Legal Malpractice and Requisite PIP (Personal Injury Protection) Coverage

Submitted by New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.

04-2-9082 Neiman v. USAA Casualty Ins. Co .,

Plaintiff was struck by a car while crossing the street two weeks after he had permanently relocated from Arizona to New Jersey. He owned two automobiles that were “garaged” and “operated” in New Jersey prior to the accident. Plaintiff had then purchased the requisite PIP coverage two weeks after the crash where he was the pedestrian from USAA.  He then tried to sue his own  attorney, whom he retained to make the personal injury claim as well as the claim against the insurance company to reform his auto insurance policy to entitle him to PIP coverage after the fact.

The appellate panel affirmed the trial court’s dismissal at the Summary Judgment stage of the litigation finding New Jersey’s Deemer Statute was not applicable because the plaintiff was a resident and should have purchased the requisite PIP coverage immediately when he moved to New Jersey.  Thus USAA was not required to provide PIP coverage unilaterally without plaintiff having purchased same because plaintiff’s cars were principally garaged in New Jersey at the time of the accident, and he thus was required to maintain automobile insurance coverage that included PIP coverage.  Therefore, because the deemer statute did not apply to require USAA to provide PIP coverage, defendants attorneys had no duty to challenge USAA’s denial of PIP benefits, and summary judgment was properly granted to defendants.

In other words, you can not sue your attorney for your own mistakes, made to save a few bucks! 

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