How Your NJ Car Insurance Policy Affects Injury Compensation

How Does My NJ Car Insurance Policy Affect My Ability to Seek Injury Compensation in Morris County and Sussex County?

Car Accident Injury Lawyer Morris County NJWhen a driver is injured in a motor vehicle accident, the first place the injured driver will turn to for financial compensation is their own insurance company. However, especially for more serious injuries, that same insurance coverage may not be sufficient when it comes to paying for medical expenses and lost income if the injured driver cannot work.

In addition, pain and suffering damages (which usually represent the largest portion of a personal injury claim) are not awarded as part of first-person claims (claims filed by an injured party with their own insurance company).

So, if you have been injured while driving your car, you may not recover full compensation from your own insurance company for your car accident damages. However, you may also be limited from seeking compensation from other responsible parties depending on what type of insurance coverage you have purchased.

Here is what you need to know regarding NJ car insurance policies, and how they can impact your rights and ability to seek compensation from a third party when injured in a car accident in Morris County or Sussex County.

Parsippany Car Accident Injury Lawyer Discusses “Limited Right to Sue” Car Insurance

In New Jersey, there are two specific types of injury protection offered as part of your car insurance policy: “Limited Right to Sue” policies and “Unlimited Right to Sue” policies.

Limited Right to Sue policies tend to appear more attractive, as subscribers are offered a much lower insurance premium. However, the catch is that limited right so sue car insurance policies only allow injured drivers to file personal injury claims against other responsible drivers for very specific types of injuries, those being:

  • Loss of limb, Disfigurement, or Serious Scarring
  • Permanent Injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Death of the driver (wrongful death)
  • Loss of fetus

Consider the following scenario: you are injured in a car accident caused by another drunk driver. You suffer serious injuries to your spine, but those same injuries are projected to heal in two year’s time. Your spinal cord injuries result in extremely high medical and rehabilitative costs, and prevent you from working for some time. However, since those same injuries are not technically “permanent”, and you have purchased a “limited right to sue” car insurance policy, you most likely would not be able to file a car accident injury claim against the negligent driver who caused your injuries.

So as attractive as the reduced premium of these limited right to sue policies can appear, they do come with extreme risk when it comes to your ability to seek injury compensation for car accident injuries.

Morristown Auto Accident Injury Attorney Discusses “Unlimited Right to Sue” Car Insurance

On the other hand, unlimited right to sue car insurance policies allow injured drivers to seek personal injury compensation from other responsible third parties for any type of injury.

Considering the many dangers New Jersey drivers face, including distracted drivers, drunk drivers, negligent drivers, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bus accidents, and more, having the flexibility to seek car accident injury compensation from other negligent drivers or parties for any type of injury is a much more attractive insurance policy option, despite its greater up-front cost.

Contact A Car Accident Injury Attorney with Offices in Morris County and Sussex County Today

At The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff, we have extensive experience recovering full and fair car accident injury compensation for our clients and their families in towns across Morris County and Sussex County, including Parsippany, Morristown, Netcong, Newton, Denville, Dover, Rockaway, East Hanover, Morris Plains, Florham Park, and more.

Attorney Michael Burakoff has the unique approach of working closely not only with his clients, but with their families as well. This is because he understands just how difficult a car accident injury can be, and the impacts it can have on a family’s financial and emotional stability.

To discuss your unique needs, situation, and options moving forward after any kind of car accident in a free and confidential consultation. with our legal team today, please contact us online, or through either our Morristown office or our Newton office at (973) 520-0525.

Truck drivers have to be properly certified and have special licenses to drive. This is done to ensure that they’re trained and safe on the highway.

However, some in the industry have noted that all they really need to do is learn enough to pass those tests. Furthermore, they say that training has to be completed, but there is no rule in place stipulating exactly how long a new trucker has to spend in his or her training sessions.

They say this creates an atmosphere where rushing through the training is something new drivers desire. When picking a course, they look for low prices and check into exactly how fast they can get done with the course and obtain a CDL. The amount of information that they need to be given is nearly overwhelming, but they’ll try to learn it all through long sessions, cramming it into as few days as they can.

The mindset makes some sense. These drivers just want to get certified so that they can get on the road and start earning. They’re not interested in spending money just to sit around and not bring in wages, costing them on two fronts.

However, is this really the safest and best way to train truckers? Should their goal be really learning the material and driving safely or getting a license quickly and for the lowest possible price?

Truck accidents happen consistently, and even a simple mistake on the road can leave other drivers and passengers with life-changing injuries. If you have been injured in a crash with a negligent, poorly-trained driver, it’s important to know about all of your legal options.

Source: Trucking Truth, “Episode 5: Why Is Truck Driver Training Done In Such A Rush?,” Brett Aquila, accessed April 19, 2017

Cars must pass certain safety protocols before going into production, but that doesn’t mean they all offer the same exactly level of safety to those inside. You can look at the fatality rates for various makes and models and see which ones are involved in the most deadly accidents, perhaps showing a link that makes you wary when it’s time to go buy a new car.

However, experts do warn that fatality rates don’t always tell the whole story and don’t always mean the car itself is the problem. There are just too many factors in play.

For example, the Nissan 350Z was compared to average sports cars, and it was found that the 350Z’s fatality rate was around twice that average. This suggests that the 350Z is terrifically unsafe, but is that true?

Not according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The group’s communications director noted that the 350Z is often driven by young drivers. They are more likely to take risks behind the wheel and they have less experience. This is a group that, in any vehicle, tends to have high fatality rates. He didn’t blame the car for the inflated stats as much as he blamed the drivers who often bought that car.

He also noted that, when these drivers were in accidents, they tended to be serious crashes, not minor fender-benders.

This case just goes to show how many different factors can play into one statistic, and it’s important to really understand all of the things that contribute to car accidents. When another driver — perhaps one who is young and inexperienced — causes an accident, it’s also critical to know your potential rights to compensation.

Source: Forbes, “Top 20 Most Dangerous Vehicles,” Bengt Halvorson, accessed Feb. 24, 2017

For senior citizens, being able to drive means hanging on to their precious independence just a little bit longer. They don’t have to worry about becoming a burden on their adult children or on younger friends as long as they still have cars and valid drivers’ licenses.

But some seniors continue driving longer than is safe due to physical or mental limitations. It’s a difficult call to make, but nobody wants to be the cause of an accident that maims or kills an innocent person.

Below are some warning signs to look out for that signal it’s time to hang up the keys for good.

— Frequent near-misses or minor fender-benders.

— Being unable to find your way around on familiar roads.

— Noticing minor damage to the car or garage that you can’t recall occurring.

— Confusing the gas with the brake or having a slower response time to emergencies behind the wheel.– Becoming confused at traffic signals, reading road signs or interpreting pavement markings– Trouble concentrating behind the wheel; becoming easily distracted.– Difficulty merging with traffic at entrances and exits of interstates.

— Episodes of road rage or inspiring other drivers to honk horns or express frustration.– Racking up moving violations or warnings from police.– Struggling to turn around to see out the rear window when changing lanes or backing up.

If you are injured in an accident by an at-fault driver of any age, you have the right to file a claim for compensation for your injuries, damages and losses, including lost wages from time spent off of work due to the accident.

Source: AARP, “10 Signs That it’s Time to Limit or Stop Driving,” accessed Jan. 27, 2017

Two assemblymen from New Jersey recently proposed a bill that, if it passes, will be the most restrictive distracted driving law in the United States. The proposed bill will ban additional activities behind the wheel besides cellphone usage.

The terms of the bill would prohibit “any activity, not related to the operation of the vehicle, in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle.” For instance, New Jersey drivers will no longer be able to enjoy a cup of coffee on their morning commute or nosh on a bagel.

Utah and Maine have passed similar statutes, but the penalties proposed by the New Jersey bill are far harsher and more expensive. Even first offenders would face fines of $200 to $400. Drivers who are convicted of drinking a second cup of coffee while driving could owe as much as $600, and the real scofflaws who chow down or slurp behind the wheel for a third offense could find themselves out as much as $800.

It’s not just the fines, either. Third and subsequent offenders could get three points against their New Jersey licenses and even face having their licenses suspended.

However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety opposes the proposed law. The organization’s spokesman stated, “Addressing distracted driving through new laws is not likely to be an effective approach to make roads safer.”

Certainly, distracted driving is to be avoided at all costs. Whether this bill is going too far in that direction remains to be seen at this time. Those who have been injured in accidents caused by distracted and negligent drivers have the right to pursue claims for damages through the New Jersey civil court system.

Source: Fortune, “This State Is Proposing the Harshest Distracted Driving Law in the Nation,” Michael Addady, accessed Sep. 09, 2016

The teen driver who was allegedly at fault in the fatal accident that killed the superintendent of the Robbinsville Schools and his dog on their early morning jog back in April will face criminal charges from the incident.

According to police authorities, the driver, who was a 17-year-old senior at Robbinsville High School at the time of the April 19 accident on Robbinsville-Edinburg Road, was charged with operating a motor vehicle recklessly, leaving an accident scene where there was a fatality and using a cellphone while driving.

In a recent announcement, the Mercer County prosecutor’s office accused the teen, who is now 18, with talking on her cellphone at or around the time she struck the superintendent and his dog. She then left the scene of the fatal accident, only calling 911 after she was some distance from the scene.

Allegedly, the teenager was rushing to catch the bus ferrying her and her classmates for a school-sponsored trip to New York City when she collided with the pedestrian, who along with his dog, died at the scene.

A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office recently announced that both officers with the Robbinsville Police Department and the Serious Collision Response Team completed their joint comprehensive investigation into the fatal accident. The investigators reconstructed the collision, as well as reviewed physical evidence and witness statements.

The teen will be tried before a Superior Court judge at the Mercer County Family Court at an unscheduled future date.

Regardless of the outcome of criminal charges in this and other similar cases, survivors of those who are killed in accidents with at-fault drivers have the right to pursue justice in the civil courts as well.

Source:, “Teen driver who struck schools chief charged with death by auto,” Kevin Shea, June 30, 2016

A lot of motorcycles on American roads these days are equipped with antilock braking systems, and for an excellent reason. Research into fatal motorcycle crashes, test track performance and insurance claims indicate that antilock brakes improve motorcycle performance and help prevent accidents.

The best benefit of antilock braking systems is the fact that they offer a 31 percent lower chance of death in a motorcycle crash. These statistics come from comparing the same model of motorcycles that are equipped with ABS with those that are not. Furthermore, evidence shows that motorcycles that have ABS are 20 percent less likely to file accident claims with their insurance companies. Meanwhile, if the ABS motorcycles have combined controls, they are 31 percent less likely to file an insurance claim.

According to test track information, motorcycles with ABS can stop faster with both experienced and new motorcyclists driving them. Furthermore, when it comes to both wet and dry surfaces, the stopping distances are shorter.

The fact is, stopping a motorcycle is not as easy as it is to stop a car. A lot of variables can come into play that result in rear wheel drift, wheels locking up, skidding and other loss of control problems. These issues could result in a serious or fatal crash. However, ABS systems have been shown to reduce the chances of such calamities.

Riding a motorcycle is dangerous. Furthermore, when you consider that a lot of car drivers are not very careful around motorcyclists, bikers need all the help they can get to avoid a crash. In the event that an accident and injuries do occur, however, and if it happens as the result of another driver’s negligence, it may be possible for the injured motorcyclist to pursue a personal injury action in civil court.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Antilock braking systems make riding safer,” accessed April 08, 2016

The Takata Corp. airbag recall saga continues. Another 1.7 million vehicles in the United States have been added to the list in need of repairs. This time, it was German automakers Volkswagen, BMW and Audi that announced additional airbag-related recalls.

The defective airbags were manufactured by Japanese-based car part maker Takata Corp. Ever since the defects were discovered in 2009, recalls relating to Takata-made airbags have been expanding, with millions more cars being added to the list every year.

As has been reported in the news, the defects result in the airbags exploding and sending hot metal fragments into the interior of vehicles. These metal fragments can cause serious injuries and even death. Globally, there have been ten fatalities and countless injuries attributed to Takata Corp.-made airbags.

The vehicles included in this most recent expansion include 170,000 Audi cars, 680,000 Volkswagens and 840,000 BMWs. Almost all of these cars have problems relating to the airbag installed in the driver’s side frontal position. Due to the risk of injury and death, owners of Audi, BMW and Volkswagen cars in New Jersey may want to reach out to their local dealership to find out whether or not their particular make, model and year of vehicle has been affected. If their vehicles are affected, they should be able to get the problem fixed for free.

New Jersey motorists who suspect that they or a family member were injured or killed as a result of a defective Takata Corp. airbag can speak with a personal injury attorney about the pursuit of a lawsuit to recover financial damages. If successfully navigated, a personal injury lawsuit can be a way to pay for medical care, property damage, disability, time spent unable to work, lost opportunity, lost quality of life, pain and suffering and more.

Source: Car and Driver, “Audi, BMW, Volkswagen Add 1.7 Million Vehicles to Takata Airbag Recalls,” Clifford Atiyeh, Feb. 10, 2016

Your brakes are your best defense against getting into a car accident. If something unexpected happens on the roadway, you need to be able to stop as quickly as possible in order to avoid a collision. However, the safest way to brake is not just to slam your foot down on the pedal. This article will discuss several techniques that will help you stay safe when it is time to stop.

The first type of braking technique you will want to learn is soft pedal braking. You will want to use this technique to slow down whenever possible. By only touching the brake pedal softly, you will allow drivers behind you enough time to slow down without hitting you from behind. You will also keep from wearing out your brakes faster. It also keeps your vehicle from losing its equilibrium, which could result in you front wheels skidding into oncoming lanes of traffic.

Always try to use soft pedal braking. Also, keep in mind that in fast conditions on the roadway, the activation of your brake lights could startle drivers behind you. Therefore, if it is possible to navigate traffic by only letting off the gas, this is a great strategy for slowing down, and it is less disruptive to the flow of traffic around you.

Before you need to slow down, try to let off your gas pedal for a little while before you actually apply the brakes. This will allow you to brake smoother and more safely. As soon as you see a red light ahead, this is the time to let off the gas, coast for a while and then gradually ease into soft braking.

Try to brake as early as possible, as this will ensure that you have enough space to stop and enough space to stop gradually and slowly. Also, try pumping your brakes when it is necessary to stop rapidly as this will cause your brake lights to flash and alert drivers behind you.

These are some basic braking tips that can help you avoid getting hurt by a negligent or unlawful New Jersey driver. Especially if you are new at driving, you may want to practice these and other safe braking strategies in a controlled environment with a qualified instructor.

Source:, “Your braking techniques are important for safe driving,” accessed Oct. 30, 2015

It is not uncommon for improperly maintained tires to cause a New Jersey car accident. Poor tire maintenance is a leading cause of car wrecks and injuries. One of the reasons why so many accidents happen because of tires is because most drivers do not know what to look for when evaluating the safety of their tires. This article will discuss what you should be looking for when examining your tires.

Check for over-inflation and under-inflation. While it is good to have air in your tires, it is not good to have too much or too little air in your tires. Having too much air causes just the middle part of your tire to have contact with the road, meaning you will have less traction in wet and slippery conditions and while braking. Under-inflation results in just the outer edge of your tires making contact with the road. This causes uneven tire wear and also leaves you with less traction on the road.

Also, check to see if your tires are wearing unevenly, which is a sign that they may need to be re-aligned to correct the issue. Check for erratic tread wear as well. This is could mean the wheel is off-balance or that your shock absorbers need to be replaced. Additionally, a raised part of sidewall or treading could be a sign that some of the tires belts have begun to separate from the tread — which means it is time to replace your old wheels and get newer, safer ones.

Whenever evaluating the safety of your tires, be sure to use common sense. If you see anything that appears out of the ordinary with your tires, a qualified mechanic may be able to help evaluate your tire situation. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to tires. Indeed, if a driver’s negligently maintained tires leads to an injurious car crash, victims will have the right to seek damages against the driver who failed in his or her duty to maintain a safe vehicle.

Source: AAA, “Tire Safety and Maintenance,” accessed Oct. 14, 2015

Free Consultation

To speak with one of our highly knowledgeable attorneys, contact us today at (973) 520-0525 or toll-free at (877)-830-8211.

You can also complete the form below to begin your conversation. We are a personalized, boutique-style law firm that offers free initial consultations and flexible appointment options.