The State of New Jersey adopted a comprehensive system of automobile insurance statutes in 1972 to provide that “persons injured in motor vehicle accidents are compensated promptly” and to insure that there are “financially responsible” persons available to meet these claims. Craig & Pomeroy, New Jersey Auto Insurance Law, Gann. The triple pillars of the system are the Compulsory Insurance Law (which requires liability insurance), the No Fault Act (which requires personal injury protection benefits) and the Uninsured Motorist Act (which requires uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage).
Every year since 1992, I have written an Automobile Injury Supplement for the New Jersey Law Journal entitled “A Look at No Fault.” The primary purpose of this supplement is to review every case, rule and regulation dealing with the verbal threshold, PIP benefits and UM/UIM coverage. In addition, I review other cases that deal with “automobile injuries.”
Since 1988, there have been over 120 published cases that deal with some aspect of the verbal threshold. These cases are listed in chronological order by subject matter in the Verbal Threshold Citator included in this supplement.
This year, there have been no new cases dealing with the verbal threshold. However, there have been three cases dealing with PIP benefits. Haines (the admissibility of evidence of medical expenses above the PIP limits), Leggette (PIP coverage under the Deemer Statute) and Allstate/Northfield (corporate medical practices under the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act).
In addition, I have reviewed two cases that are relevant to automobile injuries: Krzykolski (apportionment of the liability of a fictitious party) and Patrick (Tort Claims Act immunity: ordinary traffic signs).
I have also reviewed the Transportation Network Company Safety & Regulatory Act which was approved on Feb. 10, 2017, and became effective on May 1, 2017. The act regulates the conduct of digital networks (such as Uber and Lyft) and requires liability insurance and UM/UIM coverage.
Finally, I have submitted a sidebar article: “The Right to Trial by Jury: A Bulwark Against Anti-Democratic Forces.” This is an especially important time to recognize that the Judiciary is an equal branch of our democratic form government and that the right to trial by jury is inviolate.