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New Jersey Appeals Court Rules That Injured Plaintiffs Can Recover Medical Expenses Past PIP Limit

A New Jersey appeals court ruled on Thursday, June 1 that injured motorists who have the minimum personal-injury-protection (PIP) benefits insurance policy may now recover medical expenses greater than the current limit of $15,000.

“In short, the ruling allows plaintiffs who have exhausted their PIP medical benefits on their own policy to pursue a claim for medical bills against the party who actually caused the accident,” said Levinson Axelrod attorney Michael Fusco. “While there have been various trial court rulings on this issue, this is the first time that a state-wide ruling has come down from the Appellate Division, providing clarity to this hotly contested issue.”

The three-judge Appellate Division panel stated in their published ruling that the statutes limiting the recovery only applies to deductibles and copayments.

"We are satisfied the language references the litigation of minor medical expenses, such as copayments and deductibles … not all medical expenses," said Appellate Division Judge Amy O'Connor in two consolidated cases, Haines v. Taft and Little v. Nishimura.

“Despite the fact that New Jersey has No Fault Medical coverage called PIP for automobile accidents, there is often not enough insurance to cover all the bills,” said Levinson Axelrod partner Adam Rothenberg. “Many of our clients have opted for lower limits of coverage because of how expensive auto insurance is in this state. This decision finally clarifies that those who caused the injuries and the need for medical treatment can be held responsible instead of the burden of excess bills falling on the innocent injured person. It is bad enough to be injured, but to add insult to injury to have to satisfy substantial medical bills is horrible. Now we can more effectively go after those who caused the damages.”

Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. have fought for the rights of injured victims for nearly 80 years, and will continue to do so for as long as our services are needed. If you were injured in a motor vehicle collision and are looking to hire experienced and passionate legal representation, send us your information through our online form to request a free case evaluation today, or call us at (732) 440-3089 to discuss your situation with a member of our firm.

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