What You Need to Know about NJ’s Auto Insurance Threshold Law
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Thu Nov 2017
In our final installment on car insurance, our focus is on NJ’s auto insurance threshold law. As a part of tort reform, the state legislature enacted particular requirements when it comes to suing for injuries that occurred as a result of motor vehicle accidents. In particular, your choices on your automobile insurance coverage dictate when you can sue a negligent party for your injuries.
For many, it’s a question of economics. After all, the cost of car insurance may be a big chunk of your net income. However, you should still know the different options for your policy selections. Your budgetary concerns might stand some adjustment.
Right to Sue: Auto Insurance Threshold Law
The names concerning your right to sue for injuries suffered in a car accident have changed over the years. At one point, they were known as the Lawsuit Threshold and the No Threshold option. You may have also heard reference to the Verbal Threshold. All things considered, it’s hard to decipher the purpose in changing names. Some cynical folks might suggest the intention is to confuse the public.
NJSA 39:6A-8 breaks down the options that are available under New Jersey automobile insurance policies. At the present time, the least restrictive choice is entitled the “No Limitation of Lawsuit option.” Candidly, it is also the more expensive option. However, you may feel that extra premium payments are worthwhile if you don’t feel like debating the extent of your injuries.
The No Limitation of Lawsuit option is precisely what it sounds like. If you sustain any type of bodily injury because of someone else’s negligence, you can file a lawsuit. For example, you won’t have to worry about making a claim for whiplash. You might be surprised at what gets turned down under this option. Some personal injury victims have even encountered claim denials for herniated discs because they chose this option.
The bottom line is that you should be able to pursue a claim if someone else caused you to suffer pain. Obviously, if there is a No Limitation on Lawsuit Option, one has to wonder about the limitations on filing a lawsuit.
Limitation on Lawsuit Option
You can already guess that the limitation on lawsuit option restricts your right to sue in the case of personal injury from a motor vehicle accident. NJSA 39:6A-8(a) provides a breakdown of the acceptable reasons someone may pursue a lawsuit for accidental injury using this alternative. They are as follows:
- Fatal injury of a loved one
- Significant disfigurement or significant scarring
- Displaced fractures
- Loss of a fetus; or
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.
Keep in mind that all of these categories can be somewhat subjective. Additionally, under the law, “an injury shall be considered permanent when the body part or organ, or both, has not healed to function normally and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment.”
Make an Educated Decision
Selecting the best auto insurance coverage is not an easy feat. Why go at it alone? At the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo, we are happy to help you make an educated decision to make sure you get the best policy that fits your budget. We are just a phone call away. We look forward to hearing from you!
To read the previous post in this series: [You Really Need to Know This About Your Car Insurance Policy]