As a driver, it is important to know the law of the road, and this knowledge is even more important when you have been injured in a car accident and are considering filing a lawsuit for personal injury. There are laws and regulations specific to each state, and having an understanding of those pertaining to New Jersey can be helpful as you begin the process of contacting a lawyer to pursue your claim.
Here are five New Jersey laws to know if you have been the victim of an auto accident.
New Jersey’s No-Fault Law
New Jersey’s no-fault law mandates your insurance company pay for medical bills, up to the coverage amount, related to the accident — no matter whose fault it was. This is why auto insurance policies in the state come with personal injury protection (PIP).
PIP does not cover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, but the state does provide victims a right to sue in certain situations.
Auto Insurance Laws
The state requires drivers to carry an auto insurance policy with the following minimums:
- $5,000 in property damage liability to cover damage to someone else’s vehicle
- $15,000 in PIP per accident, though coverage can actually be up to $250,000 for significant injuries such as to the brain or spinal cord.
For this basic policy, you are not required to purchase bodily injury liability insurance to cover the other driver, but that means you could be responsible for their compensation if their injuries are not fully covered by PIP.
You are required to have proof of insurance with either an insurance card from the insurance company or a certificate of self insurance. Cases become complicated in situations where either the driver does not carry insurance or there is a hit and run, and hiring a legal team can be a helpful step in working toward your recovery.
Limited vs. Full Right to Sue
There are instances when your insurance policy might not cover the full amount of your expenses in an accident. This is especially true if you have purchased the basic policy of just $15,000 in PIP coverage, and that policy only affords you a limited right to sue. There are exceptions to that limited right in cases of:
- Losing a body part
- A displaced fracture
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
- Losing a fetus
- A permanent injury
If you purchase a standard auto policy, you have the option to choose between a limited right to sue (which is less expensive) and an unlimited right to sue. With an unlimited right to sue, you can bring a lawsuit against the other driver for economic and non-economic damages, which would include pain and suffering.
Comparative negligence laws involve the idea of shared fault and that in some accidents, both parties are to blame to some extent. The courts will determine the share of blame and potentially reduce the amount of compensation awarded to the victim.
For example, if an accident occured when a driver failed to yield on a left turn, but the car that hit him or her was speeding, the court may decide the driver that failed to make the safe left turn is only 90 percent at fault. An award of $100,000 would be reduced to $90,000.
Car Accident Reporting Laws
New Jersey law requires you to report an accident that causes injury, death, or property damage of more than $500. Always call the police to report the accident, even if the at-fault driver insists you do not. You are required to complete a written report within 10 days, unless the law enforcement officer completes it.
If you knowingly fail to report an accident, you can be fined and lose your license. There are defenses to that requirement, such as if you sustained injuries that prevented you from doing so.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit because of a car accident in New Jersey is two years, so if you have been injured, contact a motor vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible to begin the litigation process.
DKR’s Team of New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers
The physical toll of recovering from an auto accident is difficult enough to handle without the financial burden that can accompany it. Allow the team at DKR to share how we can represent your case during a free consultation.
Our lawyers are experts in representing victims of car accidents and will fight for you like we would our own family. Contact us today through our website or call 856-489-1867.