In New Jersey, there are various types of automobile insurance policies, and different options one may choose regarding the extent of coverage afforded by those policies. It is important to know what automobile insurance policy you chose for your coverage, since your option determines your rights if you are injured in an automobile accident in New Jersey.
One option is called the Verbal or Limitation on Lawsuit Threshold option. The Verbal or Limitation coverage is the most limiting option for you to bring a lawsuit for injuries sustained in a New Jersey automobile accident. Thus, if you want to be able to bring a lawsuit in the event you are injured in an automobile accident, you should not choose this option. Each automobile coverage option premium differs with each option on certain automobile insurance plans. Although you will save a small amount of money on your insurance premium for the Verbal or Limitation on Lawsuit option, you will severely limit your ability to bring a lawsuit for injuries sustained in an automobile accident. This limitation applies not only to the policy holder, but it also applies to all immediate family members (spouse, children and step-children) living in your household.
The option with that entitles you to file a lawsuit for injuries you sustain as a result of an automobile accident is the No Limitation on Lawsuit option.
Thus, if you purchase automobile coverage with the Verbal or Limitation coverage option, you must prove to the court "by objective evidence" that the injuries you sustained in an automobile accident at least satisfy one of the following criteria in order for you to be able to recover damages for your injuries:
Dismemberment (loss of a body part)
Loss of a fetus
Significant disfigurement or significant scarring. Note: Significant refers to the subjective view of an observer, and not the opinion of the injured person
Displaced fracture (simple fractures do not satisfy the threshold unless they cause a permanent injury after healing)
Permanent injury, within a reasonable degree of medical probability
In light of the stringent standard that you must be able to prove by objective evidence if you have the verbal or limitation option coverage, it is a serious hurdle that one must overcome in order to obtain a fair and reasonable compensation for injuries sustained in an automobile accident in New Jersey. The first five types of injuries occur in only a small percentage of car accidents, and so most claimants will have to prove the sixth criteria on the list above, permanent injury. Insurance companies have become increasingly aggressive in defending these permanent injury cases, and generally force claimants to proceed up to the day of trial before making any settlement offer. Many of the cases must go to trial, increasing costs incurred by the claimants. Doctors are often reluctant, and some even unwilling, to provide the required sworn statements certifying the permanency of an injury, resulting in the dismissal of claims. Doctors who examine claimants for the defendants' insurance company will, almost always, state in reports and testify at trial that the injuries are not permanent.
Frequently, insurance companies will succeed in obtaining a dismissal of a claim by a Judge before it reaches a jury, based only upon documents and medical reports. In short, injured claimants who are subject to the verbal threshold face substantial obstacles to receiving any compensation at all for injuries.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, call us for a free consultation at
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