are very common, especially in congested areas in New Jersey. These accidents often happen when traffic is slowed or stopped, but they can occur at other times as well. Distracted driving can be a factor, as can excessive speeding. If you or a loved one has been injured in a rear-end collision, you should assert your legal rights in a timely and aggressive fashion. The experienced Middlesex County car accident lawyers at Siegel & Siegel, P.C., assist people who have been injured in rear-end collisions in Middlesex and Mercer Counties with pursuing appropriate compensation.Common Issues in Rear-End Collision Cases
Because of the no-fault provisions of New Jersey insurance law, a person who seeks to assert a claim for injuries against a negligent motorist who caused a rear-end collision must be able to prove that he or she suffered permanent physical harm instead of just property damage or minor injuries. Once that hurdle is overcome, the plaintiff’s attorney has the burden of proving that the defendant failed to act in a reasonably prudent manner and that this breach of duty was the proximate cause of the damages suffered by the plaintiff. For example, perhaps the defendant failed to slow down during a period of limited visibility caused by bad weather, which prevented them from seeing the car in front of them. Or perhaps they were busy looking at their GPS instead of the road.
New Jersey is a modified comparative fault state. This means that an injured party cannot recover damages if he or she was 50% or more at fault for causing an accident. The nature of rear-end collisions is such that a finding of comparative fault sufficient to bar the lead driver from recovery is unlikely. However, it is possible that, under the facts of a particular accident, a jury could attribute a portion of the fault to the front driver. They might have been driving with a malfunctioning brake light, for example, which prevented the rear driver from knowing that they were stopping. If this happens, the plaintiff’s recovery could be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to him or her. For example, if a rear-end collision case went to trial, and the jury found that the plaintiff had suffered $200,000 in damages but that he or she was 10% at fault in the crash, the plaintiff’s net award would be $180,000.
It can be difficult to assign a dollar figure to a rear-end collision case without knowing the exact nature of the plaintiff’s injuries or his or her total medical expenses (those that have already been incurred as well as those likely to be necessary in the future), lost earnings, pain and suffering, disfigurement or scarring, disability, and other relevant factors. The defendant may argue that the plaintiff is suffering from a pre-existing condition that was at most exacerbated by the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can help combat these arguments by working with the plaintiff’s treating physician and other medical professionals to establish the full extent of the injuries suffered by the plaintiff and the cause of them.Consult a Dedicated Car Crash Attorney in the Middlesex County Area
Under New Jersey law, a person hurt in a rear-end collision must file a claim within two years in order to comply with the statute of limitations. However, the circumstances of a given case can shorten the time for taking legal action, such as situations in which a defective product was involved. Thus, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible if you or a loved one has been hurt in a rear-end collision or another motor vehicle accident. At Siegel & Siegel, P.C., we provide quality legal representation to victims in Plainsboro, Cranbury, South Brunswick, North Brunswick, New Brunswick, Edison, Piscataway, Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and West Windsor, as well as other areas of Middlesex, Mercer, Burlington, Monmouth, and Union Counties. To arrange for a free consultation regarding your case, call us at 609-799-6066 or contact us online.