Haines v. Taft, 237 N.J. 271, 204 A.3d 263, 2019 N.J. LEXIS 441, 2019 WL 1339479

Plaintiffs are precluded from admitting evidence of medical expenses that exceed their PIP limits but fall below the standard PIP election of $250,000.

The plaintiff was injured in a car accident and held personal injury protection in the amount of $15,000. The standard amount in New Jersey is $250,000. The plaintiff filed a personal injury claim and wanted to include in his case evidence of medical expenses which exceeded the PIP limits of $15,000 (the amount outstanding). The defense moved to preclude evidence of the excess amounts under the public policies underlying the no-fault system. The plaintiff argued any amounts exceeding PIP coverage should be considered an economic loss and thus should be considered admissible. The court found that allowing the plaintiff to sue for the outstanding amounts that fell below the $250,000 PIP standard coverage would undermine the no-fault system’s intent to reduce court congestion and may lead to higher recovery for individuals who elected for lower PIP coverage. In reaching this finding, the Supreme Court of New Jersey overturned the appellate division’s prior reversal of the trial court which excluded the plaintiffs’ evidence. 


Case Law Alerts, 3rd Quarter, July 2019

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