March 11, 2010
Personal Injury Options for New Jersey Motorists

If someone is injured in an auto accident what are their rights? In New Jersey, we are governed by the terms of our automobile insurance policies. As owners and operators of vehicles in New Jersey, we are required to have Personal Injury Protection, commonly referred to as PIP coverage. Coverage for medical and other expenses for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians involved in accidents is provided as part of our PIP benefits.

Personal Injury Protection coverage in New Jersey is somewhat flexible; motorists who receive accident coverage through health insurance policies should choose a different level of protection than those who do not have health insurance. New Jersey drivers who select either Full PIP Primary or Full PIP Health Primary policies also have the option of selecting APIP, or Additional Personal Injury Protection: the function of APIP is to make up for the injured parties’ loss of income and improve their quality of life while their injuries heal; when necessary, APIP also provides funeral expenses

and death benefits.

Personal Injury Protection assists motorists regardless of which party is responsible for an accident, but there are limitations to its coverage. For instance, PIP does not cover the first $250.00 of auto accident medical expenses. Also, certain types of medical care must be pre-authorized by the auto insurance company. When reporting an auto accident to your auto insurance carrier, notify them of any injuries that either you or any passengers sustained; they will supply you with the necessary forms to fill out so that your medical expenses will be paid. As many of us know, not all injuries are immediately apparent when initially reporting an accident. If you do not experience pain when you report an accident to your automobile insurance company, you are not prohibited from reporting an injury that develops within the weeks following the accident. If an injury develops after filing a claim with your insurance company, contact them with the information of the newly discovered injury.

If a dispute over a medical expense arises between the injured party and their auto insurance company, a remedy is available. The injured party may file a claim against their own auto insurance company, which will then go to arbitration. If successful in arbitration, the injured party may have their attorney’s fees paid by their insurance company. An insured person in an auto accident must look to their own auto insurance company for the payment of their accident related medical bills. — Frank Hlavenka

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