If you’ve recently been in a car accident, you’re probably wondering how insurance will cover expenses and damages to your vehicle. Whether or not you were at fault for the accident, you will probably find that your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance will come in to cover part of your expenses depending on what state you live in.
But why, if you’re not the responsible party, should your insurance be used? What exactly is Personal Injury Protection and in what instances will it be used?
Personal Injury Protection and No-Fault States
Personal Injury Protection, or PIP insurance, comes into play in states that have no fault insurance, meaning one party will not be held responsible for an accident with another individual. With a no fault state, each individual will use their own insurance policy to cover their expenses and lost wages.
Your PIP insurance does not need to cover your entire medical expense or all of your lost wages if you are injured in an accident. Instead, they will only need to cover a portion of the total expense, which you will decide when you purchase your insurance policy.
No-Fault States include the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
What Does Personal Injury Protection Include?
Personal Injury Protection insurance is primarily used to cover medical expenses or lost wages that result in an injury from the accident. This money can be used to cover expenses of your own if you are the driver or may also cover other passengers in the vehicle if they have medical bills to pay. Your Personal Injury Protection insurance will also cover medical bills if you are a passenger in another vehicle while in an accident.
Personal Injury Protection will also come into play for other expenses related to a sustained injury. If you or a passenger of your vehicle is unable to work because of the injury sustained in the accident, Personal Injury Protection insurance can help to compensate them for lost wages.
Another instance where Personal Injury Protection insurance will be useful is if an injury requires rehabilitation or additional treatment to return to functionality. If the injury leaves you or someone in your vehicle unable to care for their children while they recover from an injury, a Personal Injury Protection may also pay for child care until you or your passenger is able to resume duties.
Also, in the event that an accident was particularly serious, Personal Injury Protection will help to cover funeral and burial costs.
It is important to note that Personal Injury Protection is not the same as a medical coverage installment on your insurance policy. While medical coverage will help you pay medical bills for you and the passengers in your vehicle, it does not extend to cover expenses in other areas that Personal Injury Protection would. These areas include funeral expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation.
Do I Need Personal Injury Protection?
If you live in one of the no-fault states mentioned above, you will be required to add Personal Injury Protection to your insurance policy when registering it with the state. As a mandatory addition to all insurance policies in no-fault states, this is not something you will be able to eliminate if you want to save money on your monthly premium.
The amount that you choose to include in your policy will influence how much your insurance will pay if you have an accident. Over this, you are able to hold the other party accountable in a personal injury claim if they are at fault. However, this can take time and will usually require a personal injury attorney. To ensure any necessary expenses are absolutely covered, you are better off to rely on your Personal Injury Protection insurance than hoping to have a quick and easy personal injury case.
However, if you do not live in one of these no-fault states, you will not be required to add PIP coverage to your insurance plan. Instead, your insurance provider will not contribute additional funds to your medical bills or in other areas related to your injury. You will need to find compensation elsewhere or through a personal injury lawsuit.
The Lamber Goodnow legal team, together with our co-counsel personal injury law firms in Chicago, are experienced in PIP matters. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers never charge a fee, unless we win your case. Get a risk free consultation today.