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Domicile vs. Residency: A Primer

Motor Vehicle Litigation / July 16, 2020

This case highlights the distinction between domicile and residency, and the need to be clear on these concepts in the trial court. Here, the trial court found PIP coverage precluded because Plaintiff was “residing” with his girlfriend. But, the panel explained, the relevant question for PIP benefits was where Plaintiff was domiciled. A person can have only one domicile, defined as the place where he intends to permanently reside. A person may have more than one residence, defined as “any place of abode or dwelling place” no matter how temporary. Hence, Plaintiff’s “residence” with his girlfriend was determinative neither of entitlement to PIP benefits, which turned on domicile, nor of uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits, because Plaintiff could reside with his girlfriend while at the same time residing with his mother.

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