What Insurance Proceeds Can You Expect to Recover?
In New Jersey, when you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, whether as a passenger or while driving the car, you must first look to your own auto insurance policy for coverage. Under the state’s “no-fault” approach to car insurance, every motorist is required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. But what are your options if your losses exceed the policy limits of your PIP coverage? Can you file legal action against the at-fault party to recover what your own policy won’t pay? It depends.
The Different Types of Auto Insurance Policies in New Jersey
Motor vehicle insurance policies in New Jersey fall into two categories: standard and basic. Basic policies are generally less expensive but provide less protection and limit the rights of policyholders. Most drivers in New Jersey choose the standard policy. So what’s the difference?
The standard policy offers coverage for bodily injury, property damage, personal injury protection, and uninsured or underinsured motorists. The basic policy includes a minimum level of protection for property damage, as well as some PIP, with limitations, but it carries no bodily injury protection and no coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists. Collision and comprehensive are available as an option with both types of policies.
The most significant difference between the two types of policies deals with the rights of policyholders when damages from an accident exceed the policy limits of their PIP. Basic policies come with a “limited right to sue” clause, which prohibits the policyholder from suing the at-fault party for pain and suffering caused by the accident unless they have one of the following injuries:
- Loss of a body part
- Loss of a fetus
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
- Displaced fracture
- Permanent injury
The standard policy gives the policyholder the option to choose either a “limited right to sue” or an “unlimited right to sue.” If the policy contains an unlimited right to sue clause, the policyholder may sue the at-fault party for losses exceeding their PIP limits for any type of injury suffered.
Contact Attorney Howard N. Sobel
At the office of Howard N. Sobel, we have extensive experience protecting the rights of people injured in New Jersey motor vehicle accidents. Contact our office online or call us at 856-424-6400 to set up a free initial consultation. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request. We accept all major credit cards.