Personal Injury Lawyer Elizabeth, NJ

Elizabeth, NJ Personal Injury Lawyer - personal injury law book gavel stethoscope

An Elizabeth, NJ personal injury lawyer you can count on knows that when you want to know what is important regarding a personal injury case, you will need to learn about negligence. When you go forward with almost any type of personal injury lawsuit in New Jersey, you should know that the very structure of the case will be built on determining negligence. This is important because if no negligence was found with the other party, that means they were not the ones who is at fault for your injuries. Thus, when you are filing a claim against someone else, you will be relying on showing that the other person acted negligently and caused you to become injured in some way.

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Steps in a Personal Injury Claim

When a victim is injured in an accident, there is usually an insurance company that will be the entity actually paying any damages, such as in car accidents, premises liability accidents, and malpractice lawsuits. As soon as the insurance company learns of the accident and claim, it will immediately assign a claims adjuster to the case. Under no circumstances should the victim speak to the claims adjuster before first consulting with a personal injury lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ.

It is the adjuster’s job to determine if their client was responsible for the accident. They also need to determine if the victim was injured and if those injuries actually occurred because of the accident. The adjuster will also investigate what the economic and non-economic losses of the victim are and if there will be any future losses as a result of the injuries.

When the adjuster has completed their investigation, they will do one of the following:

  •       Accept the victim’s claim and pay the full amount the victim is seeking (This option rarely occurs).
  •       Accept the victim’s claim but dispute the number of damages the victim is seeking.
  •       Reject the claim and refuse to pay any of the victim’s damages.

If the insurance company accepts the claim but rejects the number of damages, this means that there is a window of opportunity for both sides to negotiate. If during negotiations, the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair and just settlement or the company rejects the claim completely, the victim’s lawyer will then file a personal injury lawsuit with the court that has jurisdiction over the accident in order to have a jury decide if and how much the victim deserves.

Showing That There is a Duty of Care

Your personal injury lawyer in Elizabeth, New Jersey will begin by showing that the defendant owed you a duty of care. Thus, if you became injured while on a golf course because the defendant was driving a golf cart and ran into you, you will want to show that they owed you a duty of care. In this situation, that would mean the defendant, like any other reasonable person on a golf course, should know how to properly operate a golf cart before getting behind the wheel, was not distracted while driving, and knew that they were not supposed to harm other people while they were driving. Similarly, if someone is on the road and driving in a car, they owe everyone else the same legal duty to make sure they are driving their car in a safe manner and obeying the law. If they injure you while driving because they are being negligent, that is a breach of this duty. 

Why You Shouldn’t Accept the Insurance Company’s First Settlement Offer

If you have been hurt in an accident caused by another party, the defendant’s insurance company may contact you to discuss your case. They might even offer you a settlement right away. At first, this might sound like a good deal. You have medical bills to pay and may not be able to return to work right away. However, it is not advisable to accept the insurance company’s first offer. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t.

  • The settlement offer is too low. Insurance companies care about their bottom line first. Even if it is obvious that the other party was at fault for your injuries, the insurance company may still try to offer you the lowest settlement. If you do not have a legal background, you might not realize that the initial offer is too low, but it almost always is.
  • You don’t know the full extent of your injuries yet. If the insurance company contacts you days after the accident, you might not even know the full extent of your injuries yet. The doctors may still have to run more tests to determine the severity of your injuries. Therefore, it is not a good idea to accept a settlement right now. If you accept the initial settlement offer and find out months later that your injuries require more treatment, you will not be able to ask for more money. You will have to pay for those costs out of your own pocket.
  • The initial settlement offer does not consider pain and suffering damages. Since insurance companies want to pay as little as possible, the initial settlement offer will likely just cover basic expenses. Therefore, it probably won’t take pain and suffering damages into account. If you have suffered severe physical or emotional distress after an accident, such as chronic back pain or depression, it is not a good idea to accept the first settlement offer.
  • You may be entitled to more compensation. Insurance companies usually don’t offer a fair settlement the first time around. You may be entitled to more compensation and not even know it. It is not like the insurance company will tell you. That is why it pays to be patient and allow your personal injury lawyer to negotiate a better settlement offer with the insurance company.

5 Times You’ll Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve ever been injured in an accident caused by someone else, you know how important it is to be represented by a personal injury lawyer who knows what they’re doing. The law surrounding personal injury claims can be complicated, and you need to make sure that your case isn’t shot down because of some technicality or rule that you didn’t know about. A personal injury lawyer can help ensure that your claim gets filed properly and that your side of the story gets told in court, so read on to learn more about when it’s time to hire a lawyer for your personal injury case.

1) Accidents at Work
If you’re injured at work, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. But sometimes, you may need to hire a personal injury lawyer to get the compensation you deserve. For example, if your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance or if your injuries were caused by someone other than your employer or a co-worker, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. In these cases, it’s important to contact an attorney with experience in personal injury law as soon as possible so that they can help you understand what your rights are and how best to protect them.

2) Motor Vehicle Accidents
No matter how careful you are, there’s always the possibility of being involved in a car accident. If you’re injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may need to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you get compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.

3) Slip and Fall Accidents
If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you may be wondering if you need a personal injury lawyer. The answer is, it depends. If the fall was due to someone else’s negligence, then you may have a case. For example, if the floor was wet and there was no sign warning of the danger, then the property owner may be liable. If you’re not sure whether you have a case, it’s best to speak with a personal injury lawyer to find out.

4) Dog Bites
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they can also do some serious damage. If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you may need the help of a personal injury lawyer to get compensation for your injuries. If it’s not obvious who owns the dog, an attorney will have to establish the liable party before pursuing any legal action. The lawyer will file papers with the court and take care of any necessary follow-up. Your claim may fall under one or more specific categories that require specialized knowledge like animal attacks or premises liability claims involving dangerous property conditions. Some people are so badly injured that they need expensive medical care that is not covered by their insurance company, which is where a personal injury attorney comes in handy! They can negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of their clients and even file lawsuits if necessary.

5) Medical Malpractice
When it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits, the number of damages awarded can vary widely depending on what type of harm was done and whether there was permanent damage done. As such, it’s important for any potential plaintiff to seek legal counsel before proceeding with a case against a doctor or hospital because not all cases are viable and there is no point in wasting time on those that won’t succeed.

Elizabeth Personal Injury Law Infographic

5 Times You'll Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

5 Types of Expenses You Might Be Entitled To

Your personal injury lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ, can help determine what your settlement might cover. We’ll explore five types of compensation parties are generally awarded: 

Medical Expenses

Following a personal injury, victims often have medical bills piling up, which typically get bigger the more injured they are. A personal injury lawsuit can cover factors like: 

  • Emergency room visits and ambulances 
  • Surgeries 
  • Prescriptions 
  • Future medical expenses include physical therapy and home accommodations such as a hospital bed, a ramp, etc. 

Whether suffering from a small sprain or traumatic brain injury, no one should have to pay medical bills caused by another party’s negligence. Patients who continue to need care in the future can also be compensated. For example, some injuries require medical assistance for the remainder of a victim’s life. 

Lost Wages and Job Rehabilitation 

A personal injury can put a worker out of commission for a long time. Even just a couple of weeks of missing work can severely impact a person’s economic status, especially if they have a family to support. Victims should be compensated at least a portion of their lost wages. Additionally, you may qualify for job rehabilitation or even ongoing disability if the injury hinders your ability to work. 

Non-economic Damage

Most parties are eligible for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages generally carry a calculable dollar figure. Non-economic damages, however, are harder to calculate with examples including: 

  • Pain and suffering 
  • Temporary or permanent disfigurements
  • Emotional distress, including developing PTSD 
  • Reduction in overall quality of life 
  • Inability to engage in meaningful relationships 
  • Reduced earning power
  • A loss to one’s reputation 

Non-economic damages are harder to calculate, but an attorney can help translate these damages into a monetary figure. Many lawyers will use settlements from similar cases to suggest an adequate quote for non-economic damages.

Property Damage 

While your physical and mental health and the ability to pay for rent, groceries, etc., should always take top priority, compensation for any property damage is also vital. While not every personal injury case will include property damage, some cases can. For example, if you’re involved in a car accident and your vehicle suffers major damage. You should either be compensated for the repair of the vehicle or for having your vehicle replaced. 

Regarding transportation, you may require alternative methods of moving around, like taking the bus or subway while waiting for your vehicle to be repaired or replaced. You can also receive compensation for transportation too.

Wrongful Death

Unfortunately, sometimes a personal injury leads to wrongful death, which a victim’s beneficiaries should always be compensated for. While nothing can account for the loss of a loved one, a personal injury case bring about wrongful death benefits like: 

  • Covering any medical care the victim needed before they perished 
  • Funeral costs
  • Death benefits extended to the family, including compensation for lost wages and factors like pain and suffering 

Following a personal injury, the Law Office of Wade Suthard P.C. can help! 

Elizabeth Personal Injury Law FAQs

What’s next in a personal injury case?

After you establish that there was a duty of care owed, you will want to show that the defendant was the person who violated this duty of care by doing something wrong or by failing to do something altogether. When your attorney establishes that there was a breach in this duty, they will also need to show that you suffered from some type of personal injury. Without an injury, you will not have a case for a personal injury lawsuit. 

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?

When a victim is injured in an accident that was caused by another party or parties, New Jersey law says that the victim is entitled to financial compensation for the losses they have suffered as a result of their injuries and that the party who caused the accident is liable for those losses. These losses – often referred to as “damages” – can be both economic and non-economic. Economic damages include medical bills and lost wages if the victim was unable to work while they recovered from their injuries. It can also include any future loss of income if the injuries have left them unable to work. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, permanent disability, scarring, and loss of life enjoyment. While the law does not require victims to retain the services of an Elizabeth, NJ personal injury lawyer to pursue a personal injury claim, victims usually have a much better success rate at obtaining the compensation they deserve.

The Law Office of Wade Suthard, P.C. Elizabeth Personal Injury Lawyer

Contact Our Elizabeth Personal Injury Lawyer

In most personal injury cases that move to litigation, there are often negotiations still taking place between the insurance company and the victim’s Elizabeth, NJ personal injury lawyer and the majority of cases settle before the case goes to the jury.

When you are looking for a reliable personal injury lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ to show that someone else’s negligence caused you to become injured, look no further than The Law Office of Wade Suthard, P.C.