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New Jersey Car Accident Attorneys

Car accidents in New Jersey are all too common, but dealing with the aftermath is anything but normal. You can’t do the things you used to do or move the way you used to move. You don’t feel like you anymore.

As you work toward physical recovery, you need someone you can trust right there with you every step of the way, advocating for your well-being. You need someone who will make sure the careless actions of another driver won’t drag you down financially. That someone is a New Jersey car accident lawyer at the law firm of Console & Associates. We handle personal injury matters exclusively and have more than 25 years of experience. We’ll make it our mission to get your life back on track, just as we have for thousands of clients all over NJ.

Our successes include:

  • $1,075,000 for two clients injured in a Trenton drunk driving accident
  • $610,000 for a client rear-ended on Route 73 in Mount Laurel, near the New Jersey Turnpike entrance
  • A jury award of more than $117,000 for a client injured in Hackettstown

Why do I need an auto accident lawyer?

To get you the most money with the least hassle. Imagine getting 3.5 times more for your claim – and never having to field another frustrating call with the insurance adjuster again. Learn how a lawyer can help.

When should I hire an auto accident attorney?

As soon as you possibly can! Waiting to get help could put your entire claim at risk. Find out the perfect time to hire a lawyer.

How do I choose an auto accident lawyer?

Always choose based on experience, results, and affordability. Your choice of a New Jersey personal injury lawyer is one of the biggest factors affecting your claim that you personally have control over, so it’s a big decision. Learn how you to find the right lawyer for you.

A car accident changes your life like nothing else can.

There’s no warning – just a jarring impact that nothing could have braced you for. And it’s not just the physical impact of the collision. It’s the way that impact spreads through your life, your physical and emotional health, and your family’s well-being. No matter how hard you try to pretend otherwise – to walk it off, to stay positive – things are different now.

But that’s not a reason to lose hope. If the aftermath of a car accident is one of the most difficult times of your life, you need help like you’ve never needed it before.

Our New Jersey personal injury lawyers can offer you the help – and the hope – you need right now, with no risk and no upfront cost.

Hiring a Lawyer Sounds Scary. Is It?

It’s perfectly normal if you’re reluctant to hire a lawyer. A lot of people find the prospect intimidating or even downright scary.
Does hiring an injury attorney mean you have to accept that the auto accident was serious, and that you won’t be “bouncing back” right away?

Does the possibility make you think of dramatic trials you’ve seen on television, imagining a future where you have to discuss private, potentially embarrassing details of your life and health in front of a courtroom full of strangers?

Does pursuing an auto accident lawsuit in New Jersey mean risking your own money at a time when times are already tough?

Let us put your mind at ease.

Hiring a lawyer seems like a big step

– and it is an important one – but it doesn’t mean resigning yourself to some fate you can’t control. Retaining legal representation is a way for you to take back control of your life after an accident.

For many people, hiring a lawyer after a car accident is like having a safety net. You may hope you don’t need to use this resource – just like an insurance policy or an emergency savings account – but you make the wise move to have it lined up, just in case. (Except that, unlike an insurance policy or emergency fund, having this safety net in place won’t cost you anything.)

The reality is that there are some injuries no one can just “bounce back” from. That’s true whether or not you hire an injury attorney and pursue a car accident claim.

It’s also true that, in these instances of serious injuries, your chances of getting better are, unfortunately, tied to your means to pay for the best treatment available. That’s precisely why you need to get every dollar of compensation you are entitled to as a result of the car crash.

Will I Have to Go to a Trial Like You See on TV?

If your only experience with the courtroom is through the trials that appear on television and in movies, it’s no wonder that you are hesitant to put yourself and your family through this ordeal. Trials seem chaotic, risky, and nerve-wracking.

Here’s a secret many people don’t know: car accident attorneys don’t want your case to go to trial either – if we can help it.

Why? For one thing, taking a case all the way to trial means more expenses, which means you ultimately keep less of the money we get for you. A trial can be time-consuming and emotionally difficult for our clients, and it’s not something we would choose for you to go through unnecessarily. And, of course, there’s more risk involved in a trial than a settlement negotiation. If you lose the trial, you could walk away with nothing.

New Jersey Car Accident LawyerFortunately, trials are far from inevitable for most personal injury claims. Historically, 95 percent of personal injury claims have settled out of court, never proceeding to a full trial. The odds are good that, even if you choose to pursue a car accident lawsuit, a trial probably isn’t in your future.

For the fraction of personal injury lawsuits that do end in a trial, the good news is that, at least statistically, you are more likely to win the case than to lose. The majority of plaintiffs in automobile accident cases – 57 percent – prevail over the defendants they sue, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Keep in mind, too, that it isn’t purely a matter of statistics. Your attorney will only recommend taking a case to trial if the benefits of doing so outweigh the risks. If, for example, the defendant’s insurance company refuses to settle your case for a reasonable amount and the evidence in your favor is strong, going to trial may be the only way to get you the money you truly deserve.

Even if an attorney doesn’t expect your case to go to trial, he or she should be preparing your case as if for a trial from day one. That’s the kind of meticulous legal work Console and Associates promises every one of our clients.

Is This Going to Cost Me Money?

The reality is that pursuing justice isn’t free. Court filing fees, the written opinions or courtroom testimony of expert witnesses in accident reconstruction, and other legal expenses can cost thousands of dollars, all before you see a single penny of compensation.

If you had to pay this money upfront, it might be enough to stop you from ever getting the full amount of compensation you deserve. You’re already racking up the medical expenses, and with an injury as serious as yours, there’s a good chance you’re going to miss work for a while.

On average, Console and Associates advances thousands of dollars in costs for each of our clients’ claims – and, for cases that are far into the litigation phase, up to tens of thousands of dollars. We’re happy to take on this burden so that our clients have the opportunity to get justice, no matter what their current financial situation is.

Fortunately, you never have to worry about coming up with the money for these expenses when you have the New Jersey car accident lawyers at Console and Associates on your side. We advance every cost of pursuing your claim, and if we don’t win money for you, you never have to pay us back.

That means you can pursue a claim risk-free. It’s one (big) less thing to worry about.

Do I Have a Car Accident Case?

If one single question is more important than all the rest, it’s this: “Do I have a case?”

This is also one of the most challenging questions to answer.

Let us explain.

Every single car accident case is different. The causes are different. The consequences are different. The injuries, the insurance coverage, the way the accident affects the victim’s life – all of these factors are truly unique.

Because we handle car accident claims every single day, you might think that we would see each case as “just another car accident.” If anything, it’s the opposite. Our extensive experience practicing car accident injury law has given us a unique insight into the many ways car accident cases can vary.

For example, a fender bender caused by a tailgating driver may cause no injuries at all, only property damage. Another rear-impact collision that happens under the same circumstances could instead cause a herniated disc, a soft tissue injury that, despite not appearing on an X-ray, can cause severe pain and loss of function.

Why? Maybe the crash occurred at a higher rate of speed. Perhaps the victim had a prior injury or medical condition that made the spinal discs more vulnerable to damage. The smallest detail can have the biggest effect on the severity of the crash, which plays a crucial role in determining whether or not you have a claim.

The upshot of all this is that only a lawyer who knows the details of your situation can tell you for sure if you have a claim. We know that’s a frustrating response to hear when you just want a simple, straightforward answer, but your situation is simply too complex for an uninformed answer.

What we can tell you is what a lawyer will look for in a car accident situation to determine if you have a claim.

Liability in New Jersey Car Accident Claims

Liability means that someone is legally at fault or responsible for the accident. Generally, to pursue a car accident claim in New Jersey, you must be able to prove that the other party is the one at fault for the collision. If you were the one who caused the crash by violating traffic safety laws, you will not be able to pursue a claim.

Determining fault isn’t always a simple matter. Often, multiple factors contribute to a crash.

  • Sometimes, these factors are no one’s fault. One such factor is weather conditions. Although not their fault, drivers nevertheless have a responsibility to adjust their driving by slowing down, giving themselves extra time to brake, and using more caution as they operate the vehicle in these conditions.
  • At times, more than one driver may be partially at fault for the collision. Under New Jersey’s comparative negligence law, you don’t have the grounds for a claim if you are more than 50 percent at fault for the collision. However, you may still be eligible to pursue some compensation if you are determined to share 50 percent – or less – of fault for the crash. If you are partially at fault for the crash, your compensation will be reduced by the amount you are at fault.

Proving liability for the crash requires a thorough investigation. Although the auto insurance company is responsible for investigating the accident and determining fault, the insurer is hardly a neutral party. If the insurer can blame you for the crash, it can decrease your payout or deny your claim completely. That’s why it’s crucial to have an attorney on your side, performing a separate and thorough investigation that won’t unfairly favor the other driver.

When our New Jersey car accident lawyers investigate your accident, we leave no stone unturned. We analyze every detail of the police accident report, photographs, and witness statements. If needed, we’ll bring in experts in accident reconstruction to answer the most complex questions of why and how the collision occurred. That’s a lot more than you can expect from the insurance company’s in-house investigation.

Damages in a Car Accident Case

The other factor that matters the most in a motor vehicle accident claim is what lawyers refer to as “damages.” Your damages encompass all of the harms that have resulted from your accident.

Types of Damages

There are two types of damages recognized in the legal world: economic and non-economic.

  • Economic damages: any damages you can put a numeric, quantifiable price on. Economic damages include your past medical bills, any future medical expenses you anticipate for your injuries, lost wages for time missed from work and loss of earning capacity, if you can’t return to your job.
  • Non-economic damages: damages that aren’t associated with a straightforward dollar amount, such as your loss of quality of life and the physical and emotional pain and suffering you have been through.

The extent of your damages determines whether you have a case and how much your claim may be worth. New Jersey law only permits car accident victims to sue for what has happened, not what could have happened, so the severity of the injuries you sustained and their impact on your life matters a great deal.

If you walked away from a serious wreck virtually unscathed, you probably can’t pursue a claim, but if you sustained a life-altering injury in a crash with only minor vehicle damage, you still have the right to seek compensation. The thing is, you will likely need an experienced attorney on your side to prove that your injuries really are as significant as you are claiming.

So, do you have a case? 

If you believe that the other party is liable for the accident and you have documented injuries – or injuries that you believe are serious enough to see a doctor about – then there is a good chance that you may have a car accident case. Your next move should be to speak to a New Jersey auto accident lawyer right away.

Types of Car Accident Injuries

A car wreck can bring about some of the most horrific injuries you can suffer. If you (or your loved one) sustained devastating spinal cord damage, a severed limb, or a serious blow to the head, then you already know how drastically a car accident injury can change your life. You were likely rushed straight from the scene of the crash to the hospital, possibly for a lengthy inpatient stay.

Your need for an attorney is most pronounced in the case of such serious injuries. Even if you haven’t already retained a lawyer, there’s a good chance that you have been thinking – if not about legal action directly – about the future implications of your injury and how you will afford to pay for medical care and extended time away from work.

Based on our experience over decades of handling New Jersey car accident cases, we recommend that you always speak to an attorney if your car crash involved:

  • A traumatic brain injury (TBI) or a head injury of any kind
  • A serious spinal cord injury that may lead to partial or complete paralysis
  • Severed limbs or damage to extremities that require surgical amputation
  • A miscarriage or loss of pregnancy
  • Broken bones, especially displaced fractures, which often require surgery to treat
  • Wrongful death, meaning the death of a loved one as a result of an auto accident or truck accident

Other injuries are more of a gray area. They might not have been as dramatic as life-threatening medical emergencies.

Perhaps you turned down an ambulance to the hospital, thinking that your injuries weren’t that serious or, even, that you weren’t really injured at all. You didn’t want to make a big fuss over nothing, not to mention incurring high medical bills and letting your day get even farther off track than it already was.

In the hours, days, and weeks after the accident, though, you may find that you don’t feel right. Those initial aches and pains continue or worsen. Strange new symptoms may arise that keep you from sleeping, affect you while you’re working, or otherwise interfere with your life.

Among the most common car accident injuries that first appear as “not serious” are herniated discs and closed head injuries.

Herniated Discs

Your spine is more than just bone. Soft discs full of a gel-like substance act as cushions for your vertebrae. The impact of a collision can damage these discs – causing them to weaken, rupture or bulge in a way that impinges on nearby nerves.

Back pain, leg pain, tingling or numbness in your arms or legs, sudden weakness in your hands – a herniated disc may be the culprit for all of these mysterious symptoms. Because herniated discs are a type of damage to the soft tissues of the body, rather than the bones, they won’t show up on an X-ray. They may, however, make it difficult for you to work, to live your active life, to raise your family, or to enjoy your favorite hobbies.

Make no mistake. A badly herniated disc, the kind that causes you pain and interferes with your life, is a serious injury. Although mild herniated discs may not even need treatment, the fact that yours is causing you problems must be addressed. You shouldn’t have to live your life in pain.

Whether treating your herniated disc means physical therapy, steroid injections, or a grueling surgery, you can expect your recovery to take a great deal of time and incur significant expenses. For a conservative course of treatment like physical therapy, the medical bills will likely add up to $1,000 or more. If you end up needing microdiscectomy surgery, you’re looking at costs between $15,000 and $50,000, according to Healthline.

All the while, you’re falling behind at work, in your finances, and in your life.

Too often, car accident victims have no idea what could be causing pain, tingling, and weakness in an arm or leg that didn’t even sustain the force of the impact. All they know is that something changed because of the accident – but, not being able to put their fingers on what that something is, they put off going to a doctor. Only after speaking to our experienced car accident lawyers does it become clear what’s going on – and why it’s so important to get the best possible medical care right away.

Closed Head Injuries

If you have an open wound on your head, you may be more likely to take matters seriously. But serious damage can occur inside the brain, even if you’re not bleeding on the outside.

This type of injury is called a closed head injury – opposed to an open head injury – and it can include serious injuries like:

  • Concussions
  • Contusions (bruising) of brain tissue
  • Hematomas (potentially life-threatening bleeding around the brain)
  • Diffuse axonal injury (widespread lesions within the brain capable of causing comas and vegetative states)

In a closed head injury, you may look perfectly fine. The damage may occur when the impact of an accident throws your head into a car window or steering wheel, even if you didn’t suffer a visible cut.

You can also sustain a closed head injury even if you didn’t hit your head in the crash. The force of a powerful impact can be strong enough to cause the soft tissues of your brain to collide with the hard bone of the skull surrounding it.

Closed head injuries can be life-threatening, but just because you walked away from the accident doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. If you find that you’re feeling confused, dizzy, or excessively sleepy, you could be dealing with a concussion. Vomiting, seizures, problems with memory or coordination, and ringing in the ears are other symptoms of concussions, according to Harvard Medical School.

Concussions can take months to heal, and it’s possible to sustain post-concussion syndrome, a medical condition in which certain concussion symptoms last even longer. No matter how much you want this to all just go away, there’s a very real chance that you could need help, rest, and time to recovery – and that the financial implications of a closed head injury can threaten your family’s security.

New Jersey Car Accident Statistics

Source: www.state.nj.us/

Are My Injuries Serious Enough to Pursue a Claim?

Among car accident victims, the #1 reason for not pursuing a claim is not knowing if their injuries are severe enough to warrant a lawsuit.

That’s not just anecdotal evidence from what we’ve seen in our decades of practice. More than 1 in 4 survey respondents – more than half of those who had reported being injured due to someone else’s negligence – said they chose not to sue because they didn’t think their injuries were bad enough.

That’s the same sentiment many of our clients expressed when they first called our office, a little doubtful but not knowing where else to turn for help. Injuries that resulted in only a quick emergency room visit, or no immediate medical care at all, couldn’t possibly be severe enough to pursue a claim… right?

When we listened to the troubling symptoms they described, we were able to answer their questions and direct their next steps in seeking the medical care they needed. And, as they started working towards recovery, they realized just how long and difficult that journey can be, and how the lost wages and medical bills can pile up over time. Any injury that significantly impacts your life, especially on a long-term basis, is serious enough to warrant speaking to an attorney about whether or not to move forward with a claim.

How Do I Get My Medical Bills Paid if I Am Injured in an Accident?

You’ve been in a car accident, and you need medical care now. The question is, who pays for it?

New Jersey’s No-Fault Law

Under the state’s no-fault law, you’re the one responsible for your own medical bills – not the driver who caused the crash.

No-fault laws don’t mean that no one is at fault. Of course someone is! Instead, no-fault laws require the insurance company of each person injured in the accident to pay for their own policyholder’s medical costs, regardless of fault.

Should you have to pay for the consequences of the other driver’s irresponsible behavior behind the wheel? Absolutely not. But no-fault insurance coverage allows you to get your medical claim set up faster, so you aren’t waiting for the insurance companies to decide who is at fault before you can start getting your medical bills paid.

Personal Injury Protection

Pro Tip – Saving money by reducing your PIP coverage usually isn’t worth the extra medical costs you bear if you’re ever injured and need to use your insurance coverage.
Because basic and standard auto insurance policies sold in the state of New Jersey must comply with the no-fault law, they include a section of coverage known as personal injury protection, or PIP. PIP insurance covers your medical bills, but there are exceptions.
  • You are responsible for some of the costs, including a deductible you choose and a coinsurance percentage you must pay on the first $5,000 of medical expenses.
  • When you buy auto insurance, you purchase an amount of PIP coverage. PIP only covers your medical costs up to the limits of your policy. Most drivers on a standard policy purchase $250,000 in PIP coverage, according to the official New Jersey Auto Insurance Buyer’s Guide. However, some drivers reduce their PIP coverage as low as $15,000 to save on their premium costs.
  • When you purchase auto insurance, you also select whether PIP or your health insurance is the primary policy that will cover your medical expenses. It’s always best to choose PIP as primary. Once you exhaust your limited PIP coverage, your health insurance has to pay for your medical care, but if you choose health insurance as primary, all of the PIP coverage you purchased goes to waste, because you can never use it. Further, health insurance tends to charge higher deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance than auto insurers are allowed to charge, and the health insurance company may limit you to a specific network of doctors.

What Expenses Does PIP Cover?

Your own PIP coverage is responsible for your medical expenses, including:

  • Emergency medical treatment at the hospital
  • Inpatient hospital stays resulting from your injuries
  • Outpatient appointments
  • Diagnostic testing
  • Inpatient or outpatient procedures and surgeries
  • Inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation, including physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy

PIP coverage is primarily for your medical bills, but some auto insurance policies include additional PIP benefits, including essential services, income continuation, and death and funeral expense benefits.

You probably don’t know offhand what selections you made on your auto insurance, and you may not fully understand these choices. That’s okay. Our car accident lawyers can interpret your insurance policy for you and help you understand what you’re benefits entitled to through your own policy as well as what compensation you deserve from the other driver’s policy.

What Medical Costs Do I Have to Pay?

No matter how clear it is that the other driver is at fault for your injuries, you will be on the hook for paying at least some of the medical costs. Exactly how much you have to pay depends on the deductible you chose when purchasing auto insurance. Generally, you will pay higher premiums to keep your deductible low. You must also pay a 20 percent coinsurance on the first $5,000 of your medical bills.

  • If you chose the lowest deductible amount, $250, you would pay a total of $1,200 toward your medical expenses: the $250 deductible + $950 coinsurance
  • If you chose a high deductible amount, like $2,500, you would pay a total of $3,000 toward your medical expenses: the $2,500 deductible + $500 coinsurance

It isn’t fair that you have to pay the medical bills when someone else caused the crash. If you choose to pursue a claim, these out-of-pocket medical expenses are among the damages for which our car accident lawyers will seek compensation for you.

Dealing With the Insurance Company

The insurance company isn’t on your side – not by a long shot. From the get-go, the insurer’s goals directly oppose yours. You want to get the full amount of money you’re entitled to. The insurance company wants to hold onto every possible dollar.

But it’s not just a matter of conflicting objectives. It’s also about how each party approaches the interactions that must occur after a motor vehicle accident. There’s a reason almost 30 percent of people – not just car accident victims, but people over a wide range of demographic data and life experiences – reported that they had been taken advantage of by an insurance company.

30% feel they have been taken advance of by an insurance company

Console, Richard P. “2020 Public Perception of Attorneys, Insurance Companies & Lawsuits”. Conducted by Survey Monkey, 2020.

After an accident, you just want to be treated fairly. You’re not looking for some kind of jackpot, just compensation for what you’ve been through. Yet too often, the insurance company is already trying to get out of paying what you deserve from the moment that first contact occurs.

Insurance Claim Issues

When the Insurance Company Denies Your Claim

What do you do when an insurance company denies your claim? If the insurer had its way, you would just give up.

We all want to believe that companies whose sole purpose is to provide insurance coverage would refuse to do so only when a claim truly isn’t legitimate. However, insurance companies deny genuine claims for all sorts of questionable reasons.

Perseverance is a must when dealing with an insurance company. If you’re the one who is injured and trying to go about your life or adjust to a completely new life, though, you likely don’t have the time or energy to be the “squeaky wheel” and keep bugging the insurance company. (Fortunately, our New Jersey car accident attorneys are used to this treatment. It’s our job to fight for our clients and refuse to back down.

If the insurance company denied your claim because of incorrect paperwork, don’t back down. It’s a common practice for insurers to intentionally send claimants the wrong forms just so they can deny the claim, according to the American Association for Justice. Keep demanding that the insurer assist you in getting the correct forms, or better yet, pass the burden off to an injury attorney who will handle this matter for you.

If the denial was based on the insurer’s opinion that you don’t meet requirements for liability or for the extent of your damages, the situation may be more serious. You will likely need a lawyer to help you prove liability and damages.

Most people aren’t familiar with the details of how the personal injury claims process works, and insurance companies tend to take advantage of this lack of knowledge. For example, the insurer may tell you that your claim is denied because you are partially at fault for the accident, hoping that you aren’t aware of New Jersey’s comparative negligence law. Or, if your accident involved an uninsured or under-insured driver, your own insurance company may make you jump through hoop after hoop to access your uninsured motorist coverage.

When a lawyer steps in, it becomes a whole lot harder for the insurance company to get away with this kind of unfair behavior. We insist that insurers treat our clients fairly and call them on any behaviors that constitute bad faith to policyholders or unlawful treatment of claimants.

When the Insurance Company Delays Your Claim

Does it seem like the insurance company is dragging its feet on your claim? If you’re getting the runaround, constantly being told that you must fill out new forms or waiting increasingly longer times for return phone calls, it might not be your imagination. The insurance company is, perhaps deliberately, delaying your claim.

Insurance companies make money off of the premiums they charge their policyholders, so it may come as no surprise that these companies are reluctant to pay out claims like yours. After all, that money comes directly out of the company’s profits.

What you may not know is that insurers invest that money they collect from policyholders so that their profits keep growing. Just holding onto that money a little longer benefits the insurance company.

And if that delay means you’re falling behind on your bills or having trouble paying for your medical care – well, that’s a sacrifice the insurance company is willing to make.

Delaying the legitimate claim of a car accident victim who is suffering is a despicable practice, and yet, it’s one that occurs over and over again.

Lowball Settlement Offers

Sometimes the facts of a claim are so severe that the insurance company knows it won’t be able to get away with denying the claim completely. Faced with the certainty that the claimant deserves a large settlement and is likely to get it, the insurance company may do an about-face and, instead of dragging out a claim, pressure the claimant to accept a settlement offer right away.

Getting your money fast sounds great, at first. The problem is that these initial settlement offers are well below what you really deserve. Insurance companies expect negotiation and start with a lowball offer, just as you might when haggling prices of a used car, for example.

The difference is that this lowball settlement offer is predatory. You need adequate compensation to move forward with your life after an accident. A lot of times, these offers come long before you have finished your medical treatment. You have no idea what the road to recovery will cost you, how long you may be out of work, or whether the injury will affect you permanently in some way.

When you accept a lowball settlement, you sign away your right to pursue compensation for in the future.

When you accept a lowball settlement, you sign away your right to pursue compensation for this accident in the future. If it turns out that you need surgery, or if you never recover to such a degree that you can return to the job you had before the accident – none of that matters to the insurance company. It won’t reopen your claim, no matter how little you agreed to accept in the first place or how much the accident has impacted your life.


What Not to Do When Dealing With the Insurance Company

    1. 6 Insurance Claim Pitfalls That Diminish the Value of Your ClaimDon’t agree to give recorded statements.
    2. Don’t sign a release – which lets the insurance company off the hook for paying for the claim – or any other document.
    3. Don’t chat with the insurance adjuster. Although he or she may seem friendly, the adjuster’s job is to find ways to get out of paying claims. Everything you say to an adjuster could be twisted and taken out of context to support the denial of your claim.
    4. Don’t authorize all medical records. The insurer only has the right to see the medical records related to your accident, not your entire medical history. You can bet that, if you allow access to your full medical history, the insurer will look for any excuse to blame your current medical issues on an unrelated issue from your past.
    5. Don’t accept the first settlement offer. If an insurance adjuster offers you money, remember that it’s likely a lowball offer to trick you into settling too early, before you know the full extent of your damages.
    6. If at all possible, limit the interactions you have with the insurance company. Every phone call, meeting, or piece of paperwork provides more possible pitfalls that could undermine your claim. One of the benefits of hiring a car accident attorney is that your lawyer will take over interactions with the insurance company, so you no longer have to worry about them.

If I File a Claim, Will My Insurance Premiums Go Up?

A common concern drivers have is that, by filing a claim arising out of one accident, they will inadvertently cause their auto insurance rates to increase.

That’s not how it works.

When you get into what’s called a “chargeable” accident – generally, a crash in which you were at fault – the insurance company may choose to raise your premiums. This is true whether or not someone involved in that accident pursues a claim.

If the other driver was at fault for the accident, your premium rates shouldn’t go up. If a driver does see  a rate increase that’s a result of a chargeable accident, filing a claim won’t have any bearing on this rate increase.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

Car Accident Lawyer

A lawyer represents you and advocates for your best interests. That support is critical in areas in which you are unfamiliar, which, for most people, includes the legal and insurance industries. It means that the damages you have suffered are taken seriously and, ultimately, reimbursed fairly.

Lawyers get their clients more money – a lot more. Statistically, the difference amounts to, on average, 3.5 times what unrepresented claimants get for themselves in a settlement negotiation. Anecdotally, our firm has handled cases where we got the client up to nearly 14 times the settlement offer he had negotiated for himself.

And it’s not just about the money. It’s also about saving you the time and hassle of handling a claim yourself. We put a lot of time into each case we handle. But we know that, if you had to deal with every form, every insurance company interaction, and every demand of pursuing a legal claim yourself, without knowledge of the claims process, it would take you far, far longer, and you still wouldn’t get the same results.

We want you to focus on getting better. That’s what matters most right now. So we make every effort to make your life easier, including:

  • Gather and maintain all evidence pertaining to the crash
  • Investigate the cause of the accident and bring in accident reconstruction specialists, if necessary, to shed light on liability in complex cases
  • Retrieve all documentation of your damages, including your medical records and income loss due to the accident
  • Use this evidence to craft a compelling demand letter to open settlement negotiations
  • Negotiate with the insurance company to get you the maximum payout possible for your injuries
  • Prepare your case as if for trial from day one, so that if a trial is necessary to get you the money you deserve, we’ll be ready
  • Handle every interaction with the insurance company from the start of your claim to the time your case is closed and your money is disbursed to you
  • Represent you in depositions, arbitrations, mediations, and any other legal proceeding
  • Keep you updated on the status of your claim and respond promptly to any questions or concerns you have
  • Help you with finding qualified medical providers, arranging transportation, or handling your property damage claim, as needed

How Do I Choose a Lawyer?

You’ve realized that you need an attorney. The question is, how do you find the right law firm for you?

More than half of our survey respondents said they would rely on referrals from friends and family to choose an attorney to represent them in an auto accident case. The only problem? You may very well end up with an attorney who isn’t experienced in personal injury law.

More than 75 percent of our survey takers – people across all age, income, and demographic groups nationwide – have never been involved in a lawsuit. Unless your family members or friends are the exception, they’re likely referring you to a general practice attorney whose knowledge of complex injury cases is average at best.

Why Choose Console & Associates

Instead of splitting our time between estate planning law and family law and criminal defense law and car accident cases, Console & Associates handles personal injury claims exclusively. It’s all we do, because we’ve chosen to dedicate our careers to mastering this one complex area of law and making sure people in situations just like yours get every dollar of compensation they deserve.

You need more than a personal recommendation to find the right lawyer for your car accident case. This is a big decision that you need to research. Proven results are the single most important factor you need to consider when you choose a law firm – and we’ve got the results you’re looking for, including numerous six-figure settlements and jury awards.

Although there are a lot of traits a good attorney should have, intelligence and honesty are the most important. Console and Associates has an outstanding record of success, regularly recovering maximum compensation for car accident victims like you over our 25 years of practice. With thousands of satisfied clients throughout NJ – North, South, and Central – and more than $100 million recovered, we have the skills to win your case and the results to prove it. Our attorneys’ intelligence and integrity have earned them regional and national recognition in the legal community and beyond.

When Should I Hire a Lawyer?

It’s never too soon after an accident to take the first step of speaking with a lawyer. You may think that you can’t call a lawyer yet because you don’t have the police report in hand or you don’t yet know what will happen with your medical care. Maybe you haven’t even seen a doctor or reported the accident to your insurance company.

It’s still not too early to learn about your options.

A free consultation is part of our No Fee Promise. All you need to know before you call us is that you have reason to believe that the accident is someone else’s fault (at least, more than 50 percent) and that you have some injuries or symptoms that you think might be worth getting checked out.

We’ll ask you questions to better determine how we can help you. If there’s a chance you may have a claim, we can get the process started by contacting your insurance company for you, helping you find a doctor who will treat you (you’d be surprised how many primary care doctors won’t treat auto accident injuries) or simply being your safety net.

If your injuries resolve with no lasting harm or significant financial consequences, then we’ll close out the claim at no cost to you. But, if you do need a lawyer, you’ve already got all of your bases covered. In the meantime, we’re taking over the burden of dealing with your insurance company so you can focus on getting better. We’re investigating the accident and managing all of the paperwork and evidence, so you don’t have to. And we make the process of officially obtaining legal representation easy and convenient with online forms you can fill out instantly in the comfort of your own home.

There’s no downside to speaking to a car accident attorney as early on after the crash as possible, but there are plenty of positives. So why wait?

What Are My Chances of Winning a Car Accident Settlement?

If you have damages, can prove that the other driver is liable, and retain an experienced attorney, your chances of winning your car accident claim are good. Remember, statistically speaking, 95 percent of personal injury claims settle out of court, and 57 percent of car accident cases that go to trial are decided in favor of the plaintiff.

There are a couple of factors that act in your favor in the case of a car accident lawsuit:

    1. In general, insurance companies would prefer to settle your car accident claim over going to court because a settlement means more control of the final outcome than if a jury decided the award.
    2. In a car accident claim, you don’t have as high a burden of proof of liability or damages as you would in, say, a medical malpractice claim or a slip and fall claim. You don’t have to prove that the at-fault driver owed you a duty of care, because just getting behind the wheel means the driver was responsible for following traffic safety laws. It’s also easier to prove that your injuries resulted from a car accident than it is to illustrate that a doctor’s error was the direct and sole cause of a negative health outcome.

The factors that could keep you from receiving a settlement are:

  • Not having sufficient proof that the other driver was at fault for the crash. This proof may come from witness accounts of the collision, photos of the accident scene, police reports, and testimony from accident reconstruction specialists. Having an attorney will be invaluable in proving fault for the accident. If you aren’t likely to have the basis for a successful case because there isn’t enough proof of liability, a lawyer will let you know that upon reviewing your claim.
  • Not having sufficient damages to warrant compensation. Again, you need to prove the damages you claim through your medical records, documentation of income loss, and testimony from experts – in this case, medical experts (doctors). You may face more hurdles if, on your auto insurance policy, you selected the verbal threshold option for your limitation on lawsuit selection. Under this option, you must prove that your injury meets certain criteria to be eligible to sue for pain and suffering.
  • Not having an experienced car accident attorney on your side. There’s no law that says you must have an attorney represent you in a car accident claim, but opting not to hire a lawyer could sabotage your chances of getting the full amount of compensation you deserve. Unrepresented claimants are more likely to walk away with claim denials instead of compensation and, if they do secure a settlement, it’s likely to be less than what they really deserve.

How Much Is My Claim Worth?

For most car accident victims, the question isn’t whether they will win a settlement, but how much they will receive. How much is your case worth?

Unfortunately, there’s no simple settlement calculator where you can plug in a few numbers and come up with a dollar amount. How much your car accident case is worth depends on a number of factors, some of which you have no control over.

  • You can’t control the policy limits of the other driver’s auto insurance coverage, although you may be able to seek more money from your own under-insured motorist coverage, if you purchased that option.
  • You have little control over the damages you sustain – the injuries, the resulting medical bills, how long you are out of work, and how much your injuries impact your life. However, you can maximize your damages by working with an attorney who knows what to look for in car accident cases and will make sure that none of your losses go unreimbursed.
  • You can’t control where the crash occurred. In the legal world, we talk about a concept called market value, based on differences in the behavior of juries and judges between jurisdiction. If your collision occurred in a jurisdiction where juries are known to award high payouts to plaintiffs, your case may be worth more than if it occurred in a jurisdiction where jury awards tend to be more conservative.

So, how do you find out how much your unique case is worth? You take it to an experienced NJ car accident lawyer. The only way to reliably determine how much compensation you deserve is to have a professional who knows the legal process inside and out take a look at all of the details of your situation.

One thing is for sure – having the right lawyer on your side means you’ll get as much money as you possibly can for your claim. Studies have found that, on average, attorneys get their clients more than 3.5 times what unrepresented claimants get for themselves, according to the study Paying for Auto Injuries: A Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims by the Insurance Research Council.

Find out how much more money a car accident attorney in NJ could get you.

What Happens If I Don’t Win the Suit Against the Insurance Company?

Accident Settlement

Although the odds of a successful lawsuit are likely in your favor, you may not be feeling especially lucky right now, right after a serious car accident. You may be wondering what you are risking if you pursue a case and lose.

Well, regardless of the outcome of your case, PIP still covers your medical bills. If your medical bills add up to more than your maximum coverage limit, then your health insurance provider will need to pay the amount that exceeds your coverage. If you don’t have health insurance, you will be personally responsible for your outstanding medical costs.

If you don’t win the case, then you won’t receive money from the other driver’s insurance company (or your own uninsured/under-insured coverage) towards your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other damages. Although you didn’t get the compensation you were hoping for, you haven’t lost any money, either.

That’s because our New Jersey car accident lawyers handle every motor vehicle accident claim on a no-win, no-fee basis. Sometimes called a contingency agreement, this means that your payment for legal representation is contingent on the results. Your attorney receives a percentage of the settlement he or she gets for you – and, if the claim is not successful, you pay nothing for attorneys’ fees. We also advance all costs of pursuing your claim, from court filing fees to the expense of hiring expert witnesses, and you pay us back only if we recover money for you.

Basically, pursuing a claim with us is risk-free. You have nothing to lose by moving forward with a claim and plenty to gain if your case is successful.

What If I’m Not the Type of Person to Sue?

Here’s your dilemma: you’re hurt. This car accident has affected you pretty seriously. You know you need help. But you’re not sure what to do because you’re not the type of person to sue.

First, you should know that you’re not alone in thinking this way. More than 14 percent of total survey respondents – nearly 30 percent of those who had been in an accident that was someone else’s fault – said they were reluctant to sue because they aren’t “that type of person.”

Not because they didn’t have legitimate injuries and damages. Not because they didn’t need that money to keep their families afloat financially. But because of some inexplicable value-judgment about what pursuing compensation for actual, documented economic losses from a company whose sole purpose is to cover accidents financially means about a person’s character.

Does Suing Someone Make Me a Bad Person?

The insurance industry has done a good job selling this lie that we live in a sue-happy world, that pursuing one valid claim makes you litigious, but it doesn’t reflect reality. Don’t buy into it.

In fact, more than 77 percent of survey respondents said that they would only ever sue someone if they were “extremely injured.” Almost 70 percent cited not money or revenge but rather being “so injured that I felt I had no choice” as the only motivation they would have for pursuing a car accident lawsuit.

Who is the type of person who sues? In our experience, it’s someone who works hard and isn’t looking for a handout. Our client family is full of good, honest, “salt of the earth” people, the ones working to provide for their family, contribute to society, give back to their communities and just live their lives.

The other thing they have in common? They don’t give up.

When the accident knocked them down, they could have just stayed down, too afraid to fight back. They might have let the financial fallout from the collision leave their families with nothing. They might have wallowed in their self-pity.

Instead, they made the difficult but crucial choice to persevere. They took the first hard steps on the long road to recovery, inspiring the people around them. They refused to settle for this lesser imitation of the life they had before the accident or to let their precious families bear the burden of someone else’s poor decisions. They were wise enough to know when to ask for help.

Suing someone who has caused you real harm doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you greedy or sue-happy or any of the other derogatory things an industry that benefits from fewer lawsuits wants you to believe.

It makes you a fighter. It makes you someone who puts their family’s wellbeing first and who is determined to really live – not just get through – their life.

What If I Am a Passenger and the At-Fault Driver Is a Friend?

Perhaps the most troubling situation for car accident victims is when the person they must sue is their own friend or family member.

It happens more often than you might think. Passengers usually do know their drivers. And a single moment of distraction or one instance of a lack of caution is all it takes for a driver to cause an accident. It very well may be a friend you’ve known and trusted for years, a cousin, a boyfriend or girlfriend, or another acquaintance who causes the crash that changed your life.

This puts you in a difficult situation. Your injuries are no less serious just because the driver is someone you love. The financial harm you have suffered is the same as it would be if a stranger had caused the collision. Yet you hate the very idea of taking your friend to court or, even worse, collecting money directly from your friend’s bank account, threatening the roof over their heads and their ability to put food on the table for their family.

It’s hard to remove the emotion from these arguments, but here are 5 things you need to remember when it comes to suing a friend:

    1. The money for the claim comes from the insurance company, not from your friend’s personal finances. This payout is part of the coverage your friend already paid for and was purchased specifically for the purpose of financially protecting your friend in the event of an accident. Not making a claim doesn’t put this money back in your friend’s wallet, but it does limit your ability to get better and to provide for your family while you are injured. The only one who benefits when you don’t pursue the money you need is the insurance company.
    2. If you fear that your friend will have to bear other costs, like that of hiring a lawyer or increased premium costs, you can relax. Your friend’s auto insurance company is legally required to provide an attorney at no cost to the policyholder. This lawyer will handle everything for the defendant. As far as premium costs go, your friend’s rates may go up just for causing the accident, regardless of whether or not you pursue a claim – so you might as well get the compensation you need to get better.
    3. Taking your friend to court would indeed be awkward, but remember, the vast majority of car accident cases settle without going to trial.
    4. Placing the blame for the accident on your friend may seem harsh, but it doesn’t mean you’re criticizing their character, their integrity, or even their driving in general. It means that, in this one instance, your friend made a mistake, as every person does on occasion. If you have concerns about how your friend will react to the lawsuit, it may be time for a thoughtful and honest conversation about why you need to pursue a lawsuit and what it means (and doesn’t mean) about your friendship. Often, once a driver understands what happens during the lawsuit process, he or she encourages the suit, because…
    5. A true friend wants the best for you. You surely don’t want your friend to spend a lifetime in pain, unable to do the things they used to do, or to fear that they won’t be able to provide for their family financially because of an injury. Your friend feels the same way about you. The only difference is that, thanks to widespread misinformation about what happens in a car accident lawsuit, your friend is worrying unnecessarily about what your lawsuit means for their family. Knowledge truly has power here. Tell your friend why they don’t have to worry and what makes this lawsuit so important to your recovery. Chances are, a real friend will understand.

There are so many misconceptions out there about suing a friend that nearly half of our survey respondents said they would never consider suing a friend or family member under any circumstances. While that sentiment of loyalty may be admirable, suing a friend for a car accident isn’t going to hurt them. The lawsuit process just doesn’t work that way.

Car Accident FAQs: Your Car Accident Questions Answered

How Long Does It Take to Get a Settlement? How Much of My Time Will It Take?

Getting compensation for your claim is a process.

It takes time, in part, because you don’t want to agree to a settlement amount until you are far enough along in your recovery to know how much your medical treatment will cost you and how much work you are likely to miss. Otherwise, you can’t be sure that you’re getting the full amount of money you’re entitled to.

It can also take time for both sides of the legal matter to review all evidence, for your attorney to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, and – if necessary – to get a court date for a trial.

  • In claims in which the injury resolves relatively quickly – although it probably doesn’t seem “quick” to you, as you go through it – law firms like ours may be able to wrap up your case in a matter of months.
  • In cases in which recovery takes a long time or the facts of the accident are complex, you may be looking at a matter of years.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you personally will devote months or years to pursuing the claim. Rather, you entrust the case to your attorney and, for the most part, avoid the burden of having to keep working to advance it. Your lawyer handles everything from gathering the evidence to negotiating with the insurance company, so you no longer have to worry about the piles of paperwork, frustrating phone calls with the insurance adjuster, and other hassles.

It’s still your claim, of course, and we work for you. Your legal team will contact you regularly to keep you updated on the progression of your case and let you know if you have to participate in a legal proceeding, like a deposition or arbitration. (And, of course, we’ll help you understand what to expect and be there to represent you.) But the amount of time you have to spend worrying about the legal matter is minimal.

When Should I Report an Accident to My Insurance Company or Agent?

Contacting the insurance companies involved is an important part of starting the claims process after an accident. Although you shouldn’t wait long to notify the insurers, we recommend speaking to a lawyer before you call the insurance company.

Why should you call an attorney before you call your insurer?

    1. Once you retain a lawyer, he or she handles all aspects of the claim, including interacting with the insurance company. After you get a lawyer, you can cross contacting the insurance company off of your to-do list. That’s our job now, and one less headache for you.
    2. What you say to an insurance adjuster immediately after the accident can come back to haunt you. If you tell the adjuster “I think I’m fine” or “I’m not hurt too badly” but later find that your injuries are more serious than you thought, the insurer now has a basis for dismissing your claim. Letting your lawyer handle this interaction prevents you from making one of these common mistakes that could hurt your claim.
    3. Insurance companies don’t take claims as seriously when you handle them yourself as they do when an attorney is involved. Hiring a lawyer at the beginning shows the insurance company that you’re serious about the case and that you won’t be taken advantage of. This may help you resolve the case faster, without fighting back and forth with the insurance company on your own until you finally bring in a lawyer.

That’s not to say that, if you already called your insurance company, we won’t be able to help you. Some of our clients call us first – which we prefer – but it’s not at all unusual for our clients to have already contacted the insurance company themselves. In that case, the sooner you hire an attorney – to minimize your future interactions with the insurance company – the better.

Is There Anything I Shouldn’t Do After a Car Accident?

Yes! Long after you leave the accident scene, the actions you take can affect the success of any personal injury claim you may pursue. Here are some of the things you definitely shouldn’t do after a car accident:

  • DON’T cut short your medical care.

If you want to get better, you need to keep up with your medical appointments, rehabilitation work, and doctor’s recommendations. Too many patients undergoing rehabilitation after a car accident stop working toward recovery too early. If you’re having trouble paying for or getting to your appointments, it’s time to bring in an attorney to help.

  • DON’T buy into the insurance adjuster’s persona of being your friend.

The insurance company is not on your side, and the adjuster isn’t your neighbor, but instead an employee whose job depends on successfully denying and reducing claim payouts. Don’t agree to any statements or authorizations you aren’t legally required to provide, and don’t make small talk.

  • DON’T share anything on social media that could be taken out of context.

In today’s world, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media websites are constantly at our fingertips. While it may be tempting to share about this life-changing event on social media, talking about the accident and your injuries may put your claim at risk. So can seemingly innocent posts about your day and pictures that show you appearing to go about your life as normal. Remember, the defendant’s insurance company will take these posts out of context to try to prove that you’re not as badly injured as you claim.

Is a Car Accident Lawsuit Worth It?

NJ Personal Injury Lawyer

When deciding whether to pursue a car accident claim, the question is, what will you get out of it?

In the kind of high-value claim for which you should have a lawyer, you will often see settlements in the range of tens of thousands of dollars. The settlement amounts for your typical personal injury cases range from $3,000 to $75,000, with an average payout of $52,900, according to Lawyers.com.

Yet, when you look at the results of acclaimed personal injury law firms like Console and Associates, you’ll see a long record of car accident claims that resulted in payouts of $300,000, $600,000, even settlements approaching $1 million. This is a compelling reason why you don’t want just an “average” attorney handling your claim. You want a lawyer with decades of experience and a long history of success.

How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?

No Fee Promise - You Don't Pay Unless We Win

We know the cost is top of mind when you’re thinking about hiring a lawyer. In fact, more than half of our survey respondents said they would be reluctant to hire a lawyer because “they charge too much money.”

The thing is, no one should go without the medical care they need, be forced into bankruptcy by an accident, or give up life as they knew it because they can’t afford a lawyer to fight for them. That’s the reason the law firm of Console and Associates makes every client our No Fee Promise.

In a nutshell, this means you can get trusted legal representation without paying so much as a dollar out of pocket. Our New Jersey car accident lawyers handle every aspect of your claim and advance all costs, and you pay nothing right now. And if we don’t end up winning money for you, you won’t owe us anything – ever.

How Much Do Lawyers Take From a Car Accident Settlement?

We can make you this No Fee Promise because we handle every claim on a contingency fee basis. That means we take only a percentage of the money we are able to get for you.

What percentage? That rate is generally determined by state regulations, and it depends on the amount of money we get for you. In New Jersey, attorneys’ fees are usually charged as follows:

  • On the first $750,000 your lawyer gets for you, the attorney’s fee is 33 1/3 percent.
  • On the next $750,000 of a large payout, that rate drops to 30 percent.
  • On the next $750,000 recovered, your attorney will take 25 percent.
  • On the next $750,000 recovered, attorneys’ fee rates drop to 20 percent.

A third of your payout may sound like a lot, but remember, your attorney brings immense value to your claim. There’s a reason why lawyers get more than 3.5 times more money, on average, for their clients than unrepresented claimants get for themselves. This added value goes well beyond making up for the 30 percent fee your attorney will take. In addition, your auto accident attorney will advance the cost of up front expenses, so you never have to pay these out of pocket. This fee goes toward those expenses.

During your free consultation, we will do a case evaluation and answer any questions you may have regarding our process, our fees, and our commitment to caring for your health and well-being.

Will I Even See Any of the Money After the Lawyer Fees and Taxes Are Paid?

Yes! Your lawyer will do everything possible to get you the full amount of money you are entitled to. This amount should be considerably more than the outstanding bills – which we work to negotiate down for you – and the expenses of pursuing your claim.

The attorneys’ fee is limited to a percentage of what you recover, so there’s no way you’ll pay a lawyer more than you’ll actually receive for the claim, and lawsuit settlements for compensation generally are not considered taxable income.

Get a Free Consultation for Your Car Accident Case Today

We know that there are many obstacles standing in the way of getting the legal advice and help you need for a car accident claim, from the perceived cost of a personal injury attorney to the pervasive fear that suing is somehow wrong. But we also know our clients – people who aren’t looking for a lawsuit and only want to get their lives back on track after an accident.

We’ve seen firsthand what a difference it makes to families affected by a car accident – because it really does affect your entire family, physically, emotionally and financially – to have help, support, and a reason to believe that things will get better, even in the most difficult moments.

Your case evaluation is free, no matter what. If you choose to move forward with a claim, there’s no cost until we get you results. There really is no risk.

Give us the chance to help you. All it takes is a phone call.  Call (866) 778-5500 for your free, private consultation.

Client Testimonial

This law firm is very professional, courteous, and they get the job done. I strongly recommend this law firm.

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