Law Office Of Paul DePetris
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New Jersey car accident damage case facts

INTRODUCTION
Read below to learn more about this topic. Or, to receive a no cost phone consultation, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send him an email. Warning – this article does not necessarily include every New Jersey court rule, code or law that may apply to your New Jersey case! The Law Office of Paul DePetris does not guarantee that the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms on this website are the latest versions, that they lack typographical errors or that they have not changed, repealed or superseded by other laws. Before taking any action, read all applicable federal and state source law and case law and consult with an attorney. Court addresses, hours of operation and directions may change so check with the court in advance of mailing documents to court or going there! Some of the webpages on this site don’t apply to all types of New Jersey cases, since there are different rules for different case types!

NEW JERSEY CAR ACCIDENT PROPERTY DAMAGE CASE FAQS

WHAT IS A NEW JERSEY CAR ACCIDENT PROPERTY DAMAGE CASE?
A New Jersey car accident property damage case is a “tort” case brought by an owner of a damaged car against the owner or operator of the vehicle that may be responsible for causing the accident damage.

WHO IS THE NEW JERSEY COURT PLAINTIFF IN A NEW JERSEY CAR ACCIDENT PROPERTY DAMAGE CASE?
A “plaintiff” is usually the person or company that files the New Jersey car accident property damage case.

WHO IS A DEFENDANT IN A NEW JERSEY CAR ACCIDENT PROPERTY DAMAGE CASE?
A “defendant” is usually the person or company that is sued in a New Jersey car accident property damage case. But in some New Jersey Court car accident damage cases, the New Jersey Court defendant also files a counterclaim for property damage to their car in the New Jersey car accident property damage case.

WHAT IS A NEW JERSEY “TORT” CASE
There are two types of civil cases in New Jersey – “tort” cases and “contract” cases. A New Jersey “tort” case is a category or type of case other than one based upon a contract. A New Jersey car accident property damage case is a “tort” case when the parties involved in the case do not have some type of contract with one another or when the dispute is outside the contract’s terms.

WHAT IS A “TORTFEASOR” IN A NEW JERSEY CAR ACCIDENT PROPERTY DAMAGE CASE?
A “tortfeasor” in a New Jersey car accident property damage case is the New Jersey Court party that causes an accident which causes property damage to another car.

HOW DO I PROVE THAT SOMEONE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGING MY CAR IN A NEW JERSEY CAR ACCIDENT PROPERTY DAMAGE CASE?
In the typical New Jersey car accident property damage case, the damaged car owner must prove that the owner or operator of another vehicle was “negligent” and that their “negligence” was the “proximate cause” of the accident and the resulting car accident property damage. Negligence is defined as conduct which falls below the standard established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. “Proximate cause” is found where the injury/loss/harm is so connected with the negligent actions or inactions of the New Jersey Court defendant or other Courty that the New Jersey Court decides that it is reasonable that the New Jersey Court defendant or other Courty should be held wholly or partially responsible for the injury/loss/harm.

Negligence is the failure to use that degree of care, precaution and vigilance which a reasonably prudent New Jersey Court defendant driver would use under the same or similar circumstances. It includes both affirmative acts which a reasonably prudent New Jersey Court defendant driver would not have done and the omission of acts or precautions which a reasonably prudent New Jersey Court defendant driver would have done or taken in the circumstances.

By “a reasonably prudent New Jersey Court defendant driver” it is not meant the most cautious person nor one who is unusually bold but rather one of reasonable vigilance, caution and prudence. In order to establish negligence, it is not necessary that it be shown that the New Jersey Court defendant had an evil heart or an intent to do harm.

To summarize, under New Jersey motor vehicle laws, every person is required to exercise the foresight, prudence and caution which a reasonably prudent New Jersey Court defendant driver would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. Negligence then is a departure from that standard of care. The New Jersey Court defendant's conduct is compared with that which the hypothetical person of reasonable vigilance, caution and prudence would have exercised in the same or similar circumstances or conditions. The conduct of the reasonable person will vary with the situation with which he is confronted. In determining whether reasonable care has been exercised, the New Jersey Court will consider whether the New Jersey Court defendant ought to have foreseen, under the attending circumstances, that the natural and probable consequence of his/her act or omission to act would have been some injury. It is not necessary that the New Jersey Court defendant have anticipated the very occurrence which resulted from his/her wrongdoing but it is sufficient that it was within the realm of foreseeability that some harm might occur thereby. The test is the probable and foreseeable consequences that may reasonably be anticipated from the performance, or the failure to perform, a particular act. If an ordinary New Jersey Court defendant, under similar circumstances and by the use of ordinary care, could have foreseen the result, [i.e., that some injury or damage would probably result] and either would not have acted or, if he/she did act, would have taken precaution to avoid the result, then the performance of the act or the failure to take such precautions would constitute negligence.

WHAT ARE A NEW JERSEY CAR DRIVER’S LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN DRIVING A NEW JERSEY CAR ON NEW JERSEY’S ROADWAYS THAT MIGHT BE IMPORTANT IN A NEW JERSEY CAR ACCIDENT PROPERTY DAMAGE CASE?
New Jersey motor vehicle laws provide that a person has the right to assume that the New Jersey driver of a New Jersey automobile will exercise reasonable care and observe the standard of conduct required of them in the use of the highway. When people drive their motor vehicles on our highways, they have certain rights and assume certain obligations and responsibilities. They have the right to enjoy the streets and highways but they must make proper and lawful use of this right. They must use it with reciprocal regard for the rights of others who may be driving upon the highway, and so as not to negligently injure other persons lawfully upon the streets. This simply means that the New Jersey driver of a New Jersey automobile upon a public highway is under the duty of exercising for the safety of others that degree of care, precaution and vigilance in the operation of his/her car which a reasonably prudent New Jersey Court defendant driver would exercise under similar circumstances. It has sometimes been defined as care commensurate with the risk of danger. Thus, the New Jersey driver of a New Jersey automobile is required to use reasonable care in the control, management and operation of his/her machine. The New Jersey Court defendant driver is required to make such observation for traffic and road conditions and to exercise such judgment to avoid collision or injury to others on the highway, as a reasonably prudent New Jersey Court defendant driver would have done in the circumstances. This duty of reasonable care by users of the highways is mutual and ordinarily each may assume that the other will observe that standard of conduct in the use thereof. Negligence is then the failure to adhere to this standard of conduct. The law imposes upon the New Jersey driver of a New Jersey automobile the duty of exercising such care as is reasonable under all the circumstances confronting him/her at the particular time. This duty requires motorists to use our streets and highways with reciprocal regard for the rights of others who may also be using them. Thus a motorist is required to make such observations for traffic and vehicles which are in or may come into his/her path of travel, as a reasonably prudent New Jersey Court defendant driver would make. The duty to exercise reasonable care between persons using a public highway is mutual. An approaching driver is justified in assuming, until he/she discovers that it is contrary to the fact, that all other users of the highway will exercise reasonable care in their use of the highway.

Under New Jersey motor vehicle laws, the fact that an operator of a New Jersey automobile cannot see up an intersecting street until he/she is actually in it, does not obligate him/her to get out of the car and look up and down the street before proceeding over or into it. A person is not required to extend his/her vision beyond a point where vehicles traveling at a lawful speed would threaten his/her safety. The duty imposed upon a motorist in such situation is to approach the obscured intersection with reasonable care and caution, commensurate with the risk involved. This duty requires the New Jersey driver to have his/her vehicle under proper control, to operate it at an appropriate speed and to make such reasonable and effective observations as a reasonably prudent New Jersey Court defendant driver would make, commensurate with the risk of danger involved. Where the view of the roadway ahead is impaired by obstructions to view caused by darkness, fog, rain on glass or other such obstruction, there is a duty to exercise care commensurate with the risk of the hazard presented. The operator of a motor vehicle in such a situation is required to exercise reasonable care, that is, such care as the existing conditions require, to have his/her vehicle under such control as to be able to stop, if necessary, to avoid harm to others on the highway. In addition, while operating a New Jersey car in the night time, the operator is required to anticipate that other vehicles and persons may be on the highway and must use reasonable care to so adjust his/her lights that he/she can observe vehicles or pedestrians at a sufficient distance to avoid contact with them at the speed he/she is traveling. No person is entitled to drive a New Jersey car on a public street or highway while blind, even temporarily. Where street lights, headlights or other lights or reflections of light have the effect of causing temporary blindness, it is his/her duty to stop his/her car and thereafter to proceed only when the temporary blindness has passed.

The law does not impose upon a New Jersey Court defendant driver an absolute duty to observe and avoid obstacles and defects in a street or highway. A New Jersey Court defendant driver of a New Jersey car has the right to place reasonable reliance upon proper preservation of a street or highway in a reasonably safe condition. But where a defect or obstacle is obvious or clearly visible or where reasonable observation would disclose it in time to avoid or prepare for it, a New Jersey Court defendant driver of a New Jersey automobile is liable for failure to exercise reasonable care to avoid it [or its effects].

WHAT IS THE DUTY OF CARE THAT THE NEW JERSEY DRIVER OF A NEW JERSEY CAR HAS WHILE PROCEEDING THROUGH AN INTERSECTION CONTROLLED BY A STOP SIGN/FLASHING RED TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICE?
New Jersey motor vehicle laws set forth a standard of conduct to be exercised by the New Jersey driver of a motor vehicle while approaching and proceeding through an intersection controlled by a stop sign or a flashing red traffic control device. No driver of a New Jersey car shall enter upon or cross an intersecting street marked with a “stop” sign unless he has first brought his vehicle. to a complete stop at a point within 5 feet of the nearest crosswalk or stop line marked upon the pavement at the near side of the intersecting street and shall proceed only after yielding the right of way to all traffic on the intersecting street which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. Flashing red: The red lens when illuminated with rapid intermittent flashes shall require drivers to come to a complete stop before entering or crossing the intersection. The New Jersey driver shall proceed only after yielding the right of way to all traffic on the intersecting street, which traffic is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

The above provision requires that the New Jersey driver stop and make observations while stopped before proceeding. It also requires the New Jersey driver to continue to make observations as he or she enters and crosses the intersecting street as the circumstances at the particular intersection reasonably require. The presence of permanent or temporary obstructions to the view of the New Jersey driver, such as buildings, billboards, parked cars, crowded sidewalks, etc., does not obviate the duty of the New Jersey driver to make continual reasonable observations as he or she proceeds through the intersection, and is a factor for the New Jersey Court to consider in determining whether the New Jersey driver’s conduct was negligent under the circumstances.

Under New Jersey motor vehicle laws, where an intersection is controlled by a flashing red light, the red lens when illuminated with rapid intermittent flashes shall require drivers to come to a complete stop before entering or crossing the intersection. The New Jersey driver shall proceed only after yielding the right of way to all traffic on the intersecting street, which traffic is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

The above provision requires that the New Jersey driver stop and make observations while stopped before proceeding. It also requires the New Jersey driver to continue to make observations as he or she enters and crosses the intersecting street as the circumstances at the particular intersection reasonably require. The presence of permanent or temporary obstructions to the view of the New Jersey driver, such as buildings, billboards, parked cars, crowded sidewalks, etc., does not obviate the duty of the New Jersey driver to make continual reasonable observations as he or she proceeds through the intersection, and is a factor for the New Jersey Court to consider in determining whether the New Jersey driver’s conduct was negligent under the circumstances.

WHAT IS THE DUTY OF CARE FOR A NEW JERSEY DRIVER OF A NEW JERSEY CAR PROCEEDING THROUGH AN INTERSECTION WITH A FLASHING AMBER TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICE?
New Jersey motor vehicle laws set forth a standard of conduct to be exercised by the New Jersey Court defendant driver of a motor vehicle while approaching and proceeding through an intersection controlled by a flashing amber traffic control device. At an intersection regulated by a flashing amber light, the amber lens when illuminated with rapid intermittent flashes shall indicate the presence of danger and require drivers to proceed only with caution. The above provision requires that the New Jersey Court defendant driver proceed only with caution when approaching and proceeding through an intersection controlled by a flashing amber traffic control device. This is a factor for the New Jersey Court to consider in determining whether the New Jersey driver’s conduct was negligent under the circumstances.

WHAT IS THE DUTY OF CARE FOR A NEW JERSEY DRIVER OF A NEW JERSEY CAR PROCEEDING THROUGH AN INTERSECTION WITH A GREEN LIGHT?
New Jersey motor vehicle laws set forth a standard of conduct to be exercised by the New Jersey driver of a motor vehicle while approaching and proceeding through an intersection controlled by a traffic control device. The New Jersey Court defendant driver of every vehicle shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device placed in accordance with the traffic act. A three-color system shall be used; red, amber, and green. Green means permission for traffic to go, subject to the safety of others. Red means traffic to stop before entering the intersection or crosswalk and remain standing until green is shown alone. These motor vehicle laws provide that the New Jersey Court defendant driver of a motor vehicle proceeding on a street with a red light confronting a New Jersey Court defendant driver is obligated to stop before entering the intersection and is to remain standing until the light turns green for that New Jersey driver.

Under New Jersey motor vehicle laws, the New Jersey driver proceeding into (through) an intersection with a green light does not have an unqualified right to proceed. A New Jersey Court defendant driver is obligated to exercise reasonable care, which includes making reasonable observations for traffic traveling on an intersection street. That is not to say that a New Jersey driver proceeding into (through) an intersection on a green light has the same duty of making observations that a New Jersey driver, for example, with a stop sign confronting him would be obligated to make. What it does mean is that the New Jersey driver favored with the green light must make reasonable observations and depending on the circumstances the New Jersey Court may conclude that that New Jersey driver acted reasonably if he/she made only cursory observations for traffic proceeding on an intersecting street, whereas in other circumstances the same type of observation would not be considered reasonable.

Under New Jersey motor vehicle laws, failure on the part of the New Jersey driver favored with the green light to exercise such care while proceeding through the intersection is evidence to be considered by the New Jersey Court in determining whether that New Jersey driver was negligent in the operation of his/her motor vehicle.

Under New Jersey motor vehicle laws, if the New Jersey Court finds that one of the New Jersey drivers proceeded through a red light, that New Jersey driver would be negligent and the New Jersey Court’s consideration should be directed to whether such negligence was a proximate cause of the accident within the meaning and definition of that term previously given.

WHAT DAMAGES CAN I RECOVER IF ANOTHER PERSON IS FOUND LIABLE BY A NEW JERSEY COURT FOR DAMAGING MY CAR IN A NEW JERSEY CAR ACCIDENT PROPERTY DAMAGE CASE?
If the New Jersey Court ultimately finds the New Jersey Court plaintiff’s personal property was damaged as a result of the New Jersey Court defendant’s negligence, that New Jersey Court plaintiff would be entitled to the New Jersey Court’s verdict. That New Jersey Court plaintiff would be entitled to money damages from the New Jersey Court defendant for the loss suffered. The measure of damages for such loss is the difference between the market value of the personal property before and the market value after the damage occurred. If the personal property has no market value in its damaged condition, the measure of damages is the difference between the market value of the personal property before the damage occurred and its salvage value in its damaged condition. If the personal property is not substantially damaged and it can be repaired at a cost less than the difference between its market value before and its market value after the damage occurred the New Jersey Court plaintiff’s damages would be limited to the cost of the repairs. The cost of repairs is evidential on the issue of the difference in value of goods before and after injury, but the cost of such repairs must neither exceed the loss in market value due to the damage nor the automobile’s market value immediately before the damage. Where the automobile was damaged and then sold by plaintiff without any repairs having been made thereon, the measure of damages is the difference between the value of the automobile before it was damaged and the price which was received for it from the purchase (assuming the sale price is not less than the automobile’s worth or value in its damaged condition). In determining the amount of money, if any, to be awarded to the New Jersey Court plaintiff (owner) for the damage to his/her personal property, the New Jersey Court may consider, but is not bound by, the testimony of the New Jersey Court plaintiff (owner) as to his/her opinion of the value of the property before and after it was damaged. The owner of personal property may be permitted to testify as to its value before and after damage where such personal property is “of a common class or in general daily use,” in the court’s discretion, but not where the owner has not the slightest knowledge of such value. A plaintiff who is entitled to a verdict for property damage to a motor vehicle is also entitled to recover for necessary and reasonable out-of-pocket expenses for towing and storage of the vehicle and rental cost of a substitute vehicle whether the property damage to plaintiff’s car is partial or total. As to any of the out-of-pocket expenses, the determination as to necessity for same and the reasonableness of both the cost thereof and the period of time required is for the New Jersey Court, the jury, to determine in the light of all the circumstances in which plaintiff found himself/herself following the accident. Inconveniences caused by loss of use of a New Jersey automobile, where that loss of use was attributed to wrongful conduct of a tortfeasor, are recoverable.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR COURT CASE?
Handling your Court case wrong from the beginning may only cost you more money and time in the end!! Do it right the first time by seeking legal advice from a competent Court lawyer!
Let the Law Office of Paul DePetris help you with your Court Case. Not all Court Cases require you to pay expensive legal fees to get legal help. To receive a no cost phone consultation about what the Law Office of Paul DePetris might be able to do for you, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send an email to Mr. DePetris.
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