Why do I need a lawyer for a Motorcycle accident?

Why do I need a lawyer for a Motorcycle accident?

Motorcyclists are about five more times likely to be injured in an accident than passengers in a car.  According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, older riders appear to sustain more serious injuries than their younger counterparts. A motorcycle injury may affect you for the rest of your life. After an accident, you need a lawyer to protect your rights and see to your interests.

In New Jersey, your motorcycle policy does not carry personal injury protection (PIP) or medical expense benefits. You will have to use your health coverage. It is important to seek an attorney right away to ensure that the medical providers are properly billing the insurance companies.

Additionally, you may be entitled to monetary compensation from the other driver’s insurance. Many times, the other person’s insurance company will make a small settlement offer. We have seen clients come into our office with offers of $100, $500, and up to $1,000. If you take this money, you will not be able to seek further money. We have seen people actually take the money believing that they were simply accepting assistance in paying medical bills and that their claim for personal injury would go further later. This is incorrect. To ensure that you obtain maximum recovery, you should immediately talk to an attorney before you take any money. Accepting money before you are done with treatment is a huge mistake, so is accepting money before you talk to an attorney.

Especially in motorcycle accidents, police reports may lay all or some of the blame on the motorcyclist. Unfortunately, this fact is from an incorrect perception of motorcycle riders. An attorney can assist you in ensuring that the police report accurately reflects the statements of the parties at the scene and the happening of the accident. Furthermore, an attorney can help preserve the evidence that will be necessary for trial, should that necessity arise. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the sooner you will know what your risks are.

It’s important to have the right information for your own case. While a lawyer cannot guarantee an outcome, a good one can tell you what your chances are about your settlement. Then, you can make a determination about what to do. Harrell, Smith & Williams of course offers you a free consultation. Additionally, if we agree to take your case, we do not have a fee unless we obtain money for you. There is simply no risk in consulting with an attorney. The benefits are clear. So call today to schedule an appointment with one of our attorne

Why Do I Need a Lawyer for a Truck Accident?

Why Do I Need a Lawyer for a Truck Accident?

According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Commission, one out of every eight fatalities on the road involves a collision between a personal vehicle and a commercial 18-wheeler. In 86 percent of the cases, the person killed is the driver or passengers of the other vehicle. Collisions with commercial trucks also cause a high percentage of serious injuries every year.

Factors Involved in Truck Accidents

There are many unique factors at play in a collision between a personal vehicle and a semi-truck that puts the driver of a car, motorcycle, or pick-up truck at a serious disadvantage.

Some of these include:

  • The truck driver may be driving long distances on very little sleep;
  • The likelihood of mechanical failure is higher due to the numerous parts required to keep the commercial truck running smoothly;
  • The driver may be carrying so much cargo that it puts the 18-wheeler over its weight restriction;
  • Speeding, use of alcohol or drugs, and failure to yield right of way to smaller vehicles on the part of the driver.

Determining Liability is Challenging

While negligence is definitely a factor in all of these situations, it is often difficult to determine who is actually at fault. For example, the sleep-deprived driver may have chosen to drive knowing the risk it entailed. Perhaps he or she hadn’t slept in more than a day, but decided to drive anyway so as not to get behind schedule. The driver’s immediate supervisor may have also ordered him or her to keep driving despite protests that it was not safe. The same situation often plays out when commercial loads are overweight.

The situation gets even more challenging when it comes to mechanical failure. The fault may lie with the manufacturer, the mechanic, or the trucking company itself for not requiring higher safety standards. It is also important to keep in mind that trucking companies expect personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. They prepare for the inevitable legal action by hiring a team of experienced and aggressive attorneys to defend them, even when they know they are wrong. It should come as no surprise that many people involved in an accident with a truck feel intimidated by the company’s lawyers.


Don’t Go it Alone

If you’re struggling with medical expenses, lost wages, or expenses related to the loss of a loved one, you do not need the stress of dealing with the insurance companies and trucking companies. Not only will a Harrell, Smith & Williams help gather evidence in your case, we will aggressively fight the other party for your right to full and fair compensation in light of your injuries or emotional trauma.

Slip, Trip, & Fall Attorneys in Westfield, NJ

Why Do I Need a Lawyer for a Trip and Fall Accident?

Every business has a responsibility to ensure that their property is safe for the people they invite in. Obviously, we want businesses to make money, but part of the deal in allowing them to do so is that they make sure it is safe for everyone in their store. Every business owner is aware of this requirement. However, sometimes safety takes a back seat to profit. If you trip or slip and fall, a lawyer can help you prove the fault of the business. This is because the right lawyer is fully aware of the myriad of implications (as well as complications) regarding ‘premises liability’ cases, which covers all trip and fall accidents. We have all the tools to prove that the property owner did not meet all of their legal obligations in ensuring your safety while on the premises.

Factors Governing a Trip and Fall Accident

Although most people belive if they fall on the property of another, they are entitled to recovery; this is not the case. You must prove two things to show liability in a trip or slip and fall: 1. That you fell on a dangerous condition; and 2. That the defendant knew or should have known of the condition.

Some examples of what we have seen in our practice are wet floors. It is important that if you slip and fall on a wet floor, you look around to discover what you slipped on. Was it water? Was it product? What was it? Additionally, see where the liquid was coming from. Was it from a spilled bottle? Was it from a freezer? Furthermore, look to see if there was an employee near the area. Was he or she cleaning? Did they put up warnings about the condition?

Whose Fault is It?

Once you establish that there was a dangerous condition and that the business knew or should have known of it, the business then has to act reasonable. It is not necessary that the business foresee every possible scenario that arises, only that they act reasonable under the circumstances. We aggressively seek the defendant’s own policies and procedures to see if they violated them in treating the area. We look at industry standards and at times obtain experts to establish what that industry standard is in order to show that the business failed to live up to it.

The bottom line is the difficulty in trying to take on a business for a trip and fall accident alone. We can help save you both time and money and get you compensated for any injuries, lost work, and other compensatory damages.

Why do I need a lawyer after my car accident?

If you have been in a car accident where you have sustained injuries, medical expenses, and/or property damage, there is more to the process than simply filing a claim with your own insurance company. Filing a claim on your own is not always in your best interest. Here are some reasons you should contact our expert attorneys after an accident.

The other person says you caused the accident

Sometimes, it is clear who caused an accident. When someone hits you from the rear, it is usually pretty obvious that the other person is to blame. However, look closely at the police report. Did the officer correctly record your statement at the scene? Did the officer accurately describe the accident in his report? What about the diagram? Does it reflect what happened?

Many times, even when you believe the other side was clearly at fault, the cause may not be accurately reflected in the police report. An attorney can help you by describing what is required to amend the report. Additionally, an attorney can help you ensure that your insurance company pays for the property damage (if you have collision coverage) and that the insurance company seeks to obtain recovery from the at fault party.

If you are hurt (see below), an attorney can begin to collect all the evidence you need in a future claim for personal injury. It is important that the attorney obtain witness statements while the accident is fresh in their memory. Sometimes, the attorney is able to obtain scene photographs showing skid marks. For these reasons, Harrell, Smith & Williams can help you if you contact right away.

You are injured as a result of the accident

It goes without saying that our bodies were not made for the movement experienced in vehicle collisions. It is true that a major accident with a large amount of property damage can cause little or no injury at all. However, at times, the opposite is true: even with minor property damage, a major injury can occur. In fact, our court system recognizes this and includes the following instruction to the jury when property damage photographs are shown at trial:

A number of photographs of one or more of the vehicles involved in the accident have been introduced into evidence.   These photographs show the damage or depict the condition of the vehicles after the impact.   As judges of the facts, you may attribute such weight to the photographs as you deem appropriate taking into consideration all of the other evidence in this case.

In some accidents resulting in extensive vehicle damage, the occupants may suffer minor injuries or no injuries at all.   In other accidents where there is no or little apparent vehicle damage, the occupants may suffer serious injuries.   In reaching your decision in this matter, you are to give the photographs whatever weight you deem appropriate.   They are but one factor to be considered, along with all other evidence, in determining whether the plaintiff sustained injuries as a result of the accident. N.J. Model Civil Jury Charge 5.34 (emphasis added).

Many times, you may feel immediate pain and go to the emergency room. However, at other times, pain and symptoms develop in the weeks and even months after the accident. The defendant’s insurance company will fight any claim for damages relating to personal injury. Many times, it is necessary to go to trial for injuries relating to a motor vehicle accident. You will need an attorney to advocate for you because you can be sure the defendant’s insurance company will have an effective attorney and a defense medical expert to say you were not hurt. Without an attorney, you will not be able to adequately explain to the jury the full extent of your injuries. Each of the attorneys at Harrell, Smith & Williams has tried a large number of cases and is ready to take on the insurance company to ensure that the jury hears about what you have been through.

You have the limitation on lawsuit, or verbal threshold, on your insurance policy;

In New Jersey, there are two types of insurance policies: the verbal threshold policy and the no verbal threshold (also known as the limitation on lawsuit and the no limitation on lawsuit). If you have the verbal threshold on your auto insurance policy, you must prove your injury falls within one of six categories:

  1. Death;
  2. Dismemberment;
  3. Significant disfigurement, or scarring;
  4. Displaced Fracture;
  5. Loss of a Fetus; or
  6. A permanent injury as shown by objective medical evidence.

Usually, the first five categories are pretty clear. However, an attorney will help you maximize your recovery by ensuring you meet the procedural requirements. You must obtain a certification of your treating physician that says your injury meets one of these requirements. Additionally, during the course of the case, you must obtain a report from your physician indicating that your injury qualifies and is “causally related” to the accident. An insurance company will take you seriously if you have an attorney advocate for you. Additionally, an attorney will ensure that these procedural requirements are met. Your recovery will be much more fair if you proceed with an attorney.

However, when your injury falls within category number 6, the challenges necessitate that you obtain an attorney. There are very specific requirements under this particular category of the verbal threshold and insurance companies fight recovery under this category more than any other. In addition to the necessity of the certification of physician, you will need to ensure that a physician reviews your x-rays, your MRI’s, and other diagnostic testing to show “CREDIBLE OBJECTIVE” medical evidence of permanent injury. You can rest assured that the insurance company’s hired physician will disagree with any opinion your treating physician provides. There are a limited number of defense examiners who write reports on behalf of the defendant. These defense examiners, nearly without fail, find that your injuries are either minor or temporary, or that they are unrelated to the accident. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to cross-examine and expose the bias of these defense examiners and assist you in obtaining reports that support the diagnoses of your treating physicians. At Harrell, Smith & Williams, we have had success in trying many verbal threshold cases. We have been able to demonstrate the bias of the defense examiners and bring out the truth expressed by your treating physicians

You Need to Negotiate for a Higher Settlement Amount

More and more, we are seeing insurance companies call injured people right after an accident and offer $500, $750 or maybe $1,000 to “help you with your bills.”  This is not truly what this money is for. The insurance company is trying to get you to sign a general release. That general release will keep you from filing a claim for any injuries you have. If this happens to you, you should call us immediately so that we can discuss your options. Remember, THE INSURANCE COMPANY IS NOT LOOKING OUT FOR YOU. It is the other person’s insurance company and has one interest alone: limiting both their exposure and the exposure of their insured. You should have someone look out for you. Harrell, Smith & Williams will tell you what you need to know to make an informed decision.