Frequently Asked Questions
- If I get into a car accident, who pays my bills?
- New Jersey is a no-fault state. If you are the registered, insured owner of a motor vehicle or a resident relative of someone who is, their auto insurance will pay your bills. If neither you nor anyone in your household owns a vehicle, your bills can be processed through the State of New Jersey.
- Do you offer to represent individuals on a contingency basis (i.e. no fee if you don’t receive compensation)?
- Yes, we do offer a contingency basis for all accident claims.
- What is a certified civil trial attorney and how is that different from other attorneys?
Joseph LaBarbiera and Luis Martinez are certified civil trial attorneys. The Supreme Court of New Jersey has directed the Board on Attorney Certification to administer the attorney certification program in an effort both to protect consumers from false advertising and to raise the level of competence of attorneys in this State. This program is designed to help you make an informed decision when seeking and selecting a lawyer.
The Board on Attorney Certification was established by the Supreme Court of New Jersey in 1980 for the purpose of helping consumers find attorneys who have a recognized level of competence in particular fields of law. Attorneys may be designated by the Supreme Court as "certified attorneys" if they: are able to demonstrate sufficient levels of experience, education, knowledge and skill in a specific area of law or practice; have passed a rigorous examination; and have been recognized by their peers as having sufficient skills and reputation in the designated specialty.
- An attorney must meet the following requirements to become certified:
- has been a member in good standing of the New Jersey Bar for at least five years;
- has taken a specific number of continuing legal education courses in the three years prior to filing an application;
- demonstrates substantial involvement in preparation of litigated matters;
- demonstrates an unblemished reputation by submitting a list of attorneys and judges who will attest to the applicant's character and ability; and
- passes a written examination covering various aspects of practice in the designated specialty.
- How long do I have to bring my claim?
- This answer can depend on the type of claim you are looking to bring. Generally speaking, a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of accident. However, you shouldn’t hesitate in contacting a lawyer immediately so that your rights are protected. In addition, when dealing with public entities such as the State, County, and municipalities, strict, time-sensitive notice requirements must be followed before a lawsuit can be filed. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to retain an attorney to protect your rights.
- I slipped and fell on someone else’s property. What should I do?
- You should report the accident immediately to the police so that a proper report can be made. Further, you should take pictures of whatever caused you to fall (cracked sidewalk, snow, ice, etc.) as the condition may be fixed following your accident.
- What is this “limited tort option” that saves me money on my car insurance?
- The limited tort option or “threshold” option saves you a small amount of money annually, but severely restricts your ability to sue for your injuries. Always select “no threshold” to ensure your rights are protected.
- My auto insurer told me I only need $15,000 in medical coverage. Is this true?
- As with anything, you get what you pay for. No one can foresee the severity of the injuries you may receive as the result of someone’s negligence. In cases of serious or catastrophic injury, the $15,000 in coverage will be gone in the blink of an eye. Always select the $250,000 in coverage that is made available to you.
- I already paid for my auto policy. Can I change my coverage or switch companies?
- You can change coverage or switch companies at any time. Your auto insurer will refund you the unused portion of your premium.
- I got hurt while at work. Am I restricted by Workers’ Compensation?
- That will depend on the facts of the case. Often, injuries are not caused by co-workers, but rather by independent contractors or outside entities. In these cases, you can pursue both a third-party lawsuit and a Workers’ Compensation claim.
- An insurance company called me and wants to talk about my injuries. They said they just want to see how I’m feeling and how the accident happened. Should I speak to them?
- Do not speak to anyone until you have retained legal counsel. The insurance companies have their own interests in mind when they contact you.
- My car isn’t worth that much. Can I save money by removing my comprehensive and collision coverage?
- While you may be a safe, responsible driver, many are not. If you are struck by an uninsured motorist or a hit-and-run driver, you may be faced with the prospect of purchasing a new vehicle without the benefit of any insurance proceeds.
- What is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and why is it important?
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is important because you are essentially protecting yourself from individuals with little or no insurance coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage will help you get compensation for your injuries if you are struck by an uninsured motorist or a hit-and-run driver. Underinsured motorist coverage will provide you protection from individuals who carry a small amount of auto insurance coverage.
- What is a “basic” automobile policy?
- A basic auto insurance policy offers drivers little to no coverage. You may save money now, but you will feel the effects if you are ever involved in an auto accident. Such policies expose you to judgments against your assets, unpaid medical bills, and no protection if you are struck by a hit-and-run or uninsured driver.
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