What the Verbal Threshold Means to Your Accident Claim
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Wed Feb 2020
The consequences of any type of accident claim can leave you struggling for answers. When you’re hurt in a motor vehicle crash, things may seem even more complicated. In fact, it may be the first time you remember hearing anything about a verbal threshold.
As you’re stopped at a traffic signal, you feel the sudden slam of another vehicle from behind you. It turns out that the driver two cars back was texting and driving. Fortunately for you, you’re in an SUV, and the subcompact behind for you basically acts as a buffer.
Nonetheless, the force of the collision turns out to be enough to hurt your neck. You’ve heard other people claim whiplash injuries and discounted them. With newly firsthand experience, you not only feel tenderness and pain. You can’t believe how difficult it is to move both your neck and shoulders.
No doubt you’re more than a little bit furious. Of course, you’re not upset at the driver who rear-ended your vehicle. However, what about the person who actually caused the collision in the first place? It’s not just about getting your truck repaired. Shouldn’t they be responsible for compensating you for your injuries?
Some say that New Jersey’s automobile insurance laws are among the most complex in the nation. When it comes to coverage for passenger vehicles, it’s considered no-fault insurance. While that’s not to say you can’t file a lawsuit against a negligent driver, there may be limitations.
Verbal Threshold Has Its Limitations
When the owner of a passenger vehicle in New Jersey purchases automobile insurance, the selection comes down to a couple of tort options. Roughly stated, a tort action arises when you want to file a claim against a negligent party. In our example, you would likely want to file a lawsuit against the driver who thought their text conversation trumped their need to watch the road.
While there’s admittedly some pun intended, the verbal threshold has absolutely everything to do with limitations. In fact, NJSA 39:6A-8 goes so far as to refer to it as a limitation on lawsuit option. In order to save monthly premiums, a number of passenger vehicle owners simply go with the lower price. What they don’t realize is that even when an accident isn’t their fault – they may be limiting their right to sue.
Meanwhile, you should know that the limitations apply to what are know as noneconomic damages. The bottom line is that if you’re bound by the verbal threshold, you can only pursue a negligence claim if you suffered any of these injuries:
- Dismemberment (loss of a body part)
- Significant disfigurement or scarring
- Displaced fractures
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent injury other than scarring or disfigurement
All things considered, it might seem a bit unfair. After all, as far as you’re concerned, this pain and suffering you’re going through seems like it will never end.
When it comes down to it, that may well be true. In order to prove a limitation on lawsuit case, a physician must certify that your injuries meet the threshold. That means coming up with evidence that supports any of the referenced injuries. Obviously, some are easier to prove than others.
When the Verbal Threshold Doesn’t Apply
First, the limitation on lawsuits option isn’t the only one available to owners of personal automobiles in New Jersey. The No Limitation on Lawsuits option doesn’t come with the same constraints. And, even with the verbal threshold, an experienced personal injury attorney may be able to prove your injuries are permanent.
In the meantime, automobile insurance claims are a bit more complicated than you might think. The fact that you don’t own a car doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not covered by someone else’s policy. And, that individual’s choices may then apply to your right to sue. Once again, it’s a matter that suggests the need for an experienced automobile accident attorney.
Additionally, you’re not restricted to the limitations of the verbal threshold if the negligent driver was operating a business or commercial vehicle.
If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, you have plenty to deal with it. The Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafajlo offers experienced legal advice to guide you through the process. We aren’t paid unless we secure either a settlement or verdict on your behalf. Give us a call to see how we can assist you.