You Don’t Need to Be Driving or Riding in a Vehicle to Be Entitled to PIP Benefits

In order to receive PIP benefits and get your medical expenses paid, you don’t need to be actually operating a motor vehicle. New Jersey’s Automobile Reparation Reform Act (No-Fault Law) requires insurers to provide PIP benefits to their policyholders or families for injuries sustained “as a result of an accident while occupying, entering into, alighting from or using an automobile.” N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4. The courts have consistently held that a PIP insured’s injury need not be “directly or proximately caused by the automobile itself or by its motion or operation.” Smaul v. Irvington Gen. Hosp., 209 N.J.Super. 592, 595, (App. Div.1986), aff’d 108 N.J. 474,530 (1987). There are various scenarios where you would be entitled to PIP benefits that don’t involve merely driving or riding as a passenger in a vehicle.

Automobile Passengers Are Entitled to PIP Benefits in New Jersey

In Lindstrom v. Hanover Ins. Co., 138 N.J. 242, 246, (1994) the Supreme Court concluded that a plaintiff who sustained serious injuries in a drive-by shooting was entitled to PIP benefits under his father’s automobile insurance policy. In Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v O’Rourke, 122 N.J. Super. 68, Ch. Div. 1973. the wife of a named insured was driving a car that stalled. The defendant helped by restarting the car. In attempting to prime the carburetor the gas container ignited, and he threw it away from himself in the direction of the passenger, a nine-year-old boy, who was injured. The Court held that the passenger was entitled to PIP benefits.

In Clyburn v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 214 N.J. Super. 644, (App .Div.), certif. denied, 107 N.J. 652, (1987), a passenger in a car was injured when he was struck by another vehicle while standing outside the car inspecting the damage caused by a prior minor collision. The In Ohio Cas. Group of Ins Companies, 323 N.J. Super. 338 (App. Div. 1999) the insured was observing damage left by some shopping carts. While attempting to lie the shopping carts on their side, he was struck from behind by a cart and sustained injuries. PIP benefits were awarded

Harrell Injury Law Has Experience in PIP Arbitration for Passengers and Pedestrians

 In a recent matter that I was able to successfully arbitrate the injured party parked his insured vehicle and walked across the street his to friend’s house. As his friend was opening his front gate to let him in, he heard a crunch and saw a delivery truck hit his vehicle.  He ran across the street, crossing in front of the delivery truck motioning for the truck to stop.  He observed that the delivery truck was stuck on his vehicle and helped to free the delivery truck off of his vehicle.  Once the delivery truck was freed it sped off, striking Claimant’s foot.  His insurance company denied the claim, but an arbitrator found that he was entitled to PIP benefits since his injury arose out of the use of his insured vehicle.

If you have a question as to whether you would be eligible for benefits for an injury arising out of your use of your insured vehicle do not hesitate to contact The Harrell Law Firm for a consultation. Call our office or submit our online form today. 

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Leigh A. Raffauf

Partner, Harrell Injury Law

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