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New Jersey Car Accident Laws

Published: Jan 23, 2017 in Personal Injury

When you are in a car accident, there are potentially dozens of laws that apply to your situation. From basic insurance requirements to the statute of limitations on your legal claims, you need to know about car accident laws in New Jersey to avoid breaking the rules and protect your rights in terms of recovering compensation after you have been hurt.

Unfortunately, if you have never been in an accident, all of these may only add confusion during an already stressful time. Instead of trying to figure out what to do yourself, contact Bhatt Law Group as soon as possible. We understand how collisions can lead to serious injuries and devastating financial repercussions. We can help you gain compensation from insurance or file a personal injury claim.

Call us today at (201) 798-8000 to schedule a free consultation with a Jersey City car accident lawyer.

You and Other Drivers Must Have Auto Insurance

Auto accidents in New Jersey are covered by “no fault insurance,” which means your own policy pays for your injuries and vehicle damage no matter who caused the crash. However, you and all other drivers are required to carry auto insurance and may be held liable for damage and injuries that result from an accident you – or they – cause. New Jersey law states all auto insurance providers must offer a basic policy, which contains the minimum amount of insurance required by law.

You must have the following coverage:

  • Bodily Injury Liability – This provides at least $15,000 coverage for each person and at least $30,000 coverage for all people injured in auto accidents that you cause.
  • Property Damage Liability – This provides at least $5,000 coverage for property damaged as a result of an auto accident that you cause.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – This provides at least $15,000 coverage per person per accident for anyone covered under your policy.

You may opt to have coverage with higher policy limits than those required as state minimums. You are not required to carry underinsured / uninsured (UM/UIM), collision, or comprehensive coverage. However, basic policies will offer those as options.

If you are hurt in an accident and you discover the other driver only has a basic policy, you will likely need more compensation than the other insurer will provide. If you are facing expensive medical bills on top of being out of work, you may need to file a personal injury claim against the driver responsible for the accident. You should contact a Jersey City car accident lawyer immediately to learn more about your options to recover compensation.

You Need to Report Your Accident

Under New Jersey law, you must report any vehicle accident that results in injury, death, or property damage valued at more than $500. The best way to report an accident is to immediately call 911 or your local police department. In addition to calling it in, you will need to complete a written report regarding the collision within 10 days.

Clearly, there may be accidents following which you are not capable of making a report. If there is another person in the vehicle at the time of the crash who can call the police, they must do so. If you are in the hospital or incapacitated for the 10 days following the accident and cannot make a report, the owner of the vehicle – if it is someone other than you – must fill out the form. Additionally, you are not required to make a written report if a law enforcement officer does so.

Knowingly failing to report an accident is an offense, punishable by a fine up to $100, court costs, and the loss of your license. However, there are defenses to this offense and ways to fix the situation if you did not immediately call in an accident. If you were involved in a collision and you have learned you should file a report, call Bhatt Law Group right away. An attorney can determine if a police officer made a report in your place and the next best steps.

When You Are Partially at Fault for an Accident

Many car accidents are caused because more than one driver makes a mistake. For instance, the other driver may have performed a rolling stop at a stop sign, however, you may have been speeding. When both your and the other driver’s actions contributed to the collision, an insurer or the courts must determine for how much each of you is responsible. This is known as comparative negligence.

Under New Jersey’s comparative negligence law, if you are partially at fault for a car accident, you may still be able to recover some compensation. Your insurance settlement or jury award will be reduced by the percentage of your responsibility. For example, if you file an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance company and it decides you are 20 percent at fault, your compensation may be lowered by 20 percent. However, you cannot recover any financial settlement or personal injury award if you are found to be more responsible for the crash than the other driver.

When you are worried that an insurer might find you partially at fault for a collision, call an attorney immediately. An experienced car accident lawyer can support your insurance claim, including the claim that you are not responsible at all or only for a small percentage of the crash.

The Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

All states limit how long you have to bring a lawsuit based on your injuries. This ensures no one is liable for an accident for the rest of their lives. However, when you have been hurt, you need to understand how long you have to deal with insurance and try to recover compensation before you need to file a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in New Jersey is two years. There are some exceptions to this time limit. A knowledgeable attorney can help you figure out the time limits associated with your claim.

If you were in an accident and have spent a significant amount of time trying to gain compensation, call Bhatt Law Group immediately. It may be time to go to court.

Learn More About Car Accident Laws in New Jersey

These are only four of the common laws that affect you after a car accident. If you are currently trying to get better following a collision and you need to gain compensation to stay out of debt, do not hesitate to seek legal advice. At Bhatt Law Group, we have decades of collective experience helping individuals like you gain insurance settlements or personal injury awards following crashes.

Call us today (201) 798-8000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.