An Attempt to Limit Litigation over Motor Vehicle Accidents in New Jersey
In an attempt to limit litigation over motor vehicle accidents, in 1998, New Jersey enacted the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act (AICRA). Specifically, AICRA intended to limit the right of car accident victims to sue for pain and suffering damages.
There are, however, several important exceptions that allow a New Jersey car accident victim to recover full damages for their personal injuries in a car accident, even if they selected a Limitation on Lawsuit policy. Thus, even if you are covered by the Verbal Threshold, do not just assume that you cannot recover damages.
The Verbal Threshold does not apply to each of the 5 following cases:
- To a named insured under a New Jersey standard policy who elects the No Limitation on Lawsuit option;
- To a spouse or child living in the same house of a named insured under a New Jersey standard policy who has selected the No Limitation on Lawsuit, provided the spouse or child is not a named insured under another policy;
- To an individual who suffers an injury caused by a business or commercial vehicle not covered by Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance;
- To out-of-state residents who are injured in New Jersey accidents whose carriers are not permitted to conduct business in New Jersey; and
- To a person not required to maintain PIP coverage. For example, the threshold would not apply to a permissive user of a motor vehicle, a passenger, a pedestrian, or a non-immediate family member of an insured who is not required to maintain their own NJ PIP coverage.
Recovering Additional Damages After a New Jersey Car Accident
In addition, AICRA also contains six medical exceptions for severe injuries sustained in car accidents. Thus, even if you are bound by the verbal threshold, you can still sue an at-fault driver if your injuries include: (1) death; (2) dismemberment; (3) loss of a fetus; (4) significant disfigurement or scarring; (5) displaced fractures; or (6) permanent injury.
Car Accident Attorneys in New Jersey – We Can Help Protect Your Rights
The New Jersey car accident lawyers at Harrell, Smith & Williams suggest spending the extra money to purchase the No Limitation on Lawsuit options. Our clients are always surprised to hear exactly what the Limitation on Lawsuit means in the context of serious injuries incurred in an auto accident. For example, although an individual who suffers a non-displaced fracture of an arm or a leg in an auto accident has a difficult road to recovery, the Limitation on Lawsuit selection means that they would not be able to recover for pain or suffering.
If you have been injured in a car or truck accident in New Jersey, you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer today. The personal injury attorneys at Harrell, Smith & Williams are knowledgeable at finding exceptions to the verbal threshold. We serve accident victims in New Jersey and always offer a free consultation. Call us today at (908) 264-7228.