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Plaintiff Barred from Pursuing Personal Injury from Auto Accident Due to Failure to Insure

By on January 17, 2017 in Coverage with 1 Comment

Plaintiff Alma Guerrero was driving her car when she was involved in a collision with the defendant Colleen Moore. Plaintiff suffered back injuries from the accident and sued defendant Moore. In Guerrero v. Moore, 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 21 (App. Div. Jan. 5, 2017), Moore defended on the basis that plaintiff was barred from suing for her personal injuries due to her failure to insure her vehicle in New Jersey, despite residing in New Jersey for at least three to four months before the accident.

Under New Jersey law, a failure to maintain the required medical expense coverage pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4.5 bars a person from suing if a New Jersey resident. Although the plaintiff’s vehicle was registered and insured in Pennsylvania, the plaintiff’s policy did not have the PIP coverage as required under New Jersey law. Because the plaintiff admitted that she lived in New Jersey for at least three to four months prior to the accident, the Appellate Division found that the trial court properly granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing the complaint.

Although the plaintiff’s vehicle was insured in Pennsylvania, it only had PIP coverage of $5,000. That was less than the required amount under New Jersey law (under either N.J.S.A. 39:6A-3.1 – $15,000, if you qualify for the special insurance for those eligible for Medicaid or $250,000 for policy as required under N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4.) Because plaintiff did not satisfy either insurance requirement, she was considered “uninsured” in New Jersey.

Under New Jersey law, any person who becomes a resident of the State must obtain a New Jersey license and registration within 60 days of becoming a resident. Because plaintiff had been residing in the State for at least 3 – 4 months, she was subject to the laws of New Jersey on insurance and registration. Her failure to register and insure her vehicle in conformance with New Jersey law made her “uninsured.” Hence, the Appellate Division found that she was barred from suing for her personal injuries.

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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 25 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 and 2021, 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.

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There is 1 Brilliant Comment

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  1. Excellent post plus great information! This submit is very handy and for us. Thanks for giving valuable information and facts.

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