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Holiday Season & Out of State Drivers: What You Need to Know

winter driving

With the holiday season approaching, there is so much to look forward to. From good food to good company, many of us spend this time of year visiting friends and family to share in the holiday spirit. However, this time of year also warrants a bit of caution on all our parts. Taking the winter weather and increased interstate travel into consideration, motor vehicle accidents (“MVAs”) are almost inevitable. Naturally, one commonly shared concern is what happens when an out-of-state resident is involved in an MVA in New Jersey.

In this situation, the Deemer statute of N.J.S.A. 17:28-1.4, will come into play. When an out-of-state resident is part of an MVA within the state of New Jersey, they will be subject to this statute. Simply put, the Deemer statute ensures that the out-of-state driver is “deemed” to have the requisite amount of insurance coverage so that, as the in-state driver, you can be adequately compensated for any physical injuries. Specifically, car insurance companies that are authorized to conduct business in New Jersey are required to provide personal injury protection (“PIP”) coverage or medical benefits up to $250,000.00, New Jersey’s statutory limit specified in New Jersey Statutes Annotated Section 39:6A-4.

It is also worth noting that even if an out-of-state driver’s insurance carrier is not itself authorized to conduct business in New Jersey, the Deemer statute will still apply if that carrier is legally affiliated with one that is authorized. Ultimately, this may be incredibly helpful to the out-of-state driver if they have a deficient policy, for example failing to cover medical expenses. In this case, regardless of whether or not it is covered in the insurance policy, the carrier issuing the out of state policy is required to dispense PIP coverage. A Pennsylvania driver for example, who is involved in an MVA in New Jersey through no fault of their own, is deemed to have a New Jersey policy with a limit of $250,000.00 of medical benefits.

As with most legal recourses, there are a variety of pre-requisites and limitations. We understand that the process following an MVA can be frustrating and confusing when confronted with a plethora of legal nuances. It is for these reasons that it is crucial to have an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer on your side, and all of us here at Bendit Weinstock, P.A. are happy to help.

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