What is a verbal threshold?

When New Jersey drivers purchase auto insurance, they are asked to select either the “verbal threshold” (also known as the “limitation on lawsuit threshold”) option or the “zero threshold” (also known as the “no limitation on lawsuit threshold”) option. If the driver purchases the “zero threshold” option, there is no limitation on that driver’s ability to sue for so-called “noneconomic damages” or “pain and suffering,” if that driver were to be injured in an automobile accident. However, if the driver selects the “verbal threshold” option, the driver can only sue for “noneconomic damages” or “pain and suffering” in certain circumstances.

If a driver who is subject to the “verbal threshold” is injured in an auto accident, that driver must submit a certification by a physician stating that, based on “objective clinical evidence,” the driver has suffered one of the injuries listed in AICRA (Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act of 1998). These injuries include: death and dismemberment, significant disfigurement or scarring, a displaced fracture, a loss of a fetus, or a permanent injury. An injury is permanent if it “has not healed to function normally and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment.” Our Attorneys can be instrumental is evaluating and building a case where the “verbal threshold” applies to a case.

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