If you are seeking compensation for your pain and suffering or lost wages, including past and future lost wages, from a New Jersey car accident then you would have to seek a claim against the “at-fault” party whose automobile insurance carrier may be responsible for paying you up to the bodily injury liability policy limits selected by their insured. In New Jersey, automobile insurance is mandatory, however, the minimum bodily injury liability limits you must carry were drastically modified with the introduction of what became known as the “Basic” Policy and the Special Automobile Insurance Policy SAIP.
Traditionally, in New Jersey we were required to maintain minimum liability limits of 15/30 available by purchasing the “Standard” Auto Insurance Policy. This means that if you owned and operated an automobile, you were supposed to have the minimum bodily injury liability coverage of $15,000.00 per person/$30,000.00 per accident. You also had up to $250,000.00 in PIP coverage which would be vital should you suffer an injury that ultimately required surgery, hospitalization or extensive treatment with medical providers.
Under the “Standard” Policy you also would have carried UM and UIM limits of at least what your liability limits were. Uninsured Motorist coverage (UM) was designed to protect you should the other “at fault” vehicle be uninsured. This way you would always be protected and be able to recover up to what you selected for your liability limits should you have an accident with an uninsured vehicle. Also Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) is similar in that these coverages kick in when the other vehicle has minimal or less insurance than the limit of your bodily Injury Liability coverages and when “the value” of your pain and suffering is deemed more than the available liability limits of the tortfeasor or at fault driver. Hence the term underinsured motorist coverage. The selection of the amount of UM and UIM coverage limits is arguably one of the most important concerns in choosing your coverages. It has been my experience that the great majority of my clients have told me that the broker or agent that sold them their auto insurance policy never actually explained to them what the terms UM or UIM coverage means. This is quite unfortunate because consumers are basically in the dark about what specific coverages are really vital to protecting themselves and their family when they sign on the dotted line. It isn’t until and unless they or their family members are injured in a motor vehicle accident that they are confronted with the realities of their misinformed choices.
For a free consultation regarding your auto accident injury claim call us at (732) 943-0383