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Auto Accidents in New Jersey

Please consult Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., your New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers, for more information about Auto Accidents.

The auto accident laws of the State of New Jersey are extremely complex. These laws affect not only whether or not a person has the right to make a claim, but also their rights regarding their medical treatment. For this reason, an injured auto accident victim should seek legal counsel as early as possible. If you retain counsel, he or she will normally take the following steps; however, if you have not hired a lawyer, you need to know and take these steps:

Some Good and Practical Legal Advice for Auto Accident Victims

  1. Make sure that the police report is accurate and has your accurate version of the auto accident details.
  2. Under New Jersey automobile insurance law, your medical bills will be paid by your own auto insurance carrier (No-Fault Insurance). As a result, you need to put them on notice immediately in order to complete an application for Personal Injury Protection Benefits (PIP).
  3. You need to take or have someone take pictures of the external and internal property damage to your automobile and the other cars or trucks involved.
  4. You need to put your own autmobile insurance carrier on notice for potential uninsured or underinsured motorist claims.
  5. If the defendant automobile or driver is associated with a public entity, such as a city, county, or the State of New Jersey, you need to put them on notice by filing special forms within 90 days of the accident event.
  6. You need to examine your automobile insurance policy to determine your “threshold.” If you have either a lawsuit threshold or a verbal threshold, you will need to prove that the accident had permanently injured a body part..
  7. If the defendant was a commercial automobile, bus or a truck, you need to make sure certain evidence is preserved immediately.
  8. The law recognizes that many people have a history of prior accidents or medical conditions made worse by an auto accident. However, it will be your responsibility to make sure that you tell your treating doctors about these accidents or conditions and ensure that your old medical records areavailable for comparison, if necessary.
  9. You need to know that generally, there is a two year statute of limitations to bring a law suit for your personal injuries. If an auto accident law suit is not properly filed, you will be forever barred from making a claim. A child that was injured has until their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit for auto accident injuries that happend anytime before age 18.
  10. You need to be honest in all of your dealings with your medical providers, insurance companies and court proceedings. Many people, unaware of the pitfalls within our system, can unknowingly commit insurance fraud. For that reason alone, it is best to hire an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible

For more information on auto accidents, please consult Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. today, your New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers. Check out our Personal Injury Newsletter for up to date content on Auto Accidents.

In New Jersey Auto Accidents are governed by the following No Fault Insurance Statute:

39:6A-8 Tort exemption, limitation on the right to noneconomic loss.

8. Tort exemption; limitation on the right to noneconomic loss.

One of the following two tort options shall be elected, in accordance with section 14.1 of P.L.1983, c.362 (C.39:6A-8.1), by any named insured required to maintain personal injury protection coverage pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4):

a. Limitation on lawsuit option. Every owner, registrant, operator or occupant of an automobile to which section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4), personal injury protection coverage, section 4 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-3.1), medical expense benefits coverage, or section 45 of P.L.2003, c.89 (C.39:6A-3.3) regardless of fault, applies, and every person or organization legally responsible for his acts or omissions, is hereby exempted from tort liability for noneconomic loss to a person who is subject to this subsection and who is either a person who is required to maintain personal injury protection coverage pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4), medical expense benefits pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-3.1) or benefits pursuant to section 45 of P.L.2003,
c.89 (C.39:6A-3.3), or is a person who has a right to receive benefits under section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4), section 4 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-3.1) or section 45 of P.L.2003, c.89 (C.39:6A-3.3), as a result of bodily injury, arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of such automobile in this State, unless that person has sustained a bodily injury which results in death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement or significant scarring; displaced fractures; loss of a fetus; or a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement. An injury shall be considered permanent when the body part or organ, or both, has not healed to function normally and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment. For the purposes of this subsection, “physician” means a physician as defined in section 5 of P.L.1939, c.115 (C.45:9-5.1).

In order to satisfy the tort option provisions of this subsection, the plaintiff shall, within 60 days following the date of the answer to the complaint by the defendant, provide the defendant with a certification from the licensed treating physician or a board-certified licensed physician to whom the plaintiff was referred by the treating physician. The certification shall state, under penalty of perjury, that the plaintiff has sustained an injury described above. The certification shall be based on and refer to objective clinical evidence, which may include medical testing, except that any such testing shall be performed in accordance with medical protocols pursuant to subsection a. of section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4) and the use of valid diagnostic tests administered in accordance with section 12 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-4.7). Such testing may not be experimental in nature or dependent entirely upon subjective patient response. The court may grant no more than one additional period not to exceed 60 days to file the certification pursuant to this subsection upon a finding of good cause.

A person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if that person purposefully or knowingly makes, or causes to be made, a false, fictitious, fraudulent, or misleading statement of material fact in, or omits a material fact from, or causes a material fact to be omitted from, any certification filed pursuant to this subsection. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection e. of N.J.S.2C:44-1, the court shall deal with a person who has been convicted of a violation of this subsection by imposing a sentence of imprisonment unless, having regard to the character and condition of the person, the court is of the opinion that imprisonment would be a serious injustice which overrides the need to deter such conduct by others. If the court imposes a noncustodial or probationary sentence, such sentence shall not become final for 10 days in order to permit the appeal of such sentence by the prosecution. Nothing in this subsection a. shall preclude an indictment and conviction for any other offense defined by the laws of this State. In addition, any professional license held by the person shall be forfeited according to the procedures established by section 4 of P.L.1997, c.353 (C.2C:51-5); or

b. No limitation on lawsuit option. As an alternative to the basic tort option specified in subsection a. of this section, every owner, registrant, operator, or occupant of an automobile to which section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4), personal injury protection coverage, section 4 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-3.1), medical expense benefits coverage, or section 45 of P.L.2003, c.89 (C.39:6A-3.3), regardless of fault, applies, and every person or organization legally responsible for his acts or omissions, shall be liable for noneconomic loss to a person who is subject to this subsection and who is either a person who is required to maintain the coverage mandated by P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-1 et seq.) or is a person who has a right to receive benefits under section 4 of that act (C.39:6A-4), as a result of bodily injury, arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of such automobile in this State.

The tort option provisions of subsection b. of this section shall also apply to the right to recover for noneconomic loss of any person eligible for benefits pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4), section 4 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-3.1) or section 45 of P.L.2003, c.89 (C.39:6A-3.3) but who is not required to maintain personal injury protection coverage pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4), medical expense benefits coverage pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-3.1) or benefits pursuant to section 45 of P.L.2003, c.89 (C.39:6A-3.3) and is not an immediate family member, as defined in section 14.1 of P.L.1983, c.362 (C.39:6A-8.1), under a standard automobile insurance policy or basic automobile insurance policy.

The tort option provisions of subsection a. of this section shall also apply to any person subject to section 14 of P.L.1985, c.520 (C.39:6A-4.5) and to every named insured and any other person to whom the benefits of the special automobile insurance policy provided in section 45 of P.L.2003, c.89 (C.39:6A-3.3) or the medical expense benefits of the basic automobile insurance policy pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-3.1) apply whether or not the person has elected the optional $10,000 liability coverage insuring against loss resulting from liability imposed by law for bodily injury or death provided for in subsection c. of section 4 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-3.1).

The tort option provisions of subsections a. and b. of this section as provided in this 1998 amendatory and supplementary act shall apply to automobile insurance policies issued or renewed on or after the effective date of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-1.1 et al.) and as otherwise provided by law.

L.1972,c.70,s.8; amended 1972, c.203, s.6; 1983, c.362, s.14; 1985, c.520, s.15; 1988, c.119, s.6; 1990, c.8, s.9; 1998, c.21, s.11; 2003, c.89, s.52.

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