Car crashes are major sources of injuries and deaths, so if you escaped from a serious collision with just some bruises and damage to your vehicle, you probably feel pretty lucky. However, your gratitude might soon fade when you realize how much it is going to cost to repair your vehicle to make it safe to drive again.
Collisions can result in thousands of dollars worth of damage to your car. In some cases, if there is damage to the frame or critical systems, the vehicle might wind up totaled, meaning you can’t repair it and make it safe to drive in the future. If the other driver is the one who caused the crash, can you bring a claim against their insurance for the cost of repairing your vehicle?
New Jersey liability insurance protects the victims in crashes
The insurance policy on your vehicle primarily insures you against liability. Basically, your policy will cover any costs for medical care to other people or property damage to other individuals if you cause a crash. When your car gets wrecked in a crash caused by someone else, that person’s insurance theoretically covers your financial losses.
Unfortunately, New Jersey has one of the lowest minimum coverage amounts for property damage coverage in the country. Someone with a bare-bones insurance policy may only have $5,000 worth of property damage coverage. It isn’t hard to see how the cost to repair your vehicle could be much higher than that. Will you get stuck with the remainder of the bill if a bad driver also has bad insurance?
You may need to go to your insurance or file a civil suit
If the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance or didn’t have an active insurance policy at all, the mandatory uninsured/underinsured driver coverage included in New Jersey policies might help cover some of the property damage costs you incur. That means bringing a secondary claim against your policy for the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle.
If the insurance coverage still isn’t enough, you may need to consider bringing a personal injury lawsuit against the other party to get compensation for the amount of damage to your vehicle. You shouldn’t have to cover the costs because of someone else’s mistakes.