If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be wondering if you can sue for damages.
In New Jersey, the answer is yes – but there are some things to keep in mind.
Read on to learn more about how to file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident.
The process of filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident may seem intimidating at first.
One reason for this is that New Jersey has specific rules regarding accident claims that don’t apply in other states.
Here are some of the aspects of NJ law that affect the lawsuit process and what options you may have.
Personal Injury Claims for a Car Accident: The Process in New Jersey
Every state has its own laws regarding when a claimant may sue the other party for injuries. The process is a little more complex in New Jersey than in other states.
This is because of the state’s no-fault insurance system, which functions differently from states using at-fault systems.
Here’s an overview of the process for filing an injury claim from a car accident in New Jersey.
NJ’s Minimum Auto Coverage
Like other states, New Jersey requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance when operating their vehicle.
The basic insurance policy offered by insurers in New Jersey meets the legal minimum, but provides little in the way of protection.
Currently, the state requires:
- $5,000 per accident in property damage coverage; and
- $15,000 in personal injury protection per person, per accident.
New Jersey doesn’t require drivers to carry bodily injury liability coverage. For this reason, we recommend signing up for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
The No-Fault Insurance System
One unique aspect about New Jersey is that victims don’t file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company.
Instead, they must make a claim through their own policy. This is known as a no-fault insurance system.
So, how does this system work? Essentially, the personal injury protection or PIP coverage required by New Jersey law helps cover the policyholder’s economic losses in the event of an accident.
This means that if you have the minimum amount of PIP coverage, which is $15,000 per person, you may run out of compensation quickly if your injuries are serious.
Filing a Lawsuit
Suing for a personal injury after a car accident isn’t that straightforward in New Jersey.
As mentioned before, the no-fault insurance system prevents victims from making a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
So, what happens if your damages exceed the PIP coverage in your own policy?
Even if you select the limited right to sue option when signing up for an auto policy, there are certain instances where you may file a lawsuit against the other driver.
Specifically, New Jersey allows claimants to pursue compensation from the other party if they have a permanent injury, such as:
- Loss of a body part,
- Displaced fractures,
- Loss of a bodily function,
- Severe disfigurement, or
- Loss of a fetus.
Of course, if you select the unlimited right to sue option when receiving auto insurance, you may file a lawsuit for any injury.
However, remember that both options refer to suing only for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Questions About Your New Jersey Accident Claim? Contact Wiley Lavender Maknoor, P.C.
If you have questions about suing for a personal injury after a car accident, we are here to help.
With extensive experience and an aggressive litigation style, our attorneys understand what’s at stake for you and your family.
Whether you need help gathering evidence, negotiating with the insurance company, or finding adequate care, we’re here for you.
For a free, no-obligation consultation, give us a call at 732-494-6099.