An accident is not something that anyone anticipates. But accidents occur. If a car accident happens to you, and someone else is at fault, you would expect to be able to sue them for any pain and suffering caused by your injuries.
Unfortunately, there are some situations where, even though you were not at fault for an accident, you cannot sue for your pain and suffering. No matter how severe your injuries are. I will discuss one such situation in this post.
Let’s imagine that you don’t want to be cooped up in your house. You live in, say, Paterson. You hop in your car and head on Route 4 towards the malls in Paramus. You pass through Elmwood Park and Fair Lawn on your way.
Suddenly, just as you pass the route 17 interchange, a car is merging onto the highway. The other driver is on his cell phone. He doesn’t bother to look to his left as he merges. Consequently, he plows right into your car.
As a result, your car flys into the median. You hurt your back. You have a broken arm. You wore your seatbelt, and your airbag deployed, but they were not enough to fully protect you.
After receiving medical treatment, you get the bad news that some of your injuries are permanent. Can you sue the other driver for all your pain and suffering?
The answer to the question under these egregious circumstances would generally be yes. However, if you failed to carry proper automobile insurance yourself, the answer would likely be no.
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Car Accident Insurance is Crucial
In short, the law in New Jersey usually prohibits New Jersey residents who operate their own uninsured automobiles from recovering for their pain and suffering in an accident, even if they were zero percent responsible for the accident.
By the way, the same outcome would obtain if you had been a passenger in your own uninsured car and someone else was driving it. The key factors being that you were a New Jersey resident and that you were injured in an uninsured car that belonged to you.
Make sure that this never happens to you. Always purchase the legally required motor vehicle insurance from a reputable insurance company or agent.
There are some other situations where a driver who was not at fault cannot sue for pain and suffering. However, those are beyond the scope of this post.