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Personal Injury

1. If I am involved in a car accident and someone else is driving my car, can I be sued?

Yes.  As owner of the vehicle, you are responsible for those persons who you allow to operate your car. If your car is involved in an accident, whether or not you were driving, your insurance company should provide for your defense.

2. If I am injured in an auto accident, who pays for my medical bills?

Any treatments that you receive as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident, regardless of whether it was your fault or not, are paid by your insurance company provided they are deemed reasonable and necessary. If further treatment is not deemed reasonable and necessary by your insurance company, yet you and/or your providers feel that you need additional treatment, then you have the right to contest the insurance decision in front of a neutral third party. This process is quite involved and attorney counsel is advisable.

3. What happens if I am involved in an auto accident and the other driver is both at fault and uninsured?

Provisions in your insurance policy (uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage) allow you to file a claim against your own insurance company which protects you in these situations.  After you have notified your insurer of the accident, your company will check the insurance of the other driver. In the event that the other driver is not insured, your auto policy coverage comes into play. You may choose to handle this claim yourself with your agent. Some clients find this situation stressful or their insurers uncooperative; in those situations, you may want to consider legal counsel.

4. How much coverage should I have?

The law requires you to carry a minimum liability coverage amount of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. Since most NJ drivers carry this minimum amount or are uninsured, it is likely that, if you are involved in an accident, your own insurance will come into play.

Minimum coverage amounts are unlikely to cover the costs of a severe accident. If you want to protect yourself, your family and your assets, you should speak with your agent to determine appropriate coverage amounts, which will generally be much higher than that required by law. Buy enough insurance to protect yourself properly; it is a good long term investment.

5. I fell on the ice outside my brother’s house and broke my leg. I missed a lot of work and have many medical bills. I love my brother but I’m really hurting financially. Should I sue him and what will happen if I do?

Typically, homeowners are protected for these types of injuries under their homeowner’s insurance policy. This coverage is mandatory and protects the homeowner from personal financial liability. You do not need to “sue” your brother in order to recover from his homeowner’s policy. It is possible that his premium will increase after a claim.


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Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

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