Legal Memorandum: Recovery against PIP Coverage

Issue: Under North Carolina law, if an accident occurred out of state, can a wife recover against the PIP coverage provided by her husband’s liability insurance?

Area of Law: Insurance Law
Keywords: PIP coverage; Out-of-state accident
Jurisdiction: Federal, Florida, North Carolina
Cited Cases: 483 So. 2d 778; 534 A.2d 51; 569 So. 2d 849; 411 A.2d 1137; 438 So. 2d 503
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 00/01/2001

           See Ochoa v. Lopez, 358 So. 2d 1173, 1174 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App.—3d Dist. 1978) (claimants were injured while driving from North Carolina to Florida; whether PIP coverage was available depended on whether automobile purchased, registered and licensed in North Carolina also was required to be registered in Florida so that it would be subject to no-fault law).

In Quintana v. Brambila, 470 A.2d 22, (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1983) this issue was raised in a New Jersey court which was required to choose between application of New Jersey PIP requirements and Florida PIP requirements.  The insured was a Florida resident, his automobile was registered there, and the policy in question was issued there.  The accident occurred in New Jersey.  Id. at 23.  The court, applying a “significant relationship” test, noted that both states required PIP but that the requirements differed, and held that Florida no-fault law would apply.  The net effect was to render the plaintiff uninsured because coverage under the Florida statute for accidents outside Florida was limited to the named insured and his relatives, and the plaintiff was neither.  Id.

The clause in the standard Florida PIP endorsement reads:

The insurance under this Section applies only to accidents which occur during the policy period

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