Egg Harbor Township Car Accident Lawyers
With a growing population of over 40,000 citizens, Egg Harbor Township is situated near the New Jersey coast just west of favored locales such as Atlantic City, Ocean City, Margate City, and Ventnor City. The township stands as one of the oldest in New Jersey, dating back as far as 1693. With history comes change and increased commerce in the area, and massive population growth in the 1970s made Egg Harbor Township the largest city in Atlantic County.
The growth of Egg Harbor Township also leads to more car accidents and traffic issues for residents and visitors. This discussion focuses on how this city handles traffic and what drivers must do to avoid accidents, injuries, and liability.
Speaking with an Egg Harbor Township car accident lawyer is the first step of many drivers in dealing with accidents, injuries, and other issues that may arise. Drivers must be prepared for every eventuality while also understanding how to drive as safely as possible. This particular area of New Jersey experiences more traffic than people might realize and exercising caution at every turn is in everyone’s best interests.
How Often Do Car Accidents Occur in Egg Harbor Township?
Egg Harbor Township experienced six fatal car accidents in 2020, mostly occurring on county roads. In total, Atlantic County experienced 39 crashes and 41 fatalities, including pedestrians, drivers, and passengers. Because Egg Harbor Township is the largest city in the county, much of the traffic that causes these accidents tends to pass through the city.
Nine pedestrian fatalities speak to the dangers of speeding through rural roads. Drivers may believe rural roads are often empty, and they may not look out for pedestrians. This can be especially distressing in a vacation area where people walk to favored attractions such as the golf courses in town, the airport where travelers walk to their vehicles or the terminal, and city parks where families congregate every day. Long thoroughfares in otherwise quiet neighborhoods invite speeders, and it is important that drivers slow down as much as possible to improve visibility and reaction times.
Why is Traffic Increasing in Egg Harbor Township?
Traffic in Egg Harbor Township increases every year because of a combination of several factors. The region continues to grow as the population of the city approaches 50,000. Other factors bringing traffic to the area include the following:
Schools. Seven schools and over 7000 students increase traffic in town as school buses, walkers, carpools, and bicyclists make their way across the city. Although school traffic decreases in the summer, it is important to note that these buildings often provide summer courses and never truly sit empty. Drivers need to slow down in school zones and be aware of walkers along routine routes through the city. It is important to look out for crossing guards standing in the road and prepare to stop for local police officers who may guide traffic as school buses enter or exit each school.
Shore traffic. Vacationers visiting the Jersey Shore through the spring, summer, and early fall pack the roads in and around Egg Harbor Township. Drivers must understand that traffic is persistent and try to stay off the roads if possible.
Highways. Highways in the area include the Atlantic City Expressway, the Garden State Parkway, U.S. Route 9, and several county roads. Because drivers can easily travel up and down these roads, speeders may get off the highway and enter surface streets. The city can fill up in a matter of moments, and highway congestion can lead to road rage incidents, aggressive driving, or rear-end accidents.
The airport. Atlantic City International Airport sits in the northeast corner of the city, and it adds to traffic throughout town. The airport is difficult to exit, and roads in that area are not wide enough for massive traffic flow. Drivers may choose to avoid the airport on Mondays, Fridays, the weekend, and throughout the busy Shore season.
Surrounding towns. Several towns, including Atlantic City, Absecon, Margate City, Somers Point, Pleasantville, Linwood, Longport, Brigantine, Ventnor City, and Northfield, developed from land once belonging to Egg Harbor Township. These towns have their own character, industry, and population dynamics. Each town tends to grow every decade, and more traffic makes its way through the southeast corner of Atlantic County as a result.
Why is Distracted Driving in Egg Harbor Township a Problem?
Distracted driving in Egg Harbor Township increases as a result of an array of factors. In 2018, the New Jersey State Police reported 146 distracted driving crashes, and that was the eighth year in a row that distractions caused the most accidents. In the area around Egg Harbor Township, the following factors most often cause distracted driving accidents:
Confused vacationers. Although residents may check their phones while driving, confused vacationers often experience distraction because they do not know the roads, where they are going, or have a schedule to keep. Driving in an unfamiliar place can be disorienting, and people trying to find the Shore or leave the area could easily enter Egg Harbor Township, get even more lost, and cause an accident.
Teen drivers. Since the passage of the graduated driver’s license law in 2000, teenagers spend more time with adults and practicing before receiving a full driver’s license. New Jersey’s Kyleigh’s Law mandates teen drivers to place stickers on their vehicles showing they are novices, but this statute does not prevent all accidents. There were 53 teen driving-related deaths in 2018 along with eight passengers killed in accidents while riding with teen drivers.
Parents must work diligently to help their teens understand that distracted driving is a serious issue. Driver’s education courses, regular driving with an adult, and a slow path to a driver’s license help reduce accidents. Parents should also implore their children to put down their phones while driving because a young driver may be just as distracted by a Bluetooth system as they would be by holding their phone.
Using GPS directions. Although GPS technology helps drivers get to their intended destinations more effectively, it can be distracting to use these systems. Drivers may spend all their time holding the phone or staring at the screen, so they know where they are going. It is important that drivers set their phones on a hook or simply allow the app to read directions aloud without checking the map.
Distracted driving causes T-bone accidents in intersections as drivers miss stop signs, red lights, or do not see oncoming traffic as they turn. A distracted driver can easily stray over the centerline and cause a head-on accident or force another driver off the road. Distracted drivers also speed excessively because they are not watching the speedometer, fail to signal, and/or cut across traffic at the last second, sideswiping other vehicles.
Is Drinking and Driving in Egg Harbor Township a Serious Issue?
Drunk/impaired driving is a serious issue across the United States. A 2018 report from the New Jersey State Police listed 143 accidents caused by driver intoxication, averaging a driving under the influence (DUI) accident every three days. Because of this issue, New Jersey participates in the yearly Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enhanced enforcement operation. During a 16-day period in August and September 2019, there were 1280 driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests. Because Egg Harbor Township sits on the edge of the Jersey Shore, near Ocean City and Atlantic City, impaired drivers can easily pass through the city at any time.
Although partiers should use designated drivers or ridesharing services, it helps to understand the types of accidents caused by drunk or drugged drivers. Drugged driving is just as bad, if not worse, than drunk driving, and drivers arrested for DWI face stiff penalties and fines. Anything from illicit drugs to prescription medications can cause an impaired state that makes driving difficult and/or dangerous. Intoxication often causes drivers to engage in the following behaviors:
- Stop and start erratically
- Weave in and out of traffic
- Lack the reflexes needed for an emergency stop
Rear-end and multi-vehicle accidents can easily occur in these situations. Motorists should move away from erratic drivers and pull over to report them before a tragic accident occurs.
Who Could Be Responsible for My Car Accident?
Assessing blame in a car accident can be a difficult enterprise, but it is the only way a victim can receive compensation. Victims should not threaten lawsuits or reveal any information at the scene, never reveal too much to the insurance company, and try to take pictures of the accident scene whenever possible. Moreover, apologizing for the crash or being almost too accommodating at the accident scene can make victims look guilty.
Drivers should speak with a lawyer about the facts of the case and allow them to determine who is at fault for the accident. Several people or entities could become the subject of a lawsuit, depending on what they did or how they managed their vehicles. Victims should consider the actions of these parties and allow the lawyer to file a claim against any responsible parties, no matter how many there may be.
Passenger car drivers. Passenger car drivers often cause problems for others by engaging in risky behavior. Additionally, these drivers can be reckless or engage in road rage incidents that cause accidents, physical altercations, and even fatalities. There are cases in which the at-fault driver is someone other than the driver who struck the victim. In multi-vehicle accidents such as this, lawyers must review quite a lot of information before determining if another driver is to blame.
In other cases, passenger car drivers are passive in their actions, and they may not realize they have caused accidents. For example, someone making a quick lane change with little to no visibility may not notice that they have pushed someone else off the road. An eyewitness, however, might identify the car or driver and help bring a claim against them.
Large truck drivers. Although large truck drivers carry massive loads throughout the region, they do not always have complete control of their vehicles. Large trucks lose braking, skid, tip over, and jackknife easily as compared with smaller vehicles.
Drivers of large trucks must abide by federal regulations regarding how long they can drive before resting, when to weigh the vehicle, and daily inspections. Drivers must also secure their cargo and submit to fitness testing. Those ignoring these rules can cause accidents at any time and clearly show a reckless disregard for others.
Vehicle owners. Businesses that own fleets of trucks or cars are responsible for maintaining their fleets, hiring skilled drivers, and training those drivers. Therefore, a business that owns a fleet of large trucks is responsible when the truck fails, is not serviced, or the driver is forced to violate federal truck safety regulations.
Even a company that owns a small fleet of cars takes responsibility for those cars when they leave the facility. Although the driver may cause an accident because of their aggressive behavior, the owner of the vehicle may be subject to a lawsuit because the driver was not vetted, trained, or supervised properly.
Construction companies. Construction companies enter the roadway every year to pave, repair, and manage road surfaces. Construction firms build bridges, work on new entry ramps, and erect structures near the road. When a construction company does not do its due diligence, it can cause accidents.
Construction crews on the road must carefully mark the construction zone, post new speed limit signs, and avoid collisions between drivers and construction vehicles. The construction crew must stay out of the roadway, keep debris out of the road, and provide proper drainage. Standing water on the road can easily cause accidents, and even low power lines could strike tall vehicles.
Government agencies. Government agencies are responsible for railroad crossings, traffic lights, and most road signs. Local or state government offices may also direct construction companies to complete work, and the agency responsible for the negligence of a construction company will also be subject to a lawsuit. At times, the jurisdictions vary depending on the way cities and counties are organized.
For example, someone who is injured in the center of Egg Harbor Township may find that the township is to blame for not posting appropriate road signs or servicing traffic lights. A driver hurt on the outskirts of Egg Harbor Township, however, may discover that Atlantic County is responsible for the roads, signs, or lights. On major highways, the State of New Jersey, New Jersey Turnpike Authority, or South Jersey Transportation Authority are responsible for adverse conditions and missing or inaccurate road signage.
Manufacturers. Vehicle manufacturers have a duty of care to their customers, and any defects or malfunctions found in these vehicles are the responsibility of the manufacturer. Manufacturers must report defects and submit to recalls as they arise. If the manufacturer covers up the recall or otherwise ignores issues with its vehicles, its liability increases that much more.
Vehicle manufacturers may be fooled when purchasing parts to assemble their cars or trucks. Although the manufacturer used faulty parts, it may not know until an accident occurs. The manufacturer of the faulty part, then, is liable for any accidents or injuries. Victims should allow a lawyer to review the circumstances of the case and determine which company must be held to account.
Service companies or technicians. Service companies and technicians perform everything from routine maintenance to complex repairs each day. These services and repairs often extend the life of the vehicle, but inappropriate or unsatisfactory service can cause accidents. Drivers and owners should retain their service records so that they can prove a faulty service caused their accident.
In any of these cases, the appropriate information should be forwarded to the lawyer. At the same time, victims should not try to investigate alone, as it can be difficult to uncover any needed information. Any information that the client cannot provide becomes the responsibility of their lawyer.
What are My Options for Compensation?
Compensation options for car accident victims vary depending on the severity of their injuries or suffering. Asking a lawyer to calculate compensation helps the victim focus on recovering instead of proving that they are hurt and accumulating debt every single day. Although insurance claims may cover damage to the vehicle or begin to pay for medical expenses, there is no guarantee the insurance company will pay.
A lawyer working with the victim will review the insurance policy and ensure claims are paid appropriately. Any bad-faith effort made by the insurance company is met with swift legal action. The at-fault driver or entity in the accident may also receive notice of a lawsuit seeking further compensation. Other compensation options include the following:
Recovery from injuries. Medical expenses can carry on for many years into the future. Someone who is badly injured in an accident simply cannot afford to stop their medical care, especially when they must take medications, use medical equipment, or employ a long-term medical care team or facility.
Recovery costs might also include therapy with a psychologist or licensed counselor to help the victim with anxiety or depression in the wake of the accident. Reconstructive surgery, future medical conditions, or diseases may arise, and victims must have enough money on hand to successfully manage all eventualities.
Non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, loss of consortium, and other compensation. These damages pay for the trauma the victim suffered after the accident. Life is much more difficult when victims must recover from physical and mental ailments, and they may not have the opportunity to live a full life, work, or even maintain relationships.
A lawyer uses their experience and legal precedent to determine the non-economic damages they can recover. As the victim’s suffering increases, so too does their ability to recover compensation for their emotional turmoil.
Lost income. Victims lose income the day of the accident because they might not make it to work or miss work the very next day. These losses accumulate over time if the victim does not have the option for paid sick leave or personal leave. Additionally, victims running their own businesses or relying on consistent production to make money simply cannot make up for time missed.
Lost income calculates the amount the victim should have made, and that amount becomes part of the lawsuit. In the worst cases, victims must sue for lost income potential because they cannot continue working and proceeding in their career as they once did. Someone who once thought they could be promoted several times and potentially see a 100 percent increase in their income over the next 15 to 20 years simply does not have that ability if their injuries left them unable to continue in that career path.
Punitive damages. Punitive damages in the state of New Jersey are reserved for the most egregious acts of malice or premeditated harm. The case must go to trial if the victim wishes to recover these damages, and their lawyer must clearly explain how acts of malice or vicious misconduct brought about the victim’s injuries. Finally, punitive damages cannot exceed $350,000 or five times what the victim wins in court.
Rather than dreaming of a massive settlement or judgment, victims should review these compensation options with a lawyer to see a realistic view of what is possible. Victims cannot figure these damages on their own.
Do Car Accident Victims Need a Lawyer?
A lawyer can review the accident and understand the truth behind how it occurred, freeing clients to focus on their recovery. Although victims attempt to recover and deal with the immediate aftermath of an accident, they may receive letters or phone calls from insurance companies or responsible drivers and their representatives. Retaining a lawyer allows the family to forward these calls to a legal professional and avoid any unscheduled meetings or requests to sign documents.
Lawyers take charge of the case and file a lawsuit based on the information gathered. The lawsuit often leads to a settlement negotiation that may end the case quickly so that both parties can move on. Victims have the right to accept or deny any settlement offers they receive or go to trial. A lawyer knows how to argue the case in court, and they are prepared to appeal when necessary. In every case, a lawyer guides the victim through the legal process to avoid delays. Lawyers understand that they have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in New Jersey, and they do not want their clients to lose their opportunity to file suit.
If someone died in the accident, a lawyer would seek compensation for burial and probate costs. The family should ask the lawyer who is eligible to file the lawsuit and who it will benefit. For the most part, wrongful death lawsuits benefit spouses, children, and other dependents. If no dependents exist, New Jersey intestacy laws dictate how the award should be distributed.
Egg Harbor Township Car Accident Lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm Help Recover Compensation for All Victims
The Egg Harbor Township car accident lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm help clients involved in all types of car accidents in the area. We assist victims seeking maximum compensation and allow them to focus on recovery. Call us today at 609-926-3300 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, we assist car accident victims throughout South Jersey, including Atlantic City, Linwood, Galloway Township, Cape May, Vineland, Millville, Bridgeton, Ocean City, and Woodbury.