Butler v. Rainey

Butler v. Rainey:

Submitted by New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.

Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and Wausau Underwriters Insurance Company (Defendants/Insurers) sought partial summary judgment in action over an automobile accident. Plaintiff asserted insurers issued a policy to her which included PIP benefits. The insurers argued New Jersey law required alternative dispute resolution for PIP claim disputes. Plaintiff argued the PIP dispute was merely a “technical” matter involving procedure codes used in billing and it would be unfair to require her to arbitrate such an issue.

The Court rejected plaintiff’s argument, noting N.J.S.A. 39:6A-5.1(a), which states: “Any dispute regarding the recovery of medical expense benefits or other benefits provided under personal injury protection coverage . . . arising out of the operation, ownership, maintenance or use of an automobile may be submitted to dispute resolution on the initiative of any party to the dispute, as hereinafter provided,” applied to any dispute regarding the recovery of benefits provided under personal injury protection coverage. Citing a previous New Jersey Case, the court stated that to the extent there is any ambiguity what constitutes a “dispute” subject to the arbitration provision, the term must be construed liberally “to harmonize the arbitration provision with our firm policy favoring prompt and efficient resolution of PIP disputes without resort to the judicial process.” The Court determined that the dispute in this case fell within the scope of the statute and concluded that the Insurers have the statutory right to compel arbitration of disputes concerning entitlement to PIP benefits.

See also:

State Farm Ins. Co. v. Sabato 337 N.J. Super. 393

State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Molino 289 N.J. Super

At Hark & Hark, we represent clients in Federal Court for insurance law dispute resolution matters like the present case. We work hard to ensure that our clients receive the maximum personal injury protection they are statutorily entitled to as a result of an accident.

We offer payment plan options to clients financially incapable of providing full payment upfront. If you are facing a similar situation with insurance companies as a result of an accident, please call us to discuss the matter. At Hark & Hark, we represent clients for any case in any county in New Jersey including Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Mercer, Ocean, and Salem counties.


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Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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