Leading NJ Cases Involving PIP Coverage

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits are contained in every motor vehicle liability insurance policy which pay for medical bills and related compensation. Every motor vehicle liability insurance policy issued in New Jersey is required to include PIP coverage to its insureds regardless of fault for the accident. Since the coverage is mandatory regardless of fault, it is more commonly known as “No Fault” coverage.

Below are a few of the leading cases in New Jersey involving specific issues related to PIP coverage:

Assault and Robbery—A driver who was assaulted and robbed while stopping and asking for directions was entitled to PIP benefits. Smaul v. Irvington General Hosp., 108 N.J. 474, 530 A.2d 1251 (1987).

Bus Accident—“It is clear on the face of these statutory provisions that a person who is injured while occupying, entering into or alighting from a bus is not entitled to PIP benefits under N.J.S.A. 39:6A–4 because a bus is not included in the definition of an automobile[.]” Schaefer v. Allstate New Jersey Ins. Co., 376 N.J. Super. 475, 870 A.2d 745 (App. Div. 2005).

Commercial Motor Vehicles—Generally speaking, a commercial motor vehicle is not required to be insured to provide personal injury protection benefits. Cupido v. Perez, 415 N.J. Super. 587, 595, 2 A.3d 1159 (App. Div. 2010), certification denied, 205 N.J. 16, 11 A.3d 375 (2010).

Drive-By Shooting—An insured who upon approaching her vehicle was shot in the back is entitled to PIP benefits but not UM coverage. Livsey v. Mercury Ins. Group, 197 N.J. 522, 964 A.2d 312 (2009).

Fatal Heart Attack—Driver who died of a heart attack while stopped at a traffic light not entitled to PIP benefits. Kordell v. Allstate Ins. Co., 230 N.J. Super. 505, 554 A.2d 1 (App. Div. 1989).

Motorcycle Accident—A person who was injured while operating a motorcycle and who also owned an automobile insured with the verbal threshold option was bound by the verbal threshold and would not be entitled to PIP coverage since the injuries were not sustained from the operation of an automobile or as a pedestrian. Koff v. Carrubba, 290 N.J. Super. 544, 676 A.2d 184 (App. Div. 1996).

Passengers—Two decedents who had exited the vehicle and shut the door and were thereafter struck and killed were not passengers for the purchases of PIP. Severino v. Malachi, 409 N.J. Super. 82, 975 A.2d 1049 (App. Div. 2009), certification denied, 200 N.J. 505, 983 A.2d 1112 (2009).

Postal Truck—The provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4 require PIP coverage for injuries related to the use and occupancy of automobiles but not other types of motor vehicles. Accordingly, a postal truck operated by the plaintiff did not fall within the category of “automobile” for purposes of PIP coverage. Knight v. AAA Midatlantic Ins. Co., 394 N.J. Super. 333, 926 A.2d 421 (App. Div. 2007).

Shopping Carts—Driver who was injured by a wind-blown shopping cart while inspecting damage to his vehicle caused by another cart entitled to PIP benefits. Ohio Cas. Group of Ins. Companies v. Gray, 323 N.J. Super. 338, 732 A.2d 1145 (App. Div. 1999).

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