In New Jersey, Being a No-fault State, Each Driver’s Insurance Covers Their Own Medical Expenses, Regardless of Fault For the Collision
Anyone who has spent time in New Jersey can tell you that car accidents occur several times daily. According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation, 276,861 occurred in 2022, causing 59,850 injured motorists and 548 fatalities. 216,487 accidents had property damage as well. The top three counties with the most accidents are Essex (30,287), Bergen (29,722), and Middlesex (28,932). The most common reasons for these accidents are speeding, distracted driving, young drivers, and drunk drivers. The most dangerous roadways are Rt. 59, Rt. 439, and Rt. 82, I-80, and 95 have three times the average number of accidents of other major routes. Believe it or not, Time magazine named the intersection of Spring Street and East Jersey Street in Elizabeth one of the nation’s most dangerous intersections. The intersection of I-95 and Route 4 in Fort Lee is ranked second in the country. If you live in New Jersey, odds are you will have an accident at some point or another, so it is best to be prepared and to understand the meaning and implications of New Jersey as a No Fault State.
What Does a No-Fault Insurance State Actually Mean?
A no-fault law means it is unimportant whose fault the accident was when dealing with fundamental medical costs associated with an accident. Each driver and other injured parties files a claim with their insurance policy. It isn’t necessary to prove fault to qualify for coverage and receive benefits. In a fault state, any injured parties can file a claim against the at-fault driver, seeking compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance rather than their own.
Understanding Insurance Requirements in New Jersey
All vehicle owners in New Jersey have to have auto insurance. There are three types of insurance. The first is personal injury protection, also known as PIP. This insurance pays for medical expenses for your passengers and those living with you. PIP provides coverage whether or not you were at fault for the accident. Liability pays for the damages of others in an accident where you are at fault. Liability insurance covers property damage only unless you buy bodily injury insurance separately. This requirement ensures that some financial costs will be addressed if you hurt another person or damage their property. Like other states, New Jersey sets its minimums regarding how much coverage you need and what will suffice to comply with the law. The third type of insurance is uninsured motorist insurance. This kind of insurance is optional but useful when you are in an accident with someone without insurance or underinsured.
There are two policies: basic and standard. Bodily injury liability isn’t included but can be added to cover $10,000 per accident. The standard policy has a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Property damage with the basic and standard policies covers a minimum of $5,000 per accident. Personal Injury Protection starts at a minimum of $15,000 for both basic and standard plans. Underinsured or uninsured motorists can be added to the standard plan, as can collision and comprehensive coverage.
Key Concepts to Know in a No-fault State
New Jersey drivers must have two types of liability insurance: property damage and bodily injury. Property damage would protect your assets if you were to blame for the accident. It covers a part of the damage caused to the property or vehicle of someone else. Bodily injury includes expenses associated with injuries from other parties.
Comprehensive coverage is used to fix your car in circumstances unrelated to a collision. Examples include fire, vandalism, theft, and accidents with animals such as deer. Collision coverage is used to fix your vehicle from the physical damage incurred from the accident.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Policies
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage protects the policyholder when the other party is at-fault, and either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for your damages, including medical expenses.
Two Possible Scenarios in a No-Fault State
If I Am At Fault For The Accident
You will need to file a claim with your insurance company. Your liability insurance will pay for the damage to the other parties up to the amount of coverage you have.
If I Am Not At Fault For The Accident
Their insurance will receive your claim and cover your damages up to the amount on their policy.
Who Falls Under the Coverage of No-Fault Car Insurance?
Anyone riding in the car with the policyholder who does not have their insurance is covered. If the driver has the permission of the policyholder to drive their vehicle, they are covered if they do not have their insurance. They are covered if the policyholder’s family or household members don’t have their car insurance.
Coverage Included Under No-Fault Insurance
The Basic policy covers medical costs of $15,000 per person with extra coverage of up to $250,000 that can be purchased for specific injuries. The basic policy also covers up to $5,000 in property damage liability.
The Standard option covers a death benefit and funeral benefit, reimbursement of wages, and payment for “replacement of services” when there are things you cannot do, such as caring for your children or household tasks. Limits for bodily injury liability go up to $500,000; damage liability will cover $5,000, while PIP is $15,000 to $250,000 per person per accident.
Additional policies for the Standard option are uninsured/underinsured and comprehensive and collision.
Speak with a Seasoned Car Accident Lawyer About Your Options in NJ as a No-Fault State
There are few circumstances more anxiety-producing than a car accident. Insurance companies are reticent to solve your issues and want to pay you as little as possible. You have property damage, medical bills, and time off from work. You need someone who can help you recover your losses in their entirety, not simply accept the limited amount that may initially be offered.
Our team of seasoned personal injury attorneys has years of experience handling car accident cases in Rumson, Neptune, Eatontown, Holmdel, Freehold, Middletown, Belmar, Asbury Park, Sea Girt, Long Branch, Mantoloking, and communities in around Monmouth County and Ocean County, NJ. Our lawyers understand the no-fault system in all of its complexities and we are knowledgeable and passionate about getting you the best possible result.
We are ready to help you with a free accident case review. Call (732) 825-6120 or contact us online for immediate assistance.