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Division of Risk Management

TORT AND LIABILITY

Pete Ramos, Supervisor (Acting Manager)
Main Reception Line: (609) 292-4347
Fax: (609) 984-8486

The State of New Jersey does not carry public liability insurance and is self administered for tort claims. The Tort Section handles, investigates and adjusts claims made against the State of New Jersey, its departments and agencies, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 59:1-1, et seq. a/k/a the New Jersey Tort and Contractual Liability Act. The Section makes a determination of liability and damages pursuant to the provisions, defenses and immunities afforded to the State under Title 59.

Title 59 represents the legislative response to a New Jersey Supreme Court decision which abrogated the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Its purpose was to re-establish immunity of all public entities in New Jersey, based on the legislative balance of interests of the individual claimant and the taxpayers of the State of New Jersey. Litigation support is handled by the Division of Law- Department of Law and Public Safety.

The Tort Section also files claims on behalf of the State of New Jersey against private entities, individuals, and other public entities to recover damages incurred as a result of their negligent acts. The section is comprised of four (4) units:

1. Tort and Contract Unit
Stephanie Hargrove, Senior Investigator
Telephone: (609) 292-4347, Main Reception Line
Fax: (609) 984-8486

HOW TO FILE A POTHOLE DAMAGE CLAIM
(21 KB)

This unit is the first line of defense in tort actions filed against the State. It handles, investigates and adjusts a majority of the civil claims and actions filed against the State, its departments and agencies, including those under the Foster Parent Liability Program. The Unit ensures that meritorious claims are reasonably settled in an expeditious fashion (within the 6 month “grace” period under Title 59:8-3) and that unfounded claims are denied accordingly by asserting the applicable immunities and defenses afforded under Title 59, so as to avoid or minimize unnecessary litigation. To file a claim, please complete the appropriate form found in our home page.

Foster Parent Liability Claims:

The State of New Jersey’s Foster Parent Liability Program is contractual in nature and is intended to recognize, to the extent feasible in light of ongoing budgetary restrictions, the important public function performed by foster parents. See generally, N.J.S.A. 30:4C-27, 30:4C-29.

The Program consists of two distinct components involving: (1) property damage/loss; and (2) legal representation for the foster parent. Any person or persons approved as a foster parent by the Division of Youth & Family Services (DYFS), and who is acting in the capacity of a foster parent at the time of a qualifying occurrence, may be eligible for coverage under the program. Foster Parents are not employees of the State.

The 3 types of claims entertained under the program include: damage to personal property of Foster Parent, damage to dwelling of Foster Parent, and third party liability claims for property damage and personal injuries. To file a claim, please complete the form found in our home page.

2. Auto Liability Unit
Patricia Wert, Senior Claims Investigator
Telephone: (609) 292-4347, Main Reception Line
Fax: (609) 984-8486

The State of New Jersey is not insured for automobile liability and does not carry no-fault benefits on its fleet of vehicles, i.e. P.I.P. coverage, uninsured or underinsured motorists benefits.

The Auto Liability Unit handles claims filed against the State of New Jersey based on the alleged negligent use, possession and/or operation of vehicles owned by the State of New Jersey. All of these claims are handled pursuant to Title 59.

Claims processing and investigations are provided by an outside adjusting agency, and litigation support is provided by the Office of the Attorney General. The Division of Risk Management authorizes settlement of meritorious claims and handles all appeals.

3. Subrogation Unit
Lisa Weitz
Telephone: (609) 633-1383

The Subrogation Unit, formerly known as the Property Damage Unit, files claims against private entities, insurance companies, individuals and other public entities for damages sustained by the State of New Jersey, its departments and agencies, i.e. damage to the State highway system, the State’s fleet of vehicles, and to State-owned buildings.

4. Third Party Unit
Michele Mochel
Telephone: (609) 292-3148
Fax: (609) 984-8486

The Third Party Unit works closely with the Workers Compensation Section to identify potential culpable third parties who may have played a role in the accident that caused injuries to the State employee.

The unit is responsible for preserving the State’s Section 40 Lien Rights under the Workers’ Compensation Statute, N.J.S.A. 34:15-40, by placing on notice the individuals, insurance companies, attorneys involved in the litigation, or entities that caused or contributed to the work-related accident. The State of New Jersey is entitled to recover 2/3 of the “allowable” costs and expenses it incurred.


 

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