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When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in New Jersey?

Posted by Carmine R. Villani | Jan 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

Many people don't know whether they should hire a personal injury attorney after an accident. They may wonder if their injuries are severe enough to justify hiring a lawyer, or they may feel that their case is straightforward and will be easy to resolve without help. Sometimes an insurance company offers to settle quickly, making it seem like there is no need to hire an attorney.

However, not speaking to a knowledgeable lawyer after an accident is often an expensive mistake. Insurance companies, even your own insurance company, may make an initial settlement offer that is not in your best interests. These companies are often trying to save money, rather than pay a fair amount for your injuries. Additionally, injuries that seem minor right after an accident can grow worse over time or fail to heal.

A New Jersey personal injury attorney can help make sure you don't lose valuable rights to compensation for your injury. There are time limits on when you can file a personal injury claim in New Jersey, so you want to seek legal advice as soon as possible after an injury.

If you aren't sure what to do after being injured, schedule a consultation with an accomplished NJ injury attorney. Meeting with an experienced lawyer can help you decide how to move forward after an accident.

Talk to a Lawyer As Soon As Possible

Calling a lawyer soon after an accident may increase your chances of obtaining the financial compensation that you deserve. Understandably, the aftermath of an accident is overwhelming, and calling a lawyer may not be your top priority. Sometimes it's not clear how much you need a legal advocate until after you've received medical care or spoken with an antagonistic insurance company representative. However, getting legal help as soon as you're able is usually beneficial.

Evidence is often easier to find and preserve soon after an incident. Witnesses move away or forget what happened, and physical evidence might be lost or damaged. Even if it's not clear whether a lawsuit is necessary, a lawyer can work to preserve evidence in case it's needed at a later time. For example, if you are injured while shopping due to a store's negligence, a lawyer can work to preserve surveillance videos or other evidence that may help you later. 

New Jersey also requires injured persons to file claims or lawsuits within a certain amount of time after an accident. These laws are sometimes called the “statute of limitations,” and time limits depend on the type of accident and injury. New Jersey Legislative Statutes §2A:14-2 requires that most personal injury lawsuits must be filed no more than two years after the date of the accident. However, in cases of work-related injuries or where a government entity may be at fault, certain legal notices must be completed much sooner. If you miss these deadlines, you may not be able to receive any compensation for your injury. Make sure you don't miss a critical deadline by contacting qualified legal counsel as soon as possible.

Hire a NJ Injury Attorney Before Making Costly Mistakes

A NJ injury lawyer can also help you avoid mistakes that could prevent you from receiving the maximum compensation for your injuries. Your actions after an accident may impact a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Common mistakes after a personal injury include:

  • Failing to provide prompt notice to an employer for a work-related injury
  • Not getting appropriate medical care
  • Apologizing or telling people an accident may have been your fault
  • Inadequately documenting the injury and related expenses
  • Making social media posts that could hurt a legal case
  • Failing to provide required forms to an insurance company

Insurance companies or opposing parties will look for ways to avoid paying for your injury, so avoiding major mistakes is essential. You'll want to get individualized advice because the action you need to take after an accident depends on the particular facts of your case.

Call a Lawyer Before Accepting a Settlement Offer

Insurance companies will sometimes offer settlement money shortly after an accident. These offers can feel like an easy way to get money quickly during a very stressful time. However, the aim of these offers is usually to save the insurance company money — not to serve your best interests.

In almost all cases, the interests of an insurance carrier making a settlement offer are in direct opposition to your rights and needs. The more money you get for an injury, the more money the insurance company loses. This fact remains true even when it is your own insurance carrier paying the settlement, as is the case with many car accident injuries.

If you've suffered severe injuries, you may feel like you need money right away, and accepting a settlement can feel like an immediate solution. However, you should remember that taking a settlement offer means you won't be able to ask for additional funds or file a lawsuit based on your injury at a later time. You may not know the full extent of your injuries yet, and settling your matter without speaking to a qualified lawyer could leave you without compensation for future medical expenses.

Unfortunately, insurance companies may try to trick or pressure you into accepting their first settlement offer. Hiring a NJ personal injury lawyer will ensure that someone is fighting for your rights and working to obtain the compensation you deserve. Retaining legal counsel doesn't always mean that your case will go to trial, but an experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to get a much larger settlement from the insurance company.

What If the Case Seems Straightforward or Minor?

People sometimes feel that their case is so straightforward that a lawyer will offer no benefit. For example, if you suffer a severe injury as a result of someone else's obvious fault, you may feel that there is no need for a lawyer.

However, personal injury cases are serious legal matters involving complex procedures. Demonstrating that another person was negligent or at fault for your injury isn't always easy, and neither is winning the money you need to recover from your injuries. Failing to follow complex claims processes, meet deadlines, or provide the right information can result in reduced or zero compensation. If you've suffered a painful or debilitating injury, don't risk losing a warranted financial award.

Additionally, don't be fooled into thinking a more minor injury means you don't need legal help. A back injury, concussion, or broken bone may seem tolerable now, but these injuries could leave you with pain or other difficulties in the future. Discussing your case with an NJ injury attorney will help you understand your options and plan for the future.

Contact Villani & DeLuca for Help With Your Personal Injury Case

The attorneys at Villani & DeLuca have many years of experience handling New Jersey personal injury cases. They know how to handle a variety of injury cases, including car accidents, dog bites, workplace injuries, and product liability cases.

You might be legally entitled to significant compensation if you were injured in New Jersey. Don't give up your rights without speaking to a qualified personal injury attorney first. The law firm of Villani & DeLuca handles personal injury cases on a contingency basis, so you don't pay attorney fees unless they win a settlement for you. Lawyers are ready to offer honest legal advice and advocate for you. Contact Villani & DeLuca to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.

About the Author

Carmine R. Villani

Founding partner, Carmine Villani, Esq. is a former municipal prosecutor with over three decades of experience in Criminal and DWI Defense.


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