There has been some big changes in the law for those who ride electric scooters in New Jersey. The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that PIP insurance coverage, which covers losses for those injured in an accident, does no longer cover those hurt while riding low-speed electric scooters, or e-scooters.

If you've been in an accident and need help, the NJ pedestrian accident lawyers at Brandon J. Broderick can help you. Call today for a free consultation and learn more about your legal options.

NJ Supreme Court Ruling

This new ruling comes from a 2001 case where an e-scooter driver was denied coverage under his Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage from Progressive Insurance. According to court documents, Progressive rejected the rider's claim, arguing that the e-scooter did not qualify as a "pedestrian" or "automobile," which are accident types where PIP applies. The rider filed a lawsuit, but was unsuccessful both in the trial and appeals of the case. The judges upheld Progressive's argument that PIP does not cover injuries sustained while operating an e-scooter.

The rider subsequently took the issue to the New Jersey Supreme Court, arguing that since electric scooters are basically bicycles, anyone hurt while using one should be entitled to PIP payments. The rider and his lawyers cited the No Fault Act of New Jersey, as well as a 2019 law passed by Governor Phil Murphy mandating that electric scooters be subject to the same regulations as bicycles.

The NJ Supreme Court did not agree. In its ruling, it decided that low-speed, motor-powered electric scooters do not fit the legal definition of a bicyclist as a pedestrian because it requires "muscular power" to operate. The Court further stated that while New Jersey may extend PIP coverage to e-scooter users, as it has done for motorcycle riders, the Legislature, not the Court, should handle this issue.

How Does This Ruling Impact E-Scooters

The decision by the NJ Supreme Court is a serious setback for e-scooter riders in New Jersey. E-scooters are reasonably priced, low-speed, electric vehicles that many use for daily transportation.

The decision has significant ramifications for users of e-scooters since it reduces their possibilities for insurance coverage in the event of an accident. Also, because of the decision, those injured while riding an e-scooter would have little choice but to file lawsuits to recover their medical expenses.

There may be changes in the future though. The Supreme Court did say that, if legislators and lobbyists could reach a consensus, the state of New Jersey may expand PIP coverage to e-scooter users, just as it had done with motorcycle riders. However, this may take time, and those injured in the interim would be left paying for their own medical costs in the event of an accident and subsequent injury.

Been in an E-Scooter Accident and Need Legal Help?

We at Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law are empathetic to the victims of e-scooter accidents, especially since they have a higher chance of sustaining severe injuries in car accidents. Even though the recent NJ Supreme Court ruling leaves a significant gap in e-scooter users' access to no-fault insurance benefits following accidents, users may still be able to file a personal injury claim against a negligent party to recover damages.

We are dedicated to assisting e-scooter users in defending their legal rights following avoidable accident injuries. Been in an accident and need help? Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

Posted by: Brandon J. Bro…
Date: Mon, 04/29/2024 - 15:42

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