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Who is Responsible for Property Damage After a Car Accident?

Crash involving two vehicles

When a car accident happens, the first concern is if everyone is safe. Even if no one was hurt, a car owner may discover significant property damage. It may not be immediately apparent how they should handle making a claim for the damage. Property damage in legal terms constitutes harm to physical property. Separate from personal injury, which addresses bodily harm suffered by people, property damage involves the vehicle or items that were inside the car.

Property damage usually consists of paying for repairs for the damaged items or their replacement value. In some cases, the claim may include compensation for loss of use or sentimental value. Loss of use pertains to the costs associated with the claimant not having the ability to make use of the item and the costs associated with having to pay for a substitute, such as a rental car. A claim may assert that the damaged property held sentimental value that should be considered in the payment of damages.

The at-fault driver is responsible for any resulting property damage. This is complicated by the involvement of auto insurance since insurance companies represent the drivers. If the insurance denies the claim or insufficiently covers the damage, the driver may be sued personally to make up the difference.

Are There Deadlines for Filing for Property Damage?

The major concern when it comes to filing a property damage claim has to do with deadlines. Most insurance companies have time restraints for claims that begin from the date of the accident. It is imperative to file any claim before this term expires.

If a lawsuit is sought, there are strict deadlines as well. These time limits vary by state. Pennsylvania has a deadline of two years from the accident date. New Jersey allows personal injury lawsuits to be filed up to six years afterward.

What Steps Should be Taken to Support a Property Damage Claim?

At the accident scene, the police should be called. Information should be collected about the at-fault driver, the make, model, and license number of the car involved, and all relevant insurance information. Notes should be made on the damage caused by the accident as well as any contributing factors, such as weather and road conditions. Photographs and witness statements can help.

Whether the claimant is another driver with car damage or the owner of damaged property, such as a building or tree, it is best to report the incident to insurance companies on both sides. The policy of the at-fault party should provide coverage, but the claimant’s insurance may require that the accident be reported, regardless of fault.

When a claimant involves their own insurance, the claim may process more quickly, and the insurance companies can fight about who pays. However, this may include paying a deductible that may or may not be refunded after the insurance companies settle.

Monmouth County Car Accident Lawyers at the Falcon Law Firm, LLC Advise Clients About Property Damage Claims

If you incurred property damage in a car accident, you are entitled to collect appropriate compensation. Our Monmouth County car accident lawyers at the Falcon Law Firm, LLC provide legal guidance to car crash victims. Contact us online or call us at 732-660-1200 for a free consultation. Located in Oakhurst, Parlin, and Aberdeen, New Jersey, and Doylestown, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Asbury Park, Belmar, Deal, Ocean Township, Point Pleasant, Long Branch, West Long Branch, Sayreville, Middlesex County, and Monmouth County, New Jersey, as well as Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Why is Aggressive Driving so Dangerous?

Black car speeding on a road

Aggressive driving is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a combination of moving traffic offenses committed by a driver that endangers other people or property. Aggressive driving includes:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Running red lights
  • Failure to use turn signals and yield
  • Rapid lane changes

Often motivated by anger, aggressive driving is highly dangerous and can result in serious car accidents.

What are Common Causes of Aggressive Driving?

Nowadays, there is significant traffic congestion and longer commute times. The NHTSA cites traffic congestion as one major cause of aggressive driving. Drivers feel compelled to speed, change lanes more often to gain an advantage, and drive aggressively in order to arrive at their destinations on time. Anger and resentment are directed at other drivers.

Other causes of aggressing driving include personality traits and outside factors. Competitive personalities and antisocial personalities are prone to aggressive driving. The relative anonymity of being in a vehicle may also contribute to drivers acting more aggressively than they would in a situation where they could be easily identified. Outside factors that can trigger aggressive driving include noise, heat, traffic, street design, and mobile phones.

How can I Protect Myself from an Aggressive Driver?

Extreme cases of aggressive driving may even escalate to road rage, which is where a driver commits a violent criminal act with the intent to cause physical harm. There are very easy ways to avoid becoming the victim of an aggressive driving accident. The first step is to avoid behaviors that aggravate other drivers, such as the following:

  • Driving Slowly in the Left Lane: Be courteous and reserve the left lane for passing only.
  • Gesturing: Obscene gestures or even shaking one’s head can all provoke anger in another driver.
  • Cutting off Another Driver: Leave plenty of room when merging or changing lanes.
  • Tailgating: Following another car too closely can be seen as a provocation. Leave enough space between one’s car and the car in front so that there is room to react in an emergency.

Sometimes, an aggressive driver appears on the road without provocation. In this case, do not engage with them or react to their behavior. Instead, give them plenty of room, avoid making eye contact, and if it is possible, safely pull over to a location where there are other people around and call the police for help.

If one is injured in an aggressive driving accident, it is advantageous to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer will help with a personal injury claim or other possible suits.

Doylestown Car Accident Lawyers at the Falcon Law Firm, LLC Defend Injured Victims of Aggressive Driving Accidents

If you have a severe car accident injury because of an aggressive driver, one of our Doylestown car accident lawyers at the Falcon Law Firm, LLC can help you. Our experienced legal team provides personalized representation to every one of our clients. Call us at 732-660-1200 or complete our online form for a free consultation today. Located in Oakhurst, Parlin, and Aberdeen, New Jersey, and Doylestown, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Asbury Park, Belmar, Deal, Ocean Township, Point Pleasant, Long Branch, West Long Branch, Sayreville, Middlesex County, and Monmouth County, New Jersey, as well as Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

What is the Serious Injury Threshold in New Jersey?

Doctor analzying a brain scan

In a no-fault state, like New Jersey, a person who gets hurt in a car accident is required to file claim with their own insurance company for benefits. Often, the totality of these losses can be addressed within the limits of one’s own policy. However when injuries are serious, they may exceed the maximum allowance in the claimant’s insurance policy. When this happens, the law allows the injured party to file a lawsuit to recoup the extraneous financial damages suffered in the accident by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

What is a No-Fault State?

A no-fault state requires that an injured driver must seek payment from their own auto insurance to cover an injury, no matter who is at fault in the accident. A claimant can receive insurance payments to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses and lost income without having to endure a long process to prove fault. The downside of the no-fault law is that a claimant is unable to seek non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, unless their injuries are extraordinarily serious.

The serious injury threshold is intended to provide an avenue for a seriously injured person to be able to collect compensation when the no-fault insurance coverage falls short of their needs.

When is an Injury Severe?

In New Jersey, a lawsuit against an at-fault driver is permitted in cases that involve one of the following serious injuries:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Loss of Fetus
  • Disfigurement or scarring
  • Displaced fractures
  • Permanent injury

The extent and specifics of an injury may determine if it meets the criteria for a significant or permanent injury. Consulting a lawyer about a severe personal injury is advised.

What Should I Do if I Do Not Have a Severe Injury?

If the injury does not meet the serious injury threshold, the claimant cannot sue for pain and suffering. Rather, their damages will be limited to economic losses, such as doctor bills or lost pay that resulted from the accident. The maximum benefit amount that can be collected may be limited by the state in which the insured lives in or by the conditions within the policy itself.

If a victim thinks their injury extends beyond the serious injury threshold, a lawyer can provide guidance and legal support to assist them in obtaining fair compensation for the damages. For this reason, it is important that a victim contacts a lawyer right away after a serious car accident.

Oakhurst Car Accident Lawyers at the Falcon Law Firm, LLC Help Clients Obtain Fair Compensation for Serious Injuries

If you have a serious injury because of a collision, contact one of our dedicated Oakhurst car accident lawyers at the Falcon Law Firm, LLC. Our legal team will help you understand your rights and your future medical and financial needs as you deal with your serious injury. Contact us online or call us at 732-660-1200 for a free consultation today. Located in Oakhurst, Parlin, and Aberdeen, New Jersey, and Doylestown, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Asbury Park, Belmar, Deal, Ocean Township, Point Pleasant, Long Branch, West Long Branch, Sayreville, Middlesex County, and Monmouth County, New Jersey, as well as Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

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