PIP insurance—also called “no fault” insurance—confuses many people in the DMV. It is not mandatory in our area as it is in some other states like Florida, but the laws of DC, Maryland, and Virginia require car insurance companies to offer it as an option.
Before you decide whether you should buy this coverage or when to file a claim under PIP insurance, it is helpful to understand some key facts about how PIP insurance operates.
Understanding PIP Coverage
PIP insurance stands for personal injury protection. However, it may be more helpful to understand this type of insurance by the name used in Virginia—Medical Expense coverage. PIP insurance pays for medical expenses of the driver and passengers in the vehicle injured in an accident, regardless of fault. A PIP policy may also pay small amounts to make up for wages lost due to injuries.
In “no-fault” states like Florida, all drivers are required to have PIP coverage, and they are not allowed to sue the person responsible for causing the accident unless their injuries are severe. In the DMV, however, those injured in an accident can seek compensation from the person responsible instead of paying for medical bills with their own insurance policies.
PIP Insurance Can Be a Helpful Safety Net
If you are found to be at fault for an accident, you may be limited in what you can receive through your regular insurance policies, so having PIP coverage as a backup can be helpful. Insurance companies do not always assess fault in a logical manner, and you could be held responsible for a complex accident with multiple causes.
However, for several reasons, filing a PIP insurance claim should not be the first step you take after an accident. A PIP claim may not provide enough to cover your expenses and filing the claim could prevent you from filing other types of claims. Before filing a claim, it is a good idea to talk to a knowledgeable accident lawyer who can review your options for recovery based on the specific circumstances of your accident.
Protection for Passengers
In a perfect world, all drivers would have car insurance that pays for injuries they cause to others in accidents. That is called bodily injury coverage, and drivers in DC and Maryland are required to carry it, but they don’t always obey the law. If you are a passenger in a vehicle covered by PIP and you are injured in an accident caused by a driver without insurance, you should be able to recover for at least some of your losses through PIP. An attorney can assist if the insurance company denies your claim or tries to pay less than you are entitled to receive.
Talk to Johnnie Bond Before Filing a PIP Claim
Insurance rules are complicated, and you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you limit your ability to recover the full amount for your pain, suffering, and other losses. PIP claims do not cover these intangible losses, so in many cases, it makes sense to pursue other claims first or in addition to a PIP claim.
At Johnnie Bond Law, we make it our business to know the ins and outs of auto insurance claims, and he can help you choose the best options to seek recovery if you have been injured in an accident. We work with you at each step in the process to help you regain your health and move forward with your life. Contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation.