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What Is NJ’s Deemer Statute? How Does It Affect PA Drivers Injured In NJ Car Or Truck Accidents?

Many Pennsylvania residents commute to New Jersey for work every day.  In the summer, many Pennsylvania residents drive to the Jersey Shore for the weekend or vacation.  With so many Pennsylvania residents driving to New Jersey, car, truck and bus accidents are bound to happen.

Pennsylvania Driver – Pennsylvania Accident

Pennsylvania drivers who elected full tort on their car insurance policies may sue the at-fault driver for damages, including pain and suffering, in the event they are injured in a PA car or truck accident. 

On the other hand, if drivers elected limited tort on their car insurance policies, injured drivers may not sue the at-fault driver in a PA car accident lawsuit for pain and suffering.  There are, however, some exceptions where drivers who have limited tort may bring personal injury lawsuits against the at-fault drivers.  Some of the exceptions include: the at-fault driver was driving a car from another state or the injured driver’s injuries are permanent and serious.  See Pennsylvania's Limited Tort - When You Can Sue For Pain And Suffering.

Pennsylvania Driver – New Jersey Accident

When Pennsylvania full tort drivers are injured in car accidents in New Jersey, they believe that their full tort status applies and they can sue the at-fault driver to recover economic and non-economic damages (pain and suffering).  Unfortunately, that is not the case due to New Jersey’s Deemer Statute.

Pursuant to N.J.S.A 17:28-1.4, the Deemer Statute applies to out-of-state drivers whose car insurance companies are authorized to do business in New Jersey.  Therefore, if a PA driver’s car insurance company sells any type of insurance in New Jersey, then the statute applies.

The statute deems any out-of-state drivers to have “verbal threshold,” which is equivalent to PA’s limited tort status.  Like Pennsylvania drivers who have limited tort, drivers with verbal threshold in NJ may not sue for pain and suffering in a NJ car accident lawsuit.  Again, like limited tort in PA, verbal threshold also has exceptions.  If the injured PA driver satisfies any of the verbal threshold exceptions, then he may sue for pain and suffering.  See New Jersey's Verbal Threshold or Limitation on Lawsuit-Will it Affect Your Ability to Recover Damages?.

Though the Deemer Statute limits injured full tort PA drivers’ rights to sue for pain and suffering, it may provide extra medical coverage or PIP benefits. The statute grants PA drivers $250,000 in PIP benefits.  Therefore, if the PA driver has $5,000 PIP benefits in his car insurance policy, he now has $250,000 PIP benefits because his accident happened in New Jersey.

Need Help After A NJ Car Accident?

If you were injured in a NJ car accident, but live in PA, it is important to talk to a personal injury lawyer who knows the car accident laws in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Even though you are deemed to have verbal threshold, the circumstances surrounding your accident and/or your injuries may meet the exceptions to verbal threshold.  Call Daniel J. O’Brien, a personal injury lawyer licensed in PA and NJ, to schedule a FREE consultation.  877.944.8396

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