GEICO Challenges Deemer Statute in New Jersey
Geico has challenged a New Jersey State Statute requiring auto policies issued out of state to provide a minimum amount of bodily injury liability coverage when the insured drivers are involved in accidents in New Jersey. The case is Guerline v. Brian v. Richards, case number 081799, in the New Jersey Supreme Court.
As of December 7, 2018, the New Jersey Supreme Court justices had granted Geico’s petition for certification of a state Appellate Division panel’s August ruling directing the insurer to provide a minimum of $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for claims against its Florida-based policyholder who was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Newark, NJ in 2013.
Even though the Florida-based policyholder’s auto policy did not include any bodily injury coverage, the appellate panel found that, under a decades old New Jersey law dubbed the “Deemer statute,” Geico was still required to supply the minimum amounts of such coverage included in a standard auto policy issued in the Garden State ($15,000 per person or $30,000 for more than one person per accident).
The Supreme Court justices will decide the following question: Does the Deemer statute apply to an automobile insurance policy written in Florida for a Florida resident who had an accident in New Jersey, where the Florida policy did not include any bodily injury liability coverage?
The Supreme Court of New Jersey’s decision will have a major impact on motor vehicle litigation in New Jersey. Thanks to Jon Avolio for his contribution to this post. Please email Brian Gibbons with any questions.