What Are the “Right to Sue” Laws in New Jersey For Car Accident Victims?
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on May 30, 2019 in Car Accidents News
When you get into a car accident in New Jersey, your insurance company is responsible for paying your damages of medical bills and property damage, but only up to the policy limit. If your insurance policy does not cover the full extent of your damages, you cannot sue the other party because of the “limited right to sue” law.
However, there are some legitimate instances in which you can sue the other party. Our New Jersey car accident attorneys will help you determine your legal rights. Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.
What Is “Limited Right to Sue”?
If you have chosen a limited right to sue with your insurance policy, this is an agreement not to sue the person at fault for your accident for pain and suffering, unless your injuries are permanent. This also may be called a “verbal threshold option.”
Even if the at fault driver was fully responsible for the accident, your injuries must be quite severe in order to pursue a lawsuit for pain and suffering.
The types of injuries that qualify under the limited right to sue include:
- Loss of a body part
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent disfigurement or scarring
- Displaced fractures
- Permanent injuries
A permanent injury is defined as an injury to an organ, body part or both that no longer has normal function due to the injury and will not regain function even with further medical treatment.
When you choose a limited right to sue option within your insurance policy, typically premiums are significantly lower than with unlimited right to sue options. Lack of an unlimited right to sue theoretically lessens insurance payouts for claims, therefore insurers lower premiums for those who choose this option.
What Is “Unlimited Right to Sue”?
If you have chosen an unlimited right to sue option with your insurance policy, you are able to sue the at fault party for your injuries and do not have to give insurance companies the right to refuse payments.
The unlimited right to sue option allows you to pursue a lawsuit against an at fault driver for any injury, not just extremely severe injuries. This option is also referred to as a “no threshold option.”
Selecting the unlimited right to sue when you purchase or renew your insurance policy gives you more options when it comes to recovering damages after a car accident injury. If you fail to fill out your insurance policy application fully or return it, your policy could default to a limited right to sue option which would prevent you from filing a lawsuit against the at fault party unless your injuries meet the severe qualifications.
What If I Have a Basic Insurance Policy?
If you have purchased a basic insurance policy, this policy automatically includes a limited right to sue. There is no option to choose an unlimited right to sue with a basic insurance policy.
In New Jersey, lawsuits for car accident injuries must be filed within a two-years from the accident. This is known as the statute of limitations. Once this time has passed, you are unable to file a lawsuit to pursue damages related to your injury.
There are no caps on compensatory damages in New Jersey, only on punitive damages. The maximum amount of punitive damages that can be awarded under state law is the greater of five times the compensatory damage award or $350,000.
Also, New Jersey follows a modified comparative negligence standard. If you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you cannot recover damages. If you are found to hold a percentage of fault under 50 percent, your damage award is reduced according to your percentage of fault.
Get Help from Our Qualified Attorneys Today
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our New Jersey car accident lawyers will examine your case and inform you of the legal options that may be available to help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation today. We charge no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.
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