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If you or a loved one have been in a motor vehicle accident in Monmouth County or Ocean County, New Jersey, you will quickly become acquainted with the auto insurance system. Many people who have been injured in auto accidents through no fault of their own find it difficult to secure the full compensation they need and deserve from the insurance companies. Too often they have to deal with delays, endless paperwork, or insurance adjusters who try to minimize the extent of losses or accuse the injured party of being at fault for the accident. For a person dealing with an auto insurance company for the first time, the whole process can seem confusing and daunting, leaving you wondering what exactly your auto insurance covers. When you have questions about, or difficulty securing benefits under your auto insurance coverage, the attorneys of Drazin & Warshaw are ready to help you get the full benefits of the insurance coverage available to you. For more than 70 years, we have helped the residents of our community secure hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation after being involved in auto accidents. Our extensive experience, legal knowledge, and firm resources allow us to go up against the insurance companies and get the monetary compensation you need and deserve.
Auto insurance policies are long, complicated legal documents. After you’ve been in an accident or need to claim coverage from your auto insurance policy, it can be difficult to determine whether or not you are entitled to coverage and how much coverage may be available to you. Let the attorneys at Drazin & Warshaw demystify the auto insurance claim process and help you understand your rights and options under your policy. Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.
Yes. Even if you firmly believe that the other driver was responsible for the accident, you may be obligated under your insurance policy to inform your insurer of any accident you’ve been in within a certain period of time. If you fail to do so, your insurer may have the right under your policy to terminate your coverage. Alternatively, if the other driver turns out to not have sufficient insurance coverage or financial assets to fully compensate you, you may be denied benefits from your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for failing to timely notify your insurance company of your accident.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is a type of insurance coverage under your own auto insurance policy that kicks in when you are involved in an auto accident with another motorist who lacks insurance coverage (or when you are struck by a hit-and-run driver), or whose insurance coverage limits are insufficient to fully compensate you for the damages you’ve suffered from your accident.
Any motor vehicle registered in New Jersey must have three different types of coverage under an auto insurance policy. First, the driver must have liability insurance, which pays others for damages they suffered if you are found responsible for an accident, in a minimum amount of $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident. A policy must also provide personal injury protection coverage, which pays an insured for medical and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of an accident, regardless of who was at fault for the accident, in a minimum amount of $15,000 per accident (insurers must also provide up to $250,000 in PIP coverage for certain permanent or significant brain injury, spinal injury, or disfigurement). Your policy must also provide property damage liability coverage in a minimum amount of $5,000 per accident, which compensates another party for property damage in an accident that you caused. Finally, a policy must provide uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in an amount equal to the amount of liability coverage that you selected for your policy.
In addition to bodily injury liability coverage, property damage coverage, personal injury protection, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you may also purchase other coverages, such as collision coverage, which pays for damage to you vehicle in the event of an accident involving a collision with an object or other vehicle. You may also choose to purchase comprehensive coverage, which pays for damage to your vehicle in the event of a collision as well as for other damages from theft, vandalism, fire, flood, or collision with an animal.
When you purchase auto insurance, you may choose to retain the right to sue the at-fault party for your pain and suffering arising from any injury. Alternatively, you may choose to lower your premiums by selecting the limitation on lawsuit option, under which you agree not to sue an at-fault party for pain and suffering damages unless you suffer a “permanent injury” such as the loss of a body part, the loss of functioning in a body organ or bodily system, significant disfigurement or scarring, a displaced fracture, or the loss of a fetus. If you do choose the limitation on lawsuit option, you retain the right to sue an at-fault party for you economic damages like medical expenses or lost wages.
If your coverage claim was denied by your insurer, you should speak with an experienced attorney. An attorney can help you understand the basis for your insurer’s denial. If your claim was denied due to insufficient information, your attorney can help you collect and submit the missing information to your insurer. If your insurer may have overlooked certain information, an attorney can help you pursue your insurer’s internal appeals process. And if an attorney identifies the possibility that your insurer has wrongfully denied your claim, he or she can help you assert a legal claim against your insurer to secure the coverage you are contractually entitled to.