An Overview of New Jersey’s Unique Approach to No-Fault Auto Insurance
When you’re hurt in a motor vehicle accident, one of the first places you typically turn for compensation is an insurance company. In most states—those that follow an “at-fault” auto insurance approach—you’ll seek compensation from the insurer of the driver who caused the accident. New Jersey, however, is in the minority of states that apply “no-fault” principles to auto insurance coverage. In general, that means you’ll initiate all insurance claims with your own insurance company. New Jersey has some unique wrinkles, though, that differ from other states.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in New Jersey
In New Jersey, the no-fault component of your motor vehicle insurance is referred to as your “personal injury protection” or “PIP” policy. Your PIP policy covers all costs of medical care and other out-of-pocket losses sustained by anyone named in the policy, typically with certain coverage limits. That coverage applies irrespective of who caused the accident, so you can recover even if you were partially responsible. However, your PIP coverage won’t provide compensation for non-monetary losses, such as pain and suffering.
The Different Types of PIP Policies in New Jersey
In New Jersey, you have two options—either the “basic” PIP policy or the “standard” PIP policy.
With the basic policy, you are automatically bound by a legal restriction known as a “limited right to sue.” That restriction means that you can file a lawsuit directly against the driver who caused the accident only if the injuries include one of the following:
- Significant scarring
- Loss of a body part
- Significant disfigurement
- A displaced fracture
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent injury
With the “standard” policy, you must choose between the limited right to sue and an “unlimited right to sue.” The unlimited right to sue typically costs more but allows you to bring legal claims directly against the at-fault driver for all your losses, including pain and suffering.
Contact the Law Office of Howard D. Popper
At the Law Office of Howard D. Popper, we can help protect your rights. For a free initial consultation to discuss your options after a motor vehicle accident, contact our office online or call 973-993-8787 to set up an appointment. We have offices in Morristown and Newton.
We handle all personal injury claims on a contingent-fee basis. You won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.