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There's no doubt: if you've been injured in an accident, you need all the help you can get. The FAQs below answer many of the questions I am often asked. I can't imagine nothing more important than protecting you and your family's well being, and knowledge goes a long way.
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I was a driver in an accident and my car was not insured, but the accident wasn’t my fault. Can I sue the driver responsible for my injuries?
In New Jersey it is illegal to operate a vehicle without auto insurance. As such, if you have a vehicle that is registered in NJ but is not insured, you cannot sue the driver responsible for your injuries….even if he or she is 100% liable for the accident. If you have a vehicle registered you are required to have auto insurance and failure to do so prohibits you from suing.
In fact, if you are issued a summons for driving without insurance, for a first offense, you may be fined anywhere from $300 to $1,000 and can have your license suspended one year. You may also be required to complete community service hours, which would be determined by the court.
Second offenses and beyond can result in higher fines, additional community service, loss of license and even imprisonment.
So, if you have a car registered in NJ but you do not have auto insurance, get it insured now…before you are involved in an accident. Will save you a lot of headache and probably a lot of money.
Don't helmets interfere with my ability to see on the road?
A study sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has shown that riders wearing helmets are no less able to see cars in adjacent lanes. Helmets have only a minor effect on one’s lateral field of vision, which is easily compensated for by turning one’s head slightly. What’s more, the full face helmets that this myth refers to also save the eyes from the constant force and pressure of the wind, which certainly do impact vision.
Consider the following statistics:
- Helmets reduce the likelihood of a fatal accident by 35%. In other words, for every 100 un-helmeted riders killed on the road, 35 would have survived if all had worn helmets. Percent effectiveness would be significantly higher if only deaths from head injuries were considered.
- In 2007, helmets saved the lives of an estimated 1,784 motorcyclists.
- California’s mandatory helmet law, for example, reduced the cost of head injuries from motorcycle accidents from $36.6 million in 1991 to $15.9 million in 1992. That's more than half!
- An average of several studies put the hospital charges of injured non-helmeted riders at 30% higher than their helmet-wearing counterparts.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, get help. Our initial consults are totally free and without obligation. We're here to help.
Does auto insurance cover crashes with animals?
Springtime in New Jersey is a hotbed for animals in heat, making them more active and aggressive during the spring months. This increase in activity can be directly linked to an increase in collisions with critters. And it isn't limited to our state. Just yesterday, NJ.com reported of an Indiana car accident involving a 30-lb turkey!
This raises a question about insurance coverage. Crashes with animals can do some serious damage to your vehicle. And your policy may or may not include coverage for animal-related collisions.Despite the name, collision coverage DOES NOT include coverage for crashes with animals.
Comprehensive coverage does. Because comprehensive coverage is not required by law in the state of New Jersey, you may be on the hook for the repair costs incurred after a crash with an animal. Do you have comprehensive coverage? For help understanding your policy, reach out to us for a free policy review.
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from accidents with animals:
- Drive slower (especially at night!)
- Use your seatbelt. Always.
- Watch for roadside animal activity (glare from eyes, grazing activity)
- Drive in the middle lane to give animals clearance
- Use your highbeams on dark roads
- Honk your horn when you see animals to frighten them away
- Review your car insurance policy for comprehensive coverage
Have questions about your policy? Give us a call toll-free at (877) 721-7201
I was in a car accident. How long do I have to report it?
According to NJ Law, every driver involved in an accident resulting in injury or death or property damage in excess of $500.00, regardless of fault, must make a report to the police by the quickest means possible and within 10 days of the accident.
What does "Respondeat Superior" mean?
"Let the master answer."
Respondeat Superior is a Latin term for a legal doctrine which determines whether an employer is legally responsible for the wrongful actions of an employee, if his or her actions occur during working hours, while handling workplace duties, or handling any business within the scope of their employment, provided the acts were unintentional.
Pronunciation: [rehs-PON-dee-aht soo-PEER-ree-er]
What does "No-Fault state" mean?
New Jersey is a "no-fault state." In New Jersey, it means your own insurance company is responsible for covering your medical expenses, regardless of who or what causes an auto accident.
As a result, you are required by New Jersey law to have PIP insurance as part of your auto insurance plan, which is protection designed to cover your medical expenses if you're in an auto accident.
What is PIP insurance?
PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection. PIP insurance, which is sometimes called "no-fault insurance" is an additional type of protection under your auto insurance plan. PIP helps to cover medical expenses (and occasionally, lost wages and funeral expenses) for injuries directly related to an auto accident. This type of coverage pays out regardless of who is at fault.
It differs from Bodily Injury Liability in that PIP covers medical expenses for your injuries, while Bodily Injury Liability covers the medical expenses of those you're legally liable for injuring.
PIP may also cover some additional, non-medical expenses. If accident-related injuries prevent you from performing certain household duties, such as caring for your children, this insurance may cover the cost of daycare.
Personal Injury Protection is optional is some states and mandatory in others. It is mandatory in New Jersey.
New Jersey is a No-Fault state where almost all drivers (with few exceptions) are required to have PIP coverage.
Why does my premium change based on what I drive?
According to the Department of Transportation, speeding is still one of the leading causes of car accidents.
Size, weight and type of car all determine top speed capabilities. Bigger, bulkier cars are typically slower than two-seater coupes.
Additionally, many believe there is a correlation between drivers of varying vehicle types and their driving habits. A mom of three, for example, with the lives of children in her care, will likely not drive a convertible roadster, whereas a young, single bachelor might.
For these reasons, insurance companies consider the younger, single convertible driver to be more of an insurance risk. So that driver will pay more for the additional coverage an insurance company believes they will need to protect the driver from himself.
Why does my credit score affect my auto insurance?
Your credit score, which is used to gauge the likelihood you'll pay back your loans, is also used to gauge your insurance risk. The reason, though it may seem unfair, makes a lot of sense. Insurance companies want to determine, based on your creditworthiness, how likely you are to file a claim. If your credit score suggests that you're a responsible consumer, your insurance company will take that into account when determining how much risk they want to take with insuring you.
Remember that car insurance is to protect yourself financially if you're in a car accident. So, it stands to reason your financial situation will be considered when insurance companies decide how much money they're willing to risk on you.
Sadly, even if you have "good" credit, you may still end up paying more than someone with "excellent" credit, regardless of your driving history, simply because of your score. You can have a clean driving record and just a "good" score, and you may still pay more than someone with a moving violation, but an "excellent" credit score.
So pay your bills on time, all the time.
What determines the cost of my car insurance?
Who you are
How you drive (and how much)
Where you live
What you drive
Who you areJust about everything insurance companies do is based on statistics, and statistics show that your likelihood of getting into an accident depends to a significant extent on who you are. For the purposes of car insurance, “who you are” boils down to three things: your age, gender, and marital status.
That means that young, single, male drivers, who get into the most accidents of any group, typically pay the most for car insurance. Married women, on the other hand, generally enjoy the lowest premiums.
- Age: Regardless of whether you chalk it up to inexperience or developmental immaturity, young drivers get in far more accidents than their older counterparts.
- Gender: Males are involved in more collisions than females.
- Marital Status: Married people get in fewer accidents than their single friends.
Your driving recordIf you have a spotless driving record—no tickets and no accidents in which you were at fault—your rating factor will naturally be lower than someone with a number of blemishes.
Where you liveAs you would probably guess, there are more accidents in cities than in rural areas—more cars, more traffic, as well as more break-ins and theft. That’s why urban drivers, on the whole, are stuck with higher rating factors.
How much you drive.The more you drive, the more time you spend in your car, and the more time you spend in your car, the higher the probability of getting into an accident over a given period of time.
The car you drive.From the perspective of an insurance company, who has to pay for your car repairs, denting your Ferrari is a great deal different than getting into a fender bender in your old truck. If you drive an expensive car, it’ll cost more for comprehensive and collision insurance.Aside from the cost of repairs, the car you drive can impact your rating factor in other ways as well. One variable is the theft rate—how often your make and model is stolen. If your car is a favorite among thieves, it’ll likely cost more to obtain comprehensive coverage. Another consideration is the safety of your vehicle. A high safety rating and a good safety record on the road mean that the injuries you might suffer in an accident would likely be less severe than if you are driving a car that was rumored to flip or crumple like tin foil.[Excerpted from Joseph M. Ghabour's book, Accidents Happen: Guide to NJ Auto Accident Claims]