There are more than 6 million people licensed to drive in the Garden State. When you’re sitting in traffic on the Palisades Interstate Parkway, it can feel like every one of them is right there with you. When there’s so many people packed together, you need to know New Jersey’s car accident laws. In fact, 2022 was a record-setting year for traffic fatalities in the commonwealth, according to the New Jersey State Police.
Your personal injuries must be financially addressed, even if it means fighting with the insurance companies to get a fitting settlement. Find a New Jersey car accident attorney to address your rights to insurance adjusters, yourself, or even a judge and jury. You don’t have to physically and emotionally pay for a crash you didn’t cause.
IMPORTANT: Consulting a New Jersey auto accident attorney — even if you have insurance — is the best way to get the settlement you deserve. You may receive a higher settlement when you fight against your adjusters with an attorney.
Reporting a Car Accident in New Jersey
New Jersey car accident laws require you to report — as soon as possible — any auto accident that causes injury, death, or more than $500 in vehicle or property damage.
The first thing to do when reporting a car accident in New Jersey is to find anyone hurt in the crash and call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. Make sure you report signs of injury and not flee the scene unless you want to risk a hit-and-run charge on your record in New Jersey.
If local or state police investigate your crash, request a police report from the State Police to strengthen your claim. You may have to pay a small one-time fee to get your reports, but it’s worth acquiring evidence for your claim.
If police can’t investigate your wreck, you have 10 days to submit a written accident report using the state Department of Transportation’s Self-Reporting Crash Form.
IMPORTANT: There are special rules for crashes on certain roadways. While you can request the forms by mail, it’s faster to do it online. You may have to pay a small one-time fee.
- If your crash was on the Atlantic City Expressway, visit Crashdocs and select New Jersey as the state and Atlantic City Police Department as the Agency, then follow the instructions.
- If your accident was on the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway or another state toll road, visit the State Police’s Toll Road Crash Report Request portal. Select the name of the road and follow the instructions.
FYI: Unless the crash was truly minor, you should see a doctor to know if you have any hidden injuries, while providing evidence to your attorney for a potential claim.
Information to Gather During a Crash in New Jersey
You need to gather the following information during a car crash to accurately report the accident to New Jersey authorities. This info is vital if you’re reporting the accident yourself, and if you want to pursue legal compensation in the future:
- The other driver’s:
- Name, address and phone number
- Driver’s license number
- License plate state and number
- Insurance company and policy number
- Witnesses’ names and contact information
- Descriptions and photographs of any damage to every vehicle and of the area where the crash occurred
PRO TIP: Never agree to forget about the accident. You may have bodily injuries or repairs you aren’t aware of. The other driver may have filed a lawsuit against you to protect themselves. To avoid incriminating yourself, say as little as possible when exchanging information. Keep the conversation brief and cordial.
New Jersey Car Insurance Laws
According to the NJ Motor Vehicles Commission, three kinds of insurance are mandatory for any vehicle registered in New Jersey:
- Liability insurance
- Uninsured motorist coverage
- Personal injury protection (PIP)
Minimum Insurance Requirements
Let’s take a quick look at auto coverages required in New Jersey:
Liability insurance reimburses others for the damages you caused in an accident. It also covers legal fees if you’re sued by others involved in the crash. There are two kinds of liability coverage:
- Bodily injury insurance covers claims and cases by others involved in an accident you caused. This includes non-economic damages like pain and suffering and economic damages like lost wages.
- Property damage insurance covers claims and cases by anyone whose property was damaged by a wreck you caused.
Uninsured motorist coverage pays for property or bodily injury when the other driver doesn’t carry the insurance policies required by New Jersey car accident law.
IMPORTANT: The amount paid excludes the first $500 in damages.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) reimburses car accident expenses for anyone covered by your policy, whether you’re at-fault or not. Some policies require you to file a PIP claim to receive compensation for medical and other economic losses. You can choose either or both of these coverages:
- Medical expenses PIP covers costs for medical treatment and devices.
- Related expenses PIP pays for non-medical impacts like lost wages and home health care.
Additional Coverage Options in New Jersey
You can also choose the following additional coverage options, including:
- Underinsured motorist insurance covers property damage and bodily injury that exceeds the other driver’s policy.
- IMPORTANT: The amount paid excludes the first $500 in damages.
- Collision insurance pays for self-inflicted damages to your vehicle (like hitting a parked car) or from an accident you didn’t cause.
- Comprehensive insurance covers damage caused by something other than a collision, like floods, fires, vandalism, or theft.
Negligence and Liability Laws in New Jersey
When a driver’s negligence causes an accident, that driver is considered at-fault. There are specific rules for wrecks involving disabled drivers, self-driving cars, or commercial vehicles like a semi-truck, but that rule remains the same. Your case’s insurance adjuster determines who is negligent or at-fault, but their judgements can be argued against by your car accident attorney.
The negligent driver or their insurer may be required to pay your medical bills, lost wages and other compensation. An attorney experienced in New Jersey car accident laws can help you understand how liability and negligence apply to your case.
Is New Jersey a No-Fault State?
New Jersey is a unique no-fault state that requires all drivers to carry auto insurance. The Garden State is one of a few “choice” no-fault states where you can choose a standard policy that includes personal injury coverage, or a basic policy that has limited benefits. Coverages you select impacts how much you pay in premiums and the benefits you get.
FYI: The State has an automated insurance coverage planner to help you select the right coverage for you and your budget.
New Jersey Comparative Negligence Laws
Sometimes, every driver involved has some responsibility. New Jersey car accident law uses a modified comparative negligence system. Outlined in Section 2A:15-5.2, this law allows you to receive reduced damages depending on your percentage of fault.
For example, if the adjuster determines you were 25% responsible for a wreck, your total damages are reduced by that amount. You get 75% of your owed settlement.
IMPORTANT: If you’re more than 50% at-fault, you get no damages at all. This FAQ details New Jersey Auto Comparative Negligence Settlement rules.
Types of Damages In New Jersey Car Accident Law
You may be entitled to different types of compensation after a car crash. Tally up your medical bills, repair costs, and other expenses related to the accident. You’ll need as much evidence as possible to show that you suffered greatly and unjustly from this crash.
The tangible, objective losses you’ve suffered due to an accident are referred to as economic damages in legal discourse. Examples of economic damages you can claim for in a New Jersey car accident include:
- Past and future hospital bills
- Lost wages
- Lost or damaged property
- Vehicle repairs
- Alternative transportation charges
It’s important to keep track of your economic damages through receipts, bills, and photos, because they can be recovered through your settlement. The more economic damages you can prove, the higher your settlement must be to compensate for your losses.
IMPORTANT: If you have medical payments coverage, you may get some compensation for medical bills, regardless of fault through your insurance.
Non-economic damages are the subjective, non-measurable losses caused by a car accident, including:
- Reputational damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of consortium (companionship, comfort, affection or sexual intimacy)
The evidence you have to bring to prove non-economic damages will get personal, as there’s no objective way to argue these types of losses. Journal entries, calls made to loved ones, physical injuries caused by stress from the accident, all of these are valid forms of evidence to prove non-economic damages.
PRO TIP: Contact a New Jersey auto accident lawyer to get the non-economic damages you’re entitled to.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in New Jersey
There’s a time limit, or statute of limitations, for filing car accident claims involving personal injury and property damage. Under New Jersey car accident law, you have two years to sue for compensation from injuries or death in a crash. Claims for property damage from a car crash have a six-year deadline.
PRO TIP: File your claim before the statute of limitations runs out because if you miss the deadline you won’t be able to file another claim down the road.
How LegalASAP Can Help You Find a Trusted Auto Accident Attorney
Expert counsel can help you navigate the legal process and get the money settlement you deserve. And working with an experienced lawyer is more affordable than you think.
LegalASAP can put you in touch with an auto accident attorney who knows New Jersey car accident laws and is ready to review your case. The process is free until you win your settlement, so click below to continue.
Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a content marketing agency based in North Carolina that provides services for international healthcare brands, tech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.