What Types of Injuries Meet the NJ Verbal Threshold for Bringing a Lawsuit?
New Jersey law gives drivers the choice of two types of car insurance policies: the “limitation on lawsuit” option and the “no limitation” option. A limitation-on-lawsuit policy is less expensive but strictly limits the purchaser’s ability to sue for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages. However, it is still possible to recover such damages if the injuries are serious enough to meet what is known as the verbal threshold.
The Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act (AICRA) sets out six categories of injuries that satisfy the verbal threshold. To be eligible to sue, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that they or a family member have suffered one or more of these injuries:
- Loss of a fetus
- Significant disfigurement or scarring
- Displaced fractures
- Permanent injury
Proving these injuries can be complex, as AICRA has specific requirements that must be met. Therefore, retaining an experienced personal injury attorney is essential.
An injury is considered permanent when a body part or organ, or both, has not healed to function normally and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment.
“Significant disfigurement or scarring” is an injury that a reasonable person would find makes the victim’s appearance unattractive or objectionable or that substantially detracts from their appearance. Factors considered include the appearance, coloration, size and shape of the plaintiff’s disfigurement or scars and the remnants that exist after the healing process.
In addition to proving one or more of the six eligible injuries, AICRA requires that the plaintiff provide the defendant, within 60 days, with documentation from a licensed physician certifying the type of injury sustained. The certification must be based on objective clinical evidence, such as medical and diagnostic testing results. Testing may not be experimental or dependent entirely upon subjective patient response.
To get the most out of your personal injury claim, choose an attorney who is passionate about service and capable of delivering positive results. For more than 25 years, Kevin T. Kutyla, Esq. has provided exemplary legal representation for accident victims in Sussex and Morris counties and throughout New Jersey. The office is conveniently located in Succasunna at 15 Commerce Boulevard, just off Route 10. Call 862-354-8931 or contact the firm online to schedule an appointment.