Determining Liability In Car Accident Cases In New Jersey
On average, there are 6 million car accidents that occur in the United States every year. This figure, coupled with the fact that 90 people die in car accidents everyday in the United States, show that car accidents are a common occurrence in the United States and that they often end in catastrophe. Given the frequency in which car accidents occur, knowing when you are liable for a car accident and when another driver is liable can save you a great deal of time and effort if you are ever involved in a personal injury lawsuit stemming from the accident.
Determining Who Is Negligent in Edison, NJ
In a typical car accident case, most plaintiffs will allege that another driver involved in the accident caused the accident because that driver was driving negligently. Negligence occurs when someone fails to act according to a duty of care established by law and injuries result. In car accident cases, negligence often occurs when a driver fails to drive in the same manner as a reasonably prudent person and this deviation results in injury to others. A driver may be deemed negligent, and liable for the accident if the driver performs any of the following acts while driving:
- Eating or drinking another substance
- Operating the vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Fixing the GPS while driving
- Looking at a cellphone or other device while driving
- Talking on the phone or texting while driving
- Talking to others in the car
- Changing the radio station
- Failing to adhere to traffic signals and signs
- Failing to maintain their vehicle in proper condition
While this list is certainly not an exhaustive list of the ways in which a driver can act negligently, these are some of the most common ways plaintiffs may prove that another driver is liable for their injuries caused by the accident.
Comparative Negligence And Assignment Of Liability In Toms River, NJ
Even if the plaintiff can prove that another driver was driving negligently and accordingly caused their injuries, plaintiff may still not be able to recover from the other driver under New Jersey law. This is because the plaintiff may be primarily at-fault for causing the accident or his or her own injuries. When assigning liability in negligence cases, New Jersey follows what is known as the modified comparative negligence scheme. Under this scheme, if a jury finds that the plaintiff is more than 50% responsible for the accident that caused his or her injury, then the plaintiff may not recover any damages from the other driver, even if the other driver is found to be 49% responsible for the accident. However, if the jury finds that the plaintiff is less than 50% responsible, the other driver will be held liable and will only pay damages according to the percentage of liability to jury assigns him or her. For example, if a case is worth $100,000 and the jury finds the plaintiff 20% liable for the accident and the other driver 80% liable, the other driver will only pay damages to the plaintiff in the amount of $80,000, or 80% of $100,000.
Accordingly, while proving negligence is the first step in determining liability in a car accident, plaintiffs in New Jersey may be barred from recovering damages in a car accident case if they are found to be partially liable for the accident.
Contact a Edison Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a motor vehicle accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party, or their insurance company, to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. represent clients in their personal injury lawsuits in Piscataway, Toms River, Middletown, New Brunswick, and throughout New Jersey. Call 732-564-7165 or email us to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 1862 Oak Tree Road, Edison, NJ 08820, as well as offices in Edison, Brick, Freehold, Point Pleasant Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.