A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Legislative Update on Haines v. Taft

By on May 30, 2019 in Claims with 0 Comments

I had previously reported on the Supreme Court case of Haines v. Taft, 237 N.J. 271 (2019) which made inadmissible uncompensated medical expenses incurred as a result of an automobile accident that exceeded the plaintiffs’ $15,000 PIP coverage. After I submitted this article, I discussed with plaintiffs’ counsel whether that decision was specifically limited to cases in which the only issue involved a plaintiff’s economic loss or whether it had a broader application. In my opinion, the reasoning of this case would apply equally to cases in which a plaintiff had a pain and suffering claim (noneconomic claim), along with unreimbursed medical expenses, as well as cases involving only economic loss. However, I will concede that the Court’s decision dealt with cases in which only an economic loss was at issue. Regardless, based upon current pending legislation, the Legislature may be resolving this issue altogether.

Currently, there is a bill on the Governor’s desk (sent to him on May 23, 2019), that would permit the recovery of medical expenses as uncompensated economic loss in civil actions arising from an automobile accident. If this bill passes, N.J.S.A. 39:6A-12, which deals with the inadmissibility of evidence of medical expenses “collectible or paid” as PIP benefits, will be amended. The amendment would provide the right of recovery against a tortfeasor of uncompensated economic loss “including uncompensated medical expenses between the personal injury protection limits applicable to the injured party and sustained by the injured party.”

The proposed legislation also provides: “All medical expenses that exceed, or are unpaid or uncovered by any injured party’s medical expense benefits personal injury protection limits, regardless of any health insurance coverage, are claimable by any injured party as against all liable parties, including any self-funded health care plans that assert valid liens.”

Note that if this bill is signed as is, it includes no cost controls such as being subject to a PIP fee schedule. Further, this bill seems to permit bills that are paid by collateral sources (i.e., health insurance) to be “claimable” as well.

Per a NJDA alert I received, because of the issues with this bill, there is an effort underway to have the Governor issue a conditional veto. That would send the bill back to the Senate and Assembly for concurrence.            

I will keep you posted.


Tags: ,

About the Author

About the Author:

Ms. Ramos is an Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department at Capehart Scatchard, P.A. located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She is an experienced litigator with over 30 years experience handling diverse matters. Practice areas include tort defense, business litigation, estate litigation, tort claims and civil rights defense, construction litigation, insurance coverage, employment litigation, shareholder disputes, and general litigation.

For the years 2020-2023, Ms. Ramos was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the practice area of Litigation - Insurance. The attorneys on this list are selected based upon the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area. A complete description of The Best Lawyers in America© methodology can be viewed via their website at: https://www.bestlawyers.com/methodology.

In 2021, Capehart Scatchard and Ms. Ramos received the “Best Law Firm” ranking in the area of Litigation – Insurance (Metro, Tier 3) published by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®. Law firms included on the list are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have at least one attorney who has been included in the current edition of Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top five percent of practicing lawyers in the United States. Betsy Ramos (Litigation – Insurance) was recognized for this prestigious award in the 2021 edition. For a description of the “Best Law Firm” selection methodology please visit: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.

“Best Law Firms” is published by Best Lawyers in partnership with U.S. News & World Report. For a description of the selection methodology please visit: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.

*No aspect of this advertisement has been submitted to or approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.


Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.