New Jersey is a unique state in that you can choose between an at-fault or no-fault system, even though PIP is required.
The no-fault option would be to choose both parts of PIP, the medical expenses and the lost wages, child care, etc. But if you want an at-fault system, choose only the medical expenses option. Regardless, the at-fault party will pay for your property damages under liability coverage, but since New Jersey doesn’t require bodily injury coverage if the other party doesn’t have it, your PIP could cover your and your passengers’ injuries.
With a standard policy, you’ll choose if you want an unlimited or limited right to sue. With a limited right to sue, you can’t sue for pain and suffering unless you had one of the following injuries:
- Displaced fracture
- Loss of a body party
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent injury, meaning that a body part or organ cannot heal to function normally without further medical services resulting in more medical bills
- Significant disfigurement
- Significant scarring
With an unlimited right to sue, you can sue for pain and suffering for any injury, along with medical bills, lost wages, and essential services, given your coverage limits weren’t high enough. But before you sue, make a PIP claim, as this no-fault insurance exists so that you can file a claim rather than sue someone in a civil suit. With each party dealing with its own auto insurer, civil suits are reduced under this no-fault state model.
Modified Comparative Negligence Laws
You can receive money only if you were less than 50 percent at-fault in an accident. However, if you were any percentage of fault under 50, your compensation will be reduced by the same percentage.