Costello: Well then who’s on first?
Costello: I mean the fellow’s name.
Costello: The guy on first.
Costello: The first baseman.
Costello: The guy playing…
Abbott: Who is on first!
Costello: I’m asking YOU who’s on first.
Abbott: That’s the man’s name.
Costello: That’s who’s name?
The classic comedy routine “Who’s On First” is always good for a chuckle, but it is also a decent illustration of the reason why New Jersey has what is known as no-fault insurance.
It seems logical that the person who caused a car accident should pay for the damage, but what if everyone involved in the accident was a little bit to blame?
Who’s at fault?
What happens if the person at fault cannot afford to pay?
Who should pay?
These are tricky questions.
In order to simplify things, and ensure that everyone involved in a car accident is able to get the medical treatment they need regardless of their culpability or wealth, New Jersey lawmakers require drivers in our state to carry no-fault insurance.
No-Fault Doesn’t Mean Fault Is Not Assigned
No-fault is kind of a funny name, because fault is still determined in most accidents — which is why you might get a ticket for unsafe driving after causing an accident, or be sued by another driver.
What no-fault really means is that each person involved in a car accident is going to have to rely on his or her own insurance when seeking medical treatment after an accident before seeking compensation elsewhere. Even passengers must first seek compensation from their own insurance company despite the fact that it is unlikely they were actually at fault.
If you have never heard of no-fault coverage, it may be because it is often called personal injury protection or PIP coverage.
Two Parts To PIP
There are two different things that no-fault or PIP covers — medical treatment/equipment and financial losses.
Any medical bills you rack up should be paid by your insurance company, up to your policy limits. This includes bills for emergency care and ongoing treatments. PIP insurance should also cover the cost of medical equipment, whether purchased or rented.
PIP should also compensate you for lost wages, and reimburse you for money you have to spend on things like childcare while you seek medical treatment.
Why Do You Need An Attorney If Your Own Insurance Is Required To Pay?
Many people wonder why they would want to hire an attorney if their insurance company is obligated to pay out. The unfortunate truth is insurance companies are not pleased when they are forced to pay out, so they attempt to low-ball you, or deny claims they really should be covering. Working with an experienced attorney will allow you to focus on healing instead of spending your time negotiating with your insurance company.
An attorney will also be able to advise you if you could get additional compensation by filing a lawsuit against the other people involved in the accident, a government entity that failed to properly maintain the roadway, or your car’s manufacturer.
If you have been involved in an accident in Bergen County or elsewhere in Northern New Jersey, and you need help navigating the post-accident mess, please contact our office in Hackensack to schedule a free meeting with our experienced team of attorneys.
Posted in: Personal Injury