For those of us that handle injury cases, the TRAVCO decision was a long time coming. Basically, New Hampshire has a no fault coverage on any automobile insurance policy issued in the state. This no fault coverage is called “Medical Payments” coverage, and is regulated by RSA 264:16. As Plaintiff’s attorneys, we long took the position that using the medical payments coverage to pay the health insurance lien was not a “double recovery” within the statute and should be allowed. Insurers refused to honor this, and steadfastly refused to pay any health insurance lien. The Medical Payment Statute forbid a person from recovering from both health insurance and auto insurance for a medical bill related to the accident. However, if the person injured pursue a third party claim against the person that hit them, then that can trigger a “subrogation” right (i.e. a right of reimbursement) by the health insurer for proceeds from the third party injury case. Thus, the argument that there is no double recovery, and that medical payment coverage can be used to pay a health insurer’s lien if any medical payment benefits remained.
The TRAVCO case found that in such situations, the Plaintiff has not had a “double recovery” and mandated that the auto insurer pay off the health insurance lien up to the applicable medical payments limits. This is important, as in the past, this was not being allowed by insurers. Now, the New Hampshire Supreme Court has ruled the Plaintiffs were correct, and finally the statute can be used to help protect those it was intended to protect when first drafted.
A special thanks to the New Hampshire Association for Justice (an organization Parnell, Michels & McKay has been a proud member of for many years) for their tireless work in helping get the New Hampshire Supreme Court to find in the Plaintiff’s favor.
If you find yourself injured due to no fault of your own, please contact us and let us put this new law to work on your behalf.