Car accidents and resulting injuries happen suddenly. Medical costs from a car accident can be significant. But in a car accident, who pays the medical bills?
New Jersey drivers must have insurance that covers medical costs under New Jersey’s no-fault rules. But what happens if you’re a passenger, bicyclist, or pedestrian?
Today, the attorneys at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC, will discuss how medical bills are paid after a car accident in New Jersey.
Personal Injury Protection Coverage (PIP)
New Jersey has a no-fault car insurance system where each driver must carry insurance to cover medical costs after an accident, regardless of who’s at fault. This is called personal injury protection coverage or PIP.
A driver’s PIP covers the insured, any family members in their household, and anyone who is in the car with their permission. Each driver must carry a PIP minimum of $15,000, although they can increase this up to $250,000.
The Driver’s Medical Bills
When a driver is injured in an accident, they must file a PIP claim with their own insurance company. They don’t have to wait to sue the at-fault party. They might still be able to sue the at-fault driver if their injuries are severe or if they reserve the right to sue in their insurance policy.
The Medical Bills of Passengers, Bicyclists, or Pedestrians
Passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians are not required to carry auto insurance. So in a car accident, who pays the medical bills if you are an injured passenger, biker, or pedestrian? You’ll still have to file a claim with PIP, but whose PIP you file with depends on your specific facts.
If you live with a family member who carries auto insurance, you’ll file your claim with their PIP carrier. This may seem confusing because your family member perhaps had nothing to do with the accident. Nonetheless, this is New Jersey’s rule.
Let’s say none of the relatives in your household have auto insurance. In this case, you’ll file your PIP claim with the car driver’s insurance, even if they weren’t the at-fault party.
Lastly, if the driver doesn’t have PIP, you’ll file a claim with the New Jersey Property Liability Guaranty Association. This is also the case if you’re injured in a hit-and-run.
What If My Medical Costs Exceed the PIP?
Medical costs after a car accident vary greatly. One person could have minor bruises, while another could have severe permanent injuries. You may think that the PIP minimum of $15,000 is well below the average cost of medical bills after a car accident. And often, that is true.
Depending on your circumstances, you may still be able to sue the at-fault driver, even under New Jersey’s no-fault scheme. You should speak with one of our northern New Jersey attorneys if you’re concerned about your medical bills.
Contact Our North New Jersey Injury Attorneys Today
Navigating New Jersey’s no-fault system after a serious car accident can be frustrating, especially if you have significant injuries. That’s where the Metuchen attorneys at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC, can help.