Understanding No-Fault Insurance Claims in New Jersey
New Jersey, along with New York and ten other states currently, has a no-fault insurance law in place for auto accidents. Under a no-fault insurance scheme, when you are injured in a car accident your first recourse is generally to look to your own insurance policy for reimbursement of your damages. As the name implies, you are generally entitled to some payment regardless of whether the accident was your fault or the other driver’s. There are pros and cons to no-fault insurance claims in New Jersey, and the process for obtaining maximum compensation after an accident can be difficult and confusing. Attorney Andrew R. Jacobs has decades of experience helping New Jersey car accident victims through this challenging process. Learn more about New Jersey no-fault insurance claims below, or call our office for immediate assistance.
Basic coverage with no-fault claims
A basic insurance policy in New Jersey may pay the following benefits in the event of an accident, without regard to fault:
- Up to $5,000 for damage to property
- Up to $15,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) for each covered injured person
PIP covers medical bills and certain other expenses such as lost wages or the need to hire a caretaker. The basic policy can also include up to $250,000 for certain catastrophic injuries, such as a permanent or significant brain injury, spinal cord injury or disfigurement, and certain treatment for other permanent or significant injuries.
Seek maximum compensation for serious injuries
The amount of compensation provided by PIP may be adequate if your injuries are not that bad, but in the unfortunate event of a serious injury, your damages can quickly exceed the amount of PIP coverage. Note also that no-fault insurance does not compensate you for damages such as pain and suffering, which are typically available under fault-based or liability insurance policies.
New Jersey law does provide for bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage as well. Such coverage may be as low as $10,000 if selected under a basic policy, or up to $250,000 on a standard policy. However, in order to sue a negligent driver who caused your injuries and collect under their BIL coverage, you must be able to show that your injury meets the definition of a “serious injury” under New Jersey law. This serious injury threshold can be met by showing one of the following:
- Loss of a body part
- Significant disfigurement or scarring
- Displaced fractures
- The loss of a fetus
- Permanent injury
The above limitations apply if you have a basic policy, or if you selected the Limitation on Lawsuit Option (limited right to sue) when you purchased a standard policy. If you chose the No Limitation on Lawsuit Option on a standard policy, then you have an unlimited right to sue for the full amount of your economic (medical bills, lost wages) and noneconomic (pain and suffering) damages, regardless of the nature of your injury. As you may have guessed, the premiums you must pay are higher if you choose the unlimited right to sue option.
Guidance and Assistance is here for New Jersey No-Fault and Bodily Injury Claims
Knowing the proper claim file to and how to go about it is a daunting task. Even New Jersey’s consumer pamphlet on auto insurance is 40 pages long! Don’t try to pursue your claim for compensation by yourself. Instead, trust an experienced personal injury who has been helping New Jersey auto accident victims for more than 40 years. Call Andrew R. Jacobs for a free consultation at 973-532-9681, and get the help you need on your road to recovery.