Understanding fault in New Jersey auto accidents

New Jersey has a no-fault system for auto accidents, which details how and when a seriously injured person can pursue compensation. In most cases, the person files a claim for compensation with his or her own auto insurance company.

Review the factors that influence whether someone can claim damages from the at-fault driver after debilitating auto accident injuries in New Jersey.

Compensation with a basic policy

Drivers who have selected New Jersey’s “basic” auto insurance coverage will receive compensation for injuries up to the limits of their personal injury protection policy. They can sue the other driver only in circumstances involving permanent injury, loss of an unborn child, displaced bone fracture, significant scarring or disfigurement, or loss of a limb or body part.

Standard policy with right to sue

Some drivers opt for the state’s “standard” level of auto insurance coverage. With this policy, they can select either the limited or unlimited right to sue. With the limited right to sue, which costs less, the driver cannot seek damages for pain and suffering after a debilitating auto accident injury. Drivers who select the limited right to sue can seek compensation with no limits regardless of the severity of their injuries.

Modified comparative fault

With both types of insurance, New Jersey follows modified comparative fault laws. Drivers with eligibility to file a lawsuit can receive partial damages from the court if they have up to 50% responsibility for the accident. The court will reduce the financial award by the driver’s fault percentage.

Drivers who can file a lawsuit after a New Jersey auto accident must do so within two years of the incident.

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