PIANJ Warns on “Verbal Threshold” Bill

November 26, 2003

The professional insurance Agents of New Jersey has issued a bulletin warning of the danger posed by a bill, A.3531/S.2533, that would make it much easier for personal injury lawyers to collect money for their clients who are injured in auto accidents.

The PIANJ said it has been “actively watching and discussing” the bill, which would remove the current requirement that a claimant sustain an injury that has “a serious impact” to his life in order to meet the verbal threshold. “Without this requirement, the floodgates would be open to litigation for minor injuries, significantly driving up the costs for auto insurance and stripping away the benefits derived from the recent auto reform law,” said the bulletin

The agents’ organization as well as the rest of the industry opposes the bill. The PIANJ noted, “thus far, the bill has made little headway. It was introduced and reported out of the Assembly Banking and Insurance Committee on May 5, 2003, but has not yet made it to the Assembly for a vote. There are some that believe the bill may be considered by the outgoing lame duck Legislature in December. Although the bill has not been posted at this date, there is always a possibility it could be heard in committee. Reports from Trenton are that there would not be enough sessions for this legislation to get through the process.”

It concluded, “this could be a major issue when the new Legislature convenes in January,” and assured its members that it will “continue to closely watch this bill and will take any necessary actions to oppose it at the appropriate time.”

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