New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law on August 15, 2019, a new law that allows plaintiffs injured in motor vehicle crashes to recover medical expenses for their unpaid medical bills even in excess of their existing personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage limits.
The bill, which took effect immediately, was passed in response to the New Jersey Supreme Court decision in Haines v. Taft. That case focused on consumers that purchase low-cost car insurance policies with PIP limits—in some cases, as low as $15,000—much less than the standard $250,000.
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that injured parties may not sue for unpaid medical bills in excess of their PIP limit, meaning many plaintiffs with low insurance coverage would be unable to recover large amounts of unpaid medical bills. The new bill provides a remedy to that problem by allowing consumers with PIP limits less than $250,000 to recover those extra medical bills at trial.
An additional bill was also passed that same day to address concerns that the original bill would cause a rise in insurance rates. The second bill limited the recovery of unpaid medical bills to the amounts payable under the existing PIP fee schedule.
All told, these two bills should provide much-needed support at trial to future plaintiffs whose existing coverage is too low and who would’ve been hurt by the Haines decision if not for the New Jersey legislature’s swift action.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in New Jersey, our lawyers at the offices of O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble can help. Our experienced car accident attorneys can review your case today and provide you with the free legal advice you’re looking for. Contact us now to get started.