Can I Recover Compensation from Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists after a New Jersey Accident?
Bergen County attorneys help you understand how insurance affects your personal injury case
After an auto accident in New Jersey, you may be relieved to know you have insurance to cover your losses. However will an insurance company protect you? Unfortunately, insurance companies are paying out less and less, while all other expenses increase.
At the Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg in Bergen County, our lawyers have fought insurance companies on behalf of our clients for decades. When your own insurance company or the other driver’s is refusing to pay or offering to settle for too little, we provide strong support. Our forceful negotiation is backed by our willingness to go to court when it is in your best interests. With more than $100 million in settlements earned for our clients over the years, our results speak for themselves.
Is insurance required in New Jersey?
New Jersey law requires that all drivers carry auto insurance and ensures that a basic policy is available for everyone. Certain minimums are set for a basic policy:
$5,000 per accident for property damage
$15,000 in personal injury protection per person per accident and up to $250,000 for certain injuries
In addition, you may add bodily injury liability, collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. A standard auto insurance policy has higher minimums and always includes bodily injury, personal injury and property damage protections.
What is uninsured motorist coverage?
Uninsured-underinsured motorist (UM-UIM) coverage is available as part of standard insurance policies. You can have UM-UIM coverage up to your liability coverage limits. Uninsured motorist coverage covers your damages up to your limits when the other driver is not insured. Underinsured motorist coverage applies when the other driver has a policy limit less than all your damage and your coverage would give you greater compensation. Because New Jersey follows a system of comparative negligence, your insurance company may reduce your payment by the percentage it decides you are at fault.
How do New Jersey insurance laws affect my auto accident claim?
In any situation, the more coverage you have, the more likely your policy will cover most of your medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damage and other losses caused by an accident. Because the minimum required coverage — even in a standard policy — is so low, in many cases the payments will not cover the full extent of the medical bills for auto accident victims. In addition, despite severe penalties, many drivers still fail to carry any insurance at all. A standard policy with UM-UIM coverage can protect you in these situations.
When you have a standard policy, you must choose whether you want a limited or unlimited right to sue for personal injury after an accident:
Unlimited right to sue — You may start a lawsuit against the person who caused the car accident to recover for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries.
Limited right to sue — You choose not to sue anyone who causes an accident unless you sustain injuries that include the loss of a body part, significant disfigurement or scarring, a displaced fracture, permanent injuries, loss of a fetus or death.
These options only affect your right to sue for pain and suffering and other losses not financial. Medical expenses and other economic damages are covered by your personal injury protection insurance.