Posts Tagged ‘auto accidents’

Motor Vehicle Accident Fatalities On The Rise

By Thomas R. Smith

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

According to a New Jersey State Police report, more people were killed by motor vehicle accidents in 2017 than in the previous year. Further, the number of fatalities has continued to rise each of the last three years and is the highest in the last ten. Most of those killed in car accidents were either the driver or passenger of an automobile.

The State Division of Highway Traffic Safety attributes the increase in fatalities to a number of factors including lower gas prices, more cars on the road, and distracted drivers and pedestrians. Alcohol and drug use also continues to be a concerning factor.

The operator of any motor vehicle, whether a car, truck or motor cycle, has the obligation to do so in a safe manner, using due caution, so as not to endanger or likely endanger another person or property. Failing to do so can result in a careless driving charge, probably the most common traffic violation in New Jersey. Police will generally issue such a ticket to any driver they determine causes a motor vehicle accident. The punishment can be influenced by the nature of the motor vehicle accident and the severity of any personal injuries suffered.

If you have suffered personal injuries due to another’s careless driving or negligence, you are entitled to receive compensation for any losses or harms incurred. You should speak with an attorney experienced in representing injured victims to learn the full extent of your legal rights.

Pedestrian Car Accidents

By admin

Monday, March 7th, 2016

New Jersey has some of the busiest roads in the country and car accidents are on the rise. Not only are the roads congested with cars, motorcycles and trucks, but many pedestrians use the roads as a cheaper, healthier way to get from point A to point B. Pedestrians have the same rights on highways as motor vehicles.

But what happens when these vehicles, which weigh thousands of pounds, collide with the human pedestrian? Disaster.

You see it in the news almost weekly. A pedestrian is struck by a motorist and seriously injured or killed. As a result, the pedestrian suffers personal injuries, medical expenses and possibly loss of income or the ability to work. These damages can be devastating. Much like a driver or passenger of a motor vehicle, pedestrians have the right to have their medical expenses paid by their car insurance company under their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy, even if they are not operating a vehicle at the time of the accident.

In addition, they may be entitled to both economic and non-economic compensation from the insurance company of the motorist who was negligent. Often times these cases can involve serious injuries due to the lack of protection from the crash and the sheer weight and speed of the offending vehicle.

It is absolutely crucial to speak to an injury attorney after such a tragedy that knows how to ensure that you are taken care of for the damages you suffer as a result of a pedestrian car accident.

I Was In a Car Accident, Should I Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?

By admin

Monday, December 21st, 2015


If you get into a car accident, you should not speak to the other driver’s insurance company before consulting with an attorney. The reason for this is pretty simple. Insurance companies train their claims adjusters to take advantage of drivers and witnesses before they have the opportunity to seek legal counsel to explain their rights.

Once a company is given notice about an accident that involves one of their insured drivers, they are told to immediately begin investigating the accident. The reason they hit the ground running from day one is because they are thinking about how they can escape liability for the accident and avoid paying claims. They don’t really care whether you’re injured or not, they only really care about how your injury will affect their bottom line.

The typical situation arises following a car accident. The drivers exchange information and following the crash, both drivers alert their insurance company that they were involved in an accident. Shortly after that, you get a call from the other driver’s company asking for information about how the accident happened (from your perspective) and your injuries. Again, this is not because they care, but rather they are trying to build their defense and figure out how much they think your claim is potentially worth.

When they contact you, they may ask you for a recorded statement. This is typically taped by an adjuster who asks questions about the happening of the accident and any treatment you’ve had.

DO NOT under any circumstances give a recorded or written statement to the other driver’s insurance company. They are NOT mandatory regardless of what the insurance company tells you.

These statements can be very harmful to you and any potential claim you may have. They could be used against you years later at a trial. The best bet is to consult with an attorney soon after a car accident so they can properly advise you of your rights and obligations, including those owed to the other driver’s insurance company.

When in doubt, just say no.

Injured in Auto Accident — Be Careful of Recorded Statements to Insurance Investigator

By admin

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

“What You Say Can & Will Be Used Against You: Auto Insurance Companies & Recorded State

There has been an increasing trend for automobile insurance companies requesting recorded statements of everyone involved in an auto accident, if they believe that their insured may have been at fault. Sometimes, insurance companies make these requests only minutes after the accident. I have even seen where an insurance company asked their insured to put the other driver on the phone at the scene of the accident to get a recorded statement. Insurance companies do this to deprive any potentially injured person the benefit of (1) medical treatment; (2) time to calm down after a traumatic accident; (3) the chance to speak with loved ones or the police; and most importantly, (4) the opportunity to consult with an attorney before giving such a statement.

Insurance companies do not want anyone who may later make a personal injury claim to have the opportunity to speak with an attorney before the insurance company has its chance to ask its own set of questions. While the answers to these questions are not the same as testimony in a courtroom, the recording and the transcript of that recording do have an effect on any lawsuit that is filed down the road, and the insurance company can try to use the contents of that interview as leverage later on.

If you are involved in an automobile accident, you must be skeptical if asked by an insurance adjuster or investigator to give a recorded statement. This is particularly true when it is the other driver’s insurance company asking for the statement immediately or shortly after the accident. The other driver’s insurance company hopes that, before there is time for some injuries to present themselves, you will say you were not injured. That way, they can use that statement later on to try to disclaim coverage of and compensation for legitimate injuries.

You must still cooperate with your own insurance company and report any accidents in a timely fashion, and you should always contact the police following a serious accident, but if you are asked to give a recorded statement immediately after an accident by another driver’s insurance company, you must be very careful about what you say. Ideally, you should not give a recorded statement to another driver’s insurance company without first consulting with an attorney, and you must always be careful whenever giving a recorded statement, even to your own insurance company.

A skilled personal injury attorney can not only protect your rights before, during, and after a case goes to court, s/he can also aid you with requests for a recorded statement by an insurance company after you are injured in an accident. Call 1-800-432-LAWS to speak with a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney, who can answer all your questions about your rights.

Limitation On Lawsuits – When Small Savings Don’t Add Up

By Thomas R. Smith

Friday, February 24th, 2012

A victim who suffers personal injuries from a motor vehicle accident may have restricted their ability to be compensated under New Jersey law.  Choosing the Limitation on Lawsuits options when purchasing automobile insurance, will restrict your access to compensation.  With this option, you will only be able to recover damages if your injuries result in one of the following defined categories:  death, displaced fracture, disfiguring scarring, dismemberment, loss of a fetus, or a permanent injury – which must be proven by objective medical evidence.

Your choice of insurance will not only restrict your rights to recover, but also those family members residing in your household, or others listed on the insurance policy.  This often results in an unfair denial of compensation to those suffering personal injuries due to a negligent motor vehicle operator.

Insurance companies vigorously defend claims brought against them by injured victims who choose the Limitations on Lawsuits threshold.  Juries appear reluctant to find permanent injuries and thus fewer awards are made.

While you may save a few dollars in the policy’s cost by electing the threshold, you in turn will give up important rights to be fairly and adequately compensated by a careless driver that caused you pain and suffering, loss of quality of life and/or disability.  Give much consideration when purchasing your policy if the small savings is worth it.

DWI – without getting behind the wheel?

By admin

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Sometime when talking to our friends and family we can often be told that’s “TMI,” or Too Much Information” when being told something that the person didn’t particularly want to know.  However, in some instances we can never have ‘Too Much Information!”
I received a telephone call from a potential client who had gotten into trouble for being a good Samaritan.  She received a late night telephone call from a friend of hers who was charged with Driving While Intoxicated in Hamilton Township, Mercer County.  The good Samaritan had driven from her residence in Hillsborough, NJ to Hamilton Township to pick up her friend from the Hamilton Police Department. 

Before she was allowed to take her friend home she had to sign a document that was placed before her by the police officer.    Unfortunately, she didn’t really read the document.  What she signed was a document known John’s Law, which is a liability warning acknowledging that he/she is picking up someone who has been charged with driving while intoxicated.

It was almost 2:00 am by the time they returned to Hillsborough.  During the ride home the good Samaritan’s car began making a funny noise.   It was late and the good Samaritan had to get up for work that morning.  Her friend offered to take her car for a ride around her apartment complex to see if she could figure out what was wrong with the car while the good Samaritan went to bed.

At 4:00 am that same morning, the good Samaritan is awaken by the telephone.  The Princeton Township Police Department is calling her.  It seems that her friend took her car for more than a spin around the apartment complex.  In fact, she crashed her car into a tree and is now in the hospital where she has been admitted for her injuries.

The good Samaritan rushes to the hospital to check on her friend.  While there she talks to the police about the accident.  She later received a summons in the mail from the police department.

N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 (a) (Driving While Intoxicated) provides in part “ ….a person who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more ….OR PERMITS ANOTHER PERSNON WHO IS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF INTOXICATING LIQUOR, NARCOTIC, HALLUCINOGENIC INFLUENCE OR HABIT-PRODUCING DRUG TO OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE OWNED BY HIM OR IN HIS CUSTODY OR CONTROL OR PERMITS ANOTHER TO OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE WITH A BLOOD ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION OF 0.08% OR MORE….IN THE DEFENDANT’S BLOOD SHALL BE SUBJECT TO”

In other words, the good Samaritan is now being charged with permitting someone who she knew was intoxicated with driving her vehicle.  Under the statute the good Samaritan faces the same loss of her driver’s license, fines and surcharges as if she was actually driving the vehicle herself.  These are serious charges and she will now have to defend those charges in municipal court.

Don’t allow the NJ Department of Banking & Insurance regulate your auto accident treatment!

By admin

Monday, November 7th, 2011

A standard NJ auto policy provides up to $250,000 to pay for medical treatment due to an auto accident, regardless of fault. This is why NJ auto insurance is more expensive than in other states. Many states require less or no medical treatment coverage.

Now the auto insurance companies are seeking to restrict access to needed treatment by getting the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance to allow them to put auto accident victims into “organized delivery systems”. They will thereby restrict treatment to doctors or groups of their choosing, control what tests will be allowed, and otherwise deny needed care.

It is the mission of insurance companies to make profits. Profits are made by restricting payments to injured people. If they are given control of treatment they will try to limit it, thereby reducing what they have to pay. Thereby making more profit.

I have nothing against profit but insurance companies are not your typical business. They don’t make or sell a product. All they do is collect premiums from people against the risk that they may have to pay certain claims. If they never have to pay a claim they get to keep all the money they collect.

Insurance companies originally were there to spread the risk of loss amongst us all. We all paid premiums so that if one of us had to be helped in some way because of a loss that person would be made whole. Now the profit motive is all they are interested in. And they have the ability to influence politicians because they have a lot of money that they collected from people just like you.

You can oppose this by speaking or writing to the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance before it is too late.  They can be reached at 800-446-7467 or by visiting their website at

$2 Million Dollar Settlement: Tire Blow Out Caused Injury during a Car Accident

By admin

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Our client, C.P., was severely injured in a car wreck when a Range Rover driven by his brother rolled over. This motor vehicle accident occurred in broad daylight on an interstate highway.

The police investigation revealed that this car accident occurred because the right rear tire of the vehicle blew out. There was no debris in the roadway and no road defects were present to explain why the tire blew out.

C.P. was severely injured; he suffered a broken neck that left him paralyzed from the neck down. He had to be placed in a nursing home and later died from the complications of the injuries he suffered in the motor vehicle accident.

As a New Jersey injury attorney, I represented C.P. and later his family in what became a products liability case against the manufacturer of the tire.

Investigation by this law firm revealed that the tread of the tire had separated from the inner plies of the tire.

This firm hired an expert who had worked as an engineer in the tire industry. This expert examined the tire and concluded that the body of the tire had been contaminated by dirt or grease during the manufacturing process at the tire factory where it was made. This contamination had left the tire with a defect that gradually worsened leading to a separation of the tread and to C.P.’s catastrophic car accident and injuries.

The expert for the defendant tire manufacturer also examined the tire and gave the opinion that the tire had failed because it had been operated under inflated during its life. He concluded that under inflated operation had caused the tire to run hot and that heat weakened the tire. He also stated that the vehicle would not have rolled over had C.P.’s brother been a better driver.

When I took the deposition of the defense expert, the expert conceded that contamination during manufacture could have been a cause of the separation and the motor vehicle accident in which C.P. was severely injured.

The case settled without trial for $2 million.