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Package of Proposed Automobile Insurance Bills May Affect New Jersey Residents
Recent Automobile and Insurance Law Changes
Over the last few years, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed several bills into law that have affected automobile consumers and insurance companies. Many of these bills protect the consumer, such as the New Jersey Insurance Fair Conduct Act that permits an insured to file a lawsuit when that person is “unreasonably denied a claim for coverage or payment of benefits, or who experiences an unreasonable delay for coverage or payment of benefits, under an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy by an insurer, or for violation of N.J.S.A. 17:29B-4 (the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act”). (https://www.scura.com/blog/nj-fair-conduct-act). Likewise, Governor Murphy signed into law S-1558 that requires auto insurers to disclose policy coverage limits to an injury victim when requested by their attorney. (https://www.scura.com/blog/gov-murphy-insurance-disclosure-law). However, several proposed bills are being discuss by the legislature that will further affect automobile consumers and insurance companies.
Proposed Automobile and Insurance Laws
Since the passing of the above referenced laws, the New Jersey legislature are proposed numerous bills that will protect individuals injured in automobile accidents. Currently, the following bills are being discussed and testimony is being heard by the New Jersey Senate Commerce Committee.
- S-467 (https://pub.njleg.state.nj.us/Bills/2022/S0500/467_I1.PDF), proposes to remove the limitation on lawsuit provisions in automobile accidents when the accident is caused by drunk and reckless drivers. The bill would recognize the increased likelihood that a drunk driver has of causing injuries to individuals and seeks to provide added protection to victims by eliminating the legal technicality that limits civil liability of people convicted of driving under the influence.
- S-471, (https://pub.njleg.state.nj.us/Bills/2022/S0500/471_I1.PDF), proposes to increase medical benefits to $250,000.00 under standard and basic policies. Under the current structures, drivers with standard policies can purchase PIP coverage for $15,000, $50,000, $75,000, $150,000, or $250,000 per person per accident. Drivers with basic policies must provide $15,000 in PIP per person per accident. This will ensure that severely injured victims have sufficient medical expense coverage.
- S-481 (https://pub.njleg.state.nj.us/Bills/2022/S0500/481_I1.PDF), proposes to raise insurance coverage minimums to $50,000 for bodily injury for one person in an accident, $100,000 for more than one person in an accident, and $25,000 for property damage. This would be the first time the minimums were increased since the original minimums were first established 50 years ago.
- S-480 (https://pub.njleg.state.nj.us/Bills/2022/S0500/480_I1.PDF), proposes to require consultation with an insurance producer concerning the cost benefit analysis prior to sale of an automobile insurance policy.
- S-2254 (https://pub.njleg.state.nj.us/Bills/2022/S2500/2254_I1.PDF), proposes to prohibit selection of health insurance as primary under PIP.
- S-2841 (https://pub.njleg.state.nj.us/Bills/2022/S3000/2841_I1.PDF), proposes to raise the minimum amount of liability coverage for commercial vehicles to $1.5 million.
- S-2843 (https://pub.njleg.state.nj.us/Bills/2022/S3000/2843_I1.PDF), proposes to expand the policy disclosure law, discussed above, to apply to more insurers, not just private passenger automobile insurance companies.
As you can see above, these proposed bills will substantially protect drivers in the State of New Jersey in the event of an auto accident. As you can imagine, many insurance companies are fighting the passage of these bills. Our law firm will continue to monitor these bills as they proceed with the legislative process.
If you have questions about these proposed bills, or if you have been involved in a car accident, please call our law firm for a free consultation to discuss your case.
NJ Attorney with extensive experience on Bankruptcy Law Real Property Law, Litigation, and Immigration Law. Dedicated Associate Attorney at Scura, Wigfield, Heyer, Stevens, & Cammarota LLP.
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