When you buy insurance for your automobile, you can purchase a particular kind of insurance that is called Personal Injury Protection Insurance or “PIP” in the District of Columbia and Maryland, and which is called Medical Payment Insurance or “Med-Pay” in Virginia. For simplicity’s sake, we will call these “PIP.”
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident and has questions about PIP benefits, call Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. today.
What is Personal Injury Protection Coverage?
PIP is insurance that pays out to an injured person regardless of who is at fault in an auto accident. So, if you’re involved in an accident, and it’s your fault, your PIP will still pay for your medical bills (up to the limits of your policy). In addition, PIP can also help pay for things like lost wages and funeral expenses.
There are a few reasons why you might want to consider purchasing PIP insurance:
- PIP can help pay for your medical bills after an accident, even if you don’t have health insurance.
- PIP can also help cover lost wages if you have to miss work due to your injuries.
- PIP can supplement your health insurance if you have a high deductible.
- PIP can provide coverage for things your health insurance might not, like funeral expenses.
What Does PIP Cover?
If you’re in a car accident, your PIP insurance can help cover medical expenses for you and your injured passengers, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. It even applies if you aren’t driving. For example, if you’re injured after getting hit by a car while walking, your PIP coverage may help pay for your injuries.
Most PIP policies will cover:
PIP policies typically cover a wide range of medical expenses incurred due to injuries from a car accident. Though the specifics may vary between different states, these can include:
- Ambulance transportation
- Surgical procedures
- Diagnostic testing (e.g., MRIs, x-rays)
- Extra living costs if you have a long-term physical or mental health condition
- Other services related to your medical condition caused by the accident
Some PIP policies may also help cover lost income if you cannot work because of your injuries. The amount of coverage depends on your policy limit.
PIP may also cover funeral costs and provide death benefits for surviving family members. However, the coverage limits will vary from policy to policy. Make sure to read your policy carefully to know what is and isn’t covered.
Who Does PIP Cover?
Most PIP policies cover the policyholder, family members in the household, drivers with permission to drive a covered vehicle, and passengers.
What Is Not Covered by PIP Insurance?
PIP insurance does not cover property damage. If you’re in an accident and your car is damaged, you’ll need to file a separate claim with your auto insurance company to get reimbursed for the repairs. Additionally, PIP will not cover property damage to another person’s vehicle if you are responsible for an accident.
Do I Need PIP Insurance?
PIP insurance is not required in the District of Columbia or Maryland, and Med-Pay is not mandatory in Virginia. However, having this insurance could still benefit you if you’re in an accident. Accidents can sometimes be devastating, both emotionally and financially. If you don’t have PIP insurance and are injured in an accident, you may be stuck with a hefty medical bill.
Do I Need Health Insurance If I Have PIP?
PIP is also not a substitute for health insurance. Instead, it is meant to supplement your health insurance. If you have a health plan, your medical expenses will first be covered by your PIP policy. Once you reach your policy limit, your health insurance may help cover the rest.
How Do I Get PIP?
If you’re interested in purchasing PIP insurance, you can start by talking to your auto insurance company. Many companies offer PIP as an add-on to your auto insurance policy.
How Much Coverage Do I Need?
The amount of PIP coverage you need depends on a few factors, including:
- The cost of living in your area
- Your health insurance deductible
- Your health insurance coverage
- How much you can afford to pay out-of-pocket
In general, purchasing as much PIP coverage as you can afford is a good idea. Remember, PIP insurance is there to help you cover the cost of your medical expenses and lost wages if you’re injured in a car accident.
Other Insurance Coverage Options You Should Have
In addition to PIP insurance, you should also have:
- Liability insurance will pay for damages if you’re at fault in an accident. It is required in most states and will help cover medical bills for an injured person or persons in an accident you caused.
- Collision insurance will pay to repair your car if it’s damaged in an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
- Comprehensive insurance will pay to repair or replace your car if it’s stolen or damaged by something other than a collision (e.g., fire, vandalism, flooding).
Factors that Affect PIP Coverage
What might determine your ultimate premium on PIP coverage are:
- Where you live
- Your insurance company’s policy limits
- Your driving record and claims history
- Whether it’s mandatory in your state
The Benefits of PIP Coverage
PIP coverage can be a lifesaver if you’re involved in a car accident. It can help pay for your medical expenses and lost wages, and it’s there to help you regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Additionally, depending on your policy, if your passengers were injured and didn’t have health insurance, they’re likely covered under your PIP.
PIP is also meant to provide immediate payment, so you don’t have to wait for a settlement from the other driver’s insurance company to get the money you need to pay your medical bills.
Will Filing a PIP Claim Impact My Ability to File a Personal Injury Claim?
The answer is different depending on if the collision occurred in Washington, D.C. or Maryland or Virginia. Filing a PIP claim in a Maryland or Virginia accident will not affect your ability to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. You may still be able to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and other damages. However, if the accident happened in Washington, D.C. and you are a resident of Washington, D.C. with a Washington, D.C. auto insurance policy, you will likely have to make an election between pursuing a PIP claim, or a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. This is a very complicated area of the law, and before doing anything you should consult with an experienced Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer. The District of Columbia statute that addresses this says that you must make this election within 60 days of the car accident, so you should call an experienced Washington, D.C. car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Car Accident Lawyers Serving DC, Maryland, and Virginia
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident and have questions about PIP benefits or your right to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party, our legal team at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. is available to help. During a free consultation, we can review the facts of your case, discuss your rights and options, and explain what we can do to help you pursue needed compensation.
Request your free case review by calling (202) 788-0418 or completing an online case evaluation form.