Causes Of Auto Accidents & Verbal Threshold In New Jersey

Texting While Driving

As of the year 2018, the State of New Jersey was ranked as one of the worst states to drive in the entire country.

To arrive at this conclusion, an independent study looked at factors such as average commute, rush-hour traffic congestion, road quality, number of icy days, and even auto maintenance costs across all 50 states.

If nothing else, the aforementioned metrics in which the Garden State ranked quite poorly also highlight the volume of car accidents that occur on NJ roads each year. Indeed, hundreds are killed and thousands of others suffer injuries.

The high probability of being involved in an accident translates into higher-than-normal auto insurance costs for NJ drivers. As a result, and beginning in 1988, the State enabled what are known as "verbal threshold" or "no limitation" laws.

For reasons our auto accident attorneys discuss later in this article, the insurance premiums did in fact come down, but at the expense of victims who actually suffer injuries in collisions in New Jersey. We've also covered some of the most common causes of accidents, which we dive into next.

Common Causes of Car Crashes in NJ

As you can imagine, there are countless reasons for which vehicular collisions occur. Here are just some of the most commonly encountered:

Impaired Driving: while drivers can consume a litany of substances which can decrease their reaction times, be detrimental to their vision, or even reduce their attention span, the most commonly encountered is drunk driving. Driving under the influence, or as it's usually known DUI, is not only illegal but a felony. Nevertheless, many drivers take to the road after having "one too many," often causing deadly wrecks that affect not only their own lives but that of other drivers.

Distracted Driving: many believe that there is no worse driver than one who is under the influence of alcohol. However, various studies have shown that a distracted can be just as dangerous as a drunk one. With the advent of smartphones, seemingly all persons on the road have the potential for distraction. An incoming text message can tempt the person at the wheel to take their eyes off the roadway for a few seconds, though a few seconds is all it can take to cause a tragedy.

Tired or "Sleepy" Driving: as with distracted driving, a sleepy or drowsy driver can also have decreased reaction times. That is, if they don't fall asleep at the wheel outright. There is some overlap between this cause and impaired driving as well, given that many medications can make a person listless or lethargic. The result is still the same - the driver is not performing the task to the best of their abilities, often resulting in grave accidents.

New Jersey Verbal Threshold / No Limitation Law

In the year 1988, the State of New Jersey enacted new legislation that permitted auto insurance providers to offer new, cheaper types of insurance plans.

To avoid paying such high premiums, drivers could opt-out of a zero threshold or no limitation component in their plans. By opting out, the insured individual would lose the ability to recover financial compensation if they suffered non-monetary damages in a car crash. For instance, the victim of a car crash could not be compensated for what is often referred to as "pain and suffering" damages.

There are some exceptions to the verbal threshold limitations which deal with the extent of the injuries suffered. In cases where an insured driver had selected the limited / threshold option, they could still pursue non-monetary or "pain and suffering" damages if their injuries matched any of the following circumstances:

  • The insured person was killed
  • Significant disfigurement occurred
  • A limb was lost
  • An unborn fetus was lost
  • Displaced fracture suffered (as opposed to hairline fracture)
  • Permanent injury suffered

As you can see from above, the injuries must be quite severe for a person to be able to recover compensation that is not merely based on their medical bills, but which takes into account loss of quality of life and other less tangible damages. Unfortunately, most drivers will opt for a cheaper insurance premium and often face the consequences if they see themselves involved in a car accident.

If you've been in a collision and are considering pursuing a claim to recover damages, we highly recommend contacting our auto accident attorneys.

If nothing else, this page may have helped you understand how complex the law in New Jersey can be. If you have a legal representative by your side, your only concern will be on your own recovery while the lawyer handles all of the paperwork, communication, and legal procedures required to fight for the compensation you deserve.

More Information

If you'd like to continue browsing our legal content, click on the following URL to visit the next page: Common Car Accident Injuries In New Jersey

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Date Published: February 6, 2020
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