New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance (NJM) is New Jersey’s second-largest provider of personal auto insurance. The company started in 1913 as a workers’ compensation insurer but has now underwritten $900 million in auto insurance premiums. If you’re a motorist in NJ, you or other drivers around you are likely covered by an NJM policy.
Know what to expect when claiming bodily injury compensation from NJM. Here’s a guide on the NJM injury claims process and how to maximize your claim. To get legal advice specific to your case, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney.
How to Make an Injury Claim with NJM Insurance: The Claims Process
There are several scenarios in which you may need to file an accident injury claim from NJM insurance:
- If NJM is your PIP provider – Since New Jersey is a “no-fault state,” injuries you sustained in a car crash will have to be paid by your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance first.
- If NJM is the auto insurer of the at-fault driver – If your losses exceed your PIP coverage, you have the option to claim from the at-fault driver’s auto insurer. Specifically, you may claim from their “third-party liability” policy.
- If you have a UM/UIM policy from NJM – The uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) policy isn’t mandatory in New Jersey, but it can help pay your bills in case an uninsured/underinsured driver injured you.
In any of the above scenarios, you’ll need to go through the claims process if you wish to receive compensation. Below are the basic steps to claim bodily injury from NJM. Before starting this process, it helps to read our claims tips further below.
Step 1. Contact and filing
Notify NJM of the accident through their 24-hour Claims Center. You’ll need to fill out their Physical Damage Forms in which you must provide relevant details such as the crash date, time, and location, as well as your insurance information. Towards the bottom of the form, you’ll specify if you are making a claim and for how much.
Step 2. Evaluation and initial offer
The claims adjuster assigned to your case will assess whether NJM covers the losses you’re claiming, and how much they’ll pay. Generally, insurance adjusters want to close cases quickly, so you can expect them to swiftly give you an initial settlement offer.
Step 3. Negotiation
You (or your lawyer, if you have one) may respond to NJM with a counter assessment of your compensable losses. You’ll want to provide strong evidence to support your assessment. A competent personal injury lawyer can help with this.
Step 4. Settlement
If your negotiation results in a mutually agreeable offer, you may accept this settlement and NJM will close your case. On the other hand, if settlement negotiations go nowhere, you have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit. Talk to your attorney about your best steps forward in a difficult NJM claim.
If your personal injury claim goes to trial, you’ll likely be faced with NJM’s seasoned legal team. Having a lawyer is even more important at this point.
In one publicized case, a New Jersey resident was hit by an uninsured driver and took his claim to arbitration. The arbitrators awarded him $29,148, half of which was to be paid by NJM. However, NJM refused to pay, citing a clause in the insurance policy that potentially rejected such arbitration awards. Ultimately, the NJ Supreme Court agreed with NJM’s refusal, so the claimant got nothing from NJM.
Claims Adjuster Tactics to Look Out For
Though the insurance claims process seems simple, the reality is that injured claimants usually find it challenging to get the payout they need and deserve. They often encounter tactics that claims adjusters use to downplay their injuries, minimize their settlement, or outright reject the claim. Examples of these tactics are:
- Getting recorded statements from you that they may later use against your claim
- Offering a settlement that’s much smaller than the amount you deserve (a practice called “lowballing”)
- Delaying the claims process for various vague reasons, in hopes of getting you to settle for a small amount
- Asking for more and more paperwork
- Interpreting your policy’s language in a way that reduces your claim
- Denying your claim without sufficient investigation.
It’s best to have the legal guidance of an experienced attorney to protect yourself from unfair dealings by an insurance company. Some of these tactics can be countered during negotiation, while others may constitute “insurance bad faith,” which in itself is unlawful and can be grounds for a separate lawsuit.
Tips to Protect and Maximize Your Bodily Injury Claim
- See a doctor immediately. Have a physician check your injuries even if you think they’ll heal on their own. Also, don’t miss any subsequent clinic appointments. Delaying or missing your checkups can give the insurer a reason to say that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim.
- Collect evidence early. As much as possible, document the accident scene using photos and videos. Show the crash site, your visible injuries, all the damage on your car, and relevant details like skid marks or beer bottles on the ground. From here on out, you’ll also need to keep your accident-related medical records, medical bills, travel stubs, work logs, and other pertinent documents.
- Report to the police. New Jersey requires motorists to report auto accidents that result in injuries. Request a copy of your crash report as this can help establish how the collision occurred.
- Contact a lawyer. It’s wise to have an attorney’s counsel before you speak with any insurance representative. Your lawyer should protect you from costly mistakes when dealing with insurers, and help you strategize for maximum compensation.
Even if you’re focused on the insurance claim at this point and not considering a lawsuit, having an attorney increases your negotiating power. Insurance companies usually take claimants seriously only when these claimants are represented by a lawyer.
Contact an NJM Injury Claim Lawyer in NJ
In the last two decades, New Jersey citizens have trusted the Grossman Law Firm for their personal injury claims. We are a top-rated firm that has won deca-millions of dollars on behalf of our injured clients, even in claims against powerful and well-resourced insurance companies.
Your consultation with the Grossman Law Firm is free. Talk to us about your NJM bodily injury claim. Call (732) 625-9494 today.