Allstate's attempt to avoid paying PIP benefits is side-tracked
Penny Johnson sued Allstate after it rejected her claim for attendant care and replacement domestic services. Johnson lived with her mother-in-law and was partially disabled before she suffered a back injury in a motor vehicle collision. She presented evidence from her doctor that she required 2 to 3 hours of attendant care help and domestic services, daily, that she had not required before the collision, as a result of her injury. She and her mother-in-law also confirmed the services provided, although they did not agree with regard to the material components of what the mother-in-law should be paid.When Johnson sued to collect the PIP benefits, the trial judge summarily dismissed her claim at Allstate's request, finding that the supportive testimony was too vague to warrant payment for services. The Court of Appeals sent the case back to the lower court for a decision by the jury. It noted that while there was a question of fact and credibility to be weighed by the jury, when evaluated under the proper standard, Johnson's evidence was adequate to support a possible recovery. The jury will have to decide whether Johnson "incurred" the service expenses "with a reasonable expectation of payment." The case relied upon by Allstate to deny payment was distinguished because, in that case, the persons providing services had denied any expectation of compensation.