Unfortunately, not all motorists carry proper insurance coverage. Even if the other driver has insurance, it may be only the minimum required under New Jersey law. When an underinsured driver causes an accident and is not able to pay for the damages, this can be exceptionally difficult for the victims involved. There are options to recoup your losses to understand so that you aren't left with the bill.
What is an underinsured motorist?
An underinsured motorist is a driver with an insurance policy but one that has a liability limit lower than your own. When you get into an accident with an underinsured motorist, you must then file an underinsured motorist claim with your insurance company. Depending on what type of you have, your insurance company may pay the damages. Keep in mind, however, your insurance company may try to minimize your injuries and damages and try to pay you as little as possible.
Basic vs Standard Insurance Policies in New Jersey for Underinsured Motorist Claims
Basic insurance policies in New Jersey offer no coverage for underinsured motorist claims. Typically these policy holders would be the ones who are underinsured as these plans can be purchased with very low liability limits. A basic insurance plan should be a last resort. If you’re involved in even a moderately severe accident, you are on the hook for all medical bills, most property damage and lost income beyond your very low limits.
In an underinsured motorist claim, the driver using a standard auto insurance policy has a higher liability limit than the at-fault driver, thus creating the difference in insurance coverage. A Standard Policy for car insurance in New Jersey will have at least a minimum level of coverage for underinsured motorists. The minimum levels cover:
- $15,000 for bodily injuries suffered by one person
- $30,000 for harm sustained by all those injured in the accident
- $5,000 for property damage resulting from the accident
You likely will not know the details of the other parties’ insurance limits in the immediate aftermath of the accident. After determining the other driver was at fault for the accident, the claim will be sent to the other driver's insurance company who will pay you for your damages up to the liability limit of their insured’s policy. If that amount is not enough to cover your bills and damages, you would then submit these to your insurance company for reimbursement under Underinsured Motorist Coverage.
However, if you’ve been seriously injured, even a Standard Policy may not come close to covering the full extent of your losses. Meanwhile, your insurance company may try to minimize your injuries and damages and try to settle or pay you as little as possible. If you’re facing mounting medical bills, lost wages and mental anguish because of a car accident caused by someone else, you do have options and don’t have to settle.
Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, Can Help
An experienced car accident attorney can help you file an underinsured motorist claim and recover your costs. You deserve to get the maximum amount of compensation for the expenses involved. Insurance companies have trained adjusters and agents working on car accident cases all day long. Why not have an experienced advocate on your side?
Contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney, at Law, for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success and our commitment to client care, we can turn your setback into a comeback.