What Does No-Fault Car Insurance Cover in New Jersey?
The New Jersey no-fault law requires drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Oftentimes the only option motorists have after an accident is to file a PIP claim with their own insurance company.
In the event of an accident, no-fault car insurance covers losses that other insurance policies do not. However, it is also important to be aware of what PIP insurance does not cover, as well as when you may be entitled to more.
Covered Losses Under New Jersey No-Fault Insurance
If you are injured in a car accident, PIP insurance will cover select economic damages. New Jersey offers motorists two choices when it comes to no-fault insurance: the basic policy and the standard policy.
The basic auto insurance policy provides up to $15,000 in personal injury protection coverage. Under the standard policy, coverage can range from $15,000 to $250,000 depending on how much you want to purchase.
The two auto insurance policies also vary in terms of covered losses. With the basic policy, you are only eligible for coverage of medical expenses. Meanwhile, the standard policy covers medical expenses and more (up to your policy limits and statutory limits) in the event of an accident:
Costs related to medical care make up a significant portion of the damages sought by plaintiffs in car accident claims. No-fault insurance provides coverage of medical expenses without you having to file a lawsuit.
PIP insurance covers all of the medical bills you incur as a result of your car accident injuries. This include costs related to:
- Transportation to the hospital
- Emergency room treatment
- Surgical procedures
- Followup appointments with your doctor(s)
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy and other rehabilitation
As part of the no-fault program, drivers have the option to designate a health insurer to cover the cost of medical care after a car accident. Doing so can make your no-fault coverage stretch further, as your health insurance will cover the initial costs while PIP acts as a secondary insurer.
Under the standard policy, your PIP insurance will also cover the wages you lose if your injuries from the car accident leave you unable to work. This benefit is called income continuation.
If you select the basic auto insurance policy and make no adjustments, PIP will pay up to $100 per week for one year in income continuation as you recover from your injuries. You have the option to purchase additional PIP coverage, which will result in expanded income continuation benefits.
In addition to payments for lost wages, PIP insurance provides benefits for the cost of services for household activities you would perform independently if not for the accident. With the essential services benefit, you can be reimbursed up to $12 per day if you pay outside service providers (such as housekeepers, landscapers, childcare providers, etc.) to do housework that you are unable to perform as you recover from your injuries.
Funeral Expenses and Death Benefits
Lastly, if a member of your family is tragically killed in a car accident, PIP insurance under the standard auto policy will cover two types of losses:
- Funeral expenses – maximum $1,000 toward the cost of a funeral and burial or cremation services
- Death benefits – survivors are entitled to a lump sum benefit equal to what an income earner or provider of essential services would have been awarded had he or she survived the accident
As with other benefits under the standard auto policy, purchasing additional PIP coverage will increase the death benefit and coverage of funeral expenses. Doing so can provide surviving family members with much-needed support in the event of a fatal car accident.
Is No-Fault Insurance My Only Option?
PIP insurance can help offset some of your losses in the wake of a car accident, but the benefits rarely result in a complete financial recovery. There is also no coverage under no-fault insurance for long-term economic damages (such as future medical expenses and loss of earning capacity) or non-economic damages (like pain and suffering).
The only way to recover these damages is to file a lawsuit. To do this, you must prove that (a) the other driver is at fault for the accident and (b) the accident caused you serious injuries or resulted in the wrongful death of a loved one.
Filing a fault-based claim can be much more challenging than filing a PIP insurance claim. It is in your best interest to contact an attorney for assistance as soon as possible.
No-Fault or Not No-Fault? Find Out Today
Motorists in New Jersey are often unaware of the full extent of benefits under PIP insurance, as well as when they have the right to sue. An experienced lawyer can determine the available insurance coverage and investigate the accident to determine if you have grounds for a fault-based claim.
With more than 80 years of combined experience practicing law, the attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have extensive knowledge of the New Jersey no-fault law. We are also experienced litigators, achieving millions of dollars on behalf of our clients through settlement negotiations and in court.
Please call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 today for a free case review. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in Fort Lee and throughout New Jersey.