We get it. Car accidents, personal injury, workplace injuries, workplace discrimination and harassment. All of these misfortunes can have an impact on your finances which can cause worry, fear, and anxiety -- for you and your family. Wouldn’t it be a relief to know you could count on a trusted friend and advisor to passionately champion for you? Someone who’s got your best interests in mind?
Most people who file a New Jersey injury lawsuit have never done so before and are new to the process. They may have never given the notion a second thought – until something happened to them. Our experienced team of lawyers understands the prospect of a lawsuit can feel overwhelming. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in exceptional client care and we will walk you through the process. Although every personal injury claim is different, there are a few frequently asked questions and common issues that arise early on. Here are the first four things to know before filing a New Jersey injury lawsuit.
What to Know: Proving Negligence
You must prove negligence. This is true in the majority of injury lawsuits – whether it’s a slip-and-fall or car accident or workplace injury. It’s not enough to show you were hurt – even if your injuries are severe. Your attorney will need to prove four elements of negligence: first, that the defendant owed you a duty of care, the defendant breached that duty, that breach of duty caused your physical injuries and your injuries cost you monetary damages. In some cases, there may be more than one defendant.
Even if you are partially at-fault, you may be able to still collect in these cases. However, you do generally need to prove someone else was at least partly responsible for your injuries. The issue of negligence can be fairly straightforward, but it also might be more complicated than it appears at first blush. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney about the details of what happened will give you a good sense of whether you’ve got a winnable case.
What to Know: Statute of Limitations
You have a limited amount of time to file a claim/lawsuit. The sooner you call an attorney, the better. All states have statutes of limitations (how much time you have to pursue a charge or claim) which vary depending on the type of case. For example, in the state of New Jersey, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years, but the statute limits lawsuits involving libel or slander to just one year. In some states, if a minor is a victim, the countdown for filing a claim does not begin until the child turns 18.
Typically, the statute of limitations begins on the day the injury occurred. Sometimes, this doesn’t apply in certain cases such as product liability where manufacturers are held liable for injuries or even deaths attributed to their products. All that said, the sooner you consult with an injury lawyer, the better because you want to have the best chance possible to collect all relevant evidence. The more time goes by, the more memories fade, surveillance footage could be taped over and other evidence may be destroyed.
What to Know: Talk to a Lawyer Before Signing Anything from an Insurer
Don’t sign anything from an insurer before you talk to a lawyer – especially if you’re seriously hurt. It is not uncommon for insurance adjusters to try to convince those who were injured that lawyers needn’t be involved. No matter what an insurance adjuster may say, you have a right to reject a settlement offer from the insurance company. Accepting an offer will require you to give you important rights, including the ability to file a lawsuit for your injuries. That is why it is so important to understand the full value of your claim and to know that you can and should reject any offer that doesn’t fairly compensate you for your losses.
What to Know: You Have Two Ways to Win
There are two ways you can win a case--settlement and verdict. A settlement can be reached when the two sides negotiate an agreeable payment amount before the case is decided at a trial. That can occur before you even file a lawsuit and up to the point of jury deliberation. Most successful injury claims and lawsuits are settled out-of-court. A small percentage go to trial, which is why you want an injury lawyer with trial experience.
Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
There is no law requiring you to have a lawyer when filing a personal injury claim after an accident. However, working with experienced personal injury attorneys can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Why risk being unfairly compensated and not having recourse to fix it? When you hire a personal injury lawyer from our team, you pay nothing upfront. We work on contingent fees that are only collected if we win your case. If we don’t win, you don’t pay.