State Farm reneges on statements attributing injuries to accident; avoids paying PIP benefits
Linda Hanover-Brewster sued State Farm for PIP benefits (essentially limited wages, medical expenses and very limited domestic service expenses) after sustaining injuries in a motor vehicle collision. The adjuster and State Farm's doctor appeared to concede certain injuries in correspondence with the insured, however, at trial, the adjuster and physician denied that Hanover-Brewster's injuries were accident related. State Farm obtained a verdict that it owed no PIP benefits to the insured because her complaints were not caused by the accident and the plaintiff appealed.
Hanover-Brewster argued that the verdict was against the great weight of the evidence because State Farm had already conceded causation before trial. The Court held that the representations made to Hanover-Brewster prior to trial were not "judicial admissions" and therefore not binding on State Farm. The insurer was free to argue points that it had previously conceded, and the jury was within its rights to disregard the earlier concessions.