How does my verbal threshold insurance coverage affect my claims after a car accident?

The “verbal threshold,” also known as the “tort threshold” and “limited right to sue” is an option that a policyholder can select when purchasing auto insurance. (N.J.S.A. 39:6A-8 contains the relevant statutory provisions if you would like to see the actual statutory language.)

How to tell if your insurance policy contains the verbal threshold limitation.

A quick look at an insurance policy’s declaration page will show whether the policy contains this limitation. Look for the words “limited right to sue” or “tort threshold” on your declaration page.  Selecting the verbal threshold significantly lowers the price of auto insurance, but it also imposes significant limits on the policyholder and the policyholder’s resident family members’ legal rights to non-economic losses (pain and suffering) if injured in a car accident.

What happens if I’m injured and have selected the verbal threshold in New Jersey?

When the verbal threshold is selected, any person injured and covered under the policy must prove that they suffered a permanent injury as verified by objective medical evidence to recover non-economic damages. New Jersey law provides for several categories of permanent injuries and several methods of medical testing to prove that an injury is permanent. The most common type of injury that results in a dispute over permanency are neck and back injuries. The law considers such injuries permanent if the injured body organ is damaged and that organ will not heal to function normally even with further medical treatment.

Generally, MRI’s are the objective evidence used to verify that a disk in the spine has been permanently injured in a car accident. Other diagnostic tests may be used as well to illustrate the permanent injury, sometimes, as in the case of a displaced fracture of a bone, X-rays may serve as the basis for the claim. The policyholder selecting the verbal threshold must understand the trade-off that they are making when they make this selection. If you were injured in a car accident or have any questions about the verbal threshold please give us a call at (732) 247-3600 for a free consultation.

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About RAM Law RAM Law represents all of Central Jersey in personal injury cases and is staffed by experienced accident and injury attorneys. We provide legal help for victims of slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, workplace injuries, truck and car accidents, and other personal injuries. Call (732) 247-3600 to discuss your case and set up a free consultation at our New Brunswick or Somerville law offices.

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