A package of proposed laws making their way through the New Jersey Legislature could provide auto accident victims in the Garden State with greater access to insurance coverage when they’ve been harmed in motor vehicle accidents.
The bills include proposals for increases to personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, commercial vehicle liability coverage, and the auto liability minimum – which would increase from its current $15,000 to $25,000 beginning in 2023 and a minimum of $35,000 starting in 2026, under the current iteration of the measure.
“It’s clear that the measures being considered in Trenton, if passed, will have a huge benefit to future auto accident victims with minimal impact on premiums for most New Jerseyans.”
As reported by NJ.com, the minimum coverage increase is strongly supported by lawmakers and advocates who say the State’s current minimums are outdated in need of reform. That’s especially true given the fact that the cost of medical care has risen dramatically in the five decades since the minimum was established. As Fusco notes:
“The current $15,000 minimum policy limit was set half a century ago— you could buy a decent house for that amount in New Jersey in the early 1970s,” said Fusco. “It’s only fair to raise these limits to protect New Jersey drivers.”
Another proposed law in the package of reforms would prohibit motorists from using private health insurance as the primary payer for PIP coverage in exchange for a discount on their auto insurance. Nearly 1.3 million drivers in New Jersey use the health insurance primary and nearly half carry less than $250,000 of PIP coverage.
“The Health Insurance Primary option is a fraud perpetuated on consumers by the auto insurance industry, leaving the injured victim with two layers of worthless ‘coverage’ for which they are paying premiums,” said Fusco.
“The most often result in practice is both carriers denying payment for medical bills—the health insurance carrier saying ‘we don’t pay for auto accident treatment in a no-fault state’ and the auto insurance carrier saying ‘we only pay once the health insurance pays.’ Insurance buying consumers are told they are getting a good deal by their brokers, but in reality, when they go to use the coverage, they realize that they have been fleeced.”
As a firm that routinely represents victims of motor vehicle collisions, truck crashes, and other traffic accidents, our team at Levinson Axelrod strongly supports these common-sense reforms. Over our many years in practice, we’ve seen how profoundly serious injuries or wrongful death can impact families – both financially and emotionally – and believe its well past time for our laws to reflect the often substantial costs incurred by victims in a modern era.
As we track the progress of these measures, we will continue to devote our efforts toward helping victims and their families pursue positive outcomes after suffering preventable injuries. If you have questions about a potential case anywhere in New Jersey, call (732) 440-3089 or contact us online for a free consultation.