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Plaintiffs Can Recover More than PIP Limits for Medical Expenses

October 12, 2017

New Jersey Appellate Division Finds Plaintiffs Can Recover More than PIP Limits for Medical Expenses

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A three-judge panel of the New Jersey Appellate Division recently overturned a pair of lower-court rulings regarding personal injury protection (PIP) benefits in motor vehicle accident cases.

The Appellate Division ruled that people injured in a car accident can seek compensation for medical expenses that exceed the limits of their PIP benefits if those expenses are for substantial medical needs and costs, rather than for copayments or deductibles.

In its ruling, the Appellate Division considered a pair of consolidated cases from trial courts that posed similar issues and questions. In both cases, a driver had been injured by the negligence of another motorist in a car accident. Both injured drivers carried only the $15,000 minimum PIP benefit required by New Jersey law, but both had injuries whose costs exceeded that benefit. In both cases, however, the trial court had refused to let the injured plaintiffs present evidence of their extra medical expenses to the court or to seek a damages award that included those expenses.

The reasoning both trial courts used was that New Jersey’s rules limiting medical expense recovery to PIP benefits prevented the injured plaintiffs from recovering damages from the other driver and forced them to rely solely on their policies. The Appellate Division, however, found a difference between “incidental” expenses like copayments and deductibles, and major expenses for medical needs caused by the crash. Only the first one, the Appellate Division said, was covered by the PIP benefits limitation. Therefore, the higher court said, the injured plaintiffs should have been allowed to present evidence of their medical expenses and seek compensation for those expenses.

When you’ve been injured in a serious car accident, you need to focus on healing and on taking care of your family. An experienced New Jersey accident lawyer can handle investigations, paperwork, and negotiations with insurance companies, so you can focus on returning to the life you love. Contact Hoyt & Hoyt, P.C. today to schedule your consultation.

 

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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