Legal Guide

New Jersey Car Accident Laws 2024 Guide: How the Law Works

New Jersey is among the states with lower-than-average car accident prevalence rates. Sadly, the low prevalence rates do not mean anything to the individuals who find themselves in an accident. 

However, they can find reprieve in the fact that they can recover damages for harm caused by the negligent actions or inactions of others. Understanding how New Jersey car accident laws work is the first step in recovering damages. 

This guide looks into the basics of New Jersey personal injury law and can give you general insight into how it works, so keep reading. 

“Choice” No-Fault Approach to Insurance

New Jersey is a “choice” no-fault state approach, meaning you can choose to purchase fault or no-fault insurance. If you opt for no-fault insurance, you will need to carry at least $15,000 (Personal Injury Protection) PIP coverage and $5,000 for property damage liability.

If you opt for fault bead insurance, you will need to carry the minimum bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. The minimum coverage for bodily injury liability is $25,000 per person injured, $50,000 per accident, and not less than $5,000 to cover damage to third-party property. 

The Right to Sue

The majority of New Jersey residents opt for no-fault insurance. So, after an accident, policyholders turn to their insurer for damages resulting from injuries suffered and can only sue the at-fault party if the damages exceed their PIP coverage. 

However, this limitation to suing is only applicable to the basic policy. With a standard policy, policyholders step out of this limitation and can sue by choosing the “unlimited to sue” option. The unlimited-to-sue policy allows you to sue the at-fault driver without seeking compensation from your insurer first. 

No Play, No Pay Rules

States have different approaches to recovering damages if you are involved in an accident while uninsured. New Jersey has a no-pay, no-play approach to compensation in cases where the victim is not insured. Under this approach, the victim can only recover economic damages and lose out on the non-economic damages. 

Non-economic damages refer to the non-tangible losses suffered in an accident and can include pain and suffering, as well as emotional and psychological pain, which are the largest determinants of a case’s value. However, these rules have some exemptions, so you can have your lawyer look into them to see if any apply to your case.

The Statute of Limitation

“While you have a right to sue the at-fault party for harm suffered, your right doesn’t run indefinitely. It has time limits based on the statute of limitation, a deadline within which you must bring a claim,” says Attorney Andrew Statmore of Fredson Statmore Bitterman, LLC. 

The statute of limitation in New Jersey runs for two years. This means you must file a lawsuit within two years from the injuries you suffered. 

However, there are a few exemptions to this rule, for example, if the victim is a minor, in which case the statute of limitations starts running on their 18th birthday. Also, the statute of limitation may exceed two years if the injuries leave you mentally incapacitated and start running after you regain mental capacity. 

The Role of a Lawyer

There is no requirement for having a lawyer when pursuing a car accident claim in New Jersey. But with the complex nature of insurance and personal injury law in the state, having a New Jersey lawyer on your case can significantly improve the chances of getting a fair outcome. 

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