Published by New Jersey Motor Vehicle Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
36-7-8697 Kerper v. Chilson , U.S. Dist. Ct.
If I get in an accident in New Jersey but I’m not from New Jersey what should I do and who should I contact. That is the subject of this blog.
In this case the plaintiff filed a lawsuit in New Jersey Federal District Court in Camden based on diversity of citizenship. The interesting aspect of the litigation is the fact that because the plaintiff’s insurance company was one that is “authorized to conduct business in New Jersey, Travelers Insurance Company which operates around the country, it was subject to New Jersey’s Deemer statute and the limitation on lawsuit statute.
What this means is that if you get in an accident in New Jersey and file suit in New Jersey even if you are from California, North Dakota, or any other state, you are subject to New Jersey’s “verbal threshold“requirement if your insurance company is one that is authorized by the New Jersey Department of insurance to sell insurance in New Jersey. As a result, you need an attorney who is aware of the law and the statutory need to prove by “objective medical evidence” a permanent injury in order to get over the most recent incantation of the verbal threshold statute.
As well you need an attorney who is able to communicate to the treating medical providers their statutory need to compare all prior medical records and injuries to the current injuries and opine in a written report how the new injuries are related to the most recent motor vehicle crash. This is probably not unique to New Jersey state law this is called a “Polk” analysis. However, if you hire an out of state attorney, and your state does not have the same evidential and medical requirements, that attorney may not be aware of the need for this information to be provided and obtained during the course of pre-trial civil procedure.
And analysis between the pre-existing condition, the current condition, and A specific identification based on credible medical evidence of what is related to the most recent crash is needed in order to get over the verbal threshold statute and a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the case. Fortunately in this case the plaintiff, through his attorney, was able to obtain these opinions from the doctors and as a result survived a motion to dismiss the case after the discovery window closed. As a result the case will probably settle and or the plaintiff will be entitled to have a jury decide if the medical evidence is adequate to award damages after a trial.
The court ruled that it could not find, as a matter of law, that the disk bulge at L5-S1 on the June 14, 2011, MRI could not have reflected a new injury as the result of the trauma of the May 27, 2011, accident. It further found that the testimony of Dr. Kipp regarding the permanency of this injury and the various complaints and instances in plaintiff’s medical records where she was found to have significant lower back pain radiating into her thighs and/or lower extremities was credible, objective evidence of a new permanent injury sufficient to meet the verbal threshold and overcome the instant motion for summary judgment. The court also said that Kipp’s report, which analyzed plaintiff’s pre-existing injuries from prior motor vehicle accidents as compared to the instant action, provided a sufficient comparative analysis of plaintiff’s aggravated injuries to meet the verbal threshold in this case.