Personal injury is any damage that occurs due to the negligence of another. This includes bodily and emotional damage. The statute of limitations for injury cases in New Jersey is two years from the date of injury. Due to this relatively short period of time in which to file your case, you should consult a New Jersey personal injury lawyer immediately to understand your right to collect damages from responsible parties as well as the relevant laws that will assign liabilities. You will also receive an estimate of your liability in the injury, which will be a factor in court when and if a settlement is determined.
What functions can a New Jersey injury lawyer fulfill?
Accident and personal injury law is a very broad legal field and there will be lawyers that specialize in specific aspects of injury law, such as auto accident, medical malpractice, workplace injuries and product defects. Use your best discretion when choosing a specialist injury lawyer or a general practice New Jersey personal injury lawyer.
What should I bring when meeting with a New Jersey personal injury lawyer?
What you should bring depends on the type of personal injury case. Accident victims should always bring police and medical reports that detail the circumstances of the incident and injuries sustained. Product liability injuries should have proof, usually photographic, of apparent defects that have been ignored or acknowledged by the manufacturer. Job related accidents should bring contracts and legal agreements with the client or employer as well as the accounts of coworkers, witnesses or supervisors that can substantiate your claim. Err on the side of caution and bring every item that might be useful and related to the personal injury. The lawyer will be able to eliminate extraneous items and build a case on the important pieces of evidence.
What is the role of liability in personal injury cases?
The most important aspect of an injury case is determining liability. This liability must be proven in court, should the liable party refuse to settle. Liability is determined in a number of ways, but the most common method of determining liability is to prove that the other party neglecting their duty of care. Duty of care is the expected level of service or care that would be expected of a normal person or organization. An abnormal breach of the duty of care is sufficient to warrant a personal injury case.
What is comparative negligence and how might it affect my case?
New Jersey has a comparative negligence law that diminishes the damages that can be collected by a plaintiff by a factor of their liability in the accident. As long as that liability does not exceed the liability of the other parties, the plaintiff may claim damages. There may be multiple defendants in the case, depending on the circumstances of the accident and shared liability. A New Jersey personal injury lawyer will be up to date on comparative negligence laws and other tort reform that will affect the nature of your case.
How do I know my New Jersey injury lawyer is legitimate?
Membership in the New Jersey State Bar Association is not mandatory but with over 17,500 members, finding a reliable lawyer that abides by the rules of professionalism and ethics regulations should not be difficult. There are local county bar associations with smaller memberships but significant oversight over its members and can connect you to a local lawyer near you that can handle your case. Find a New Jersey personal injury lawyer that is a member of the State Bar Association, or at least a local bar association if possible. The New Jersey State Bar Association maintains a lawyer referral service for the public, as well as awarding pro bono awards for lawyers that work for the public interest.
What are the typical rates of a New Jersey injury lawyer?
It is in your best interest to find a New Jersey personal injury lawyer that works on contingency. As this is the professional standard, it is actually rare to find a New Jersey personal injury lawyer that will not work on contingency. Contingency arrangements are advantageous as they minimize the costs to the clients and the client will only be on the hook for court and other non-lawyer related fees. A contingency arrangement will help you avoid costly hourly fees or an uncontrollable retainer account. New Jersey does limit contingency fees in the following manner:
— not to exceeding 1/3 of first $500,000
— 30% of next $500,000
— 25% of third $500,000
— 20% of fourth $500,000
— There is a cap of 25% for a minor or incompetent plaintiff
These limits prevent overbilling and will work in your favor when retaining a lawyer. The courts may adjust contingency fee arrangements as they see fit.
The plaintiff may have to present an expert witness that can testify and prove that the defendant deviated from the standard of care expected by a reasonable person. This is common in cases of medical malpractice and the expert witness will be able to assess the plaintiff’s claims against similar claims of negligence.
A retainer is a fee that remains in a trust account. Every time the lawyer performs a service related to your case, he charges this account. Leftover retainer can be returned to the client, but there is also a chance that the attorney will exhaust the retainer and require the client to refill the account. The retainer does not include court costs, which are also paid by the client. However, these fees, such as the fees for filing the case, are fixed. You will usually not need this arrangement when pursuing a personal injury claim and this arrangement can become expensive for lengthy trials that are not settled early.
Take advantage of free consultations when they are available to discuss potential fees and payment arrangements with New Jersey personal injury lawyers. You may be able to arrange low cost and extended payment for legal services at the discretion of the attorney or law firm.
What are questions to ask New Jersey injury lawyers?
How does my case relate to New Jersey state and local laws?
What are your fees and do you have alternate payment plans?
Are you an active member, in good standing, of the New Jersey State Bar Association?
What roles do you play as a member?
Can I please have all fees in writing?
Do you see any potential flaws in my injury compensation claim?
Can you refer me to another lawyer if you are unable to take my case?
Will my negligent actions affect my award in this case?
When facing an injury claims case in New Jersey, an personal injury lawyer New Jersey will be able to help assess you case for potential liabilities and how the case will be affected by New Jersey law. Ensure that your case falls within the statute of limitations, which will be two years, according to state law. There are different categories of damages that can be won including compensatory for monetary damages such as medical bills and lost wages, punitive damages that are assess by the court and used to punish recklessness and non-economic damages which are damages due to pain and suffering.
An injury lawyer New Jersey will ideally work on contingency, collecting damages only if the case is won. Under state comparative negligence laws, multiple parties can be held responsible for the injury, as long as their liability in the case exceeds the liability of the plaintiff for his or her own injuries. The persona; injury lawyer New Jersey will be able to explain the proportional damages system as well as the 60% threshold to collect full damages from a liable party.