You have a car accident. Let’s say that it was on Route 80 in Paterson. Consequently, you suffer severe injuries. An ambulance takes you to the hospital. After your hospital stay, you endure several weeks of physical therapy at a rehabilitation facility.
Only after all that do you return to your New Jersey home. You still have to see the doctor periodically for follow-up treatment.
Soon after the car accident, you did the smart thing and hired an experienced personal injury lawyer. The lawyer will bring a claim on your behalf with the other driver’s insurance company. If the insurance company does not offer the car accident lawyer adequate compensation, the car accident lawyer will file a lawsuit in court. Eventually, if the case does not settle, a jury will determine whether you receive compensation, and how much.
In order to win the case, what must your car accident lawyer prove?
First, the attorney must prove that the other driver, not you, was mainly at fault for the accident.
Second, in most cases, the car accident lawyer must prove that you suffered at least one specific type of injury. These injuries are death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement or significant scarring; displaced fractures; loss of a fetus; or a permanent injury (other than scarring or disfigurement).
An injury is considered permanent when it has not healed to function normally. Nor will it heal, even with further medical treatment.
With respect to a claim of a permanent injury, a doctor generally must testify as to the diagnosis. The doctor must state his opinion that, within a reasonable degree of medical probability, the injury is permanent.
WHEN RESTRICTIONS ON CAR ACCIDENT CLAIMS DON’T APPLY
It used to be that you could always sue for ANY car accident injury if you were not at fault. Some people still can. It usually depends on what coverage you selected when you bought car insurance. (Unfortunately, most people purchase a policy that limits their right to sue).
If the at-fault driver was operating a commercial vehicle, such as a tractor-trailer, then, typically, even those who purchased car insurance which limited their right to sue can recover compensation. Even for injuries that are not permanent or otherwise on the above list.
If you ever actually have a car accident, never presume that you can’t get compensated for your injuries. Consult an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately. In some cases, you have as little as 90 days from the accident to take proper legal action, or you will lose your right to sue.