I was hit yesterday by an SUV attempting to make a right turn on a red light. I was crossing the street at a cross walk (there is no crossing light though) and as soon as I stepped onto the street the SUV from a full stop, looking the other way to make sure there were no oncoming cars, accelerated and hit me. I was launched into the air and landed on my side. Luckily I wasn't hit by any other cars. The driver of the SUV eventually got out asked if I was OK and then proceeded to call the police. He helped me to the side of the road and waited with me until the police and ambulance arrived. I was released out of the hospital after a CAT scan and a series of X-Rays. I only sustained minor injuries. What should I do about the bills, missed work and compensation? Do I need a lawyer?
Car / Auto Accident Lawyer
New Jersey is a No-Fault state. The answer to your question will depend on your status as an 'insured'. Your accident is considered a motor vehicle accident because it involves a vehicle hitting you. If you own a motor vehicle with insurance, (even though you were not in this vehicle and it was not involved in the accident), your own car insurance company must pay for your medical bills (Personal Injury Protection) associated with this accident. You may also be entitled to compensation for lost wages (typically up to $100 per week). If you do own a car you should notify your insurance company immediately about this accident and they will send you an Application for Personal Injury Benefits. Now, if you do not own a car, the next place to look for coverage would be any resident relative, that is, any relative that lives with you who owns a motor vehicle. If you live with a parent, spouse, child or sibling who owns a car, and you do not own your own car, then your medical bills would be payable under the PIP of your relative's car insurance policy. If you do not own a car, and you do not live with anyone who owns a car, then you must submit your claim for No-Fault/ PIP benefits to the New Jersey Property Liability Insurance Guaranty Association (NJPLIGA). This is a fund set up by the State of NJ. You can find their website online.
You should note that many times people don't want to get their relative's insurance involved and they try to submit their bills to NJPLIGA. Believe me, NJPLIGA will run a search for any household vehicles and you will not get benefits from NJPLIGA if their is a car in your household.
To recap, the first place to look for coverage for your medical bills is your own car insurance. If you don't have a car, the next place to look is any household relative with car insurance. If you don't live with any relative who has a car, then you need to apply to NJPLIGA.
The above addresses your inquiry regarding payment of your medical bills. There may also be a co-pay and deductible, typically $1,200 but this can vary with the policy. You may also be entitled to money for your pain and suffering or other out of pocket expenses. Depending on your insured status, you may or may not have to prove a permanent injury to recover money. In some cases you do not need to prove this and can recover money even for 'minor injury'. You should consult an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney to discuss your options there.
I hope this was helpful. Feel free to contact me with any follow up questions or more specifics.