Yes, PIP insurance can be used to cover the cost of your injuries after a pedestrian accident in New Jersey. Where the PIP funds will come from depends on a number of factors, including the kind of vehicle that hit you, and whether you or a family member have PIP insurance of your own. If none of the people involved in the accident has insurance, there is a state fund that steps in.
Since New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, pedestrian accident victims will first be paid out of their own PIP insurance, if they own a vehicle or live with a relative that owns a vehicle. However, since pedestrian-car accidents often cause severe injuries that exceed the limits on a PIP policy, victims may need the help of an attorney to take legal action against the at-fault party to obtain additional funds to cover medical expenses and other losses.
Can I Be a Pedestrian If I Wasn’t Actually Walking?
You are considered a pedestrian in New Jersey if you were relying on your feet to get around when the accident occurred.
New Jersey law defines a pedestrian as “a person afoot.” As a practical matter, this means using your feet, as opposed to mechanized transportation. You are a person afoot even if you are moving quickly or using a mode of transportation that has wheels, such as a bicycle, so long as no motor is involved. Examples of being a person afoot include:
- Roller Skating
- Using a non-mechanized scooter
- Riding a non-mechanized bicycle
Does My PIP Apply No Matter Who Hit Me?
When you are hit as a pedestrian, PIP will apply. The question becomes: whose PIP policy will be used?
The type of vehicle that hit you determines whose PIP insurance will cover your accident.
The question of whose PIP insurance—your own, or the driver’s—depends on whether you are hit by an “automobile” or a “motor vehicle.” While these words may appear to be quite similar, they are defined differently in the New Jersey PIP pedestrian accident law.
No matter which type of vehicle hit you, your medical bills will still be processed through PIP insurance.
The New Jersey PIP accident law defines “automobile” to include passenger sedans and station wagons that are not used for taxi-cab purposes. Larger vehicles such as vans and panel trucks are considered to be automobiles, too, so long as they are used only for recreational purposes, and not used commercially.
When you are a pedestrian and you get hit by an automobile in New Jersey, your PIP automobile insurance (or the PIP insurance of a family member) will be used to pay your medical bills.
If you are hit by a motor vehicle, the medical bills are paid through the driver’s PIP insurance. Examples of “motor vehicles” would include a delivery truck, a city bus, or a taxicab. Also included are motorcycles, which fall outside the definition of automobile.
Given the unusual definitions involved, and the trauma of an accident, it’s understandable that you may be uncertain as to whose PIP insurance applies. Given the complexity of the law, when you are injured, it’s advisable to consult a New Jersey pedestrian accident attorney to be sure you are on the right path to receiving the coverage you deserve for your medical claims.
What If I Don’t Have PIP Insurance?
If you are struck by an automobile in a pedestrian accident and you don’t have PIP insurance of your own, the next step is to consider coverage by the PIP insurance of a family member. For example, the PIP policy held by your parent or spouse may cover you.
If you are not covered by a family member’s insurance, you may request coverage through the New Jersey Property-liability Insurance Guaranty Association, commonly known as N.J. PLIGA. This must be done timely. In order to ensure that this is done properly and timely it is best to consult an attorney.
Will PIP Cover All of My Medical Bills?
Pedestrian-vehicular accidents can cause severe injuries, even death. PIP coverage varies depending on the policy. All policies have limits on coverage, which may be insufficient to fully compensate you.
In addition, your New Jersey auto insurance policy might have a provision known as the “no limitation lawsuit.” This is sometimes called the “verbal threshold” limitation. The verbal threshold limits your right to bring a legal action related to the accident. The language in a policy limits legal actions to only a specified list of injuries, death, dismemberment, significant scarring, loss if a fetus, displaced fracture, or a permanent injury as shown by objective medical evidence.
How Harrell Injury Law Can Help
When you’re in a pedestrian accident, Harrell Law Firm can help you determine essential legal questions related to the accident and your rights, including whether:
- You were a pedestrian
- You can sue for your injuries
- You were hit by an automobile
- You were hit by a motor vehicle
The human body is no match for an impact with a truck, car, or motorcycle. Dealing with New Jersey PIP issues only adds to your burden. Harrell Law Firm can help you navigate these complex questions and recover the coverage and funds you deserve. Contact us to talk about your concerns after you or a loved one has been in a pedestrian accident.