2009 New Jersey Code
TITLE 39 - MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC REGULATION
39:6A
39:6A-4 - Personal injury protection coverage, regardless of fault

39:6A-4  Personal injury protection coverage, regardless of fault.

4.Personal injury protection coverage, regardless of fault.

Except as provided by section 45 of P.L.2003, c.89 (C.39:6A-3.3) and section 4 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-3.1), every standard automobile liability insurance policy issued or renewed on or after the effective date of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-1.1 et al.) shall contain personal injury protection benefits for the payment of benefits without regard to negligence, liability or fault of any kind, to the named insured and members of his family residing in his household who sustain bodily injury as a result of an accident while occupying, entering into, alighting from or using an automobile, or as a pedestrian, caused by an automobile or by an object propelled by or from an automobile, and to other persons sustaining bodily injury while occupying, entering into, alighting from or using the automobile of the named insured, with permission of the named insured.

"Personal injury protection coverage" means and includes:

a.Payment of medical expense benefits in accordance with a benefit plan provided in the policy and approved by the commissioner, for reasonable, necessary, and appropriate treatment and provision of services to persons sustaining bodily injury, in an amount not to exceed $250,000 per person per accident.  In the event benefits paid by an insurer pursuant to this subsection are in excess of $75,000 on account of bodily injury to any one person in any one accident, that excess shall be paid by the insurer and shall be reimbursable to the insurer from the Unsatisfied Claim and Judgment Fund pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1977, c.310 (C.39:6-73.1).  The policy form, which shall be subject to the approval of the commissioner, shall set forth the benefits provided under the policy, including eligible medical treatments, diagnostic tests and services as well as such other benefits as the policy may provide.  The commissioner shall set forth by regulation a statement of the basic benefits which shall be included in the policy.  Medical treatments, diagnostic tests, and services provided by the policy shall be rendered in accordance with commonly accepted protocols and professional standards and practices which are commonly accepted as being beneficial for the treatment of the covered injury. Protocols and professional standards and practices and lists of valid diagnostic tests which are deemed to be commonly accepted pursuant to this section shall be those recognized by national standard setting organizations, national or state professional organizations of the same discipline as the treating provider, or those designated or approved by the commissioner in consultation with the professional licensing boards in the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.  The commissioner, in consultation with the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services and the applicable licensing boards, may reject the use of protocols, standards and practices or lists of diagnostic tests set by any organization deemed not to have standing or general recognition by the provider community or the applicable licensing boards. Protocols shall be deemed to establish guidelines as to standard appropriate treatment and diagnostic tests for injuries sustained in automobile accidents, but the establishment of standard treatment protocols or protocols for the administration of diagnostic tests shall not be interpreted in such a manner as to preclude variance from the standard when warranted by reason of medical necessity.  The policy form may provide for the precertification of certain procedures, treatments, diagnostic tests, or other services or for the purchase of durable medical goods, as approved by the commissioner, provided that the requirement for precertification shall not be unreasonable, and no precertification requirement shall apply within ten days of the insured event.  The policy may provide that certain benefits provided by the policy which are in excess of the basic benefits required by the commissioner to be included in the policy may be subject to reasonable copayments in addition to the copayments provided for pursuant to subsection e. of this section, provided that the copayments shall not be unreasonable and shall be established in such a manner as not to serve to encourage underutilization of benefits subject to the copayments, nor encourage overutilization of benefits.  The policy form shall clearly set forth any limitations on benefits or exclusions, which may include, but need not be limited to, benefits which are otherwise compensable under workers' compensation, or benefits for treatments deemed to be experimental or investigational, or benefits deducted pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-6).  The commissioner may enlist the services of a benefit consultant in establishing the basic benefits level provided in this subsection, which shall be set forth by regulation no later than 120 days following the enactment date of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-1.1 et al.).  The commissioner shall not advertise for bids for the consultant as provided in sections 3 and 4 of P.L.1954, c.48 (C.52:34-8 and 52:34-9).

Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L.2003, c.18, physical therapy treatment shall not be reimbursable as medical expense benefits pursuant to this subsection unless rendered by a licensed physical therapist pursuant to a referral from a licensed physician, dentist, podiatrist or chiropractor within the scope of their respective practices. 

Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L.2009, c.56 (C.45:2C-19 et al.), acupuncture treatment shall not be reimbursable as medical expense benefits pursuant to this subsection unless rendered by a licensed acupuncturist pursuant to a referral from a licensed physician within the scope of the physician's practice.

b.Income continuation benefits.  The payment of the loss of income of an income producer as a result of bodily injury disability, subject to a maximum weekly payment of $100.  Such sum shall be payable during the life of the injured person and shall be subject to an amount or limit of $5,200, on account of injury to any one person in any one accident, except that in no case shall income continuation benefits exceed the net income normally earned during the period in which the benefits are payable.

c.Essential services benefits.  Payment of essential services benefits to an injured person shall be made in reimbursement of necessary and reasonable expenses incurred for such substitute essential services ordinarily performed by the injured person for himself, his family and members of the family residing in the household, subject to an amount or limit of $12 per day.  Such benefits shall be payable during the life of the injured person and shall be subject to an amount or limit of $4,380, on account of injury to any one person in any one accident.

d.Death benefits.  In the event of the death of an income producer as a result of injuries sustained in an accident entitling such person to benefits under this section, the maximum amount of benefits which could have been paid to the income producer, but for his death, under subsection b. of this section shall be paid to the surviving spouse, or in the event there is no surviving spouse, then to the surviving children, and in the event there are no surviving spouse or surviving children, then to the estate of the income producer.

In the event of the death of one performing essential services as a result of injuries sustained in an accident entitling such person to benefits under subsection c. of this section, the maximum amount of benefits which could have been paid to such person, under subsection c., shall be paid to the person incurring the expense of providing such essential services.

e.Funeral expenses benefits.  All reasonable funeral, burial and cremation expenses, subject to a maximum benefit of $1,000, on account of the death of any one person in any one accident shall be payable to the decedent's estate.

Benefits payable under this section shall:

(1)Be subject to any option elected by the policyholder pursuant to section 13 of P.L.1983, c.362 (C.39:6A-4.3);

(2)Not be assignable, except to a provider of service benefits under this section in accordance with policy terms approved by the commissioner, nor subject to levy, execution, attachment or other process for satisfaction of debts.

Medical expense benefit payments shall be subject to any deductible and any copayment which may be established as provided in the policy.  Upon the request of the commissioner or any party to a claim for benefits or payment for services rendered, a provider shall present adequate proof that any deductible or copayment related to that claim has not been waived or discharged by the provider.

No insurer or health provider providing benefits to an insured shall have a right of subrogation for the amount of benefits paid pursuant to any deductible or copayment under this section.

L.1972, c.70, s.4; amended 1972, c.203, s.3; 1977, c.310, s.1; 1981, c.562, s.1; 1983, c.362, s.7; 1984, c.40, s.3; 1988, c.119, s.3; 1990, c.8, s.4; 1997, c.151, s.31; 1998, c.21, s.6; 1998, c.22, s.2; 2003, c.18, s.27; 2003, c.89, s.37; 2009, c.56, s.18.
 

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