Third-Party Claims and Auto Accident Attorneys Passaic County and Northern NJ
In the aftermath of an accident, having a New Jersey automobile accident attorney can help support the process of recovering damages.
Being involved in a car accident is a complicated matter. There are the physical and emotional tolls the collision takes on a person, and the legal and financial logistics one must navigate in its wake. In the aftermath of an accident, having a New Jersey automobile accident attorney can help support the process of recovering damages to your physical and emotional person as well as your property, all while creating space for you to focus on your own recovery.
New Jersey is a “No-Fault” state
New Jersey is a “No-Fault” state. This means that when you are in a car accident, your own auto insurance carrier will be the one to whom you file an initial claim and submit medical expense receipts to, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
All New Jersey Basic Coverage includes Property Damage Liability insurance, which your auto insurance carrier uses to covers damages to your vehicle and other physical property up to $5,000 per accident. Basic coverage also includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP), the section of your policy from which medical expenses are covered up to $15,000, or $250,000 in the case that severe or permanent brain or spinal damage is incurred in the accident.
Given the No-Fault laws in New Jersey, generally, the first step many drivers take is to file a first-degree claim, a claim with their own carrier. But then what? What if the accident wasn’t your fault? Can you recover damages from the at-fault driver in New Jersey?
What is the difference between a first-party claim and a third-party claim?
Regardless of the filing of a claim with your own auto insurance carrier, it is important to know how to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier, as it could mean the difference between having all of your damages recovered, and only having partial damages paid for.
When you file an auto accident claim with your own insurance carrier, it is called filing a first-party claim, as noted. A first-party claim can be filed with one’s own insurance carrier when you have collision coverage alone or comprehensive coverage (physical damage coverages) as well as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) personal damage coverage. In the case that you file a first-party claim alone, your insurance company will pay to repair your damaged vehicle, or, in the case that damages exceed the worth of your car, they will pay you up to the value of your vehicle. Additionally, they will pay up to the number of medical expenses covered per accident, generally $15,000.
When you file an auto accident claim with the other party’s insurance carrier, it is called filing a third-party claim. This is the kind of claim you will want to file if the other party is at fault for causing the accident. In the case of filing a third-party claim, having the support of an auto accident or personal injury lawyer is essential, because the opposing party’s insurance carrier will only pay the amount for which their client is legally responsible. Sometimes this is less than what is needed to recoup full losses due to the accident. An auto accident attorney will work to ensure that you recover the full extent of damages incurred in the accident while you focus on your own rest and recovery.
If you file a third party claim, the opposing party’s auto insurance company will investigate to learn who was legally responsible for the accident; what the physical and medical damages were directly related to the accident; and, if their client was responsible, to what extent they were responsible. If partial fault is determined as a result of the investigation, the percentage it is found you were responsible will be withdrawn from the financial damages recovered.
If the opposing party’s auto insurance refuses to accept the claim, stating that their client was not responsible for the accident though they clearly were, you can file a claim with your own insurance carrier under Uninsured Motorist Insurance coverage, if you have this additional policy.
What happens if I am at fault for the accident?
If you were the one who caused the accident, you can only recover expenses through your own first-party claim.
At The Montanari Law Group, our experienced team of attorneys is prepared to support drivers in Paterson, Hawthorne, Wayne and across Northern New Jersey in all auto insurance, accident, and personal injury matters, including filing both first- and third-party accident claims.
Our singular approach is geared to handle all communication with our clients and opposing parties’ auto insurance carriers so they may focus on rest and recovery.
To speak with our firm today regarding your first- or third-party auto accident claim, please feel free to fill out our online form or give us a call through our Little Falls office today at 973-233-4396 for a free consultation.