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Under New Jersey law, drivers are required to have car insurance, and part of that insurance policy is what is known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP), sometimes also known as no-fault insurance. The idea behind PIP is that, in the event of an auto accident, injured drivers file compensation claims with their own insurance provider, rather than filing it against the other driver and having to prove negligence or liability. Each car insurance plan has a PIP coverage limit, and only after this limit is reached may injured parties seek compensation from the other driver's insurance.

PIP has certainly reduced the number of New Jersey car accident negligence lawsuits, but it has also created a strenuous relationship between insurers and policyholders as insurance companies find themselves working against the best interest of their own clients. It has also somewhat limited a driver's right to seek compensation for pain and suffering.

Unbeknownst to many New Jersey drivers, when purchasing a car insurance policy, you are given two options: unlimited right to sue and limited right to sue. Both of these options allow you to seek economic compensation for losses as a result of a car accident injury such as medical expenses and lost income or wages.

However, should you choose the limited right to sue, you are unable to seek compensation for pain and suffering damages such as a loss of quality of life, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium (the ability for a spouse or family member to sue for damages suffered to the family), unless your injury is considered "permanent". If you choose the limited right to sue option, and are physically injured in an auto accident, you may seek compensation for pain and suffering only in the event of:

  • The loss of a body part
  • significant disfigurement or scarring
  • A displaced fracture
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Death

In theory, this law prevents minor injuries from being pursued in court, wasting precious court time and taxpayer money on frivolous and unnecessary claims. In reality however, many motorists suffer injuries which are not legally considered "permanent", but are traumatic and severe nonetheless , and can cause significant pain and distress. Because of this, you may wish to consider upgrading to an "unlimited right to sue" policy if you do not currently have one.

Contact a Morristown Car Accident Injury Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident, the Morristown law office of Smith & Doran is ready to help. We understand the stakes involved with your injury, and we are ready to provide personal and effective legal representation. We know how to fight for your future while at the same time always maintaining an open line of communication.

To schedule a cost-free consultation with the personal injury team of Smith & Doran, contact us online or through our Morristown offices at 973-261-6254 today.

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Smith & Gaynor, LLC
60 Washington Street, Suite 302
Morristown, NJ 07960

Phone: 973-532-2661
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