One of the most confusing aspects of a motor vehicle accident can be determining who pays the medical bills. Many people are surprised to learn that it is not the at-fault party's insurance. This article will, very briefly, outline the basics of New Jersey No-Fault laws.
Most people believe that the insurance company of whoever caused the accident should pay the medical bills of whoever is injured. While that would seem to make sense in terms of fairness, and that is how it used to be 40 years ago, that is not how it works in New Jersey. No-Fault means that medical bills will be paid regardless of fault, under a first party system. The reason No-Fault came about was, in part due to the pressure of doctors and hospitals who did not want to wait for a determination of who caused an accident in order to get paid. Under the current No-Fault system, the medical pills get paid quickly because fault doesn't matter, and that allows injured parties to receive prompt medical care. At least that's the theory.
All personal car insurance polices issued in New Jersey must contain No-Fault coverage which is called Personal Injury Protection (or PIP). The usual coverage is for $250,000 per accident. However, purchasers of insurance are offered cheaper premiums for reducing their coverage. There are certain types of policies which are exceptions, see section below.
Steps to Determine Which Insurance Company Pays the Medical Bills
This series of questions is to be directed to the injured party in any scenario involving an injury due to a motor vehicle.
A Final Note
This article can only scratch the surface of the New Jersey No-Fault laws, and is intended only as a general guide. Nothing contained herein should be construed as legal advice. The specifics of every case is different. At every point issues can arise which will require experienced legal advise to decipher. For example, where someone actually "lives" is often debatable. Who "lives" with you is not always clear. Permanent addresses, mailing addresses, temporary addresses, can vary. One thing that is certain, the insurance companies will look for a reason to deny benefits. If you were injured in a New Jersey accident, you should consult with an experienced lawyer to determine the proper insurance company to submit your No-Fault/PIP claim.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Adam Springer
The Jersey City personal injury law firm of Krivitzky, Springer & Feldman has represented New Jersey accident victims since 1976. Each of our attorneys has over 15 years experience helping those who have suffered injury or loss through another's negligence. Our experienced personal injury and worker's compensation lawyers apply over 90 years of combined experience in a wide range of personal injury cases, such as car accidents and other motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), slip, trip and fall-down accidents, work-related injuries, conditions or exposures, medical malpractice, wrongful death, dog bites or attacks, and other injuries.