How the Verbal Threshold Requirement Works in New Jersey Car Accident Claims
New Jersey drivers choose whether they their auto policy comes with a limitation on lawsuit, or verbal threshold. Your choice can restrict how much compensation you can recover, so it is important to know these details.
What is the verbal threshold?The verbal threshold is an auto insurance option that blocks the injured plaintiff from seeking non-economic damages, except under certain circumstances. This option is also known as "limitation on lawsuit," as it reduces the types of damages an injured motorist can recover after an accident. Drivers choose between policies that have this limitation and those that do not; policies with this limitation generally have a lower monthly premium, but limit policyholders' ability to recover compensation after an accident.
What are non-economic damages?Non-economic damages are also called emotional damages or pain and suffering damages. These are intangible damages paid for the emotional damage related to an accident and/or injury. These damages apply most often to wrongful death and serious injury accidents, such as cases of dismemberment or brain damage.
If I selected verbal threshold coverage, what can I recover?A policy subject to the verbal threshold still allows you to recover damages related to the cost of medical care and your economic losses. If you are employed, you might be entitled to lost wages and loss of earning capacity. But you cannot recover compensation for pain and suffering, unless you meet an exception, such as a serious injury.
What if I have verbal threshold coverage and suffer a serious injury?The verbal threshold requirement does have some exceptions. If you suffer any of the following damages, you might still be entitled to non-economic damages.
•Loss of a fetus
•Significant disfigurement and scarring
•An injury deemed to be permanent through medical proof
How do I prove I am eligible for non-economic damages if I have verbal threshold coverage?You must provide evidence that you suffered one of the above injuries. Proving death and dismemberment may be simple, but proving an injury is permanent and significantly impairing can be a challenge. Typically, an injury only qualifies for non-economic damages if it meets one of these definitions:
- •It caused the permanent loss or a body organ or function
•It permanently limited the use of a body organ or member
•It significantly limited the use of a body function or system
Proving these criteria will require medical evidence, assessment from your doctors, and might even require the testimony of a vocational specialist or medical expert.