Personal injury protection, or “PIP”, is a type of extended automobile insurance coverage. It generally covers certain expenses and losses connected with car accident personal injury claims. It is sometimes called “no-fault” insurance, as personal injury protection provides coverage regardless of whether the policy holder is at fault in the car accident.
PIP is actually mandatory in several states. These states are: AK, DE, FL, HI, KS, KY, MD, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, ND, OR, PA, TX, UT, and WA. PIP may be waived in Maryland, Texas, and Washington. Personal injury protection may also refer to certain types of personal injury insurance packages, including packages that cover emotional distress.
What Does PIP Cover?
Personal injury protection coverage generally covers medical expenses incurred because of a car accident. These usually include basic costs such as hospital bills, pharmacy expenses, and costs of surgery. The definition of “medical expenses” for PIP purposes may vary by state. For instance, acupuncture may be covered by PIP in Utah, but in other states like California, it is not included.
PIP may also cover other expenses such as lost wages caused by the accident. For instance, if a car accident causes an employee to miss work because they were in the hospital, PIP may allow the injured person to recover lost wages.
What Are Some Legal Issues to Consider Regarding PIP?
PIP is generally favorable for the insured because the insurance carrier will pay for losses without regard to liability (hence, the “no-fault” categorization). The insurance carrier is generally reimbursed by the other party’s insurance carrier, thus helping the parties to avoid direct confrontation.
However, as mentioned, personal injury protection laws vary widely by state. What is considered a “valid expense” in one state might not be covered by PIP in another state. Other factors can also influence the scope of coverage. For instance, in some states, PIP might be available even if there is an existing worker’s compensation claim related to the accident. Other states might not allow coverage in such situations. Thus, you may need to check your state laws or consult with a lawyer if you are unsure about the PIP laws in your area.
If you have incurred expenses in a car accident or other personal injury situation, it can be difficult to tell what is covered and what is not covered by insurance. Expenses that are not covered by insurance might require additional legal action to fully resolve. For instance, punitive damages for intentional injuries or other similar damages may require a formal lawsuit.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Personal Injury Protection Laws?
PIP laws vary widely from state to state. Whether or not personal injury protection is available can affect the outcome of a legal claim related to an injury. You may wish to hire a personal injury lawyer in your area if you need assistance or legal advice when it comes to personal injury protection statutes. Your attorney can research the laws near you to determine what your rights and options are. If you need to file a lawsuit, your attorney can help you and represent you in court during the process.