When you’re in a car accident, you could be facing property damage and personal injury. Paying for recovery and medical bills can be expensive, especially if the accident is severe. In a no-fault state, you can only receive compensation from the driver who caused the accident for property damage done to your car. However, New Jersey is a choice no-fault state, allowing you to work with a New Jersey attorney to sue an at-fault driver for injury compensation as well as file a claim with their insurance for property damage.
What is a No-Fault State?
There are twelve no-fault states in America, New Jersey included. In a no-fault state, drivers who are responsible for an accident are only required to pay, or have their insurance pay, for property damages. This means that if you are in an accident and suffer any injury, you are required to pay out of pocket or make a claim to your own insurance to cover the expenses.
Because the other driver is not responsible for medical costs, drivers in these states are required to carry additional personal injury protection insurance plans, along with uninsured motorist protection. New Jersey requires drivers to have a minimum personal injury protection plan of $15,000. After an accident, a driver can work with a New Jersey attorney to submit a claim to their insurance or sue the at-fault driver for personal injuries.
What is a Choice No-Fault State?
New Jersey is one of three states that operates as a choice no-fault state. This means that you have the option to choose a higher insurance premium to have full tort liability coverage. Normally, you only have the option to sue a driver for personal injuries if your injuries are severe, meeting certain cost thresholds. However, with a full tort liability insurance plan, you can sue a driver for injuries no matter how minimal they may be. You will need to work with a New Jersey attorney to help determine fault and successfully sue the other driver for compensation.
Comparative At-Fault Rules
New Jersey, like many states, operates under the comparative fault rules for insurance after an accident. Seeking compensation from the other driver’s insurance will only work if you are less than 50% at fault for the accident. However, the amount of money you can receive is directly proportional to your responsibility for the accident.
This means that the other driver’s insurance will pay out less if you were partially responsible. For example, if you had $1000 worth of damage to your car after an accident that you were 40% involved in, you would only be able to receive $600 in compensation. However, if you were only 10% responsible for the accident, you would instead receive $900.
What Determines Who’s at Fault?
In order to get compensation for property damages from another driver’s insurance, you’ll need to prove the fault of the accident rests on their actions. There are several factors that go into determining fault. This process is the main reason claims can take a while to process. Working with a New Jersey attorney, however, can help you organize documents and find proof. In that case, the claim process can move along quickly.
Examples of what can help prove fault in an insurance claim include:
- Witness testimony
- Photos or videos of the accident
- Medical records of the drivers (if, for example, the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident)
- Police record or account of the accident
When first submitting your claim, you need to have as much supporting evidence as possible to help get it approved. Working with an attorney will ensure that you get your compensation as soon as possible.
Photo by Evgeny Tchebotare on Unsplash
Suing for Personal Injuries in a No-Fault State
Because New Jersey is a no-fault state, if you want to seek compensation for your personal injuries after an accident, you’ll have to sue the driver directly. Suing another driver for compensation has a similar process as filing an insurance claim. You’ll have to gather enough evidence to prove that the other driver was at-fault for the accident and your injuries.
If you have a full tort liability plan, you can sue the other driver. That applies no matter how severe the injuries are. What if you don’t have a full tort liability plan? You may still be able to sue the at-fault driver if your injuries are substantial. By working with an attorney, you have a greater chance of winning the settlement. That means getting the compensation you need to cover your medical expenses. Because you are not filing an insurance claim, the settlement you receive isn’t subject to the same comparative fault rules as property damage compensation is.
How a New Jersey Attorney Can Help
Living in a no-fault state makes car accidents more complicated, especially if there are injuries involved. However, you can work with a New Jersey attorney after an accident to submit claims and sue for personal injuries. Attorney Leon Matchin has devoted his practice to helping his clients minimize damages and maximize compensation. No matter how at fault you were for an accident, he’s here to help you go through the legal aftermath. That lets you focus on rest and recovery. To schedule a consultation about your accident, call Attorney Matchin today at 732-887-2479, or email him at [email protected].