Neiman vs. USAA Casualty: First party Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Medical Coverage

Submitted by New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.

The requirements of maintaining car insurance on a vehicle ‘principally’ garaged in New Jersey is found as follows: NJSA 39:6A-3.  If you own a var that is ‘principally’ garaged in New Jersey, whether you moved here a week ago, or 59 days ago, or just bought the vehicle, you are required to purchase a policy that has PIP coverage included.  If you do not purchase that coverage, or own a car that is not insured, or the insurance lapses, you do not have first party (PIP) coverage.  In other words, you do not have coverage for injuries you suffer from your own insurance policy and AS WELL can not make a claim for personal injuries.  This case, Neiman outlines the law.  The court clearly stated:

“Every owner of an automobile principally garaged in New Jersey must maintain automobile liability insurance coverage, including PIP coverage. N.J.S.A. 39:6A-3 and -4; see also Caviglia v. Royal Tours of Am., 178 N.J. 460, 466 (2004) (stating that “[a]ll owners of motor vehicles registered or principally garaged in New Jersey are required to maintain minimum amounts of standard, basic, or special liability insurance coverage for bodily injury, death, and property damage caused by their vehicles”); Chalef v. Ryerson, 277 N.J. Super. 22, 26 (App. Div. 1994) (stating that because an out-of-state insured vehicle was principally garaged in New Jersey, the owner must maintain PIP coverage). In order to find that plaintiff was required to maintain New Jersey PIP coverage, it must be established that his automobile was principally garaged here. To determine where an automobile is principally garaged, the pivotal factor is where the vehicle “is primarily or chiefly kept” or “kept most of the time[,]” not where the owner intends to reside. Chalef, supra, 277 N.J. Super. at 27 (citations omitted). That determination need not be made here because there was no question that plaintiff’s automobiles were principally garaged in New Jersey at the time of the accident.”

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