Ocean County Car Accidents
As in most places, car accidents are a serious problem in Ocean County. One of the most common causes of personal injury, car accidents are an everyday occurrence. Thankfully, most are limited to fender-benders, but some can be much more serious.
If you are involved in an accident in Ocean County, you should know your rights. You should know what laws are in place and understand how they can affect you. You should also know what to do if you experience a car accident in Ocean County.
What New Jersey Insurance Requirements Exist for Drivers?
The New Jersey laws that provide protections for people injured in car accidents has to do with the requirement that all drivers in the state must carry motor vehicle insurance. All states have rules mandating auto insurance, but minimum coverage requirements and non-compliance penalties can vary.
In New Jersey, drivers who do not have auto insurance can face fines. They also may lose their license for up to a year. Drivers caught driving without insurance may also be required to perform community service or may even be subject to jail time.
Drivers in New Jersey are required to keep at least a basic policy in place. A basic policy provides less coverage than a standard policy, but it is also less expensive, so it provides an option for drivers who might not otherwise purchase insurance.
Either a basic or standard policy covers others that may be harmed as a result of negligence; options with more coverage are also available. For a standard policy, drivers must be covered for a minimum of $15,000 for bodily liability, up to $30,000 per accident, and $5,000 for property damage.
Drivers must also be covered for any injuries to themselves. This part of the policy is called personal injury protection (PIP), which pays for any injuries you have or injuries by others listed on your policy, such as your spouse or children. PIP coverage must provide a minimum of $15,000 in coverage per person per accident for all those on your policy.
Finally, New Jersey drivers have additional non-mandatory options for insurance coverage that will increase their premium price but will provide better protection in an accident. These options include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage.
When a driver chooses to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, they receive insurance protection to cover them if they are injured in an accident caused by another driver who has insufficient insurance, or none at all, to cover their injuries.
Collision coverage and comprehensive coverage options provide even more protection at greater cost.
If you are hurt in an accident caused by a driver that only has a basic policy or no policy at all, your injuries may exceed the limits of the coverage available. The costs of your medical bills and lost wages may seriously threaten your financial well-being. You may have to recoup your losses by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused your accident.
How Does New Jersey’s No-Fault Status Affect Car Accidents?
New Jersey operates differently from most other states when it comes to car accidents. People who become injured in a car accident must file a claim with their own insurance, rather than depend on coverage through the other driver’s plan, no matter who was at fault in the accident.
Therefore, if you were involved in an accident in Ocean County, you would receive compensation for accident-related medical bills and other damages from your own insurance provider. The reason New Jersey and 10 other states use this policy is because it allows those injured in car accidents to quickly receive benefits without having to fight with insurance companies about who was to blame in the accident.
On the other hand, the no-fault system does not allow you to sue for pain and suffering unless your injuries exceed a certain threshold that establishes them as a serious injury.
Under What Conditions Can I File a Lawsuit?
In New Jersey, if you are injured in a car accident, the no-fault laws prevent you from filing a personal injury lawsuit against the person whose negligence caused the collision unless your injuries are severe enough. Such severe injuries include the following:
- Loss of body part.
- Significant disfigurement.
- Significant scarring.
- A displaced fracture.
- Loss of a fetus.
- Permanent injury in which the affected body part has not healed to allow normal function and is not expected to so heal.
Is There a Statute of Limitations Governing a Lawsuit?
Like all states, New Jersey imposes a statute of limitations by which a legal claim must be filed. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for personal injury is two years from the date of the incident that caused the injury. If you miss this filing deadline, you may be not able to present your case at all in court. This means that you may not be able to pursue compensation for your injuries.
How Do the Laws of Comparative Negligence Affect a Case?
New Jersey’s position on car accidents is governed by rules of modified comparative negligence. This legal theory holds that a person who is injured in an accident may collect compensation from another liable party only if they are less than 50 percent at fault themselves for the incident.
For example, if you glanced at your phone while approaching an intersection, you would probably bear some responsibility for any resulting collision. However, if another car was speeding and ran a red light before it crashed into your car, it would probably mean that the other driver’s negligence was greater than yours. In such a case, a court may decide that you were 10 percent at fault, and the other driver was 90 percent at fault. This would mean that you could collect 90 percent of the overall cost associate with the injuries you suffered in the accident. It is important to note that compensation is available only to claimants who are less than 50 percent responsible for their own accident.
What Should I Do after a Car Accident in Ocean County?
If you are involved in a car accident in Ocean County, you should report it to the police. It is required by law to report car accidents if there are any injuries or significant property damage. You should also exchange contact information with the other driver and attempt to collect any evidence to support a potential claim. You should get the other driver’s name, address, phone number, and insurance information. Note any conditions or behavior that you think contributed to the accident. Take photos of damage to the cars or how they are positioned at the site of the collision. Any proof you can collect at the scene may be used to support your case, if you should need to prove what happened.
Ocean County Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Help Clients Understand Their Rights After an Accident
If you sustained serious injuries in a car accident, you might be able to claim coverage for the costs associated with medical tests, treatments, or appointments you needed to address those injuries. If you had to miss work because of your accident, you might be able to collect compensation for lost income. Our Ocean County car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova can help you explore your legal options after a collision. Call us at 732-705-3363 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Ocean County, Sussex County, Neptune, Middlesex County, and Pennsylvania.