Jun 142014

Question: My husband was side swiped by a car while riding a motorcycle in Marlton, NJ. Can we use our auto insurance policy to pay for his medical expenses? He has several rib fractures and a broken leg.

Answer: Unfortunately, you will not be able to use your car insurance policy to pay for your husband’s medical expenses incurred as a result of the motorcycle-car accident.

Though auto insurance policies in NJ provide medical benefits, also called PIP benefits, to insured injured drivers regardless of who caused the accident, PIP benefits do not apply to insured drivers who were hurt while riding their own motorcycles.

NJ law provides that in order for an insured driver to quality for PIP benefits, the insured driver must be injured in an accident that occurred “while occupying, entering into, alighting from or using an automobile.” A motorcycle is not an automobile as defined by NJ law.

Therefore, your husband would need to submit his private health insurance information to his medical providers.

Non-PIP Coverage May Apply in a NJ Motorcycle Accident

There is one situation where a type of coverage on your husband’s auto insurance may pay for his medical expenses. In every auto insurance policy in NJ, there is something called the extended medical expense coverage or non-PIP coverage.

Related: What is Extended Medical Expense Coverage (Non-PIP)?

Non-PIP coverage provides medical expense or accidental death benefits if an insured driver suffers injuries or death in an accident arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of either an insured automobile or a highway vehicle which is neither owned by the insured nor available to him or any family member for regular use. The required minimum of the coverage is $1,000, and that amount can be increased up to $10,000.

However, non-PIP coverage is only available if your husband was riding a friend’s motorcycle that is not available to him for regular use. Once non-PIP coverage is exhausted, your husband would submit his private health insurance information to his medical providers.

When your husband’s private health insurance pays for the medical expenses related to his motorcycle accident injuries, he may have a deductible and co-pays for doctors’ appointments, diagnostic tests (e.g., x-rays, MRIs, etc.) and prescriptions.

If you and your husband decide to pursue a NJ car accident lawsuit, these co-pays would be part of your husband’s damages claim against the driver who caused the accident. Other damages include:

  • lost wages,
  • other out of pocket expenses, and
  • pain and suffering

You, as his wife, may also have a claim; this is called a loss of consortium claim. In a nutshell, you also suffered as a result of your husband’s injuries from the motorcycle accident because you lost your husband’s support, companionship, etc. See NJ Car Accident Law: Can an Injured Car, Bus or Truck Victim’s Spouse Recover Damages?

Feel free to give me a call, and I would be more than happy to discuss your husband’s accident. We can also schedule a FREE consultation. 800-281-8695