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Does New Jersey’s PIP Law Change Allow Injury Victims to Claim Future Medical Costs? 

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Does New Jersey’s PIP Law Change Allow Injury Victims to Claim Future Medical Costs? 

The New Jersey Supreme Court is set to decide if a legislative amendment to the state’s personal injury protection (PIP) law enables accident victims to receive benefits for future medical expenses. 

This review comes after a trial judge allegedly used an older version of the PIP statute, ignoring the recent changes. 

Case in Focus: Brehme v. Irwin 

Linda Brehme was injured in a 2016 car accident in Paramus when Thomas Irwin’s vehicle hit her from behind. She was awarded $225,000 for pain and suffering and $50,000 for lost wages, but her future medical expenses, estimated at $236,000, were denied by the judge. 

Legal Dispute 

Gerald Clark, Brehme’s attorney, argues that the judge failed to apply the revised PIP law that allows for compensation of future medical expenses. The 2019 Supreme Court ruling in Haines v. Taft stated that medical bills exceeding PIP coverage could not be claimed at trial, inviting the Legislature to clarify the law. 

Legislative Amendment 

Following Haines, the Legislature amended the PIP statute (N.J.S.A. 39:6A-12) to allow the collection of medical bills beyond PIP benefits at trial. However, the trial judge in Brehme’s case did not apply this amendment. 

Appeal and Controversy 

Clark has appealed the decision, arguing that accepting the initial judgment does not waive the right to appeal for future medical expenses. The Appellate Division panel ruled against the appeal, citing procedural issues rather than addressing the statute’s application. 

Moving Forward 

Clark is optimistic about presenting the case before the New Jersey Supreme Court, seeking justice for Brehme and others in similar situations. 

Stay tuned as the court reviews this significant issue affecting personal injury claims in New Jersey. 

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