Karper v. Calderon, __ A.3d __, 2014 WL 8883198 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. May 28, 2015) (per curium)
This action arose out of an automobile accident where plaintiffs suffered damages in excess of the tortfeasor’s liability insurance coverage. When calculating Plaintiffs’ entitlement to UIM benefits, the Law Division judge applied a single individual credit rather than an aggregate credit. Pinelands Insurance Company RPG (hereinafter “Pinelands”) and Spectrum Transportation Agency (hereinafter “Spectrum”) were granted a single individual credit of $15,000 against their $35,000 UIM per accident policy limit. Pinelands and Spectrum appealed asserting that they should have received a $30,000 aggregate credit.
The Court held that the appropriate way to calculate a credit for the amount payable through a split policy UIM policy is determined by applying individually each injured party’s recovery against the available UIM coverage. In other words, the amount of UIM coverage available is reduced by an individual credit rather than an aggregate amount of proceeds paid to all claimants by the tortfeasor’s liability insurance carrier. Notwithstanding the same, the total amount of UIM coverage available is capped as set forth in the applicable policy. Here, the UIM policy was silent as to whether the credit is calculated by consideration of insurance proceeds paid to each claimant individually or in aggregate to all claimants. However, the rule providing UIM coverage to an injured person less the amount he has recovered (rather than the aggregate amount all claimants recover) was statutory. The Court held that the Law Division judge appropriately calculated the credit available to Pinelands and Spectrum and affirmed the prior judge’s decision.