Be Wary of What Insurance Companies Offer in Accident Injury Claims
While New Jersey is considered a no-fault auto accident state, this by no means implies that someone injured in a car accident cannot sue for injuries. The system is designed to keep smaller claims from entering the court system, effectively enabling victims to get better compensation more quickly and with fewer costs related to litigation.
Higher-cost injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, are another matter. When a victim is permanently injured or disfigured because of someone else’s negligent, reckless or illegal driving, the injured person can sue the negligent driver in court. If you are injured by another driver’s negligence, that person’s insurance company is sure to try to minimize the amount it must pay you. To do so, it may employ several tactics:
- Offering an upfront lump sum payment. The offer is tempting because you can receive a check in a matter of weeks, while litigation sometimes takes months, if not years. However, the amount you receive may be woefully inadequate at meeting your long-term needs.
- Getting you to accept some blame. Outside a court of law is no place to discuss what may or may not have happened in the accident. Abstain from discussing fault altogether, since anything you say can be used against you later.
- Settling medical claims prematurely. Property (auto) damage and medical liabilities in accidents are generally handled separately. Allow no insurance adjuster to convince you otherwise, as your health may deteriorate later and you may need further treatment.
Anyone injured in a serious auto accident, even in a no-fault state, requires the services of an auto accident attorney. Even if you are uncertain as to the extent of your injuries, you should avoid any discussion beyond explaining that your attorney is going to be handling the situation. Meanwhile, your lawyer can assess the amount of damage done and determine if it is worthwhile to work on your case. Such cases are handled on a contingency basis, so your attorney earns nothing if you do not win your case.