Burlington County Car Accident Claims
When you are filing a Burlington County car accident claim, there are several different levels to keep in consideration. First and foremost, if you have been in an accident, you are going to make a claim with your own insurance company and a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
The claim filed with your own insurance company is going to be for your medical bills and your medical treatment. The claim filed against the other driver is going to be for the possible damage to your vehicle and any lost wages that you have obtained, as well as any pain, any suffering, and any future medical treatment that may exceed the medical coverage that you have.
It is important for someone involved in an accident to consult with an experienced car accident attorney when filing a Burlington County car accident claim to help streamline the process while the injured person focuses on their recovery.
Filing a Claim
By making a car accident claim, what that means is that the injured party has just told the other driver’s insurance company that they want to make a claim for potential damages. That does not mean that they are filing a lawsuit yet. What happens is after they have complicated their treatment and them and their attorney have a good understanding of the full picture of damages, which includes medical bills, property damage, any lost wages, what the injuries are, and, most importantly, what the prognosis is, determining if they are going to get better, get worse, stay the same.
At that point, a Burlington County lawyer can attempt to resolve the claim with the other driver’s insurance company. If they are unable to resolve that claim, meaning either they did not make an attorney and their client an offer or they did not make them an offer that they all agree is fair, at that point, at this point, they initiate litigation. Now, that claim becomes a lawsuit. They file a lawsuit in Burlington County Superior Court and they pursue litigation against them. It does not mean that the case is going to a trial necessarily. Most cases still do resolve but it will require litigation and may require depositions. It may require an arbitration and, if need be, if the insurance company never makes a fair offer, they will take that claim all the way to a trial.
Limitation on Lawsuit Threshold
One of the unique things with regard to car accident claims in Burlington County and the state of New Jersey is what is called the “limitation on lawsuit threshold.” Sometimes, it is referred to as the verbal threshold. A majority of car accident claims are subject to this threshold and it is an election that a person makes on their car insurance policy when purchasing car insurance in Burlington County and New Jersey. What it says is that for them to be able to make a recovery against another driver, regardless if that other driver is at fault or not, they have to prove that their injuries satisfy one of six categories.
Those six categories are:
- Loss of fetus
- Displaced fracture
- Significant scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent injury
In order to be able to make a recovery and to file a lawsuit against another driver, someone needs to have a treating doctor sign what is called a certification, which indicates whether or not one of those six categories has been satisfied.
A lot of times in Burlington County car accident claims, lawyers and their clients are focusing on and dealing with that number six—permanent injury. A permanent injury in the state of New Jersey and Burlington County is defined by the courts as “a body part or organ that has not healed to function normally and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment.”
If someone files a lawsuit in Burlington County for a car accident, a physician needs to sign a certification stating that, with a reasonable degree of medical probability, the injured party has sustained a permanent injury directly related to the car accident.
If they cannot get a certification signed by a treating physician or they do not have one, their claim will be dismissed. Their claim will be dismissed and they would not be able to make a recovery. That is unique to Burlington County and the state of New Jersey in that someone needs to have that certification, and that certification has to be provided within a certain amount of days of filing their complaint. This is why it is so important to get an experienced Burlington County car accident attorney who knows these laws and who knows how to avoid their client’s claims being dismissed.