The right of Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents to file for noneconomic losses can vary under the law, depending on their insurance policies. This can significantly affect the compensation that you can pursue in the event of an auto accident. At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., a personal injury lawyer can explain the difference between a limited and full right to sue if you have been involved in an auto accident. As a general rule, we strongly recommend that individuals select the option that affords them the chance to pursue the greatest amount of compensation. If you have been in an auto accident, contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation with a Philadelphia personal injury attorney.
- Pennsylvania Limited Tort
- New Jersey Limitation on Lawsuit Option
- Pennsylvania and New Jersey Full Right to Sue
Contact A Pennsylvania And New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, our attorneys have the experience and wherewithal needed to help. If you have questions regarding limited vs. full right to sue, we can provide the answers you are looking for. To schedule a free consultation and case review with an Allentown, Reading, and Philadelphia-area personal injury lawyer, contact an attorney from Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., today.
Pennsylvania Limited Tort
If your insurance coverage falls under the limited tort option, you and members of your family are giving up certain constitutional rights to pursue recovery, even in instances in which the other driver is fully responsible for the accident. Under this form of insurance, you and other household members covered under the policy may seek recovery for all medical and other out-of-pocket expenses, but not for pain and suffering or other non-monetary damages, unless the injuries sustained fall into one of the following categories:
- Personal injury resulting in death, serious impairment, or permanent serious disfigurement
- If the other driver is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance or accepts an ARD program
- If the other driver committed an intentional act that caused your injuries
- If the other driver was operating a vehicle registered in another state
- If the other driver has no insurance
Although the limited tort option provides for cheaper insurance premiums, the minimal cost difference must be weighed against the significant legal rights you will be losing. In addition, the person purchasing the insurance must realize that selecting limited tort, applies to not only the person purchasing the insurance but also all members of the household. As a result, a minor child riding in a neighbor’s vehicle is deemed to have limited tort if that vehicle is involved in an accident. Serving New Jersey and Pennsylvania, a personal injury lawyer from our firm can review your case and determine your claim eligibility.
New Jersey Limitation On Lawsuit Option
If you are subject to a limited right to sue, referred to as limitation on lawsuit option in New Jersey, you are required to establish to the court that you or a loved one has suffered one of the following injuries before you can file a claim for non-economic loss:
- Significant disfigurement or significant scarring
- Displaced fracture
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent injury (excluding minor scarring or disfigurement)
A permanent injury in this case is considered an injury in which the organ or body part fails to properly heal and will not properly heal or function normally even with further medical treatment. A clear example of such an injury would be a catastrophic spinal cord injury that leaves an individual paralyzed. Permanent injuries, however, can be interpreted in a number of ways, and many other less serious injuries may also qualify. The best way to determine whether your injury meets the criteria outlined in the limitation on lawsuit option is by referring to a qualified physician and attorney.
Understanding Full-Tort Insurance in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
Even though both Pennsylvania and New Jersey are primarily “no-fault” states when it comes to auto insurance, both of them allow drivers to opt-out of the limited tort insurance scenario. When drivers do this, they can choose to opt-in to the full-tort insurance system that most other states follow.
When a driver chooses the full-tort insurance system in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, any vehicle accident will be handled based on fault. In other words, compensation will be doled out to victims based on who caused the accident. In these situations, the claim will not have to reach certain thresholds in order for drivers to have the ability to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Additionally, drivers who choose the full-tort system in Pennsylvania and New Jersey will also be able to recover additional types of compensation if their claim is successful, including pain and suffering losses.
Time Limit to File a Lawsuit in These Cases
Victims of vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania and New Jersey need to be aware that they have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in these cases. First, drivers who use the no-fault system will not be able to file a lawsuit if the various thresholds for a claim’s severity are met. However, drivers who choose the full-tort system have no such thresholds.
If a vehicle accident victim in New Jersey or Pennsylvania needs to file a lawsuit, they must do so within two years from the date the accident occurred. This time frame is set forth in the statute of limitation laws passed by both states, respectively. If a victim fails to file a lawsuit within this time frame, they will likely lose the ability to recover any compensation for their losses.
However, please understand that the insurance carriers in these situations have very strict reporting deadlines that have nothing to do with the personal injury statute of limitations. Failing to report an incident to the insurance carrier, regardless of what type of insurance the driver uses, will likely result in a claim experiencing significant delays or even a denial.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Immediately
If you or somebody you care about has been involved in a vehicle accident caused by the negligent actions of another driver in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, please contact the team at Soloff & Zervanos, P.C. for help as soon as possible. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling complex injury claims, and we have the resources necessary to conduct a complete investigation into these cases. Regardless of whether or not you have been involved in a no-fault accident or a full-tort claim, we are ready to step in and help. Let us make sure that you receive the coverage you need for your medical bills, property damage expenses lost income, and more. When you need a New Jersey or Pennsylvania car accident attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 866-597-8572.