It may come as a shock to find that the driver of the vehicle you were a passenger in is responsible for paying your medical expenses if you were injured in an auto accident. In no-fault states, including New Jersey, it is a common misconception that the negligent driver must pay the medical bills of everyone involved in an accident. But, in New Jersey, your own insurance covers your medical bills.
In New Jersey, PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance is required and is used to cover medical expenses, but does it cover the passenger? This will be discussed further in the following article.
For specific questions or if you are in the midst of recovering from a car accident as a passenger, call the law office of Brandon J. Broderick, he's a NJ car accident lawyer with experience in various types of car accidents. He can help discuss the situation and guide you in your legal claim.
PIP Insurance in New Jersey
In the state of New Jersey, drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. The same is true in the states of New York and Florida, both of which require drivers to carry PIP coverage. Auto owners in these states are mandated by law to carry PIP insurance on their vehicles. Everyone involved in an accident who has PIP coverage will have their own PIP coverage used first to pay for medical expenses. You, the other driver, and any passengers in the car would have to file a claim with their own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance first.
If You Don't Have Car Insurance, What Happens?
With PIP coverage a requirement in New Jersey, anyone with a car insurance policy has PIP coverage. However, if you don't have a car, you can use the auto insurance of a relative you live with instead. If you are injured in an accident and do not have health insurance or live with someone who does, the driver of the vehicle you were riding in may be responsible for paying your medical expenses under their personal injury protection (PIP) policy.
When Medical Costs Exceed Your PIP Benefits, What Happens?
New Jersey only mandates that motorists have PIP coverage of $15,000. In New York, that minimum is significantly higher at $50,000. Although $50,000 seems like a lot, it may not be enough to cover even severe injuries, let alone catastrophic ones. A policy of merely $15,000 would hardly cover anything
If the accident was the result of another driver's negligence and you have already used all your PIP benefits, you may be entitled to make a claim against that driver's liability insurance. This can be used to compensate for medical bills, lost pay, and emotional distress.
If the negligent motorist has property damage liability insurance, you may be compensated for lost or damaged possessions.
What Constitutes Negligent Driving
There are various ways one can be considered negligent behind the wheel. A driver has a responsibility to everyone on the road, including other motorists, their passengers, and pedestrians, to drive safely. The driver may have been negligent, as evidenced by the following, in the moments leading up to the crash:
- Breaking traffic laws, such as speed limits, stop signs, etc.
- Drowsy driving
- Aggressive driving
- Driving while intoxicated
- Distracted driving
It is also possible that both drivers will bear some responsibility for the collision, in which case the insurance company will likely divide liability by a specific percentage.
In a situation like this, discussing your legal options with a NJ car accident lawyer is advised. You may have a complex claim and the help of legal counsel can be valuable to your case.
New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer Brandon J. Broderick Can Help Your Case
Hiring a lawyer who specializes in car accidents is very important to the success of your case. Without representation, an insurance company may take advantage of your inexperience and offer a very small settlement that may not cover your losses.
When you retain Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, he will fight to get the fair compensation you deserve. We are here to protect your rights. Fortunately, our services are available to all. We take cases on a contingency basis, which means we don't get paid unless we win your case.
Contact us together for a free case evaluation.