Imagine you’re on your daily commute. Now imagine that, out of nowhere, you’re T-boned by an SUV roaring through a red light. After you’re rushed to the ER, you’re told that you have suffered spinal trauma as a result of the accident. You can walk, but the pain is excruciating and requires months of physical therapy on top of expensive prescription medication.
Even with the undue amount of suffering you’ve endured, you hear some terrible news: Your insurance company prevents you from suing the driver who was texting instead of paying attention to the road and hit you as a result.
Sounds nightmarish, right? Sadly, this fate befalls thousands of Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents each year, when they discover that the insurance plan they chose limits their right to sue. In Pennsylvania, this stipulation is called limited tort; in New Jersey, it is referred to as verbal threshold. Feeling worried? Keep reading to protect yourself, and call a car accident lawyer in NJ if you have any questions.
What is Limited Tort/Verbal Threshold?
Limited tort/verbal threshold is an insurance plan option that limits policyholders’ ability to sue for pain and suffering after an auto accident. Most policyholders choose this option because it is less expensive than full tort (more on that in a minute) by about 15%.
In PA, limited tort dictates that a policyholder can’t sue for pain and suffering unless it’s a “serious injury” as defined in PA standard insurance policy–death, significant deformity or impairment of body function. If you’re not dead, disfigured or disabled after the accident, you can’t sue.
In NJ, the ability to sue includes death, dismemberment, significant disfigurement, a displaced fracture or permanent injury. While this policy is more lenient in NJ, terms like “significant disfigurement” and “permanent injury” are left to the discretion of the insurance company to determine whether they are eligible for coverage. However, most insurance companies refuse to settle cases even with bad injuries if the person has the limited right to sue.
Do I Have an Alternative?
In Pennsylvania, policy holders are automatically granted the right to sue/zero tort. ln New Jersey, however, you are automatically given a restriction on your right to sue.
If you have a limited tort policy right now, don’t feel stuck. You can change your tort selection and your carrier at any time–you don’t have to wait until the renewal date!
While about 15% more expensive, full tort (PA) or zero threshold (NJ) policies allow you to sue in court for all the pain and suffering you have suffered as the result of an auto accident. Such a policy makes it easier for your lawyer in NJ or PA to build your personal injury settlement case and win what you justly deserve after an accident.
Don’t wait: Change your tort selection now to protect yourself. Additionally, you should make sure that you are covered by the right insurance company. Not sure? Contact us to discuss what insurance companies are the best. We will review your auto policy for free and give you free advice on whether to keep or change it. Call us at 856-283-0589 to schedule your consultation.
If you are hurt and need help, contact us immediately so we can go to work for you. We help injured people get compensation and medical treatment so they can get back to health and their daily activities without having to deal with the insurance companies.