Let’s explore NJ PIP Law. Let’s say you and a friend are in your car at a stop light waiting for the light to change when BAM!, you are hit from behind by a driver who was too busy texting on his phone to notice that traffic had stopped for a red light. If you are thinking that surely such a negligent driver will have to pay the medical bills you incurred due to his carelessness, chances are you would be wrong.
Pursuant to NJ PIP law, New Jersey is a No-Fault state where almost all motorists (except for a few exceptions) are required to have some amount of PIP coverage as part of their auto policy. This is not to be confused with whatever personal injury claim you may have against the other driver (where in certain circumstances you can sue the negligent driver in a separate claim). This simply covers who pays for the medical treatment you receive if you are injured in an auto accident. NJ PIP Law coverage is available in varying amounts but its purpose is to essentially assure that in the event of an accident, the medical bills will get paid to the extent provided for in the policy. However, it also means that in many cases, under NJ PIP law it is you or your family member’s insurance that will pay for your medical bills, even if your injuries are the result of the negligence of another driver.
The way NJ PIP law works
If you are the registered owner of an insured vehicle in New Jersey, your insurance will pay your medical bills up to your policy limits if you are injured in an accident regardless of who caused the accident. Your own insurance will pay for your medical treatment up to your policy limits even if you were simply the passenger in the car when the accident occurred. It is your insurance that will pay your medical bills up to your policy limits if you were injured as a pedestrian crossing the road and you were hit by a car.
Many people are also shocked to learn that if they are injured and they don’t own a car, but a family member they live with does own, then their medical bills will be paid by that family member’s insurance. So let’s say in the example above, you are the passenger in your friend’s vehicle when you are struck by that negligent driver and at the time of the accident you are living with your Great Aunt Tilly who owns a car, but you don’t. It is not the negligent driver’s insurance that pays your medical bills; it is not even the insurance of your friend who owns the car you were riding in. Rather, your medical bills will be paid by your Great Aunt Tilly’s car insurance policy. Surprising, yes?
And, in the event neither you or any family member you live with own a vehicle registered in New Jersey, the law still does not turn to the negligent driver to have your medical bills paid. In that case the law turns next to the insurance policy of your friend, the driver of the car you were in.
NJ PIP law has also created NJPLIGA
The purpose of NJPLIGA is to provide for the reimbursement for medical coverage in certain circumstances to certain people such as pedestrians injured by a motor vehicle who don’t own a car or reside with a family member who owns a car, or passengers who do not own a car or otherwise reside with a family member who owns a car and who are injured in a car that does not have insurance. NJPLIGA will not however, pay for medical benefits if you are the owner of an uninsured car.
In sum, there are several factors that can affect the scenarios above such as, what happens if you are injured while riding in a taxi, or on a motorcycle instead of a car, or if you are injured in a car accident while you are driving during the course of your employment.