When you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, whether as a driver or passenger, you typically have the right to recover compensation for your losses from the operator of another motor vehicle whose carelessness or negligence caused the accident. But what are your rights if the accident was caused by the person driving the vehicle in which you were travelling? Where do you turn to recover damages?
New Jersey takes a no-fault approach to motor vehicle insurance. That means that, when you’ve been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, you don’t look first to the at-fault driver’s insurer, but to your own. Accordingly, if you are a passenger in someone else’s automobile and are hurt in an accident, you’ll need to file an initial claim with your motor vehicle insurance provider, even though you were not operating a vehicle at the time. If you don’t have a policy of motor vehicle insurance, you can claim coverage under the auto insurance policy of a parent, grandparent, sibling or adult child.
If you are a passenger, but neither have a policy of your own or a family member whose policy you can file under, you have the right to file a claim with the insurer of the driver of the motor vehicle. If the driver has no valid policy of insurance, you can turn to the New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association, a governmental safety net that offers some level of compensation in such situations.
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