Who Should I Call After a Car Accident in New Jersey?
One of the most important decisions injured accident victims need to make after a crash is determining who to contact first regarding an insurance claim. In New Jersey, this decision can be complicated due to the state’s no-fault insurance laws.
If you were injured in a crash and need help filing a claim, call our New Jersey car accident lawyers today. We can discuss your legal options during a free consultation. There are also no upfront fees while we work on your case.
Below, we discuss the impact of New Jersey’s PIP insurance on the question of who to call after a crash, as well as the process of filing a liability insurance claim.
Should I Call My Insurance Company or the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company?
In most states, accident victims file a claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance company to pursue compensation for all damages. However, this is not the case in the Garden State.
In New Jersey, injured victims are generally required to contact their own insurance company first after a car accident, regardless of who is at fault.
This is because New Jersey operates under a no-fault insurance system. Under this system, drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which provides benefits for economic damages like medical bills and lost wages.
By contacting your own insurance company, you can initiate the claims process to receive the necessary medical benefits covered under your policy. Our knowledgeable attorneys may be able to help guide you through the process.
It is important to note that you should still contact the at-fault driver’s liability insurance company to file a claim for any property damages. Your initial claim with your own PIP insurance is only for damages associated with your injuries.
When Can I File a Claim With the Liability Insurance Company?
The no-fault system makes it necessary for accident victims to file a claim with their own insurance company first. However, there are instances when it is necessary to file an injury claim with the liability insurance company of the at-fault driver.
The first scenario is when you do not have enough PIP insurance to cover the full extent of your damages. For example, if you only have the $10,000 minimum coverage, but your medical bills are expected to cost over $15,000.
Accident victims may also file a claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance company to pursue compensation for pain and suffering. This is because PIP insurance does not cover non-economic damages. It is important to note that while most drivers do carry bodily injury liability insurance, it is not a mandatory coverage in New Jersey.
If the liable insurance company is refusing to pay compensation for damages, accident victims may be able to take legal action in some cases.
When Can I Sue the Liability Insurance Company?
New Jersey has a verbal threshold law that may limit an accident victim’s right to sue the liability insurance company for compensation unless certain criteria are met.
If you only have a basic insurance policy in New Jersey, you do not have the right to sue the insurance company. There are some exceptions to this law, such as if you sustained a serious injury, including significant disfigurement, displaced fractures, permanent injury or loss of a body part or function.
However, you may be able to sue for compensation if you have a standard policy with the “unlimited right to sue” option selected. If you selected the standard policy with a limited right to sue, then you may not be able to pursue compensation for non-economic damages.
It may be in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney who may be able to provide more legal guidance on your case, as every situation is different.
Who Else Should I Call After a Crash?
In addition to speaking with an attorney and the insurance companies, it is vital for accident victims to remember to dial 9-1-1. Not only will this get the police to the scene of the crash, but the dispatcher may also send an ambulance to the scene.
It is important to not refuse a medical evaluation at the scene of the crash, as this may help catch symptoms of a serious injury that may not otherwise be detected for several days.
Call an Experienced Attorney Today
Almost everyone knows how important it is to call the police immediately after an accident. Unfortunately, not many know which insurance company to call – the liability insurance or your PIP insurance.
Call our knowledgeable attorneys today to get help with this process. We offer a free legal consultation, and there are no upfront fees if we take on your case.
No risks. No upfront costs. Call 800-518-0508 today.