Were you recently involved in an auto accident? If so, it's important for you to understand the difference between first party claims and third party claims in New Jersey.
If your vehicle was damaged in an auto accident with another car, you have a choice between filing a claim with your own auto insurance carrier (a first party claim), or with the other driver's insurance company (a third party claim).
In order for you to file a "first party" claim, your insurance policy must have collision or comprehensive coverage, both of which are referred to as physical damage coverages.
To file a first party claim: When filing a first party claim, your insurance company either pays for the repairs on your damaged vehicle, or they pay you the value of your vehicle if the damage is so severe, that it's more than the vehicle is worth.
When filing a third party claim: When you file a third party claim, the other driver's insurance carrier only pays for the damage to your vehicle and to the extent that the other driver is legally responsible. Sometimes, this is not sufficient enough to reimburse or cover your losses.
What if I'm at fault for the accident?
If you're at fault for the accident, you cannot collect under "no-fault" insurance for the damages to your vehicle if you don't carry first party coverage. Unfortunately, no-fault or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance will only pay for your medical expenses if you were injured in the accident, regardless of who was responsible for the accident.
If you were not at-fault and you file a claim against the other driver's insurance carrier, their insurance company will investigate the claim and decide whether to pay the claim, negotiate, or defend the insured against your claim.
The other driver's insurance company will want to know:
- Was the insured legally responsible for the accident?
- If their policyholder was responsible, then to what extent?
- Were your damages directly related to the accident?
If the other driver's insurance company denies a claim because they say that the insured is not covered under the insured policy, even though the other driver is clearly at fault, you can file an Uninsured Motorist Claim with your own insurance company if you have a Standard Policy. In that case, you can be paid for your damages minus the $500 deductible.
Looking for a Bergen County personal injury attorney? Contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law for all of your personal injury needs in New Jersey!