New Jersey Motor Vehicle Accidents and Fault
One of the questions you might have after being involved in an auto accident is what the accident will do to your insurance rates. In most cases, it is the person who is found at fault that is responsible for covering your damages. This is also the person who will likely notice an increase in their insurance rates. However, this process can get complicated when more than one party is found to be at fault.
Determining Fault in an Auto Accident
It is important to first, identify who is at fault for the motor vehicle accident. This might take some investigation. The following four elements must apply to the person who is at fault:
- Duty of care: The responsible person must have owed the injured party a legal duty of care.
- Breach of duty of care: That person must have breached that legal duty of care in some way. This is usually through negligence or intentional harm.
- Causation: The person’s negligence must have been the direct cause of the accident.
- Damages: Actual damages must have occurred. This is usually the damages to the vehicles or the medical bills of the injured party.
Your lawyer and insurance company will look at things like the police report, witness statements, damage reports, and photos from the scene of the accident to determine who is at fault.
Navigating an Auto Accident When Both Drivers are Partially to Blame
In some auto accident cases, it is possible for more than one driver to be at fault. This could occur from a multi-vehicle accident or an accident in which both drivers acted in a way that was considered negligent. The state of New Jersey operates under a modified comparative negligence law.
What is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence means that the amount that you are deemed to be at fault matters. Collecting the same information, the judge will determine who held what percentage fault in the auto accident.
It is important to note that the state of New Jersey follows a modified version of the comparative negligence law. According to this law, you can collect compensation from the responsible party as long as you were less than 50 percent at fault. If you are more than 50 percent at fault, you are not eligible to collect compensation.
What Does Comparative Negligence That Mean for Insurance Rates?
Your insurance carrier can adjust your rates as they desire, but in most cases, if you were less than 50 percent to blame, it should not affect them. In this case, the other driver was primarily at fault and because they are not eligible to collect compensation for their damages, your insurance rates should not be affected.
Consequently, if you were more than 50 percent at fault, then you might notice an increase in insurance rates. If the other driver held less than 50 percent blame for the accident, then it is your insurance policy that will cover their damages, thus likely also increasing your rates.
Contact a New Brunswick Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Auto Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to an auto 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 & Lombardi, P.A. represent clients injured because of an auto accident in Woodbridge, Middletown, Brick, Jackson, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 906-1500 or fill out our online contact form 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 Brick, Freehold, and 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.