There is rarely any warning when you are involved in a car accident. That’s why they are called accidents rather than “purposes”. So what should you do when you are involved in a car accident? Even though the accident itself may be unexpected, there’s no reason why you can’t have a post-accident plan thought out in advance. A little advanced planning might prove more helpful than you think.
Feitlin, Youngman, Karas, and Gerson, and its predecessors, have been Bergen County car accident lawyers for more than three decades. Our job as your lawyer is to do everything within our power to make sure you receive full compensation and proper care. We can't undo all the damage done by a sudden accident, but we will make sure you don't face these difficulties alone and we will do our utmost to make sure that justice is done.
The first and most important thing you need to do is focus upon any injuries that may have been suffered by you and your family. It is no different than if you, or your children, were involved in an accident at home. Treat the injuries first. Everything else will fall into place thereafter.
So what are the pieces that need to fall into place after the immediate physical well being of you and your family has been addressed? What should you do next?
The answer is rather easy- report the accident to your car insurance company. Don’t call for a Bergen County car accident lawyer first. Don’t contact the insurer for the other driver. Simply notify your own car insurance company of your injury. We will pick it up from there.
The reason that you must contact your insurer is because “No Fault Law” applies in the State of New Jersey. Most people have heard this phrase but have never taken the time to analyze or understand what it means. Quite simply, it means that, regardless of fault, your car insurance company (in almost all instances) covers your medical bills. No matter how many times I have explained this concept to clients, and even to young Bergen County car accident lawyers, they invariably ask me why their car insurance companies cover medical bills when the accident was not their fault? The answer is simple. Some day you might be on the other side of the accident. In other words, what if the accident was your fault? (Remember, they are called accidents not “purposes.”). Under those circumstances, you would still submit your medical bills to your car insurance carrier. This is the essence of the “No Fault Law.” Regardless of fault, you should not have to worry about your medical care. Hence, while our car insurance rates may be high in the State of New Jersey, we do have some of the best motor vehicle coverage in the country. You pay for it. So you might as well take advantage of it.
Importantly, when you do contact your car insurance company, make sure you ask for the appropriate application to seek medical benefits. It is called a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Application. The application is rather self-explanatory but you can always give us a call to assist you in completing the form. We see them every day.
When calling your insurance company, you should also be aware that you have the right, again, in almost all instances, to pick your own doctors. This is a crucial point. You need not follow any recommendations of the insurance company. If a certain procedure or course of treatment is selected by your doctor, the doctor takes care of seeking the appropriate approval, or “pre-certification”, from your car insurance company. Your focus should be on getting better and treating your injuries, not on whether the suggested treatment will be approved.
This leads to the obvious next question: When does the other driver’s car insurance policy come into play? This is where we do get into issues of “fault.” If we can show that the accident was not your fault, but largely, if not entirely, the fault of the other driver, and that you have suffered a compensable injury or injuries, this is when we make a claim (or file suit) against the other driver and seek compensation from his/her car insurance company.
So, in sum, there are only two issues to address. First, you must focus upon your injuries. Take care of yourself and your family. This is why you purchased the insurance in the first place (even if you did not know that is why you were purchasing the insurance). Second, speak to us and we will make the appropriate claim against the other driver and his/her car insurance company. Remember, as Bergen County car accident lawyers, we do this every day.
One last issue to address: if the accident was the fault of the other driver and you did suffer a compensable injury or injuries, the other insurance company will know that too… and they want to save money – not yours, but that of their own insured! For that reason, do not speak to them at all about your injuries. We will deal with the other insurance company. We are not looking to save them money but to make sure that you are fully and properly compensated for your injuries. Again, we do this every day.
Do you need a Bergen County car accident lawyer? We have significant experience helping car accident victims to be compensated for their injuries. Contact Jeff Youngman at (201) 791-4400.