New Jersey Work Injury Lawyer

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525 Route 73 North
Suite 104
Marlton, NJ 08053

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Haddon Hts., NJ 08035

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Archive for December 2012

New Jersey Injury Attorney’s Seek Review of whether an independent medical examination paid by PIP insurer extends statute of limitations

The action arises out of a car accident where plaintiff was immediately taken to a hospital for medical testing and released. Plaintiff then contacted his physician, who recommended a neurosurgeon, who in turn treated plaintiff for six months, during which new X-Rays were taken. The plaintiff had surgery on his neck in order to alleviate his pain and it resulted in him becoming a quadriplegic and unable to speak. Plaintiff was insured by Liberty Mutual at the time of the accident, which provided PIP coverage and paid all of his bills. However, they contend that the surgery was related to plaintiff’s extensive medical history prior to accident and requested an independent medical examiner (IME) to determine if plaintiffs need for neck surgery was causally related to the accident; Liberty paid for transportation to this visit. The IME concluded the surgery was unrelated to the accident and liberty denied payment of bills. Plaintiff sued Liberty Mutual for PIP benefits and Liberty moved to dismiss the claim as time barred. The Trial court held that the action was time barred concluding that the payment to the transport service did not constitute a benefit and extend the statute nor could the statute be tolled for incapacity.

Held: plaintiff’s PIP claim is dismissed as time barred, pursuant to the PIP statute of limitations. Payment of transportation costs to an IME, which were paid by the insurer, does not constitute a benefit that extends the time when the PIP statute of limitations begins to run. The IME is not a “independent consultative opinion” as defined by the statute as a benefit, they are two unique terms of art and it cannot be assumed the legislature intended to use them interchangeably.    Please visit the website of New Jersey personal injury attorney John F. Renner for more information regarding your rights.


Legal Quote of the Week:

“The insurance company is the God of Money…The insurance company lawyers will come to court not to ascertain the truth or to search for justice, but to fight for money, and they will do whatever is necessary to keep it”

Gerry Spence, “With Justice for None” (1989)