Car Accident Claims in New Jersey: Common Defenses that Insurance Companies Use

If you have been in a car accident and must file an insurance claim, you may have difficulty getting the monetary compensation you are entitled to. Usually, insurance providers will avoid huge payouts to protect their profits. This makes it important to recognize the common defenses that insurers use when handling claims. With the help of a car accident lawyer in New Jersey, you can counter those defenses during the claims process. Below are the defenses that can be used against your claim:

Comparative Negligence

In New Jersey, several parties can be allocated a percentage of fault after a car accident. An insurer will investigate your accident claim and assign a fault percentage to the involved parties. This percentage will affect the compensation you may get from the insurance company. 

With the comparative negligence defense, your compensatory award can be reduced by the amount equivalent to your fault percentage. For instance, if you were found 20% at fault for the accident and you sustained damages worth $100, 000, you would only get $80, 000 as compensation. You can only qualify for monetary damages if your percentage of fault is less than the other party’s. 

Third-Party Liability

In car accident cases, liability disputes can occur. Insurers are for-profit companies, so they want to focus on protecting their bottom lines. They will try to blame a third party; instead of accepting liability. Also, they may blame you, the government, a car part manufacturer, or an employer to delay your payout or avoid liability. 

Pre-Existing Injuries

Insurance companies may use pre-existing injuries as a defense to limit your recovery based on accusations that your injury existed before the crash. They may assert that you were injured in an event not related to the recent accident to avoid paying for your losses. 

Under the law, the defendant must take you as-is, including with all pre-existing conditions. Additionally, if you can prove that the car accident exacerbated a pre-existing medical condition or injury, you can recover compensation for the difference. 

Assumption of Risk

Under this defense, you assume the risks related to a particular activity, which makes you ineligible for compensation. Such defense requires the defendant to prove that you understood the car accident’s risk. Examples include a motorist who sustains injuries while drinking and driving or street racing.  

Statute of Limitations

An insurer may argue that you missed the legal time limit or statute of limitations to file a claim. In general, you have 2 years from the accident date to bring a claim in New Jersey. Missing the deadline can result in you being barred from seeking compensation for your injuries and losses. 

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