Earlier this year, we blogged about a New Jersey Supreme Court case that forbids people injured in car accidents from suing the driver who caused a car accident for additional compensation if their medical bills exceeded the value of their insurance policy’s PIP benefits. Then we reported that legislation that would overturn the Court’s decision and once again allow these lawsuits was sitting on Governor Phil Murphy’s desk. Now, we are pleased to tell you that Gov. Murphy has signed a new law that will protect innocent car accident victims.
Law Protects People Injured in Car Accidents
On August 15, Gov. Murphy signed into law two pieces of legislation that significantly improve New Jersey’s auto insurance laws. S2432 and S3963 allow anyone who is injured in a car accident to file a lawsuit against the other driver if the injured party’s medical expenses exceed his or her personal injury protection (PIP) insurance limits.
The bills are intended to overturn the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Haines v. Taft. In Haines, the Court ruled that a person injured in an automobile accident may not recover unreimbursed medical expenses over his or her PIP policy limits from the other driver. This ruling left many seriously injured car accident victims with huge medical bills for accidents they did not cause. The new laws will allow accident victims to seek full compensation for their injuries.
In his bill-signing statement, Gov. Murphy said, “The enactment of Senate Bill Nos. 2432 and 3963 will ensure that low-income drivers, who must settle for lesser PIP coverage options because they cannot afford better coverage, will not be denied the ability to recover their unreimbursed medical expenses from those who caused their injuries.”
What Does This Mean For Me?
Every driver in the state of New Jersey is required to purchase automobile insurance that pays their medical bills if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, regardless of who caused the accident. Drivers can purchase as little as $15,000 and as much as $250,000 of this insurance, which is called Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”).
Before the new laws discussed above were passed, this PIP insurance was the only compensation you could get if you were in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. If you were lucky, your health insurance would cover your medical expenses, but most people were left struggling to pay off huge bills.
Under the new law, an injured driver may sue the driver who caused the accident if PIP insurance doesn’t cover all of his or her costs.
If you have been injured in an accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. At Levin & Malkin, our attorneys can help you negotiate with your insurance company to make sure you get the coverage you deserve, and advise you how to obtain additional compensation from the other driver. Putting this work in the hands of your attorney will allow you to focus on recovering from your accident while knowing all the paperwork and bureaucratic red tape is being taken care of by us.
Posted in: Car Accidents