Be Careful What You Ask For under NJ’s A.I.C.R.A.

The case of Adrignolo v. Emejuru is a cautionary tale for would be plaintiff’s seeking damages resulting from an auto accident in New Jersey. The plaintiff’s one count complaint sought damages for pain and suffering only. As do most complaints, it specified that the plaintiff suffered severe medical and bodily injuries leaving permanent disabilities.

During the course of discovery, the plaintiff failed to produce sufficient objective proof of a permanent injury that would qualify for permissible non-economic damages under the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act.  “A.I.C.R.A.”  However, the plaintiff did serve documentation for economic losses, that were not actually sought in the complaint.

After court ordered arbitration, the plaintiff finally produced two medical reports that described permanent injury. However, a trial court found these reports to be too little too late. Specifically, the court was unimpressed with the opinions that were based only on the plaintiff’s subjective complaints. Summary judgment was granted to the defendant.

On appeal, the judges agreed with that the medical reports failed to provide objective evidence that a body part or organ failed to heal to function normally as required by one of the A.I.C.R.A. categories. Additionally, the judges gave short shrift to plaintiff’s argument that he was at least entitled to economic damages since he had failed to plead this in his complaint. The dismissal was affirmed.

For more information, contact Denise Fontana Ricci at dricci@wcmlaw.com