TRENTON – Two pieces of legislation sponsored by Senator Nicholas P. Scutari, that will help injured motorists recover the costs incurred from accidents, were signed into law today by Governor Phil Murphy.
Today’s action overturns a previous Supreme Court ruling which prohibited motor vehicle accident victims from recovering their medical expenses from the defendants that caused those accidents. Senator Scutari (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union) said, “today’s action is a clear win for consumers and accident victims in New Jersey allowing them to be made whole if injured by the negligence of others.”
The first piece of legislation, S-2432, will make it clear that economic loss, as defined in the “New Jersey Automobile Reparation Reform Act,” otherwise known as the “no-fault law,” could include uncompensated medical expenses.
This law will permit a party injured in an automobile accident to recover, as part of the recovery of uncompensated economic loss, all medical expenses that exceed, or are unpaid or uncovered by any injured party’s automobile insurance medical PIP coverage, regardless of any health insurance coverage.
The “No Fault Act” requires every standard automobile insurance policy to provide PIP coverage, but the amount can range from $15,000 up to $250,000 per person per accident. The default option for standard coverage is $250,000, and drivers have to elect to carry less if they choose to. The law also allows basic policies where drivers have a PIP limit of $15,000.
The law will take effect immediately and apply to all causes of action pending on that date or filed afterward.
The second piece of legislation, S3963, will revise the law concerning recovery of unreimbursed medical expenses as economic loss in civil action for damages arising from an automobile accident.
This law will permit a party injured in an automobile accident to recover, as part of the recovery of uncompensated economic loss, all unreimbursed medical expenses not covered by the personal inquiry protection (PIP) limits applicable to the injured party and sustained by the injured party.
This law goes into effect immediately and applies to accidents that occurred on or after August 1, 2019.