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Now Law: Assembly Democratic Measures Allow Recovery of Unreimbursed Medical Expenses Resulting from Car Accidents

Two bills sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joann Downey and Annette Quijano to permit a person injured in a car accident to recover uncompensated medical expenses in civil action was signed into law Thursday by Governor Phil Murphy.

The first law (formerly bill A-5371), sponsored by Downey (D-Monmouth) and Quijano (D-Union) allows someone injured in motor vehicle accident to recover all unreimbursed medical expenses not covered by the personal injury protection (PIP) limits applicable to and sustained by the injured party, as part of the recovery of uncompensated economic loss.

Downey also sponsors the second law (formerly A-5639), which subjects reimbursed medical expenses resulting from accidents occurring on or after Aug. 1, 2019 in excess of the PIP limits to the Automobile Medical Fee Schedules, and prohibits balance billing of any medical expenses claimed as damages and paid pursuant to the medical fee schedule.

The laws codify the recent New Jersey Supreme Court ruling in the consolidated cases of Haines v. Taft and Little v. Nishimura. The Supreme Court reversed the initial Appellate Division holding to allow recovery of such uncompensated medical expenses.

The law’s sponsors released the following joint statement:

“Anyone who has ever been injured in a car accident knows the devastating impact it can have on a person’s health, family and finances.  After going through a traumatic experience, the last thing anyone wants to do is stress over how they will afford medical care that is crucial to their recovery. Healthcare is expensive enough on its own; adding an injury to the mix may push finances to the breaking point. It’s only fair to allow people injured in accidents to try to recoup unreimbursed medical expenses. Not only will it be easier for them to move on with their lives, but most importantly they will be able to focus on what really matters: their health.”