What does No-Fault Insurance Mean in NJ?
New Jersey is one of the few states that implement no-fault car insurance laws. The idea of no-fault insurance is often confusing because it doesn’t actually mean that fault plays no role in the claim process. Better understanding of how no-fault insurance works in New Jersey will help you better understand your coverage.
New Jersey’s No-Fault Insurance: Medical Coverage
Under New Jersey’s no-fault insurance laws, the medical expenses you incur in any traffic accident will be covered by your own car insurance policy – up to your policy limits (any excess will need to be addressed in another manner). This is true even if the other motorist involved is at fault for the accident that left you injured. This medical coverage is provided through personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which is sometimes referred to as no-fault coverage. PIP is designed to help prevent car accident cases from proceeding to trial and, theoretically, to compensate car accident victims for their injuries and lost wages more quickly.
Limitations on the Right to Sue
When you purchase your PIP coverage, you will be given the option to limit your right to sue the at-fault driver (called limitation on Right to Sue coverage) for a reduction in your premium. This limitation on lawsuits, if you choose it, means that there are only six situations that satisfy the threshold for bringing a case against the at-fault driver, including:
- Serious scarring or disfigurement
- Displaced fracture
- Loss of fetus
- Permanent injury
The other option is full tort coverage also called the No Limitation on Right to Sue coverage, which might cost more but means there are no limitations on your ability to sue the at-fault driver. This is the option we recommend.
Permanent vs. Non-permanent Injuries
The type of injury that most commonly plays a role in the limited tort option is a permanent injury. As such, it’s important to understand how the law distinguishes between permanent and non-permanent injuries. A permanent injury is defined by the law as a bodily organ or system that has not healed to the point of functioning normally and will not function normally with further treatment. The burden, however, remains on you to demonstrate that your injury is indeed permanent. The statute also requires that there be objective evidence of the permanent injury such as an MRI, Cat scan or X-ray. Your doctor must confirm that there is a permanent injury based on objective evidence that is causally related to the car accident. Finally, it’s important to recognize that the insurance company will likely have its own medical experts attempting to disprove the permanence of the injury you sustained in the accident.
If You’ve Been Injured by Another Driver’s Negligence, You Need an Experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer on Your Side
It is an understatement to say that New Jersey’s no-fault insurance laws are confusing. If another driver leaves you injured, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney. Attorney Scott G. Leonard at the Leonard Legal Group – proudly serving Morristown and Franklin Lakes, New Jersey – has the experience, skill, and compassion to help ensure that you obtain the compensation you need to reach your fullest recovery. Our dedicated legal team is here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us for more information today.