As many people know, there are two different options under the typical New Jersey automobile insurance policy which affect your right to sue a negligent driver who causes a motor vehicle accident resulting in pain, suffering and disability to yourself or a family member.
The "no limitation on lawsuit threshold" allows you or any resident family member covered under your policy to sue a negligent driver for any kind of injuries, whether serious or minor. By having selected the " no limitation on lawsuit threshold" option under your insurance policy, you basically have incurred slightly higher premiums in exchange for the unlimited right to sue a negligent driver. However, unless you affirmatively select this option, your insurance company or agent will give you the "limitation on lawsuit threshold" option, perhaps without even discussing this selection with you.
While the "limitation on lawsuit threshold" option may save you a few premium dollars, you will not be able to successfully prosecute a civil lawsuit against a negligent driver for pain, suffering and disability unless one of the following types of injuries are sustained in the motor vehicle accident: death; dismemberment; loss of a fetus; significant disfigurement or scarring; displaced fractures; permanent injury (defined as an injury that has not healed to function normally and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment).
The "limitation on lawsuit threshold" is designed to eliminate the typical "whiplash" or sore neck/sore back claims by requiring that a doctor certify in writing, based upon proper diagnostics, that a soft tissue injury or simple fracture is permanent in nature and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment.
The problem with selecting the "limitation on lawsuit threshold" or simply not making a selection under your policy and automatically being given the "limitation on lawsuit threshold" is that you or your loved ones could sustain injuries which are quite serious and painful, yet not meet the strict legal test of being permanent in nature. Accordingly, in addition to having sufficient liability insurance coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage (we recommend at least $500,000 for each), you should select that "no limitation on lawsuit threshold" option so that you and your family members retain the right to sue for pain, suffering and disability, even if the injuries are not permanent in nature and the other categories of injury are not met.