Verbal Threshold vs. Zero Threshold: What’s the Difference?

Posted November 4th, 2013 by .

Categories: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury.

When filling out an automobile liability insurance policy in New Jersey, you may have seen an option to choose either having a verbal threshold or zero threshold. You may have just checked either option without much thought. But do you really know what these terms mean?

Well, it all boils down to New Jersey law. In an effort to place restrictions on your ability to sue for non-economic losses (i.e. damages that don’t qualify for a monetary value), the state created a threshold of a level of “pain and suffering” that you must meet in order to recover such a loss. If you choose the zero threshold option, this allows you to sue and recover damages no matter what kind of injury you received, as long as you can prove your case. This option is usually the more expensive of the two and the policy can apply to people who don’t even own a vehicle.

The verbal threshold, also known as the lawsuit threshold, will limit your right to recover damages for pain and suffering which could be serious, but not permanent. For example, if you got into a car accident since you have selected this option, you can forego your right to recover all damages, including pain and suffering unless you suffered one the following injuries:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement or scarring
  • Displaced fractures
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent injury

If you do file a lawsuit you must meet all the threshold limitations imposed by the law.

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