What are my options if I was hit and the other driver didn’t have insurance?

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What are my options if I was hit and the other driver didn’t have insurance?

I was at a full stop when another car hit my car in the back in New Jersey. The police officer came and gave her a ticket for careless driving. Later, after I spoke with the other party’s insurance comp. they sent me a letter stating that the policy had already expired prior to the day of the accident and there’s nothing they can do. I also find that the other car’s registration expired in April ’09 according to the police report. The accident occurred on May 5, 2009. What our my options?? Do I have a case against the officer since he let her go knowing that the ins. and reg. expired?

Asked on May 21, 2009 under Accident Law, New Jersey

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It's likely that the police officer didn't know that the insurance wasn't in force, if it was cancelled for non-payment, I have seen this happen before.  If the officer had known the car was not insured, he would almost certainly have impounded it.

Either way, there is nothing you can do against the police officer or the department here, because under the New Jersey Tort Claims Act they are absolutely immune from suit, for failing or refusing to enforce a law.

As far as I know, your car insurance rates will not go up if you make a claim on your collision coverage, because the accident was not your fault.  You can sue the other driver for the deductible, if he or she doesn't pay it voluntarily, and unless you have an extremely high deductible you should be able to bring that in the Small Claims section of the Special Civil Part of the Superior Court.

J.V., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No the officer may have made a mistake but not one worthy of a lawsuit. As for your options usually insurance companies will handle this type of matter. Your insurance will cover it assuming that's part of your policy. Than they can choose to personally go after the other driver, it is in their hands. If you want to proceed on your own you will need to contact a local attorney to inquire as to the costs to you in doing so and if they feel it is in your best interest to do so

Your rates may increase which is motivation to proceed but depending on the damage and other drivers economic situation you may not be benefited by proceeding. Your best shot is to call around to a few attorneys to get their opinions on what options you have and the costs associated with them


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