Proving You Suffered a Permanent Injury After an Accident
In some accident cases in New Jersey, an injury victim may be required to prove he or she suffered a permanent injury to recover non-economic compensation.
If you need help gathering the necessary evidence to prove your injuries are permanent, our auto accident attorneys in New Jersey are prepared to help. The consultation is free and there are no upfront fees.
UNDERSTANDING NEW JERSEY’S VERBAL THRESHOLD LAW
In efforts to keep the rising costs of motor vehicle insurance down in New Jersey, the state has passed and amended several laws. One of those laws includes the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act (AICRA) passed in 1998 implementing a verbal threshold, which placed a limit on certain injury victims hoping to pursue compensation for non-economic damages.
Under the AICRA, New Jersey drivers with a verbal threshold, or limited right to sue, insurance policy may not file a civil lawsuit to recover compensation for pain and suffering damages unless their injuries fall under the following categories:
- Loss of limb(s)
- Loss of a fetus
- Significant disfigurement/scarring
- Displaced fracture(s)
- Permanent injury
It is important to note that this legal threshold only applies to drivers who have purchased a basic insurance policy or a standard policy with a limited right to sue. Drivers who have purchased a standard auto policy with the unlimited right to sue may seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages from an at-fault driver even if they suffered an injury that does not fall into the above category.
WHAT IS A PERMANENT INJURY?
Simply put, a permanent injury is one that affects the victim for the rest of his or her life. It will not heal, even with medical treatment. Some injuries may be easily categorized as permanent, such as:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Severed limbs
- Severe burn injuries
- Scars and disfigurement
- Full or partial paralysis
However, there are some injuries that may have permanent effects even though insurance companies may question whether these injuries will ever go away, such as:
- Herniated disc – When the jelly-like fluid inside a spinal disc pushes through the tough exterior, impacting the nerves around the spine, the victim has a herniated disc.
- Spinal stenosis – This refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal which impacts the spinal cord.
Depending on the age of the injury victim, other soft-tissue injuries like torn tendons or ligaments may also have a permanent effect.
EVIDENCE TO PROVE A PERMANENT INJURY
The verbal threshold is not usually an issue when a person is involved in a serious accident, such as a truck or pedestrian accident. However, some minor accidents may lead to permanent injuries that may meet the required legal standard for pursuing compensation for non-economic damages. The issue then becomes proving you suffered a permanent injury.
Some of the following may be used as evidence to prove you suffered a permanent injury, even when the accident was not severe or catastrophic:
- Medical records, including imaging tests such as MRIs, CT scans or X-rays showing the scope and severity of your injuries
- Doctor’s notes – your treating physician’s written medical evaluation of your injuries and your prognosis for recovery
- Expert testimony – an on-the-record statement from treating doctors determining your injuries to be permanent
Depending on the facts of your claim, other types of evidence may be used to prove your injuries are permanent. It would be in your best interest to contact one of our experienced attorneys to learn more.
WE ARE PREPARED TO HELP. CALL TODAY
With decades of experience helping injury victims in New Jersey, our lawyers stand ready to help you pursue compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your legal options and see which one works best for you. There are no upfront fees, and we do not get paid unless you do.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation: (800) 518-0508