Aetna Ins. Co. v. Gilchrist Bros., Inc., 85 N.J. 550, 428 A.2d 1254 (1981)

Practice Areas: Subrogation

Automobile liability insurer instituted suit as subrogee of deceased insured against allegedly offending driver and owner of tractor and trailer involved in collision with insured’s automobile, seeking reimbursement of sums paid under personal injury protection endorsement. The Superior Court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment, and plaintiff appealed. The Superior Court, Appellate Division, affirmed, and appeal was again taken. The Supreme Court, Schreiber, J., held that: (1) single controversy doctrine was inapplicable to preclude plaintiff’s suit on ground that it should have been maintained with prior action brought by insured, and later insured’s estate, for injuries sustained in accident where preclusion would have to be predicated on failure to have joined plaintiff as party to insured’s litigation; (2) state Automobile Reparation Reform Act, which mandates that every automobile liability insurance policy must provide personal injury protection coverage, eliminated ability of insured to recover damages from tort-feasor for amounts collectible or paid under personal injury protection; and (3) subrogation provision in automobile policy was inoperative since right of injured person to maintain action for personal injury protection payments had been extinguished by evidential exclusion rule.

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