When a driver who lives outside of New Jersey happens to be operating her motor vehicle within the State of New Jersey and is involved in an accident, she will be subject to the “Deemer Statute”. That can be found at N.J.S.A. 17:28-1.4.
However, this can also cut against the out of state driver. All out of state insurance policies are deemed to contain the “limitation on lawsuit” option for accidents occurring in New Jersey, even if the out of state policy provides full coverage regardless of fault. This can mean that the out of state driver may not be able to recover damages resulting from the accident, unless she satisfies the lawsuit threshold (see http://www.middlesexcountyaccidentlawyer.com/2013/04/).
These Winter Driving Tips From AAA May Save Your Life and Avoid An Accident.
Severe weather can be both frightening and dangerous for automobile travel. Motorists should know the safety rules for dealing with winter road emergencies. Motorists need to be cautious while driving in adverse weather.
The following winter driving tips are recommended:
Tips for long-distance winter trips:
Tips for driving in the snow:
If you are injured in an automobile accident, you are likely to have car insurance to cover your medical expenses. For other types of accidents, your health insurance coverage may pay those bills, particularly if you are using in network providers.
Some accident victims may be enrolled in Medicare which will be the primary source of payment for their medical expenses. Typically the hospital or other treatment facility will record the patient’s Medicare information and would be likely to bill any unpaid expenses to Medicare.
To the extent that Medicare pays those bills, it will seek reimbursement from your recovery in your accident case. This should be contrasted with personal injury protection benefits paid by an auto insurance company for which reimbursement is not sought. For medical expenses paid by your health insurance carrier, the terms of your policy may or may not entitle the carrier to seek reimbursement from your recovery.
When a personal injury case is resolved and payment is received, the attorney for a Medicare enrollee client is obligated to contact Medicare in order to determine whether Medicare will seek reimbursement of payments. This requires written notice and the client’s authorization. In months or weeks, Medicare will respond as to what must be reimbursed from the client’s share of the recovery. Any attorney failing to follow this procedure may become liable to Medicare.
In cases where a Medicare enrollee is an uninsured pedestrian, it is possible to apply to the New Jersey Property Liability Insurance Guaranty Association for payment of medical bills. It is preferable to have the bills paid by PLIGA which does not seek reimbursement, than having the bills paid by Medicare, which does require reimbursement in most cases. For more information on PLIGA, please see our July 2015 blog “What is PLIGA and What Can it Do For Me?” at www.middlesexcountypersonalinj
Your teenaged son is involved in a fight with a classmate. You notify your homeowners insurance company of the fight. Several months later, you receive a letter from an attorney representing the classmate which you turn over to your insurance company. Over a year after that, the classmate files a lawsuit against your son, which you forward to your insurance company. Then for the first time, your insurance company advises you that there is no coverage for the lawsuit because it involves an intentional tort which is excluded from the policy. What do you do?
In the case of Griggs v. Bertram, decided by the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1982, the parent retained counsel at his own expense and filed a third party complaint against his insurance company. Griggs and Bertram settled without the involvement of the insurance company. The parent then sought reimbursement of the settlement payment from the insurance company.
The Court found that the insurance company should have promptly disclaimed coverage but did not. It also held that the insurance company was legally responsible to reimburse its insured for the settlement payment so long as the amount was reasonable and paid in good faith. The Court particularly noted that “[a]n insured tortfeasor should be able to reach an agreement relieving it of liability when its carrier wrongfully declines to defend”. But in order to prevent collusion between the victim and the aggressor, the latter is obligated to show that the settlement was reasonable and in good faith.
If your insurance company refuses to defend and indemnify you in the event of a claim, it is crucial that you retain experienced counsel to review the matter and advise you. We have had many matters in which coverage was initially disclaimed to our client, but where the insurance company agreed to provide coverage after we became involved in advocating for our client.
In standard automobile insurance policies, personal injury protection coverage will pay your medical expenses sustained in connection with a car accident. There is a deductible and a co-payment, and typically $250,000 in coverage is purchased.
Your auto insurance company may offer you savings by suggesting that you use your health insurance policy to cover your auto-related medical expenses. While that may save you money in the short run, it can be problematic in other ways. If for example, your health insurance company will not cover auto-related medical expenses, you may find yourself without any coverage for needed medical treatment. Also, you will be limited to seeing physicians in network, who may or may not be willing to write a report or testify for you at trial. Further, your health insurance company may demand reimbursement from you for all medical expenses paid, from your personal injury case recovery, whether through settlement or verdict. Those expenses can take a big bite out of your compensation for your injuries in the event that you are involved in an accident.
The deductibles and co-payments of your health policy or plan will apply to treatment for injuries from auto accidents. In addition, the coverage limits of your health policy or plan will also be in effect. These limits may be more restrictive than traditional PIP coverage. Your automobile insurer may only pay for necessary expenses not covered by your health policy or plan.
What if you lose your health insurance? If you are in an accident and your health coverage is no longer in effect, your auto insurer will pay PIP medical benefits. However, you will be required to pay an additional $750 deductible.
Choosing your health insurer for PIP option may reduce your premium, but you need to make sure that your health insurer would provide adequate coverage if you were injured in an auto accident, and that can be problematic.
The New Jersey Appellate Division recently considered the appeal of a woman who slipped and fell on icy steps at a museum entrance, injuring her back. The trial court had dismissed her lawsuit against the museum, based on the Charitable Immunity Act. The museum is a nonprofit association organized exclusively for charitable, artistic, scientific, educational, historical and cultural purposes. On the day of the accident, the museum was closed to the public. The plaintiff had been directed by her work supervisor to go to the museum to attend an educational panel discussion organized by her employer, a non-profit organization which had rented the premises for the event. She sought damages due to the negligence of the museum in failing to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition. She also argued that the museum was not engaged in any charitable purpose at the time because it had rented the facility to her employer in order to generate income. The trial judge disagreed.
The Appellate Division reversed the trial court decision, finding that the plaintiff was not a beneficiary of the museum’s charitable endeavors because she was required to be there by her employer, and therefore was not a direct recipient of the museum’s good works. Skilled attorneys know that sometimes a judge will get it wrong and that it is worth appealing that decision so that the plaintiff may have her day in court and the opportunity to be compensated for her injuries.
In a recent New Jersey Federal court decision, a homeowner was sued when a contractor’s employee was injured while using the contractor’s table saw in the course of remodeling the homeowner’s bathroom. The employee also sued the contractor and the saw manufacturer. The claim against the saw manufacturer was settled.
The homeowner moved for summary judgment, arguing that there was no basis for imposing liability on the homeowner since he had not retained control of the manner or means of the work performed and his retention of general supervisory power over the work was insufficient for the imposition of liability. The court agreed, noting that even assuming that the contractor was incompetent or unskilled, there was no evidence that the homeowner was aware of that fact. It also considered that the use of a table saw was nothing more than a risk inherent in the work for which the contractor was retained and was not a particular risk unique to the construction project. The lawsuit against the homeowner was therefore dismissed.