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What does no-fault mean in a New Jersey auto accident?

Many New Jersey motorists believe they cannot sue after an auto accident because they live in a no-fault state. While no-fault laws require some injured drivers to seek compensation through the insurance company, others can take legal action.

Get the facts about no-fault in New Jersey if you or a loved one has suffered serious auto accident injuries.

What does no-fault mean?

The no-fault system requires injured drivers to file a claim with their personal injury protection policy. This type of auto coverage pays for accident-related expenses without consideration of fault. When you file a PIP claim, your insurance company will investigate the case and may attempt to recoup expenses from the responsible driver’s insurance company.

When can injured New Jersey drivers sue?

The state allows injured drivers to file a lawsuit and seek compensation directly from an at-fault driver only in certain circumstances. If you have a basic auto insurance policy, it limits your right to sue to cases involving permanent loss of function, miscarriage or stillbirth, displaced bone fracture, substantial scarring, disfigurement, or loss of a body part.

With a standard auto insurance policy, you can choose between the limited right to sue, described above, or the unlimited right to sue. If you select the latter option, you can file a lawsuit after an auto accident regardless of the extent of your injuries.

If your case does qualify for legal action, you must file a lawsuit within two years. A successful case must show negligence on the part of the defendant, such as speeding or reckless driving.