The new law requiring insurance companies to disclose the policy limits before a lawsuit is filed to an injured party’s attorney will have a substantial positive impact on settlement discussions. Prior to this law, insurance companies did not have to tell an attorney representing an injured victim how much the insurance limit on their insured – typically the at fault party – had under their policy. On July 22, 2021, legislation passed (Session Bill S-1558/A-3444) requiring insurers who issue policies of automobile insurance in New Jersey to tell an insured’s policy limits to a licensed, practicing New Jersey attorney who makes a written demand.
Background of S-1558
On July 22, 2021 Governor Murphy signed into law S-1558. This new law requires auto insurers to disclose policy coverage limits to an injury victim when requested by their attorney. Prior to passage of this significant legislation, New Jersey law required that a lawsuit be filed before policy amounts were disclosed. This meant that countless unnecessary lawsuits were filed so that an injury party and his or her attorney could receive basic information from the insurance company.
The vast network of roads and highways in New Jersey means that they are inescapably some of the busiest in the country, thus making car accidents a very common sight, and the predominant auto accident in the state. New Jersey is also by far the most densely populated state in the United States and this leads to congested and dangerous roads.
Car accidents occur often in New Jersey. You could be driving along the road when some other driver plows into the side of your vehicle or cuts you off. Drivers can be negligent. Drivers can be drunk. Anger or apathy can result in vehicles speeding down lanes they should not travel, which can only result in you or a loved one being hurt.
If a vehicle has struck you or your car, damaging either your body or possessions, you are entitled to personal injury money. Thankfully, the New Jersey Civil Court system has multiple charges set in place for the most common car accidents out there. If you are caught off-guard, you might want to consider utilizing the following means to get even against those who will hurt you.
When you hear that a vehicle crashes into a pedestrian, the first assumption is the driver was speeding or not paying attention to the road. When pedestrians are walking on the sidewalk or crossing the crosswalk at a light, drivers need to look forward on the road to react to whatever happens on the road. New drives? New walkers? These are factors that matter greatly to any driver. To ignore them is to behave in a negligent manner.
However, is it always the car driver’s fault if a pedestrian is hit? Drivers can be negligent, but so can pedestrians out for a walk. The only issue is that their negligence is usually self-destructive, putting them in harm’s way in an unnecessary fashion. This all invites the question: when are pedestrians at fault for vehicular accidents?
Every cyclist’s worst fear is being struck by a car while on the road. They might do everything right, driving along the curb with a helmet, a bell, and a light source for night driving. None of that helps when one car jumps the curb and plows into their side. Impact can send a cyclist flying into the fences or tumbling under the wheels of their car. Fear floods the senses, so much that you might not notice your mangled bike or splintered femur. With a bike accident, the injuries are typically more severe because you have nothing to protect you when you are hit and sent to the ground.
Trauma doesn’t come with a price tag. If your car gets broken in, there’s monetary value to how much a new window or door may cost. If your leg breaks, therapy and hospitals will give you a fee for their services to help you heal. However, when it comes to witnessing something horrible, it’s far harder to find an economic value on your experiences.
The worst has happened. You’re driving your vehicle on the open road, eyes ahead. You are obeying every rule of the road, doing everything right. Then, something strikes your vehicle. Maybe a truck plowed through your passenger door, crunching seat into metal shards. Perhaps a car cut short – too fast for you to swerve out of the way – and you strike it head-on, folding your engine through your steering wheel. Your fingers have fragmented down to the knuckles, your skin is shredded as shards carve jagged gashes, and your passengers lay concussed next to you from heavy trauma to the skull.
Insurance companies spend billions of dollars each year in marketing to convince the public that they have your best interest at heart. Let’s take a look at some of the slogans: State Farm - Like a good neighbor State Farm is there; Allstate – You’re in good hands with Allstate; Geico -15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance; Progressive – Think easier, think Progressive; Chubb- Peace of mind; Prudential – Let Prudential be your rock or Bring your challenges.
I have represented people against insurance companies for 25 years and can tell you unequivocally that these insurance companies will do anything they can to deny you fair money for your loss whether it be personal injury, property damage or economic loss. In your toughest time of need you will not be in their “good hands” and they will not be your “good neighbor.” Protect yourself and your family after an accident and understand they are not in any way trying to help you.
Ten of the worst tricks insurance companies use in trying to deny people fair money for their claims after an accident are as follows: