If you have auto accident injuries caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be eligible for financial compensation to cover the costs associated with your injuries. In New Jersey, no-fault laws limit your ability to seek coverage for pain and suffering unless your injuries are life-threatening or otherwise extreme.
Although New Jersey is a no-fault state, you can potentially sue for property damage, medical expenses and other costs that exceed available auto insurance coverage.
How the no-fault system works
When you have an auto accident in New Jersey, your insurance company is responsible for paying for vehicle damage and medical bills up to the coverage limits of your policy. Drivers must have either a basic or standard auto insurance policy.
A basic policy provides the minimum legal coverage of $5,000 per accident for property damage and $15,000 per person per accident of personal injury protection for most injuries. Bodily injury liability of up to $10,000 is optional and covers third-party injuries caused by your actions.
Standard coverage includes the following:
- Bodily injury liability from $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident to $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident
- Property damage from $5,000 to $100,000 or more per accident
- Personal injury protection from $15,000 to $250,000 or more per person or accident
Suing for damages
If your injuries and damages exceed your policy limits, you may be able to sue the other driver and/or his insurance company for the remainder of your costs as long as your policy does not limit your right to sue. If the court determines that you are less than 50% at fault for the accident, you may receive damages reduced by your fault percentage. For example, if you have $50,000 in costs beyond your insurance coverage and you are 20% at fault for the accident, you could receive damages of $40,000.
Punitive damages are available if the court finds the other driver committed malicious or severe wrongdoing. In New Jersey, these cannot exceed the greater of $350,000 or five times your compensatory damages.