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Kenneth Vercammen & Associates
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Civil Model Jury Charge 5.33B Limitation on Lawsuit Option

5.33B LIMITATION ON LAWSUIT OPTION 1 (3/10)

A. Introduction

In order to recover damages in this case, plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that [he] [she] sustained injuries which fit into one or more of the following categories:

NOTE TO JUDGE

Charge 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or any combination of them, depending on the proofs in each case.

In cases with two or more defendants, some of whom have available the Limitation on Lawsuit Option defense and others who do not, charge the following:

The jury should answer two specific interrogatories as to each defendant: (1) was this defendant negligent; (2) if so, did the negligence proximately cause plaintiffs injuries? If more than one defendant was negligent and their negligence proximately caused plaintiffs injuries, the jury has to find what percentage of the total negligence or fault is attributable to each defendant. Once the jury answers those questions, it should then determine whether or not plaintiff satisfied the applicable threshold which applies to a defendant. Then the jury should affix damages. Bolz v. Bolz, 400 N.J. Super. 154 (App. Div. 2008).

1 See N.J.S.A. 39:6A-8a. Though not numbered in the statute, the Limitation on Lawsuit Option within the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act (AICRA) of 1998 (L.1998, c. 21 and c. 22) (AICRA), the categories are: (1) death; (2) dismemberment; (3) significant disfigurement or significant scarring; (4) displaced fractures; (5) loss of a fetus; (6) a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement. The effective date of this provision of AICRA is March 22, 1999. Therefore, the Limitation on Lawsuit Option shall apply to individuals who, at the time of the accident, were insured under automobile liability insurance policies issued after March 22, 1999. By way of example, if an individual was involved in a motor vehicle collision on March 23, 1999, but was still covered under a policy issued before the effective date of the statute (March 22, 1999), he or she will be subject to the verbal threshold charge applicable to L.1988, c.119 effective January 1, 1989.

CHARGE 5.33B Page 1 of 3

page1image19416
  1. Death;

  2. Dismemberment;

  3. Significant disfigurement or significant scarring;

  4. Displaced fracture;

  5. Loss of a fetus;

  6. A permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.

If you find the injuries caused by the accident do not come within one of these categories, your verdict must be for the defendant. If you find the injuries caused by the accident do come within one of these categories, your verdict must be for the plaintiff.

B. Significant Disfigurement or Significant Scarring (Type 3)

(Revised 6/07)
In this case, the plaintiff alleges and has the burden to prove that [
he] [she]

suffered a significant disfigurement or significant scarring as a result of the motor vehicle accident. An injury shall be considered a significant disfigurement or significant scarring if a reasonable person would find that the disfigurement or scarring renders plaintiffs appearance unattractive, objectionable, or as the subject of pity or scorn, or that such condition individually or collectively substantially detracts from plaintiffs appearance or impairs or injures the beauty, symmetry, or

CHARGE 5.33B Page 2 of 3

appearance of the plaintiff so as to render the bearer unsightly, misshapen or imperfect deforming [him] [her] in some manner. You shall consider as factors in making this determination the appearance, coloration, existence, size and shape of plaintiffs disfigurement or scar[s] along with the characteristics of surrounding skin and the remnants of the healing process and other cosmetically important matters.

C. Permanent Injury (Type 6)

In this case, the plaintiff alleges that [he] [she] suffered a permanent injury as a result of the motor vehicle accident. An injury shall be considered permanent when the body part or organ, or both, has not healed to function normally and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment.2

Plaintiff must prove this claim through objective, credible medical evidence. Objective proof means the injury must be verified by physical examination or medical testing and cannot be based solely upon the plaintiffs subjective complaints. Credible evidence is evidence you find to be believable.

2 This definition of permanent injury is taken directly from the AICRA of 1998, N.J.S.A. 39:6A-8. In DiProspero v. Penn, 183 N.J. 477 (2005), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the Legislature did not intend to require a plaintiff with a Type 6 injury to prove a serious or substantial impact on his or her life in order to pierce the verbal threshold. Therefore, a plaintiff need only prove a permanent injury, as defined in the statute, to recover for non-economic damages.

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Since 1985, KENNETH VERCAMMEN has worked as a personal injury attorney, working for injury victims and their families. By taking a hard-hitting, aggressive approach toward the insurance companies, KENNETH VERCAMMEN and our co-counsel have consistently obtained outstanding results for many injured clients over the years I am proud to have worked on cases in various capacities, small and large. While obviously prior results cannot guarantee the outcome of future cases, I can guarantee that you case will receive the same degree of dedication and hard work that went into each of these prior cases.

In direct contrast to the hard-hitting approach we take toward the insurance companies is the soft approach we take toward our clients. I am proud of my compassionate staff as I am of the outstanding financial results they have achieved. For many years, I have watched them treat our clients with patience, dignity and respect. I would have it no other way.

Many years ago, I attended a seminar sponsored by the American Bar Association on Law Practice Management. This was to help insure that each of our clients is always treated like a person -- not a file! We recognize that you are innocent victims and that you have placed your trust in us. Please understand that we understand what you are going through. Feel comforted that we are here to help you.

If you retain KENNETH VERCAMMEN to represent you, we will give you the same advice we give each of our clients -- concentrate on your life, you family and your health. We will take care of everything else. Leave all of the work and worry about your legal rights to us. Trust us. Believe in us. Have faith in us as your attorneys. Understand that we will always to do what we believe is best for you and your case. Helping you is our job. In fact, it is our only job -- guiding injury victims like you through one of the most difficult times of your lives, with care and concern -- while fighting aggressively to the limits of the law to obtain compensation and justice for each of you!

Print our Personal Injury Questionnaire on our Website, Fill it out and Fax back, so we can determine if we can help you obtain an injury settlement. We would welcome an opportunity to prove to you what we have proven to thousands of injured clients -- that you can feel comfortable and secure in the fact that KENNETH VERCAMMEN - Trial Attorney We Fight To Win.

When you have been injured in an accident or collision, you are worried about who is going to pay your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. The last thing you want is to be taken advantage of by an insurance company. If you dont protect your rights, you may not be able to make a claim.

Insurance companies have attorneys and adjusters whose goal is to pay you as little as they can. You need a New Jersey personal injury lawyer to fight for you. I am dedicated to helping your recover as much money as possible under the law.

You need an attorney who will work hard to protect your rights, maximize your insurance settlement and minimize the hassles of dealing with the insurance companies. You need an experienced and aggressive New Jersey trial lawyer with PROVEN RESULTS who will fight for you. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer can make the difference between getting what you deserve and getting nothing.

Without the threat of a lawyer who is willing to go to trial and seek a big jury verdict, why would an insurance company pay you what your claim is really worth? Lawsuits can be expensive, and many people do not have the money to pursue their claim. In every case, I advance all costs associated with pursuing your case and I do not ask you for a penny until we recover from the other side.

I am an experienced aggressive trial lawyer and a 3rd degree Black Belt. I am not afraid to take your case to trial if that is what it takes to maximize the amount of money your recover for your personal injury. I offer one-on-one service, and I will not hand your case off to an inexperienced lawyer or a paralegal.

Reduce the stress of making a claim.

Personal injury accidents can turn your life upside down. Making a personal injury claim can be difficult and time consuming. Once I take your case, you can stop worrying about dealing with the insurance companies and focus on recovering from your injuries. I take care of all of the paperwork, phone calls, and negotiations, so you can get on with your life.

p.s. For those clients who are afraid or reluctant to go to Court, KENNETH VERCAMMEN also offers a special -- For Settlement Only -- program. This means that if we are unable to settle with the insurance company, we will not go any further -- unless you want us to. You have my personal assurance that there will be absolutely no pressure and no obligation.

We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.

This means: YOU DONT OWE ME A LEGAL FEE UNLESS I RECOVER MONEY FOR YOU.

Call our office to schedule a "confidential" appointment 732-572-0500

Kenneth A. Vercammen is the Managing Attorney at Kenneth Vercammen & Associates in Edison, NJ. He is a New Jersey trial attorney has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has appeared in Courts throughout New Jersey each week on personal injury matters, Criminal /Municipal Court trials, and contested Probate hearings.

Mr. Vercammen has published over 125 legal articles in national and New Jersey publications on criminal, elder law, probate and litigation topics. He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation issues for the American Bar Association, NJ ICLE, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published in noted publications included New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer. He is the Editor in Chief of the American Bar Association Tort and Insurance Committee Newsletter.

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