What happens if you are involved in an automobile accident in New Jersey and the driver that caused the accident has a limited insurance policy that is not sufficient to compensate you for the damages that you have sustained? This is a question that we are asked all the time.
In New Jersey, a 1983 statute was enacted that required every liability policy insuring every motor vehicle provide the insured with an option to purchase underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). Carriers were required to offer this coverage, with limits of at least $250,000.00 per person and $500,000.00 per accident, or a single limit of $500,000.00. The coverage gave motorists recourse to their own insurance policies when the coverage of a driver at fault in an accident is inadequate to compensate for injuries suffered.
What this means is that if you are in a New Jersey car accident with an at fault driver who has a policy of insurance with a limit of $15,000.00 and you have a UIM policy with limits of $100,000.00, you can potentially collect the $15,000.00 from the other party and then start a separate action for an additional $85,000.00 from your own insurance company. In New Jersey, there is no “stacking” of policies allowed. What this means is that you can not recover the value of the two policies combined, but can recover a maximum total amount of the full value of your UIM coverage.
There are multiple statutory requirements when dealing with UIM policies and it is very important that an experienced personal injury attorney get involved with your case as soon as possible. If you are involved in an automobile accident, call the Law Offices of Lependorf & Silverstein as soon as possible for a free consultation.