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January 25th, 2016

Are You a Philadelphia Driver Injured in a NJ Car Accident? What to Know About NJ’s Deemer Statute

Philadelphia drivers often travel to New Jersey, whether it is going shopping at local malls like the Cherry Hill Mall or visiting friends and family. In the summer, many Philadelphia drivers travel to the New Jersey shore to spend the day or for vacation.

Thus, it is also not uncommon for Philadelphia drivers to be involved in car accidents while they are in New Jersey, such as intersection accidents, rear-end accidents or high-speed collisions while traveling on NJ roads and highways. Often, Philadelphia drivers do not know their legal rights when they are injured in New Jersey accidents. For instance, drivers do not know that regardless of what type of car insurance they have, their rights to sue at-fault New Jersey drivers may be limited. This is due to New Jersey’s Deemer Statute, one of the most confusing auto accident laws.

Related: What to Do After a Car Accident in Philadelphia – By a Philly Car Accident Lawyer

New Jersey’s Deemer Statute

The Deemer statute extends New Jersey PIP coverage and other benefits to out of state drivers who are involved in accidents while in New Jersey. Pursuant to the statute, car insurance companies that are authorized to conduct business in New Jersey must provide PIP coverage up to the limit specified by the law, i.e., $250,000. Therefore, a PA driver with a medical PIP coverage of $5,000 on their own auto insurance policy is eligible to receive up to $250,000 of medical PIP coverage if the accident occurred in New Jersey and the PA driver’s insurance company is authorized to conduct business in New Jersey.

However, the flipside of this increased PIP benefit is that a Philadelphia driver or an out of state driver may be subject to New Jersey’s verbal threshold or limitation on lawsuit.

Verbal threshold is similar to Pennsylvania limited tort law. NJ drivers with verbal threshold on their auto insurance policies cannot sue for non-economic damages, i.e., pain and suffering. Like Pennsylvania, there are exceptions to the rule. New Jersey verbal threshold drivers may sue at-fault drivers for non-economic damages if their injuries fall within certain injury categories, including but not limited to dismemberment, significant disfigurement or scarring, or permanent injury.

How Does the Deemer Statute Affect PA Drivers with Full Tort?

Therefore, a full tort Philadelphia driver who is injured in a New Jersey car accident will be deemed to have verbal threshold under the Deemer Statute. Even though the PA driver’s full tort election allows him to sue an at-fault driver for non-economic damages in a PA accident, the driver’s full tort election does not give him the same right in a New Jersey car accident. The driver is deemed to have verbal threshold, i.e., cannot sue for non-economic damages, unless his injuries fall within certain injury categories.

Are You a Philadelphia Driver Injured in a New Jersey Car Accident?

The Deemer Statute is very confusing. If you were in a car accident in New Jersey, but insured under a Pennsylvania auto insurance policy, it is in your best interest to call an accident lawyer who is also licensed in New Jersey. Our car accident lawyers are licensed in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We offer free consultations. (866) 641-0806

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Page last updated: October 7, 2016