On this page we examine New Jersey car accident laws including how long you have to file a lawsuit after your car accident and how much compensation you may be entitled to. We also go over how the payout will be affected based on how at fault you were in causing the car crash.
New Jersey car accident laws: What is a ‘Choice No-Fault’ Car Insurance State?
New Jersey is one of the few states that follows a no-fault car insurance system in regards to injuries coming from a car accident. This means that if you are in an accident, no matter who is at fault you will reach out to your insurance company. New Jersey doesn’t care who was at fault in the accident. You will receive compensation for medical expenses or car damage it will come through your own insurance company. Hence the phrase, “no fault”.
The one caveat to this occurs when you are purchasing your auto insurance policy. At that point in time you will have the option of traditional car insurance or no fault. If you opt for traditional insurance, you will be able to go after the other drivers’ insurance in the case you were injured
There is the possibility that even if you choose no fault insurance coverage you will still be able to file a lawsuit. This clause is known as the “serious injury” claim. In order to use this las New Jersey requires loss of a fetus, displaced fractures, dismemberment, significant disfigurement or significant scarring.
New Jersey Car Accident Settlement Calculator:
Have you been involved in a motor vehicle accident or otherwise injured in New Jersey? Find out how much financial compensation you may be legally entitled to in just minutes with our free online Injury Settlement Calculator.
New Jersey Accident Settlement Taxes
Generally, any income earned is taxable at the federal and New Jersey state levels. But a legal settlement from a personal injury settlement can have taxable and non-taxable portions, depending upon the situation.
First, New Jersey will not tax you for the part of the settlement that is supposed to compensate you for the expenses you incurred for treating your mental and physical injuries. These include medical bills. But if you did deduct those medical bills to drop your tax liability last year, reimbursement will be considered to be taxable in New Jersey. Also, money that reimburses you for your property damages is not taxable, unless you had a profit because the settlement amount was more than the value of the property that was damaged.
If your settlement includes punitive damages, which punish the company or person that violated your rights, then this is deemed to be taxable income in New Jersey. Any interest that was added to that part of the settlement is also taxable income.
Money that is to provide compensation for your emotional distress that you suffered due to your personal injury is also not taxable in New Jersey. But if you suffer emotional distress due to something besides a physical injury, any of that money is taxable in New Jersey.
If the personal injury settlement includes back pay, such as you lost hours because of the injury and filed a workers comp suit against your company, this amount would be taxable in New Jersey. But if you get compensation for lost wages that are related to physical injury from anyone other than your employer, the income is not taxable in New Jersey.
New Jersey’s Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits
Statute of limitations determines how long after a car accident an injured person in New Jersey can wait to file a lawsuit. In New Jersey this period is two years.
New Jersey’s Comparative Fault Laws
If you file a lawsuit where you are not 0% at fault in New jersey, it will use New Jersey’s modified comparative fault’ rule to determine how at fault each party is. Under this law your compensation will be deducted by the percentage at fault the jury or judge decides is yours. Let’s walk through an example.
Suppose you’ve been in a car accident and been injured. The total cost of lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering and everything is else determined to be a total of $100,000.
During the lawsuit however the judge determines that 30% percent of the crash was you fault. Under New Jersey’s modified comparative negligence rule, you would receive only $70,000 of the $100,000 in damages. The way the math works for this is that the $100,000 is divided by 30%, or $30,000, and the money received is reduced by this amount. This changes as soon as it’s determined you were over 50% at fault at which case New Jersey law states you will receive $0 in damages.
It’s important to keep this in mind when negotiating an auto accident settlement in New Jersey to make sure you get the most money possible.
Other Rules regarding Car Accidents in
New Jersey Small Claims: $3,000 Limit
New Jersey Personal Injury Statute of Limitations: You will have two years from the date of injury. The only exception is if you don’t discover the injury until a later date. In this case you have from the date you discovered the injury.
Car Accidents Involving Government Vehicles
Car accidents involving government vehicles are a bit different. If you’re in a crash with a government vehicle or worker, you’ll need to file a claim with the right government agency, and you may not have two years to do it.