Auto Accident and Insurance Attorneys serving clients across New Jersey with offices in Trenton NJ
It is normal for someone who is shopping for an automobile to test drive it first. Before a person takes a car out for a test drive, the dealership usually makes a copy of the person’s driver’s license and auto insurance. This is done to assure that the test driver does, in fact, have insurance in case of an accident.
If an accident does occur during a test drive, and you are insured, it is important to remember that New Jersey is a no-fault state meaning the other driver would file a claim with their own auto insurance company for their medical bills, even if you were at fault. In cases where there is an injury to the other driver, their medical bills would be paid by their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
Assuming you are insured, your liability insurance would pay for other damages from the accident if you were at fault. Your Bodily Injury Liability coverage would pay for the other driver’s pain and suffering. Then, your Property Damage Liability coverage would pay for the property damage to the other driver’s car, as well as the damage to the dealership’s vehicle. However, if you are not insured the other driver and the dealership can file a lawsuit against you for damages not covered by their insurance.
Liability in New Jersey for accidents involving borrowed vehicles
There are, in reality, many situations in which one may find oneself driving a vehicle that they may not personally own. This may include borrowing a car from a friend, acting as a designated driver, driving a rental vehicle, or using a work vehicle. In fact, it is a fairly common practice to use a car that is not yours. Unfortunately, most drivers are unaware of the liability involved with borrowed vehicles. Most drivers think that the car insurance policy they purchased belongs to the driver, following them along regardless of the car they are driving; however, this is not the case. In New Jersey, car insurance policies follow the car and the drivers that are listed on the insurance policy with that car. If an accident occurs with that borrowed vehicle, the owner’s car insurance policy provides primary coverage. Before loaning your vehicle out it is critical that you have a firm understanding of New Jersey’s car insurance laws.
Risks Involved in Loaning a Vehicle
There are very real risks involved in loaning a vehicle. It is not uncommon to toss your car keys to a friend or neighbor without hesitation. But it is important to know that you are liable if they are involved in a car accident. Your automobile insurance policy insures you and your vehicle, and any family members and others that may be using your car with your permission. As a result, if you give your friend permission to drive your car and they have a car accident with your vehicle it is your insurance policy that will be the policy covering any damages, even if the driver of the other vehicle has better car insurance than you. Furthermore, if you have not yet met the deductible on your car insurance policy, you may need to meet that first and, depending upon your individual policy and the circumstances surrounding the accident, your insurance company may raise your car insurance premium.
How a “no-fault” system regarding car insurance works in NJ?
New Jersey employs a “no-fault” system regarding car insurance. Under this “no-fault” system, all vehicles registered in New Jersey are obligated to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. The PIP insurance will reimburse medical expenses stemming from a car accident for you as well as anyone else covered under your insurance policy, regardless of who was responsible for the accident. The PIP insurance follows the insured individuals. This is different from liability insurance which follows the vehicle. In situations in which the person driving your car does not have a car insurance policy of their own, and does not reside with another person who has PIP insurance, you will be held accountable for the damages. This can translate to very large unexpected out of pocket expenses. This is something you need to take into account before loaning out your vehicle.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney to ensure an upright outcome in your case
At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our team of attorneys is experienced in dealing with all manner of motor vehicle accidents and the insurance problems that can result. We have fiercely represented clients whose vehicles have been involved in accidents in Trenton office, Princeton, Lawrence, Hamilton, New Brunswick and across Mercer County. No matter your situation you don’t have to confront it alone.
To connect with our firm today in a confidential and comprehensive assessment of your case call us at (609) 528-2596 or go online to schedule a free, no-risk consultation with a personal injury lawyer.