By: Thomas Manzo
Many factors bear on the value of a personal injury case and, as such, the ability to predict a numeric value for a client is impossible. This is especially true when that unknown number is assessed by a group of six-to-eight future jurors who ultimately make the final call. That being said, New Jersey law has recently changed in a way that may be more helpful for attorneys and the public in the context of motor vehicle accident cases.
In May 2021, Governor Murphy signed into law a bill that requires the disclosure of automobile policy limits of an insured involved in a motor vehicle accident within 30 days of the request, when such request is made in writing by an attorney in the State of New Jersey. The new law dramatically alters the practice of withholding insurance policy limit information until a plaintiff files a formal complaint with the court and is then entitled to policy limit disclosure.
The prior practice caused many issues for attorneys and their clients and overlooked the general truth that most parties and their counsel would much prefer to be practical about their claims and litigation. Litigation and preparing for litigation can be quite costly and inherently require additional time. If an accident is serious and insurance is limited, early amicable resolution may be best for all. This is particularly so for our courts, whose backlog has only increased as a result
of pandemic restrictions. In instances where policy limits are less limited, injured persons may at least learn early in the process that adequate coverage exists that may help with lost income, medical bills and other accident-related damages.
Of course, early disclosure may also benefit the tortfeasor who caused the accident. If a case can resolve before a complaint is filed, the tortfeasor is never named as a defendant in our public filing system. Moreover, early resolution also permits both parties to close what is likely a difficult legal and personal chapter in their lives.
If you or a loved one has been in an auto-accident, the Personal Injury team at Szaferman Lakind are here to help you recover and seek justice. Contact Tom directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (609) 275-0400 to setup a consultation.