Personal injury law is a legal area that covers cases where an individual has suffered harm physically, emotionally, or financially due to the negligence or intentional actions of another party. Personal injury law enables victims to seek compensation for their losses and damages.

One of the most common types of personal injury cases that lawyers handle is motor vehicle accident claims. Individuals harmed in a collision caused by another person’s negligence can hire a personal injury lawyer to help them pursue compensation for their medical expenses, property damage, and other losses.

By understanding how personal injury law impacts vehicle accident cases, individuals involved in car accidents can better protect their legal rights and pursue the financial compensation they deserve.

Understanding Personal Injury Law

Personal injury law, sometimes referred to as tort law, is the area of law that establishes your rights when you are harmed by someone else. The primary objective of personal injury law is to provide compensation to injured parties for their losses.

Personal injury law covers many different types of accident cases, such as:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Slip-and-falls
  • Medical malpractice
  • Product liability
  • Nursing home abuse

Most Personal Injury Cases Involve Negligence

Personal injury law is grounded in the concept of negligence, which refers to a party’s failure to exercise reasonable care that resulted in harm to another person.

Vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injury claims. The New Jersey Department of Transportation reported 221,259 car crashes within just one recent year.

When you are injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to pursue a personal injury claim against that at-fault driver.

The following vehicle accident scenarios are examples of how negligence could lead to a personal injury claim:

  • A driver exceeds the speed limit and rear-ends another vehicle
  • A driver is texting and hits another vehicle
  • A driver fails to stop at a crosswalk and hits a pedestrian
  • A driver fails to yield the right-of-way and crashes into a motorcyclist
  • A driver is in the bicycle lane illegally and collides with a bicyclist
  • A driver is driving while intoxicated and veers into the adjacent lane, causing a collision

Establishing the Elements of Negligence in Personal Injury Vehicle Accident Cases

Since most personal injury cases (including vehicle accidents) are based on negligence, you must prove the following elements of negligence to win your case after a car accident:

  • Duty of care: The first step in any personal injury case is to establish that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. This element is fairly easy to prove in most car accident cases since all drivers owe one another a duty to operate their vehicles safely. This includes obeying speed limits, following traffic laws, and avoiding reckless behaviors such as texting.
  • Breach of duty: After establishing that a duty of care exists, as the plaintiff, you must establish that the defendant breached that duty. Any careless or reckless act that results in a vehicle accident could be evidence of a break. This could be a driver failing to stop at a light or driving well over the posted speed limit.
  • Causation: The next step for a plaintiff in a car accident case is to link his or her injuries to the defendant’s breach of duty. You must prove that the defendant’s actions were the direct cause of the vehicle accident and your injuries.
  • Damages: You can only receive a financial settlement or award if you can prove that the vehicle accident resulted in losses. Documenting and quantifying these damages is essential for a successful personal injury claim.

Personal Injury Comparative Negligence Laws and Vehicle Accidents

In cases where multiple parties share fault for a motor vehicle accident, personal injury law employs the principle of comparative negligence. This means that each party’s degree of fault is assessed, and compensation is awarded accordingly.

Each state has its own specific rules surrounding comparative negligence. In New Jersey, individuals who contributed to a car accident can still recover compensation as long as their percentage of fault is not greater than that of the other party. In other words, you must be less than 50 percent at fault for a car crash to receive compensation from the other party involved in the accident.

To illustrate how comparative negligence affects a car accident claim, let’s say you are found to be 25 percent liable for a vehicle accident because you were speeding while the other driver is 75 percent liable because he ran a red light. You are awarded $10,000 in damages, but since the amount you are awarded is reduced by your degree of fault, you will receive only $7,500 in compensation.

Personal Injury Laws Set a Time Limit on Car Accident Claims

Personal injury law sets a time limit on how long car accident victims have to file a claim for compensation. This is known as a statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations for motor vehicle accident cases varies from state to state. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for filing car accident cases is 2 years from the date of the accident.

If you fail to file your claim within the 2-year period, you will likely be unable to recover compensation for your injuries or other damages. For this reason, car accident victims need to seek help from a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You File Your Vehicle Accident Claim

Personal injury law encompasses a wide range of events where people suffer harm due to the negligence of others, including vehicle accidents. Personal injury laws allow car accident victims to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.

At Judd Shaw Injury Law, our personal injury lawyers handle all types of vehicle accident cases. A personal injury lawyer can investigate your motor vehicle accident and collect the evidence needed to establish negligence and liability. We have helped our clients recover maximum compensation for their car accident injuries, and we want to do the same for you.

Our personal injury law firm offers car accident victims a free case review. Contact us today at 732-888-8888 or complete the contact form.

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Content edited by personal injury attorney Judd Shaw. From the beginning, Judd established a set of Core Values laying out the pursuit for excellence in client service. He is a regular host of the Working The Wow podcast, with the belief that providing an exceptional client experience is just as important as delivering a quality service or product. You can find us in Red Bank and Tom‘s River, New Jersey.