Verbal Threshold Does not Prevent Recovery of Unpaid Medical Bills.
In New Jersey victims of car collisions can be deprived of recovery for pain and suffering by the verbal threshold. New Jersey's verbal threshold is a statutorily imposes a limitation on an injured person's right to sue pain-and-suffering when there injury is not permanent as defined by the statute. New Jersey drivers can purchase a no threshold policy which, in the event of an automobile injury, would not allow the negligent driver to raise the statutory defense of the verbal threshold. However, most drivers in New Jersey do not opt out of verbal threshold because of auto insurance premium increases. It is important to note that the verbal threshold defense only applies to non-economic damages. An injured driver in New Jersey, regardless of the verbal threshold, can sue for economic damages. Economic damages can include, but are not limited to lost wages, unreimbursed medical costs, and uninsured property damages. In the unpublished decision Adesina vs . Santana, Jr. the New Jersey Appellate Division reaffirmed an injured driver's right to sue for economic damages. In this case, the injured passenger of an automobile had used all of her Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits and had unreimbursed medical bills which were the result of the automobile accident. The trial judge prevented the jury from considering the unpaid medical bills of the accident victim. At the conclusion of the trial Ms. Adesina was not awarded any money from the jury despite having $251,187.64 in unpaid medical bills. The appeal followed. The Appellate Division held, “An injured party may recover economic loss from a tortfeasor, even if the verbal threshold is not satisfied. ” Haywood v. Harris The court went on to say, “'Economic loss' is defined as ‘uncompensated loss of income or property, or other uncompensated expenses, including, but not limited to, medical expenses.' If you have been injured in an automobile accident do not assume that you do not have a claim just because you have the New Jersey “verbal threshold”. Contact the personal injury attorneys at DeMichele & DeMichele for a free no obligation initial consultation. There is never a fee unless we recover for you. Call (856) 546-1350 to speak with an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney.