Generally, when we think of car accidents, we picture the driver as the injured party. However, accidents often involve passengers too. It can be unclear where passengers should turn for compensation for their injuries. Personal injury protection insurance, known as “PIP,” can help relieve a lot of those fears and concerns.
If you sustained injuries as a passenger in a car accident, you do not have to face the insurance companies alone. Get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer to assist you in filing a claim and seeking compensation for your injuries.
What Is PIP (Personal Injury Protection)?
PIP stands for personal injury protection insurance. This form of car insurance essentially removes the element of fault or blame from car insurance claims. PIP may allow you to receive the maximum benefits of your policy regardless of whether an accident was your fault.
It will cover costs such as medical expenses, lost wages, and sometimes other incidental costs associated with your accident. PIP insurance coverage is currently mandatory in some states and is available as an option in others.
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What Does PIP Insurance Cover?
Eligibility requirements to file claims as a passenger vary by state; therefore it is important to understand the laws in your state. An experienced personal injury lawyer in your area can explain the local laws, especially an attorney who has represented passengers like you in car accident cases.
PIP can cover medical expenses you sustain from the accident. This includes dental and eye treatment, ambulance services, hospitalization, medication, and prosthetic devices. Keep track of your medical expenses as you incur them so that you can be compensated once your claim is settled.
Sometimes, PIP can cover your lost wages if you cannot work while recovering from the accident. Speak with an attorney to see if PIP could cover your missed wages from time you had to take off work.
Substitutive services include normal household upkeep and tasks like cleaning and lawncare. If the injury you received in the accident prevents you from doing these tasks, PIP could help cover the cost of paying someone to do them.
Unfortunately, not everyone recovers from serious car accidents. If your loved one was a passenger who died in the car crash, PIP could cover funeral and burial costs.
Does PIP Cover Passengers?
Injured passengers may be eligible for PIP insurance regardless of fault. However, this is a type of insurance that varies from state to state. Thus, whether PIP applies to you is heavily dependent on where you are.
Many states will require PIP insurance as part of their no-fault laws. These laws help ensure you are making smaller claims against your own insurance rather than larger and more complicated claims against someone else’s.
However, you still may have a right to recover against the other driver if your injuries were severe. PIP states emphasize payout efficiency, which will help. Since liability is no longer an issue in a no-fault state, payments can be made much more quickly because lengthy investigations into what happened are no longer necessary.
What Happens If You Don’t Have Auto Insurance?
This is another area of the law that depends on the state you are in. However, some general rules apply when uninsured drivers are involved in accidents.
There are “fault” states, in which the insurance of the driver who caused the accident must pay for the other parties’ injuries. Then there are “no-fault” states, in which each party’s own insurance covers his or her injuries regardless of who caused the accident.
If an uninsured driver causes an auto accident in a “fault” state, the uninsured driver might have to pay for the other driver’s and passengers’ injuries out-of-pocket. If the same thing happens in a “no-fault” state, the other driver’s and passengers’ own insurance covers their expenses, so it does not matter that the driver who caused the accident was uninsured.
If you were injured in a “fault” state and the uninsured driver cannot pay your expenses, PIP coverage can pay for your medical bills. Typically, PIP coverage can pay your bills as you receive them rather than waiting for your treatment to conclude. If you do not have PIP coverage in a “fault” state and the uninsured driver cannot pay your expenses, you might not be compensated for your injuries.
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What If Your Medical Bills Exceed the PIP Coverage Amount?
Your compensation might reach its maximum with the PIP coverage limit. However, there are other options to try to cover the rest of your medical bills.
Many states offer more options to help increase the amount of PIP coverage you can receive. For example, some states allow you to buy Additional PIP (APIP) coverage. It supplements PIP coverage by raising the maximum limit amount.
Florida allows its residents to purchase extended PIP coverage. Usually in that state, PIP coverage only pays 80% of medical expenses and 60% of lost wages. Purchasers of extended PIP coverage can amend their PIP to pay 100% of medical expenses and 100% of lost wages up to the limits of their PIP coverage.
If these options are not available in your state, try filing a claim with your regular health insurance company to cover the rest of your medical bills. Additionally, if your injury prevents you from working, you might be eligible for Social Security benefits.
Need Help? Contact Zinda Law Group Today
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to car accidents. Every case is unique and will present its own set of challenges. However, whether your claim is simple, complicated, or somewhere in between, it is in your best interest to consult with an attorney.
The last thing you need after being involved in an accident is to become entangled in a situation where you are being treated unfairly. A car accident lawyer may help make sure this doesn’t happen. Don’t make the legal process more difficult on yourself by trying to proceed on your own.
Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group have the experience to guide clients through the legal process, make recommendations, and advise you on important legal decisions. This can include knowing when an insurance agent has given you a low-ball offer. We can help you decide on next steps if an offer is not adequate.
We know how to negotiate with all kinds of involved parties and insurance companies. Having an experienced car accident attorney will also improve your chances of filing on time as you seek the maximum compensation available for your injuries.
At Zinda Law Group we think that efficient, comprehensive, and quality representation should be available to everyone regardless of income. That is why we work on a contingency fee basis. Unless we win your case, you won’t owe us anything.
Give us a call today at (800) 863-5312 to discuss your case for free. We’ll help you understand passenger eligibility requirements for PIP after a car accident. Schedule a case evaluation and we may be able to help you today.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.