In any NJ motor vehicle insurance policy, there are types of mandatory coverage drivers must purchase, and there are types of optional coverage drivers may purchase.
Mandatory coverage includes medical expense benefits (PIP) coverage, which pays for reasonable medical expenses incurred by the injured driver as a result of a car accident, and liability coverage, which reimburses another driver for his injuries/damages from a car accident caused by the insured driver. See Injured in a NJ Car Accident? – The Basics of Medical Benefit (PIP) Claims
Optional coverage includes underinsured/uninsured (UIM/UM) motorist coverage, which protects the insured driver if the driver at fault does not have enough liability coverage or any insurance. NJ drivers can also buy other optional PIP benefits, in addition to medical benefits:
- lost wages, aka income continuation,
- essential services,
- survivor benefits, and
- funeral expenses.
This article will address essential services.
N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4(c) provides:
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.
N.J.S.A 39:6A-2(b) defines essential services as:
those services performed not for income which are ordinarily performed by an individual for the care and maintenance of such individual’s family or household.
Example of Essential Services
For example, a driver fractures his wrist after a car accident in Marlton. The driver owns a home and performs all of the work outside the house, such as mowing the lawn. Because of his wrist fracture, he cannot mow his lawn for 3 months. He needs to hire a lawn service company to cut his lawn. He can recover the money he pays the lawn service company from this essential services benefits coverage, up to $4,380.
Another example is a homemaker who is disabled for a period of time after her motor vehicle accident with a bus. She cannot cook, clean or take care of her young children. As a result, she hires household help and a babysitter during the time she is disabled. Like the driver above, she can recover the money she pays for the help by making a claim for essential services benefits, up to the limit of $4,380.
South Jersey Accident: Injured in Cherry Hill or Marlton?
Many drivers may not know that they have optional PIP coverage in their car insurance policies. If you were in an accident and have questions, call Philip T. Cipreitti, a car accident lawyer who has helped numerous victims for over 35 years. Call to schedule a FREE consultation. 800-281-8695