Do’s and Don’ts After an Injury
You have probably learned by now that there is a right way and a wrong way to do just about anything in life. Often, doing something the right way takes an investment, but it pays off in the end. Take shortcuts, and you usually just end up lost.
Filing a personal injury claim fits squarely in the “do-it-the-right-way” category. Anything less will usually yield far less compensation than you deserve.
At The Offices of Gold, Albanese & Barletti, LLC, we believe in doing things the right way for our clients. They come to us from Morristown or elsewhere in New Jersey; Boston, Massachusetts; and New York. Each client is different, but every one of them comes to us when they are vulnerable and unsure about what comes next. We are here to help.
Filing a New Jersey Personal Injury Claim
There are a few basic facts you should know about filing a personal injury claim in New Jersey. First, New Jersey is a no-fault state for motor vehicle accidents. Even if someone else is at fault for an accident, you will first use your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other monetary expenses.
You may be wondering, what if your PIP coverage isn’t enough? There are circumstances that allow you to file a personal injury claim against the liability coverage of a driver who was more than 50% at fault. If your injuries rise to a certain level of permanency or severity, you can access your PIP coverage quickly while you pursue damages from the negligent driver’s insurance. This is also a plus because pain and suffering aren’t compensable under PIP coverage, but it is in a third-party liability claim.
Another key element you should know is New Jersey’s statute of limitations for filing a claim: it is only two years from the date of the injury-causing accident, so time is of the essence.
Finally, New Jersey observes modified comparative negligence. You may be assigned some percentage of fault for the accident, and as long as it is less than 50%, you can pursue a personal injury claim. Just know that your settlement will be reduced by whatever percentage is assigned to you.
What to Do After a Personal Injury
Here are some things you might want to know when you decide to file a personal injury claim:
DO hire a personal injury attorney to represent you. We aren’t just advising this because we are personal injury lawyers. It is simply wise to work with attorneys who are experienced in pursuing personal injury claims and litigating personal injury lawsuits in New Jersey. We know what to do and how to get it done.
DO keep records of everything. Records are evidence of what happened and what happened to you as a result. The crash report, medical records and medical bills, payroll records, investigation reports, witness statements, and more are what you will need to support your claim. We know what to gather and how to get them.
DO write down what you remember about the accident while it is fresh in your mind. What you recall in the moments leading up to it, while it was happening, and in the immediate aftermath is important to establishing fault, guiding an investigation, and documenting your claim.
DO maintain a record of your injuries, progress, and medical treatment. Keep a calendar with all of your treatment-related appointments. Make sure you get receipts for co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses and keep copies of all medical and other bills related to your injuries.
DO create a record of how the accident and your injuries are affecting your daily life. A written or recorded journal will track your recovery process and progress as well as the obstacles you face because of your injuries. For example, maybe you are unable to perform your job or are having trouble remembering or figuring out things you used to do with ease. Perhaps you are suffering from depression, an unusual lack of patience, sexual issues, or more.
What NOT to Do After a Personal Injury
Here is what you should NEVER do after an injury:
DON’T leave the accident scene until law enforcement has arrived, you have the name, contact, and insurance information from the other driver, and contact information for any witnesses. You need to stay until everything that can be done has been done. Moreover, if you leave prematurely, you may be accused of hit and run.
DON’T talk to the insurance adjuster without an attorney. The adjuster will contact you right away. It’s a tactic insurance companies use to try to get you to admit fault or discount your injuries. If you’re wondering, “Should I talk to the insurance adjuster?”, the answer is “no.” Let your lawyer help you with it.
DON’T talk about your case with anyone except your lawyer and spouse. Your communication with them is protected. Although it will be difficult, refrain from talking to your friends about your claim, and most of all, don’t post anything on social media, blogs, websites, or forums. Confidentiality is key to the success of your claim.
DON’T accept the first offer from the insurance company or sign anything without first talking to a personal injury lawyer. The adjuster will offer a very low settlement out of the gate and hope your injuries have made you financially desperate enough to accept it. Listen to your attorney. Our experience has taught us the value of injury claims and the need to wait until you know the full extent of your injuries before valuing them.
DON’T neglect to get proper treatment for your injuries. Our clients have asked, “What if I’m injured but don’t have insurance?” Our answer is that you should not neglect your health or your chance to recover from your injuries, regardless of health insurance. Moreover, remember that the cost of treatment for your injuries will anchor your personal injury claim. You must have the medical bills to back them up.
We can help you pursue a personal injury claim and keep your case on track. Get in touch with our firm, and get the support you deserve.
Make Every Decision With Confidence
The major question is what you should do if you’re injured in an accident. The answer is easy. Work with a personal injury lawyer who will help you navigate the claims process from start to finish. If someone else injured you, you deserve fair compensation. Along the way, you are going to have to make many decisions. We will provide you with the insight and information you need to make them with confidence. If you have been injured, call The Law Offices of Gold, Albanese & Barletti, LLC, in Morristown, New Jersey to schedule a free consultation.