New Jersey follows the “no fault” rule in car insurance, which means that if you were injured in an auto accident, your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) should cover your medical bills, regardless of who was at fault in the crash. But what if your injuries are so significant that they exceed your PIP limit? Or what if you experienced pain and suffering that you want to be compensated for? That’s when you’ll want to sue the at-fault driver. However, not everyone in New Jersey can do this.
NJ car insurance policies have restrictions on suing, either a limitation to sue or no limitation. Some lawyers and insurance companies use different terms to describe the same thing. You’ll hear things like “Limitation on Lawsuit Threshold” versus “No Threshold,” and such.
If you purchased auto insurance that has no lawsuit limitation, you generally have the right to sue the at-fault driver for your losses, regardless of how substantial your injuries were. This type of car insurance is highly recommended, especially in New Jersey where auto accidents are very common.
But if your insurance policy has a limitation to sue, you would not be about to file a lawsuit unless you meet the threshold for what are considered “serious injuries.” In NJ, “serious injuries” are the following:
- Displaced fracture;
- Loss of a limb;
- Serious scarring or disfigurement;
- Loss of a fetus;
- Permanent injury (For this, you will need to obtain a Certification of Permanent Injury from a doctor.); or
Typically, basic insurance policies are the ones that have a lawsuit limitation. However, if you have this kind of policy, don’t give up on your rights just yet. It is best to consult an experienced injury attorney to see your other legal options.
A successful car accident lawsuit can greatly compensate you for losses such as:
- Non-economic damages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium (marital companionship)
- Medical expenses not covered by your PIP.
Note that every state has a law called “Statute of Limitations,” which sets a deadline for lawsuits. New Jersey’s Statute of Limitations gives you only two years to file a personal injury lawsuit, starting from your injury date.
Two years may seem like ample time, but many accident victims end up missing their deadline. Usually, they wait too long on their insurance claims, not realizing that insurance companies often use tactics to delay these claims.
Filing a car accident lawsuit or any other personal injury lawsuit might seem an unnecessary hassle, especially if you feel that you can eventually recover most of your losses with an insurance claim. However, it is wise to at least discuss with your lawyer the possibility of suing. Your lawsuit doesn’t even have to go to trial. Many times, just the act of filing the lawsuit gives you better odds to receive a favorable insurance settlement before litigation starts.
Talk to our competent attorneys at the Grossman Law Firm about your car accident situation. We are highly experienced in finding legal strategies for NJ accident victims to obtain their maximum compensation.