On July 22, 2021, Gov. Phil Murphy, signed legislation (S-1558/A-3444) requiring automobile insurers, who issue private passenger automobile policies in New Jersey, to disclose policy limits where a licensed New Jersey attorney has made a written demand for same. As the legislation implicates private passenger automobiles only, the legislation therefore does not apply to insureds operating commercial vehicles.
When an attorney is making a request for policy limits, the request must be in writing and include: 1) a statement regarding the attorney’s representation of an individual who was injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident with an insured covered under a private passenger automobile policy issued by the insurer; 2) the name and last known address of the insured; 3) the date and time of the accident; 4) a copy of the accident report, where available; and 5) a statement regarding the claimant’s insurance information, including the claimant’s insurer, policy number, policyholder name, tort threshold selection, and personal injury protection coverage limit.
Once received, the insurer is required to disclose the limits of all private automobile insurance policies, as well as any applicable umbrella or excess coverage issued by the insurer to the insured. Said information must be provided in writing within thirty (30) days from receipt of the request, even if formal litigation has not been instituted. The information remains confidential, however, and is only available to the individual injured, the attorney representing the injured individual and any authorized personnel in the office of the attorney.
As automobile insurers were only required to disclose policy information following the filing of a formal lawsuit prior to the new law, injured individuals and their attorneys were often kept in the dark with respect to how much insurance coverage was available. This often placed injured individuals at a disadvantage when attempting to fairly settle their claims, without the need for a lawsuit. The new law evens the playing field.
If you have been injured as a result of another individual’s negligence, and wish to discuss your legal options, Farrell & Thurman, P.C., offers a variety of convenient ways to schedule a free no-pressure consultation. You may do so directly on our website (Schedule A Consult), via phone (609-924-1115), or by email (Contact Us).