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Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace – Vice President, Government Affairs

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed two bills that will provide for recovery of uncompensated medical expenses resulting from auto accidents.

The first bill S-2432 sponsored by Senator Scutari overturns the New Jersey Supreme Court’s recent decision in Haines v. Taft, 237 N.J. 271 (2019).   In that decision, the Court limited the recovery of medical expenses, resulting from auto accidents, to the selected personal injury policy (PIP) limits.

S-2432 will allow for the recovery of uncompensated medical expenses above the PIP limit.  The law, however, did not include any cost control measures, such as applying the PIP Medical Fee Schedule that reduces a consumer’s exposure to certain medical expenses and prohibiting balance billing of consumers.   The law takes effect immediately and applies to all causes of action pending on or after the effective date.

The second bill S-3963 also sponsored by Senator Scutari overturns the NJ Supreme Court’s decision in Haines v. Taft, 237 N.J. 271 (2019) but includes the PIP medical fee schedule for uncompensated medical expenses and prohibits balance billing of any medical expenses claimed as damages.

S-3963, however, takes effect on August 1, 2019 and applies to automobile accidents occurring on or after that date.   Notably, the legislative committee statement indicated that it was“the intention of the Legislature that this bill entirely supplant the provisions of S-2432 upon the bill’s effective date for accidents occurring o or after August 1, 2019.”

Governor Murphy issued a signing statement that did not include any clarification with the conflicting effective dates in the laws.

Clarification of these laws may need to come by way of another court decision. NJBIA will continue to monitor these laws and will send updates accordingly.