Apr 132012

New Jersey’s notorious “deemer statute,” New Jersey Statutes Annotated Section 17:28-1.4., basically turns a non-New Jersey resident driver’s car insurance policy into a New Jersey policy, while the car is driven in New Jersey. A Pennsylvania or New York driver who is driving through New Jersey and gets into an accident in New Jersey will be subject to the deemer statute.

The deemer statute is not without its critics. On the one hand, the deemer statute gives non-New Jersey drivers who get into accidents in New Jersey the benefit of New Jersey’s $250,000.00 of PIP or medical benefits. On the other hand, those same drivers are then automatically deemed to have elected “verbal threshold” or what is now known as “limitation on lawsuit.” This election limits what an injured car accident victim can recover in a subsequent lawsuit against the negligent driver.

For example, a New York or Pennsylvania resident who drives into New Jersey and gets into an accident through no fault of their own will be deemed to have a New Jersey auto policy with up to $250,000 of medical benefits. Because of the deemer statute, verbal threshold or limitation on lawsuit law will likely limit their ability to recover for non-economic damages like pain and suffering unless the injury qualifies as one of six narrow exceptions:

  • death,
  • dismemberment,
  • serious disfigurement,
  • loss of fetus,
  • displaced fracture, or
  • “permanent injury.”

They would still be able to file a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident and recover economic losses, like lost wages or other out of pocket losses. It is important to note that New Jersey deemer law is very complex, and whether the deemer applies to your case depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. Therefore, it is important to seek advice of a New Jersey car accident lawyer prior to making any decisions about your particular car accident case.

When is an Injury Permanent Under New Jersey Car Accident Law?

The majority of New Jersey lawsuits are fought over whether an injury is “permanent.” Under the statute, N.J.S.A. 39:6A-8, an injury will qualify as “permanent,” if it meets the following standard: “the body part or organ, or both, has not healed to function normally and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment.” In addition, the statute requires that a treating physician issue a certification of permanency, making a sworn statement that the plaintiff has suffered a permanent injury which is based upon objective clinical evidence.

If you are a resident of Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Delaware, etc. and you were hurt in a car accident in New Jersey, please contact us for a free case review. Our New Jersey car accident lawyers can be reached at 215.925.4451. Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation.

*This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is important to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

The car and truck accident lawyers at Schwartz & Blackman handle cases in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area:

  • PA: Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Norristown, Philadelphia
  • NJ: Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Camden, Cherry Hill, New Jersey shore cities
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