Personal Injury/Accident

In my thirty five (35) years of representing injured persons in New Jersey, I am usually asked the same few questions at the first conference. My clients commonly ask these questions notwithstanding the type of accident such as automobile, motorcycle, slip and fall, product liability, worker's compensation or other types of cases.

How much is my case worth?

I answer this question by advising my clients that there are basically two (2) factors that go into evaluating a personal injury case. First, someone else has to be at fault. This is step number 1. Next, the client must have suffered an injury. This is the second step. If my client negligently drove through a red light and caused the accident, my client does not get past step number 1. If however, the other driver drove through the red light and caused the accident by colliding with my client, then my client is not at fault and gets by step number 1. We can then value the case based upon the nature and extent, and permanency, of my clients' injuries. This is step number 2. Certainly, sprains and strains to the neck and back, without any positive diagnostic test results, such as a herniated disc, will not have the value of more serious injuries, such as fractured bones, or surgery. Many factors go into the determination of value, such as age, permanent nature of the injury, lost income, support of any dependents, psychological injuries, etc. At a certain point in the case, when all of the injuries have been determined, and all of the other damages ascertained, I can evaluate the dollar amount of the damages.

How long will my case take?

This is a very common question. At a minimum, the liability investigation has to be completed as to who caused the accident. Also, the injuries must be determined which usually means that we must wait for the conclusion of treatment so that I may review final medical reports. Sometimes injuries resolve quickly, within a matter of months, and the investigation as to who is at fault can also be concluded within a few months. At this point, the case may be ready to settle. If however, the issue of who is at fault is complex, such as involving multiple responsible parties, the time period can be somewhat longer. With complex injuries, including surgery and convalescence, the time period to determine the full nature and extent and permanency of the injuries may exceed a year or more.

Does it cost anything to hire my Law Firm?

Generally speaking, with personal injury cases, there is no fee unless there is a monetary recovery. Additionally, and importantly, there is never a fee for a consultation. You may come to our office for a free consultation to determine whether or not you have a case. In New Jersey, the fee is basically one third (1/3) of the recovery. In most cases, our Law Firm advances all costs such as investigation costs, obtaining hospital and medical records, etc., which are reimbursed from any recovery. Most times, if there is no monetary recovery, our clients do not pay a fee or costs. There may be certain circumstances where a client may be responsible for costs, however my Law Firm first advises the client before the client is asked to pay costs.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit in New Jersey?

The Statute of Limitations for filing a lawsuit for pain and suffering for accident cases in New Jersey is two (2) years from the date of the accident. After this two (2) year time period, in most cases, the injured person is forever barred from proceeding with a claim.

How do I get my medical bills paid?

In New Jersey, concerning automobile accident cases, bills are paid pursuant to Personal Injury Protection Benefits which are benefits from the injured person's automobile insurance policy. These payments are subject to deductibles and co-payments. In other types of cases, a person's health care carrier may provide coverage, or in a worker's compensation matter, there will be coverage through the employer's workers' compensation insurance, and possibly there may be medical payment provisions in the policy provided by the person or entity at fault. For persons without insurance, there may be Charity Care coverage, or possibly coverage through the Violent Crimes Compensation Board for innocent persons injured as the result of a violent crime. This consideration of payment of billing is also a very important reason to contact a lawyer, in addition to monetary compensation for pain and suffering. If you or someone you know needs answers to questions regarding Personal Injury/Accident claims, contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Firm of Tepper, Scherling & Berliner to discuss your legal rights.