NJ Court Directs PIP Claim to Arbitration
January 3, 2013
<p align="justify">In the recent unreported decision of <a href="http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/a4017-11.pdf"><i>Delpome v. Travelers Insurance Company</i></a>, the court upheld an order granting First Trenton Indemnity Company’s motion to compel arbitration of the plaintiff’s claim for PIP benefits. Delpome sustained a cervical spine injury in a 2007 motor vehicle accident. At the time, Delpome was insured under a policy issued by First Trenton. First Trenton authorized treatment in the form of injections, but denied authorization for surgery. Accordingly, Delpome filed a complaint for PIP benefits. First Trenton eventually moved to compel arbitration pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:6A-5.1 and N.J.A.C. 11:3-5.2. The court granted its motion and Delpome appealed.</p>
The Appellate Court upheld the trial court’s decision, holding that the right to arbitration generally arises from the terms of the insurance contract between the parties. In this case, Delpome's policy unambiguously stated that all disputes may be submitted through the Personal Injury Protection Dispute Resolution Process. Additionally, notwithstanding the language of the policy, First Trenton had a statutory right to arbitration of PIP disputes under NJ law.
Thanks to Heather Aquino for her contribution to this post.