Where to Seek Recovery When the At-Fault Party is Uninsured
When you’re hurt in a motor vehicle accident, your first priority should be your health. Once you receive the medical attention you need, take steps to protect your legal and financial interests.
Under New Jersey’s no-fault motor vehicle insurance law, you first look to your own insurance company rather than file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer. If your injuries or losses exceed the coverage amounts of your policy, then you can look to the other driver’s insurer for compensation. What happens, though, if the other driver has no insurance (in violation of state law) or is underinsured? Are you simply out of luck?
There are other potential avenues of recovery in the aftermath of an automobile accident:
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage—You may have a rider on your insurance policy that provides some level of coverage if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured. Typically, it’s not a standard clause but an additional provision that comes with an additional cost. Don’t expect your insurance company to tell you about it, though. Your insurer has a vested interest in minimizing any payout to you.
- Dram shop liability—Businesses that provide alcohol, such as bars, restaurants, taverns, and even liquor stores, may be liable if an intoxicated person causes a motor vehicle accident
- The at-fault party’s employer—If the other driver was working at the time of the crash, and the travel was in the course of employment, the employer may be liable.
- Product liability—If the accident was caused by a vehicle defect or malfunction of a part (tire, brakes, steering wheel, etc.), you may have a claim against the designer, manufacturer, and/or distributor.
- Roadway defects—You may have a claim against the local government if your accident was caused by poor roadway maintenance or a defect in the road, though bringing such claims can be a fairly complex process.
Contact the Cintron Firm
At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges. Attorney Mark Cintron has worked as a prosecutor and has extensive courtroom experience, so he’s always ready, willing, and able to protect your interests before a judge or jury. We are currently available to talk with you by phone, text message, or online videoconference. Contact our office online or call us at 201-791-1333 or (201) 535-0323 to set up an appointment.