If you or a loved one was recently involved in a car accident in New Jersey, you may find yourself confronted with a myriad of questions. How will you pay for damages? If you or your loved one was injured, how will you make up for lost income from missing work and pay for mounting medical bills? Many injured victims wonder when a car accident case goes to court in New Jersey.
New Jersey’s No-Fault Insurance
New Jersey – and New York – are both no-fault insurance states. In states with this type of car insurance law, if you are injured in a car accident your own insurance company will be the primary insurer for the accident, regardless of who was at fault. The theory behind no-fault insurance laws is to limit the number of cases presented in court. The idea is that once a car accident occurs, there are no lawsuits filed against the other driver even if they are fully at-fault.
However, there are several scenarios in which you may be able to file a claim – which may turn into a lawsuit – against an at-fault driver to recover damages for your losses.
Your Insurance Doesn’t Cover All of Your Expenses
Collision coverage should cover the damages to your car in the event of a vehicle accident. If you were injured in the accident, your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance is intended to cover losses like medical bills and lost wages. However, in the case of serious injury, your own PIP coverage may not come close to paying for all of your losses. Or, your own insurance company may deny or devalue your claim.
The best thing to do if your insurance doesn’t cover all your expenses is to speak with an experienced New Jersey car accident lawyer that has the expertise and skills to demand a fair compensation amount and negotiate.
The Other Driver is At-Fault
Just because New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state doesn’t mean that fault doesn’t matter in a car accident. If the other driver acted negligently and caused an accident, you may be able to file a claim about their insurance to recover compensation for your losses. Example of negligent driving that caused by used as evidence of liability in a car accident include:
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Failure to obey traffic signals or signs
An experienced car accident lawyer like Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, can gather evidence to prove the other party’s liability and demand compensation for your losses.
Insurance is Denying or Devaluing Your Claim
Be very wary of accepting an initial settlement amount from your insurance company. It's common for insurance adjusters to pressure injured victims into settling early. Once you agree to a settlement, you cannot go back for any additional compensation if you later realize your bills were higher than you initially anticipated. Always consult a car accident lawyer before accepting a settlement offer.
Limitation on Lawsuit and the Serious Injury Threshold
If your car insurance has a “limitation on lawsuit” policy in New Jersey, you can only file a claim outside of the no-fault system if you have one or more specific injuries. Those injuries deemed to be serious injuries include:
- Loss of limbs or dismemberment
- Significant Disfigurement or Scarring
- Broken bones or fractures
- Loss of an unborn child
- Permanent Injury to a body part that will never heal
If you had family members in the vehicle who suffered injury in the accident, the same limitations would apply to them. If you selected “no limitation on lawsuit”, the above list of injuries does not apply and you are free to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver regardless of a specific injury.
When Does a Car Accident Case Go to Court in New Jersey?
Most car accident claims settle before the case actually makes it to court. Complex cases involving severe injuries and/or multiple at-fault parties are the types of cases most likely to go to a trial. Regardless of the likelihood of a settlement versus a trial, many victims choose to hire a personal injury lawyer like Brandon J. Broderick to represent their best interests in the negotiation process with insurance companies and at-fault parties.
Get Help with Your Car Accident Claim
It can be difficult to determine if you have a valid claim and are being fairly compensated after a car accident without the help of an attorney. It may be possible that a third party bears some liability in the accident. For instance, if faulty brakes caused a vehicle to not be able to stop adequately, the defective car part manufacturer could be held liable. It’s in your best interest to discuss your case with a skilled New Jersey car accident lawyer.
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in exceptional client care, empathy, and results.. With offices in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, we’ve got you covered. We have decades of experience championing for our clients and succeeding, even when other attorneys say there is no case and insurance adjusters deny or devalue your claim. Contact us today for a free consultation.