17:28-1.7 Exemption from tort liability for owner, registrant, operator of motor bus.
3.Every owner, registrant or operator of a motor bus registered or principally garaged in this State and every person or organization legally responsible for his acts or omissions, is hereby exempted from tort liability for noneconomic loss to a passenger who has a right to receive benefits under section 2 of this act as a result of bodily injury arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor bus in this State, unless that person has sustained a personal injury which results in death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement or significant scarring; displaced fractures; loss of a fetus; or a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement. 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. For the purposes of this subsection, "physician" means a physician as defined in section 5 of P.L.1939, c.115 (C.45:9-5.1).
In order to satisfy the provisions of this section, the plaintiff shall, within 60 days following the date of the answer to the complaint by the defendant, provide the defendant with a certification from the licensed treating physician or a board-certified licensed physician to whom the plaintiff was referred by the treating physician. The certification shall state, under penalty of perjury, that the plaintiff has sustained an injury described above. The certification shall be based on and refer to objective clinical evidence, which may include medical testing, except that any such testing shall be performed in accordance with medical protocols pursuant to subsection a. of section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4) and the use of valid diagnostic tests administered in accordance with section 12 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-4.7). Such testing may not be experimental in nature or dependent entirely upon subjective patient response. The court may grant no more than one additional period not to exceed 60 days to file the certification pursuant to this section upon a finding of good cause.
A person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if that person purposefully or knowingly makes, or causes to be made, a false, fictitious, fraudulent, or misleading statement of material fact in, or omits a material fact from, or causes a material fact to be omitted from, any certification filed pursuant to this section. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection e. of N.J.S. 2C:44-1, the court shall deal with a person who has been convicted of a violation of this section by imposing a sentence of imprisonment unless, having regard to the character and condition of the person, the court is of the opinion that imprisonment would be a serious injustice which overrides the need to deter such conduct by others. If the court imposes a noncustodial or probationary sentence, such sentence shall not become final for 10 days in order to permit the appeal of such sentence by the prosecution. Nothing in this section shall preclude an indictment and conviction for any other offense defined by the laws of this State. In addition, any professional license held by the person shall be forfeited according to the procedures established by section 4 of P.L.1997, c.353 (C.2C:51-5).
L.1991,c.154,s.3; amended 1998, c.21, s.68.
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Last modified: October 11, 2016