The NJ Lawsuit Threshold Law prohibits injured people from obtaining compensation for their injuries unless they can prove that they are permanently injured. Most personal injury cases involving people who sustained permanent damage to their spine have this lawsuit limitation on their insurance policy.
The sad truth is that even when it is proven that an injured person has a permanent injury, the insurance company representing the person responsible for causing the permanent injury refuses to properly value the injury. Insurance companies do not offer fair amounts to settle forcing permanently injured clients to go to court.
In December 2016, a 14-year-old Bergen County passenger was injured in a car crash. Arguing that the child’s permanent spine injury was not worth more, Allstate Insurance Company offered $7,500 to settle the case. The case was tried and presented to a Bergen County jury made up of five men and one woman. During the trial, Allstate increased its offer to $15,000 which was not accepted. The demand to settle the case was $250,000 which represented the defendant’s policy limits. The jury returned a verdict of $4.1m reflecting the true nature of the permanent damage suffered by the victim.
In most cases, the clients are willing to accept either the defendant’s policy limits or less than the policy limits. However, the insurance companies choose to offer either nothing or offensively low amounts. Insurance companies do not offer reasonable amounts to settle thus forcing permanently injured clients to go to court.
There are continually numerous permanent spinal injury cases against insurance companies. Evidence needs to be presented to the jury to support and prove the permanent injury to assist the jury as they deliberate the value of a permanent damaged spine.
Andrew Fraser, Esq. is a Partner at Laddey, Clark & Ryan, LLP and has been listed as a New Jersey Super Lawyer since 2006 and National Trial Lawyers NJ Top 100 Trial Lawyer. Fraser has obtained the highest jury verdicts for injured people in Sussex County as well as two of the top ten personal injury verdicts in New Jersey in 2014. Because of Fraser’s work, important policy changes have been made by insurance companies and New Jersey State agencies that ensure better protection of the public. He lectures frequently on trial strategy for NJICLE.
Timothy Dinan, Esq. is Chair of the Personal Injury Practice Group at Laddey, Clark & Ryan, LLP and has been listed as a New Jersey Rising Star. Dinan focuses in litigation, especially personal injury cases involving permanent spinal damage, elevator malfunctions, DYFS negligence, insurance bad faith and coverage issues and also appellate practice. He lectures frequently on trial strategy for NJICLE.