With no-fault insurance, reporting requirements, modified comparative negligence laws, and statutes of limitation, the law is certainly complex when it comes to car accidents. If you have been injured in a crash, the last thing you want to do is wade through legal terms, tussle with insurance companies, and struggle with medical bills and damage to your vehicle. Contact Callagy Law’s car accident lawyers in New Jersey; we are here to help you make sense of the situation – and move forward.
Stay Local: New Jersey Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You
What do you need to know about car accident injury laws in New Jersey?
New Jersey is a “No-Fault” State
All drivers in New Jersey are required to carry a minimum of $15,000 in personal injury protection (PIP). If you are in an accident, you file a claim under your PIP policy to pay for medical expenses up to the limit of your coverage. It doesn’t matter who was at fault for the accident.
New Jersey does offer more choice than other no-fault states: for example, you are required to have, at the bare minimum, a “Basic” policy which includes PIP and at least $5000 in property damage liability. With a Basic policy, you have the “limited right to sue.” That means you can only file a claim against the other driver if you suffer:
- Loss of a limb
- Loss of a fetus
- Displaced fracture
- Significant disfigurement
- Significant scarring
- Permanent injury (i.e. a body part is not expected by medical professionals to return to normal function)
In these cases, you may seek compensation for medical expenses and financial losses, as well as “pain and suffering.”
If you opt for a “Standard” policy, which is a bit more expensive, you can extend your coverage to include the “full right to sue.” In this case, you may file a claim against the at-fault driver for any injury, not just those listed above.
If you’re not sure what type of coverage you have or whether you can take legal action, contact the Callagy Law team today. We can clear it up for you.
Car Accident Reporting Requirements in New Jersey
State law requires that you report any accident that results in injury, death, and/or $500 or more in property damage. You must do so “by the quickest means of communication.” Typically, this is taken to mean as calling from the scene. If this is not possible, you must make every effort to report as soon as you can.
If police respond to the scene, they will write an accident report. Ask for a referral number, as well as how and when you can access the report. If the damage is minor and the police do not come out to the scene, you have 10 days in which to file a written report with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
Failure to do so can result in fines, suspension of your license, and even jail time if it is a subsequent charge.
Modified Comparative Negligence
New Jersey law allows a concept called “comparative negligence.” Let’s say you’re approaching an intersection going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. A car in the oncoming lane is signaling a left turn, but they have to yield to you. They fail to do so and hit you as you pass by.
Your speed contributed to the accident but to what extent? In this case, you may be found 20% at fault because of your speed, while the other driver is found 80% at fault because of their failure to yield.
The settlement or judgment you would be awarded is reduced by that percentage. So, for example, if you were to have recouped $40,000 in damages, 20%, or $8,000, would be deducted for a total of $32,000.
New Jersey is a “modified” comparative negligence state. If you are more than 50% at fault for the crash, you will not be able to recover damages. So our 80% driver in this example is out of luck.
While issues of comparative negligence are determined by a judge or jury, fault plays a big role in negotiations with insurance companies. It is best to have an aggressive, skill car accident lawyer on your side.
Statute of Limitations
This is the amount of time in which you have to file a claim against the at-fault driver. In New Jersey, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim.
If you miss this window, you will most likely not be able to take legal action. (There are very rare exceptions, such as when minors are injured. They have two years from the time they turn 18.)
Top car Accident Lawyers in New Jersey The law can be complex, and when you are dealing with injuries, damage to your vehicle, mounting medical bills, and other stresses, you need an advocate on your side. Please contact the Callagy Law team today for help. We’re happy to discuss your