Is NJ a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?
September 21, 2022
If you were injured in a car accident in New Jersey, you may have heard something about the “no-fault” system. You may therefore be wondering if New Jersey is a “no-fault” state when it comes to car accidents.
New Jersey Is a No-Fault State
New Jersey is one of the states in the U.S. that is classified as a “no-fault” state for auto insurance coverage. In a no-fault state, drivers and passengers who are injured in car accidents are expected to first look to their insurance provider for coverage for medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle damage. Car insurance companies are required in the no-fault system to provide coverage to their insureds for certain losses and expenses, regardless of who may have been at fault for the crash, hence why the system is called “no-fault.” The no-fault system stands in contrast to the at-fault system used in the majority of states, where an injured car accident victim is entitled to immediately pursue compensation from the driver or drivers at fault for the crash.
What Does Personal Injury Protection Provide Coverage For?
In New Jersey, no-fault insurance coverage is primarily provided through the personal injury protection coverage required in each insurance policy issued in the state. Personal injury protection, or PIP, helps pay for expenses and losses such as medical bills, travel expenses to and from medical appointments and procedures, loss of wages/income if you miss work due to car accident injuries, or the cost of certain personal services you may need to pay for when you can’t do them yourself, such as home cleaning or childcare.
You can file a claim for personal injury protection coverage for injuries you suffered in a car accident regardless of fault for the crash. This means you are entitled to PIP coverage even if you caused the accident. However, you can only file for reimbursement for covered expenses and losses up to the limit of PIP coverage that you have purchased. Under New Jersey law, you must purchase at least $15,000 in PIP coverage, although you may optionally purchase up to $250,000. Regardless of your PIP limit, your insurer is required to provide up to $250,000 in coverage if you suffered a severe brain or spinal injury.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit under the NJ No-Fault System
In New Jersey’s no-fault system, your rights to file a lawsuit for compensation from a driver or drivers who caused the car accident you were injured in may be limited. Injured accident victims who are insured under a “standard” policy may be entitled to file a lawsuit for compensation for expenses and losses that were not covered by PIP or other coverages under their insurance, including medical expenses, lost wages from missed work, loss of future earning ability, and repair costs for your vehicle or reimbursement of its value if it was totaled. However, they might not be able to pursue compensation for non-economic losses suffered from the accident, such as pain and suffering or loss of quality of life.
Drivers also have the option of purchasing a cheaper “basic” insurance policy, which may further restrict the right to sue an at-fault driver, even for economic losses.
People insured under standard or basic policies can only overcome the limits on their right to sue if they suffered an injury that meets the “verbal threshold.” These injuries include:
- Loss of a body part
- Loss of bodily function
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
- Compound or displaced fracture
- Loss of a fetus
Drivers who purchase standard policies do have the option of electing, for a higher premium cost, the “unlimited right to sue” option, which permits those insured under the driver’s policy to file suit against an at-fault driver for all their losses regardless of the severity of their injuries.
Contact a Voorhees Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Garber Law, P.C. represent clients injured because of car accidents in Camden County, Burlington County, Gloucester County, and throughout New Jersey. Call 861-281-1292 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 1200 Laurel Oak Road, Suite 104, Voorhees, NJ 08043, as well as offices in Philadelphia, PA.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
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