How AICRA Impacts Your Car Accident Claim
The Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act (“AICRA”) is a comprehensive set of laws concerning automobile insurance and the right to sue for automobile injuries in New Jersey. Enacted in 1998, AICRA was intended to lower insurance rates for New Jersey drivers by reducing fraud and limiting unnecessary medical treatment.
Despite the best intentions of the NJ legislature in enacting AICRA, if you are legitimately injured and have the minimum coverages under the law, you may run up against roadblocks when seeking compensation for your injuries.
No Fault Insurance States
New Jersey is a “no-fault” state, meaning that an injured person typically looks to their own insurance policy for immediate medical benefits and coverage following an automobile accident. This package of no-fault benefits is called "Personal Injury Protection" or "PIP" for short. PIP typically covers not only medical bills but also lost wages, transportation expenses to receive medical care, child care, and even household expenses like lawn care and house cleaning for qualified persons.
An experienced Motor Vehicle Accident lawyer can analyze the facts of your case and identify all possible benefits and compensation to which you may be entitled. For example, AICRA places limits on certain medical benefits available to accident victims. There is a list of standard tests and procedures that are allowed under its parameters. If your serious injuries require treatment outside of this pre-approved list, you may need assistance proving that the need truly exists and that it is not a frivolous, additional medical procedure.
Limitations Under Existing Law
AICRA also limits, under certain circumstances, the ability to sue for non-economic injuries (pain, suffering, disability, etc.) after a car accident based on the severity of the injuries sustained in the accident. This limitation on lawsuits requires certified proof from a physician in order to sue. Only victims who have certified proof that they have suffered from injuries that are permanent or have resulted in significant disfigurement, scarring, dismemberment, loss of a fetus, displaced fracture, or death may sue for pain, suffering, and the like.