As a Philadelphia resident, there are times I can get to New Jersey by car faster than I can get to City Hall. Thousands of people cross the Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross, or Walt Witman bridge every day coming into Philadelphia or the surrounding area for work, play, and it’s wonderful history. Similarly, during the summer months it’s very common for Philadelphia to empty out on the weekends as everyone goes “down to shore” to Cape May, Sea Isle, Margate or your favorite South New Jersey shore point. Undoubtedly, living in South Eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey, you are sure to cross state lines via car multiple times a year, or perhaps multiple times a day.
Full Tort/Limited Tort are optioned you have when purchasing car insurance in PA. Limited Tort limits your right to sue for non-economic damages (i.e. pain and suffering) if you are injured in an accident. Limited Tort is typically 15-20% cheaper than full tort insurance and typically not worth the discount. Verbal Threshold is the NJ equivalent of PA’s limited tort. Similarly, Verbal Threshold insurance is offered at a slight discount, but limits one’s right to sue in NJ. Neither Verbal or Limited Tort options are recommended to protect you and your family.
If a Philadelphian driver gets in a car accident in New Jersey, they may be subject to NJ’s “Deemer” statute (Deemer Statute, N.J.S.A 17:28-1.4) if they are insured by a company that also does insurance in New Jersey. (This includes most large insurance companies . There is only one PA insurance company that does not underwrite in New Jersey and hence will not subject you to NJ’S Deemer statute. So If a full tort driver from Philadelphia gets into an accident in NJ and is insured with a large national insurer they will be “Deemed” to be Verbal Threshold in NJ. But wait, that doesn’t seem fair, the Philadelphia driver has paid full tort premiums and is now being limited to Verbal Threshold simply because of getting into an accident in New Jersey? Yes,, it’s not fair, thank you New Jersey. In exchange for being deemed limited tort, the Philadelphia driver does now have access to New Jersey PIP protection which is $250,000.00. However, that $250,000.00 can be accessed for medical bills only and is subject to NJ’s treatment plans and peer-reviews.
Pennsylvania has no such “Deemer” statute and is much more liberal when it comes to out of state drivers. If an out of state driver is injured in a car accident in Philadelphia or Pennsylvania with a PA driver, that NJ driver would be considered full tort, regardless of whether they purchased zero or verbal threshold on their policy in New Jersey. However, if a New Jersey Driver gets into an accident in Philadelphia with another New Jersey Driver, then the zero or verbal threshold the injured party purchased would apply to the accident.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey, Troy R. Crichton can help you. He is an experienced litigator who can help assist you through every part of your legal case. Contact us for your free case evaluation. All of our personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis, so you won’t pay unless you receive a monetary award for your case. Call (267) 225-3317 today for free consultation.
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