Immediate Family Member-Resident Relative -No Fault Law

The N.J. car accident 

N.J. car accident
Ouch!

Joan is on her way home from a long day at work. It’s after 9:00 P.M., and raining cats and dogs. Joan is entering the intersection of Avon and Alert Avenue, when out of no where, another car makes a left hand turn in front of her, and ba-da-bing, crash, lights out. Joan wakes up in the hospital with terrible neck and back pain, the victim of a N.J. car accident with a careless driver.  Fortunately, nothing is broken.Joan was driving her mother’s car, which she borrowed. Joan does not own an automobile, and does not reside with her mother. The car is covered by automobile liability insurance with All-State, and her mother selected the Limitation of Lawsuit Tort Threshold.Joan suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck and back. Over the next eleven (11) months, Joan attends physical therapy on a regular  basis of three (3) times per week.  She receives several injections in her lower back to ease the pain.  Joan is unable to return to work for seven months, and received state disability and additional money from a private disability plan. There is no out-of-pocket expense for lost wages.Which Tort Threshold applies to Joan?

You are absolutely correct if you said, the No Limitation of Lawsuit tort threshold applies. If you guessed, the Limitation of Lawsuit threshold, you probably work for a N.J. car insurance company. Here’s why:

  • The named insured’s tort threshold selection binds all immediate family members residing  in the named insured’s household, who are not the named insured on any other auto liability insurance policies
  • Immediate family members  means the spouse of the named insured and any child of the named insured or spouse residing in the named insured’s household, who is not a named insured under another automobile insurance policy.
  • Resident relatives residing in the named insured’s household are entitled to PIP benefits under the named insured auto liability policy; but are not bound by the named insured’s tort threshold selection

Since Joan did not reside with her mother on the date of accident, she was not bound by her mother’s tort threshold selection. Joan is not the named insured on another auto liability policy, and lives alone. Therefore, she is entitled to recover PIP benefits under her mother’s policy, even though she is not bound by the tort threshold selection.

The outcome of Joan’s N.J. car accident case

Joan suffered from severe soft tissue injuries to her neck and back causing her pain and suffering for two (2) years; but no permanent disability. Since she was covered by the No Limitation of Lawsuit tort threshold, Joan was able to initiate a case against the careless driver, and recover $13,500 for her pain and suffering (my estimate).

Since Joan did not suffer any permanent injuries, she probably would not qualify for any compensation for her pain and suffering (non-economic damages)  had she been covered by her mother’s Limitation of Lawsuit tort threshold.

  

N.J. car accident lawyer

Ssssh....I'm thinking

 

Commentary

I am an admitted true blue, dyed in the polyester, plaintiff’s personal injury attorney. I suggest you choose your tort threshold selection wisely, and educate yourself about the ramifications of your choice. Do you prefer to save money on your insurance premiums, by limiting your right to sue a careless driver who causes you and your immediate family residing with you injuries in a car accident? If so, the Limitation of Lawsuit tort threshold may be for you.

On the other hand, if you do not wish to limit your right, and right of your immediate family members residing with you to sue a negligent driver in a car accident, than your choice may be the No Limitation of Lawsuit tort threshold.

Which tort threshold did you choose for you and your immediate family members residing in your household? Please share your thoughts on the subject. Your opinions matter to us.

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About Lawrence "Larry" Berezin

I retired from the private practice of law after a 35-year legal career and fight parking tickets for people like you and me. I love sharing valuable information and beating NYC parking tickets for the driving community

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