What is PIP Coverage?
Personal injury protection coverage, also known as PIP and also known in the District of Columbia as no-fault coverage. It is a first-party coverage. This means it is available on an insurer’s vehicle, and it pays or may pay medical expenses and lost wages ahead of any claim against another party.
If you are unsure about the various types of automobile coverage and how it relates to an accident, you should speak to a diligent attorney. A car crash lawyer could explain the various types of car insurance and help ensure you have the right type of coverage. Understanding personal injury protection coverage in DC is essential when driving on the road.
The Nuances of PIP Coverage
In the District of Columbia, if a person makes a PIP claim under their own policy, they may be unable to then make a claim against the negligent third-party. An injured party must make an election within 60 days of the date of accident whether to make a PIP claim or a third-party claim.
There are exceptions to personal injury protection coverage. Some exceptions include if the medical bills are over a certain amount when there are serious permanent injuries. The problem arises early when a claimant does not know whether their injuries or their medical expenses rise to the threshold. This allows that party to make both the PIP and third-party claim.
In such circumstances, your lawyer should request the PIP carrier to provide an extension for the insured to make the election.
Do I Get PIP if I am in a Friend’s Car?
If an insured has PIP coverage under a policy on his personal car and is injured in an accident while occupying a motor vehicle owned by his friend or some third party, he is ordinarily entitled to PIP coverage under the policy on the car at home. However, if the vehicle you are in has PIP coverage, that coverage will be primary and the coverage of your car at home will be secondary. Of course, if your friend’s vehicle has no PIP coverage, the coverage under your car at home remains primary. Meanwhile, if your friend’s car has PIP coverage, but you had waived PIP on your policy, you are unable to make a PIP claim under your friend’s policy.
Important Elements of PIP Coverage
The most important thing for D.C. residents to keep in mind regarding PIP is if their accident happened in another state. For example, in Maryland, residents can make a PIP claim and a third-party liability claim without precluding the liability claim. You must file the PIP application within 60 days. It is important that a person involved in an accident in the District of Columbia area speak to a qualified accident lawyer.
Common Misconceptions About PIP Coverage
The most common misconception about PIP is that everyone has it. But not everyone can use it or can get it right away. They are the benefits of that coverage. If a DC resident is in an accident and has PIP coverage, you would not want to use it unless they are at fault. Or, if your bills and injuries rise to above the threshold allowing you to make both the liability claim and the personal injury protection claim.
How Does PIP Coverage Impact The Car Accident Case In DC?
In most circumstances, even if PIP coverage is available on a claimant’s DC insured vehicle, you will not use PIP. This is because the threshold would not have been met. By making the PIP claim, they would not be able to make a claim against the liable party.
Not being able to use the PIP claim does not affect the value of the claim against the other party. It is not a part of the valuation in settlement discussions. So it does not affect the claim itself or the viability of the third-party liability claim. However, it does mean any medical expenses have to be paid for out of the recovery or by a health insurer, which then subrogates from the recovery.
How do I Trigger PIP?
To trigger your PIP coverage, you merely need to incur an expense. This expense may be paid by you, your health insurer, or any other collateral source of benefits. If you trigger your PIP coverage, you can use the coverage up until it reaches its limit. Your coverage’s limit depends on the policy you choose, but it is typically $2,500 in Maryland.
PIP in Maryland – Exclusions
In Maryland, there are four primary reasons for which an insurer may exclude PIP benefits to an accident victim. First, even though it is a “no-fault” coverage, if you intentionally cause the motor vehicle accident resulting in the injury, the insurer can deny benefits. Second, if you are a nonresident of the state and injured as a pedestrian in a motor vehicle accident that occurs outside the state, you may not receive the benefits under your policy. This may also depend on the coverage of the vehicle that hit you. However, that claim depends on whether you waived the coverage on your car. Suffice to say, PIP coverage can get confusing. If you have questions on any of this, do not hesitate to contact a seasoned personal injury lawyer.
The third exclusion is if you are hurt in an accident while operating or voluntarily riding in a vehicle you know is stolen. The rationale behind this is an insurer does not consent to you participating in criminal activity. Otherwise, it would not have contracted to provide you the coverage. Fourth, similarly, if you are in a motor vehicle accident while committing a felony or while fleeing or eluding police.
How a DC Car Accident Attorney Could Help with PIP Coverage
PIP is a complicated issue. This is especially true in the District of Columbia because due to the short window to file an application. It is very important that somebody injured in an accident in the District of Columbia speak to a lawyer to decide whether or not making a PIP claim makes sense for them.
Since PIP can be difficult to understand it is best to speak with a lawyer who handles the claims in Washington. Call today to understand personal injury protection coverage in DC.