Auto Accident Attorneys serving clients across New Jersey in Hamilton Township, Trenton, Ewing and across Mercer and Middlesex County
Getting in an automobile accident is a stressful and often painful event. Unfortunately, the event itself isn’t the end of the stress, as one must navigate the world of auto insurance claims after the accident to recover damages caused to both your body and your property. Educating yourself on how insurance carriers and the state of New Jersey respond to claims can empower you to make wise decisions in the wake of your accident, lessening your stress and ensuring that you recover your fair share.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation reported that in 2017 there were more than 270,000 automobile accidents. Given that numbers are rising with the rise of on-the-road distractors like technology, it is important to know how fault is determined and whether you can legally seek to recover damages in New Jersey for an auto accident that was not your fault, but in which you were injured.
What is the difference between a no-fault insurance state and an at-fault insurance state?
Each state by law handles car insurance claims in one of two ways: there are no-fault insurance states and at-fault insurance states. A no-fault insurance state is one in which, regardless of who was at fault for the accident, if you are injured, your own auto insurance company will be responsible for covering your own medical bills. After being in an accident and seeking immediate medical attention required, the logical next step is to file an auto accident claim to seek financial compensation for the expenses incurred, initial and ongoing, and for damages to your automobile and other property.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, in a no-fault state, you must file an auto accident claim through your own insurance provider and seek compensation for medical expenses through your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, a legally-required component of your automobile insurance which covers personal injury. No matter who was at fault for the accident, your own injury expenses will be covered through this aspect of your auto insurance.
By contrast, an at-fault insurance state favors the victim of an accident by requiring the insurance carrier of the driver responsible for the accident to immediately cover the cost of any related medical expenses and damages.
New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state. In order to be legally abiding, every driver must have PIP; as noted, this covers your own medical bills regardless of fault.
In NJ there are ways you can file a claim against the driver responsible for the accident
If you are in an accident in New Jersey, your auto insurance carrier will be responsible for covering your medical expenses and damages to your automobile. It is important to note that in a no-fault insurance state like New Jersey, there are ways in which one can file a claim as a plaintiff against the driver responsible for the accident to seek to recover damages and expenses incurred as a direct result of the accident. In order to do so, your personal injury claim must meet certain prerequisites that move the claim beyond the purview of no-fault and bring it into the realm of legally arguably against the at-fault driver.
How does a New Jersey auto accident claim move into the realm of at-fault?
According to the New Jersey statute of limitations – a law setting the time limit by which one may bring a lawsuit to the court system – a New Jersey driver has two years to file a claim after an accident. One would file a personal injury claim if you were in an accident in which you believe the other driver was at fault. Depending on the nature of the accident, the strength of your legal representation, and the evidence brought forth by both the plaintiff (victim, you) and the defending driver, even in a no-fault state like New Jersey, one can recover damages from an at-fault driver in certain cases.
If, after seeking recovery for medical expenses through your own PIP, you would like to file an insurance claim against the driver you believe was at fault for the accident, you can count on their insurance company completing a thorough investigation of the accident and your injuries to determine whether you were partially at fault.
Partial Fault or Comparative Negligence in Auto Accidents
This partial fault is called “comparative negligence” in New Jersey and means degrees of fault. The determination of fault is, of course, case-by-case. The New Jersey Comparative Negligence Act states that upon investigation, an insurance company may determine partial liability for an accident and that recovery required to be paid will depend upon the percentage of fault their client had in the accident. If a plaintiff was over 50 percent responsible for the accident, the defending party will have no legal responsibility to pay damages.
Contact our East Brunswick and Trenton Motor Vehicle Accident Injury Attorneys Today
At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience in navigating New Jersey no-fault and comparative negligence law to ensure that drivers across Hamilton Township, Trenton, Ewing and across Mercer County receive their fair share of recoveries following an automobile accident that was not their fault.
Our unique approach centers around being a knowledgeable liaison for our clients in communication with their auto insurance carrier and the opposing party’s auto insurance carrier, so that our clients can focus on recovering physically, mentally, and emotionally from the accident while we work to ensure that they recover the full extent of their fair share of damages resulting from the accident.