Auto insurance is mandatory in NJ and, although the types and costs of that insurance may vary, as a driver you are breaking the law if you drive without proper insurance.
By driving uninsured you are risking:
- Driver’s license suspension
- Potential jail time
But what if you, a responsibly insured driver, are involved in an accident caused by another driver and that driver is uninsured. Who pays for the damages?
What is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is insurance that you buy to pay for bodily injury or property damage if you are in an accident caused by a driver who is:
- Uninsured – doesn’t have the minimum insurance required by law.
- Underinsured – has insurance, but has less coverage than your underinsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is not a mandatory purchase in New Jersey, but many people purchase it as a way to protect themselves should they be in an accident caused by a driver without insurance – or without enough insurance – to pay for resulting property damage or bodily injury.
Suing an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist New Jersey
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver with little to no insurance, one recourse is to file a personal injury lawsuit in the NJ district court. A driver who does not carry the required liability coverage can be legally responsible to personally pay for medical costs and certain economic damages that resulted from an accident they caused.
A qualified lawyer can advise you on how to proceed with this type of lawsuit, including determining if the uninsured/underinsured driver has the assets to actually pay the compensation if your lawsuit is successful.
Uninsured Motorist Claims
If you sustain serious injuries or property damages in a car accident that was caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver and have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, your insurance company may pay for the medical treatment and damage repair. If warranted, you can sue your insurance carrier for financial losses above the limits of your coverage.
This lawsuit (or arbitration) can result in your insurance carrier paying for verifiable costs not covered under personal injury protection (PIP) coverage or exceeding its limits. You can pursue compensation for:
- Injuries and losses attributable to the accident
- Medical treatment (past and future)
- Property damage (your vehicle and/or personal items)
- Lost wages (missing work during injury recovery)
- Loss of income (injuries permanently prevent you from working)
- Wrongful death damages
Your insurance company should advise you on the documentation necessary to substantiate your uninsured/underinsured motorist claim.
Filing an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage Claim
When you file an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim, your insurance company is now serving in place of the uninsured/underinsured driver. They will demand proof that the other driver was at-fault (legally responsible).
Under New Jersey’s Comparative Negligence law, you will only be able to collect damages if the other driver’s degree of liability exceeds yours. Insurance companies commonly reduce the settlement of your claim by the percentage of fault that is attributed to you.
Hire an Experienced Uninsured Motorist Lawyer
If you are involved in a car accident and you don’t have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or your coverage does not cover the costs attributable to the accident, consider contacting an attorney.
The expert team at Dansky | Katz | Ringold will fight for you to receive compensation from the other driver, the other driver’s insurance company, or your insurance company.
Contact DKR for a free consultation. Our highly qualified team will listen to you, share our expertise on your situation, and discuss options to recover damages. Our toll-free number is 800-609-7577. Call us today.