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An insurance claim following a car accident in New Jersey

A resident of New Jersey who wishes to appear in court regarding accident claims or who is planning to file a lawsuit will find it beneficial to understand how insurance companies determine the claim amount and how claims are settled.

New Jersey code states that a personal injury claim that was caused by a car accident should be filed within two years of the date of the traffic accident. Because New Jersey is a no-fault car insurance state, car accident victims may wish to approach their own car insurance companies to file a claim for damages. However, in some cases, the claim may be filed against the accused driver's insurance company.

After receiving all of the relevant documents regarding the claim, the insurer will determine the degree of negligence on the part of the insured person. The insurer will take into account all of the facts that are stated in the police report, the accident scene investigation report and the statements of the accused driver and witnesses. Depending on the percentage of fault, the claim amount will be determined at that point.

If the claimant is found to be more at fault than the person who is being accused of causing the accident, the case may be dismissed under New Jersey comparative negligence law. If both parties are found to be equally responsible for the accident, the amount that is awarded to the person making the claim will be shared equally by the two parties.

In other cases, the percentage of fault that the parties share is directly proportional to the level of involvement in the accident. Any concerns regarding the settlement of the claim may be discussed with the claims adjuster. Most insurance companies have an internal appeal process, which examines the disputes related to the handling and payment of claims. If there is any dissatisfaction over the amount of the claim settlement, a review request can be sent to the Office of the Insurance Ombudsman for further consideration.

Source: State of New Jersey, Department of Banking & Insurance, "Auto Comparative Negligence Settlement - Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 22, 2015

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