New Jersey Hit-and-Run Accident Lawyers
Hit-and-run accidents are terrifying. Not only have you been the victim of a violent collision, but you’ve also been left alone to fend for yourself. There’s a reason that New Jersey law requires motorists involved in an accident to stay on the scene. It’s the right thing to do, especially those who have been hurt and need assistance. Not doing so isn’t just wrong; it’s negligent.
The New Jersey State Police fatal accident report recorded 39 fatal hit-and-run crashes involving 63 vehicles in 2018. Tragically, the majority of those killed by hit-and-run drivers in New Jersey were unprotected pedestrians.
While you may feel overwhelmed in the aftermath of your hit-and-run injury, don’t despair. New Jersey state law affords you the right to demand fair compensation for your injuries and their costs. At Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers, we want you to understand your legal options following a hit-and-run accident, whether the driver is caught or never found.
You can benefit from speaking with an experienced New Jersey hit-and-run accident attorney, like those at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers Reach out to us at (973) 364-8300 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We can review the facts of your case and explain the choices available to you.
New Jersey Law and Hit and Run Accidents
Like most states, New Jersey has specific laws governing hit-and-run accidents. Under New Jersey law, all motorists involved in an accident must immediately stop their vehicle and remain at the scene of the accident.
Drivers must exchange their information and render reasonable aid until police or medical personal are present. Not only does this law pertain to moving vehicles on the roads, but it also pertains to bicycles, pedestrians, and even parked vehicles. If a driver hits a parked car, damages it, and leaves without attempting to contact the owner of the vehicle, the collision is also classified as a hit-and-run violation.
The consequences of leaving the scene of an accident depend on the circumstances of the crash. Penalties can range from fines and jail time to the revocation of a motorist’s driver’s license. Penalties are much stiffer when hit-and-run accidents cause serious injuries or death.
Criminal Versus Civil Penalties for Hit-and-Run Accidents
New Jersey law is very clear. Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal. Therefore, in the state of New Jersey, if a hit-and-run driver is found following an accident, they may be liable for both criminal and civil penalties.
A criminal case is one that establishes a party’s guilt or innocence for a crime. Once a jury reaches a decision, the guilty party is sentenced. In essence, a criminal trial punishes a person for committing an offense.
A civil case is different and can run concurrently with a criminal case. A civil case deals with the private rights of individuals and establishes liability. The goal of a civil case for a hit-and-run accident is to seek compensation for the mental or physical injuries that a victim has suffered as a result of the negligent actions of another.
Compensation for Hit-and-Run Accidents
Damages awarded for hit-and-run accidents vary significantly based on the circumstances of the accident itself and the type of injuries the victim suffered. There’s no one-size-fits-all settlement that will work for all crashes.
When determining appropriate damages, there are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration. Having an attorney is paramount if you want to establish a fair number for the compensation you deserve.
An insurance company, after all, is a profit-driven business. They look out for their bottom line, which may mean shorting the money you need to cover your medical bills and time missed from work. Don’t let them do it. Get an attorney on your side, like ours, at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers.
While there’s no “magic number,” most injury victims in New Jersey can recover compensation for their injury-related expenses.
You might be able to recover compensation after a hit-and-run collision for:
- Current medical bills
- Future medical bills related to your hit-and-run injures
- Lost wages
- Loss of ability to earn future income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
What Should You Do After a Hit-and-Run Crash?
Being involved in an accident is traumatic and shocking, even more so when it’s a hit-and-run accident that you have to deal with on your own.
Your safety and the safety of those around you are paramount. Clear your vehicle from the road if possible, and make sure that you’re in an area that won’t compromise the safety of yourself or other motorists.
It’s easier said than done, but try to take a few deep breaths and assess the situation as calmly as you can. These tips may be helpful:
- Call the authorities – If you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you need to report it to the authorities. Stay where you are, and call for help. Inform them that you’ve hit by a motorist who fled the scene and inform them if you need medical attention. Your health and safety should always come first.
- Take photographs and notes – If possible, take as many pictures of the scene of the accident as you can. Write down all the details of the accident while they’re still fresh in your mind. What did the car look like? What color was it? Did it have stickers or other identifying marks on it? These notes could be important to your legal claim in the future.
- Get witness information– If there were witnesses to the accident, ask for their contact information before they leave the scene. Their statements could be important in helping to track down the hit and run driver. They may also help your injury claim by supporting your memory of the crash.
- Seek medical advice– Even if you think your injuries are minor, go to the doctor for a thorough evaluation. You could have invisible or late-onset injuries that require treatment, like a concussion. If you don’t seek medical attention immediately, your right to compensation could be jeopardized.
- Call an attorney– An attorney is a valuable asset to any injured victim. They’ll conduct their own investigation of the crash or use the power of the law to secure evidence such as nearby video surveillance images. An attorney can help you negotiate with your insurance company to make sure that you’re fairly compensated for your injuries. If it’s appropriate, they can seek compensation from the at-fault driver on your behalf in court.
New Jersey’s No-Fault Car Insurance Policy
Car insurance in the state of New Jersey is mandatory for all motorists. That means it’s illegal to drive in the state without it.
New Jersey is also one of a handful of states that follows a “no-fault” car insurance system. The no-fault system means that when a car accident takes place, you file a claim with your own insurance company, not the other driver’s.
At first, this sounds like a winning situation for victims of a hit-and-run accident. You won’t need the other driver’s insurance information, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
In addition to its no-fault car insurance model, New Jersey has policy provisions in some insurance plans that limit a person’s right to sue following a car accident. While insurers may cover economic damages like medical expenses and property damage up to a certain point, they might impose a “limited right to sue.”
This limited right to sue narrows the scope of circumstances under which an individual can use the legal system to recover damages after an accident. Those circumstances are extreme and only leave the window to sue open if a person suffered injures like the following:
- Loss of pregnancy
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a limb or body part
- Significant scarring
- Permanent injury
- Wrongful death
Most insurance policies will only cover economic damages. You might be unable to recover compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. All of these stipulations and rules listed in your insurance policy may be confusing. You need knowledgeable help following a serious hit-and-run accident.
Lawyers with Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers have experience dealing with insurance companies and taking cases to court. We can explain your legal rights and help you determine which avenue will provide the best possible outcome for your particular situation.
Whether we help you negotiate with your insurance company or we go after a negligent hit-and-run driver in court, we want to help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.
How an Experienced Hit-and-Run Attorney Can Help
You should be left alone to deal with medical bills, property damage, and the mental trauma of a hit-and-run accident. You don’t have to be. The experienced legal team at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers can help you sort through your legal options. Our only goal will be yours: earning you the settlement or judgment you need.
Contact our office today by calling (973) 364-8300. We can set up a free legal consultation with one of our New Jersey hit-and-run attorneys to review your case and your choices. Don’t try to figure out the insurance game alone. We can help.