This option might save you a few bucks on your car insurance, but it also hampers your ability to recover money. The D’Amato Law Firm counsels clients not to limit their right to sue.
By Alexa D’Amato Barrera, Esquire
It has been reported that over 90% of drivers in New Jersey elect the Limitation on Lawsuit or Limited Right to Sue for their auto insurance coverage. If you aren’t sure whether or not you elected the Limited Right to Sue then you probably have.
Have I Limited my Right to Sue?
In New Jersey you can select the Limited Right to Sue option and save money on your car insurance. That sounds great, but in reality, you are hampering your right to recover money for your injuries. God forbid, but let’s imagine for a minute that a drunk driver comes barreling down the road and crashes into your minivan with you and your three kids in tow (that’s how I roll). You would think that no matter what you or your children’s injuries are, you should be able to recover money. That’s not the case if you elected the Limited Right to Sue option.
How will the Limited Right to Sue affect me and my family?
For the small percentage of drivers who know that they have elected the Limited Right to Sue, they have said that they think it means they can’t recover if they have whiplash. You could have much worse than whiplash and still not recover. When a collision occurs and you have selected the Limited Right to Sue, you can only recover money for your injuries if you:
· Lose a body part;
· Have significant disfigurement or scarring;
· Suffer a displaced fracture (the bones have completely separated);
· Sustain a permanent injury; or
· Your unborn child (fetus) dies.
WOW! Did you realize that you were limiting your rights in such a way?! Going back to that collision with the drunk driver that wasn’t your fault – you have a broken ankle. It’s not displaced, but it is fractured, so you have to stay off of it for a few weeks. Try that with 3 kids! When you return back to the doctor, the x-rays show the fracture has healed, but you’re still in pain and have difficulty walking. The doctor sends you to physical therapy for 1 month. Still it’s not better so you have an MRI. The MRI shows that there are no tears or injuries to the ligaments surrounding your ankle. You go back to physical therapy and are then discharged to do home exercises.
You would think that you should be able to recover money for your pain and suffering, right?! The collision was not your fault. The other driver was drunk. Your kids were in the car and while thankfully they were not injured, you were off your feet for one month and hobbling around for a few more. You broke your ankle and you still suffer occasionally with pain. Unfortunately you have elected the Limited Right to Sue on your auto insurance policy. Your fracture was not displaced and it is not a Permanent Injury because the fracture healed and the MRI was negative for any additional injuries. You cannot recover money for your pain and suffering.
What should I do?
Unfortunately, I have seen similar fact scenarios like this many times. Don’t let this happen to you! If you have selected the Limited Right to Sue, call your auto insurance company immediately and ask them to change your policy to the NO Limitation. Auto insurance policies can be confusing so if you’re not sure what coverage you have and want to talk about it, please schedule an office visit and I will review your policy with you at no charge.
At the D’Amato Law Firm, we have been representing people that have been injured for over 45 years. Whether you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision, by a defective product, or in a situation where your civil rights were violated, I can help. We pride ourselves in assisting those in our area or elsewhere who are in need of professional, caring and effective legal representation. For more information visit https://damatolawfirm.com/ or call 609-926-3300.