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What to know if you've been the victim of a distracted driver

In 2014 over 430,000 people were involved in car accidents as a result of distracted driving. For five consecutive years, this was the number one cause of fatal crashes in New Jersey. Distracted driving happens when the person operating the vehicle engages in an activity that is not related to driving. This can include anything that causes the driver to take one's eyes off the road, hands off the steering wheel, or one's mind to wander.

If you have been injured in a car accident as the result of another driver's distracted driving, you may be wondering how your medical expenses and the damage to your vehicle will be paid.

No fault insurance

In general, New Jersey is a "no fault" state, meaning that unless your injuries are considered to be of a certain severity (dismemberment, significant disfigurement or scarring, displaced fractures, etc.), or your medical bills exceed a certain threshold, your insurance policy is responsible for the cost. If your injuries and medical bills do meet certain thresholds, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the other driver.

This type of insurance is the minimum required by the state, which is why you can only sue another driver in limited cases.

Traditional car insurance

If you opted to purchase traditional car insurance, this allows you to file a claim against the other driver for your complete medical bills, vehicular damage and any other expenses associated with the crash.

Due to the time it takes for insurance companies to settle claims, your insurance will cover your expenses (minus your deductible) and then seek reimbursement from the other driver's insurance company. If the suit is successful, you will also be refunded the deductible.

If you have been involved in a car accident resulting from another driver's negligence, it is important to understand how your insurance policy works and your right to file an injury claim. For guidance in this matter, contact an attorney with experience handling motor vehicle accidents.

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