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New Jersey Car Accident Compensation Laws

New Jersey is the country's most densely populated state. In such a congested area, car accidents are unavoidable. If you have been in a car accident in the Garden State, there are several requirements and limitations to receive compensation for damages caused by someone else's fault. Thus, it's important to research New Jersey car accident compensation laws in order to seek proper damages for your injuries.

This article provides a brief overview of New Jersey car accident compensation laws.

New Jersey's No-Fault Auto Insurance Laws

New Jersey is one of the few states that follow the "no-fault" insurance system. Under the no-fault system, you must turn to your own insurance company first to pay medical expenses and other losses arising out of the car accident. One of the benefits of the no-fault system is that medical expenses are paid quickly, avoiding extensive time periods to receive reimbursement for out-of-pocket medical bills and other expenses. However, the no-fault policy limits your right to sue for pain and suffering unless in the most serious injuries.

New Jersey Insurance Policies: At a Glance

In New Jersey, there are two common types of insurance policies: (1) Standard and (2) Basic. The Standard Policy includes multiple coverage options and the opportunity to buy additional protection. Most people in New Jersey are insured under this policy. The Basic Policy could be an option for people with few family responsibilities and few assets to protect.

Standard Policy:

Bodily Injury Liability
  • Minimum coverage is as low as $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident;
  • Maximum coverage of $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident
Property Damage
  • Minimum coverage of $5,000 per accident;
  • Maximum coverage of $100,000 or more
Personal Injury Protection
  • Minimum coverage of $15,000 per person or accident;
  • Maximum coverage of $250,000 or more
Limitation to Sue You must choose one:
  • Unlimited Right to Sue (you retain the right to sue the person who caused the accident for pain and suffering for any injury); or
  • Limited Right to Sue (you agree not to sue the person who caused the accident for your pain and suffering unless you sustained permanent injuries, which include:
    • loss of body part
    • significant disfigurement or significant scarring
    • a displaced fracture
    • loss of a fetus
    • permanent injury (Any injury shall be considered permanent when the body part or organ, or both, has not healed to function normally and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment based on objective medical proof.)
    • death)

Basic Policy:

Bodily Injury Liability Not included, but $10,000 coverage for all persons, per accident, available as an option
Property Damage $5,000 per accident
Personal Injury Protection
  • $15,000 per person, per accident;
  • Up to $250,000 for certain injuries
Limitation to Sue Optional:
  • Limited Right to Sue (you agree not to sue the person who caused the accident for your pain and suffering unless you sustained a permanent injury)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Time Limit and Damages Caps in New Jersey

If you are suing someone, there are specific deadlines and limitations depending on the type of case you're filing. In car accident cases, you have two years to file a lawsuit in New Jersey. After this time period, you won't be able to file a lawsuit against your opponent.

Also, some states limit the amount of damages that may be awarded for a case. This type of law is known as a damages cap. In New Jersey, the state applies a damages cap on punitive damages, which are available in cases of serious or malicious wrongdoing. Punitive damages are capped at 5 times the amount of compensatory damages or $350,000, whichever is greater.

Modified Comparative Negligence Standard in New Jersey

New Jersey applies the modified comparative negligence standard in personal injury cases. That means that as long as you are not more than 50 percent at fault, you are able to recover damages diminished by the percentage of your fault. However, if you were more than 50 percent at fault, you cannot collect any compensation at all.

For example, at a trial, the jury determines the amount of damages you've suffered is $100,000. However, you were 20 percent at fault and your opponent was 80 percent at fault. In this case, you would be able to recover 80 percent of $100,000 in damages, which is $80,000. However, if you are found to be 60 percent at fault, then you won't be able to receive any compensation because you are more than 50 percent at fault.

Get Legal Help With Compensation for a New Jersey Car Accident

New Jersey is a no-fault state that is subject to several limitations and rules when it comes to car accidents. Even a minor car accident may require complex legal research in order for you to receive the compensation you deserve. To protect your best interests, contact an experienced New Jersey car accident attorney near you.

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