ClickCease What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?

What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance?

What Is PIP Coverage?

You may have heard the term “personal injury protection” and wondered what that means and how it applies to you. In short, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is a type of auto insurance coverage. The purpose of PIP is to financially protect both the driver and any passengers in the event of an accident.

In true no-fault states, drivers must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This coverage pays for the medical costs sustained by the driver and passengers regardless of fault. States with a no-fault system require PIP coverage in addition to collision insurance. If you have been injured in a car accident in Washington, DC, call our DC car accident lawyers to learn what your legal options are.

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Personal Injury Protection Coverage

Not all states require PIP, but those are sometimes called “no-fault insurance” states. This is because PIP is effective regardless of who is at fault in an accident. In “at-fault” insurance states, the victim files a claim with the at-fault driver, and the driver’s insurance pays for related costs. But with personal injury protection, things work a little differently.

Each driver purchases their own PIP plan in states requiring personal injury. Some states have minimum coverage needed, but a driver can also opt for more extensive coverage. Then, should an accident occur, the driver and passengers can file a claim with their insurance company and use their PIP plan to cover any expenses related to the accident instead of filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer.

Key Features of Personal Injury Protection

Some of the key features of PIP insurance include:

  • Medical Expenses: PIP typically covers expenses related to injuries sustained in a car accident, including hospital bills, doctor’s visits, surgery, rehabilitation, and other necessary medical treatments.
  • Lost Wages: Sometimes, an accident means you cannot return to work for a long time. In addition to medical expenses, PIP may cover a portion of your lost wages if you cannot work due to the injuries sustained in the accident.
  • Funeral Expenses: The unfortunate reality is that some automobile accidents do result in death. In the devastating case of someone losing their life in a car accident, some PIP policies may also cover funeral expenses to relieve the family of that additional burden.
  • Rehabilitation Costs: Some injuries are long-lasting and require ongoing treatment and rehabilitation. PIP may cover the cost of necessary rehabilitation services, such as physical or occupational therapy, to help you recover.
  • Essential Services: Some PIP policies may reimburse you for expenses related to hiring someone to perform essential services that you can no longer perform due to your injuries, such as house cleaning or childcare.
  • No-Fault System: PIP operates on a “no-fault” system, meaning that you can typically file a claim with your insurance company regardless of who caused the accident. This can expedite the claims process and provide coverage more quickly.

The availability and specific details of PIP coverage can vary by state, as not all states require or offer PIP insurance. Some states have “choice” or “tort” systems in which drivers can choose between PIP and traditional liability insurance.

It’s important to review your auto insurance policy and understand the PIP coverage limits and options available to you, as well as the requirements in your state, to ensure you have the appropriate level of protection in case of an accident.

How Does PIP Work in DC?

PIP is optional in Washington, DC. Car insurance companies in these areas generally have higher car insurance rates because of this additional personal injury protection coverage.

Personal injury protection rules and regulations vary around the nation. Some of the specifics regarding how PIP works in DC include:

  • Optional PIP: The District of Columbia does not require motor vehicle owners to carry PIP insurance as part of their auto insurance policies. However, This means that if you own a car in DC, you are generally recommended to have PIP coverage.
  • Minimum Coverage Limits: The minimum PIP coverage limits required in DC can change, so it’s essential to check with the relevant authorities or your insurance provider for the current requirements. As of 2023, DC’s minimum PIP coverage limits were $25,000 per person per accident for medical expenses and $12,500 per accident for work loss benefits.
  • No-Fault in DC: DC operates on a “no-fault” insurance system, meaning that you can typically file a PIP claim with your insurance company regardless of who is at fault for the accident. This system ensures that individuals receive prompt medical and wage loss benefits without having to establish fault through a lengthy legal process.
  • Coordination of Benefits: PIP insurance may coordinate with your other coverage, such as health insurance in DC. If you have health insurance, your PIP coverage may pay for medical expenses not covered by your health insurance, such as deductibles and copayments.

What if the damages are greater than your PIP coverage?

While PIP offers a great deal of protection, there are events in which the damage caused in an accident may exceed the coverage of a driver’s PIP. For instance, if you’re in an accident that results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, but your PIP is less than that, are you stuck paying the rest of your expenses out of pocket?

The answer depends on the details of your claim. PIP generally protects drivers who cause accidents and can be somewhat unfair to victims. However, you do potentially have the option to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, provided at least one of the following is applicable:

  • Your injuries include permanent scarring or disfigurement.
  • Your injuries resulted in permanent impairment that’s substantial and medically provable and that affects your ability to conduct your regular work or daily activities.
  • Your injuries prevented you from performing your usual daily activities for more than 180 consecutive days.
  • The medical expenses or lost wages exceed your PIP insurance policy limits.
  • If you have any questions about whether you can file a lawsuit for your accident, please contact our DC car accident lawyers for more information.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

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