New Jersey: E-Scooter Rider Hit by Car Not Eligible for No-Fault PIP Benefits

June 3, 2024

A man injured when he was hit by a car while he was operating a low speed Segway electric scooter is not entitled to personal injury protection (PIP) benefits under New Jersey’s no-fault auto insurance law, the state’s Supreme Court ruled.

David Goyco had argued that he was entitled to PIP benefits from his auto insurer Progressive Insurance because, he claimed, his low speed electric scooter (LSES) was akin to a bicycle, bicyclists have been deemed pedestrians, and pedestrians are entitled to benefits under the no-fault act.

But the New Jersey Supreme Court has rejected Goyco’s arguments, as did lower courts. Instead, the high court found that the plain language of the no-fault law makes Goyco ineligible for no-fault PIP benefits.

“Expanding the definition of ‘pedestrian’ to include LSES operators would be a policy decision with insurance cost implications that is properly for the Legislature, not the Court,” the unanimous opinion states.

In November 2021, Goyco was operating a Segway scooter that has a maximum speed of 15 mph when he was struck by an automobile. As a result of the accident, he sustained injuries and incurred medical expenses for his treatments. He filed for PIP benefits.

Progressive denied his claim, informing him he was ineligible for PIP benefits because no-fault benefits are only available if the accident involves a qualifying automobile and the Segway does not meet the definition of a qualifying automobile under the law.

Progressive said the Segway he was riding at the time of the accident disqualified him from meeting the definition of a pedestrian. Goyco protested that denial but neither the trial court nor the state appeals court adopted his reasoning. The state Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court’s conclusion.