Car Accident Related Injuries Under New Jersey Insurance Law

In New Jersey, insurance consumers have a choice between two types of coverage for accident-related bodily injury. One option, called a “limitation on lawsuit option” involves a lower yearly premium but restricts recovery related to “non-economic loss” injuries. This means that in a lawsuit for damages an individual injured in a car accident can only recover money for certain bodily injuries such as death, dismemberment, significant disfigurement or scarring, displaced fractures, loss of a fetus, and other certain permanent injuries.

Given these broad categories, it is often unclear whether an individual is permitted to bring a lawsuit under this statute. For instance, although someone can pursue a lawsuit for a rib injury, they cannot do so for a mere chipped or broken tooth. The Supreme Court of New Jersey has held that a person who lost tips of two of her teeth was not eligible to proceed with a lawsuit under the “limitation on lawsuit option” insurance. According to the Court, broken or chipped teeth are not “fractures” as the term is medically defined.

Thus, if you have been injured in a car accident, and wish to proceed with a lawsuit, you must 1) check whether you have the “limitation on lawsuit option insurance” and, if so, 2) determine whether your injuries allow you to proceed with litigation.