Offices in Kent, Lynnwood, and Marysville, WA
Personal Injury Protection – What is it?
Often referred to as PIP coverage, is a no fault personal vehicle benefit which could assist those in need of medical care AND lost wages as a result of an automobile accident. In fact, you may be entitled to your own PIP coverage or the PIP coverage of another individual depending on whether you were injured by a 3rd party vehicle, injured as a passenger by a negligent driver, injured as a pedestrian by a 3rd party vehicle or injured as a bicyclist by a 3rd party vehicle.
How Does PIP Coverage Work in Washington?
Auto insurers in Washington must offer policy holders personal injury protection insurance. PIP protection covers a reasonable amount of the driver’s medical bill as well as that of any other party who has been injured in an accident. Beyond medical bills, PIP pays for any lost wages after two weeks of being unable to work.
PIP is a no-fault benefit.That means you are entitled to PIP benefits, regardless of who caused the crash. PIP has the following minimum coverage limits:
- $10,000 – This covers medical expenses. It should be available for every person injured in the accident and cover all of the medical expenses incurred within three years of the car accident.
- $2,000 – This covers the funeral and burial services of a person who has been killed in the accident.
- $200 every week, up to $5,000 total – This covers service replacement. It pays for assistance if the accident-related injuries have rendered person unable to perform certain duties including child care or household upkeep, and therefore had to hire a nonfamily member to carry out said duties.
- $200 every week, up to $10,000 total – This compensates for any income lost. To qualify for income replacement coverage, the person must have missed at least 14 days of work due to the injuries they sustained from the accident. This benefit only extends for up to one year.
In the event one party possesses both health insurance and PIP, the primary payment for the medical bills will be PIP until the maximum benefit has been reached. Beyond this point, payments will be made through health insurance, but it will be subject to contractual obligations.
How and When to File a PIP Claim
In Washington, personal injury protection insurance only covers the expenses incurred three years after the accident. If the accident has caused you some serious injuries, it’s crucial to file a claim as soon as possible.
It’s important to keep a detailed record of every expense you’re looking to receive PIP benefits for. This helps substantiate your claim that the medical expenses are:
- Related to the injuries you sustained from the accident. If an insurer finds a link between the expense and a previous injury, your claim is likely to be rejected.
- Necessary and reasonable. Request a note from your doctor that details every procedure and why it’s necessary. Similarly, if you intend to collect benefits for assistance services or lost income, you should also obtain a letter from your physician. This note confirm that your injuries from the accident rendered you unable to perform the tasks specified; it should also specify the duration of time when you were unable to perform normal activities.
Note that if you were inside a vehicle during the accident, you are to file a claim with the insurer of the vehicle you were in. Similarly, if you were a pedestrian who have been involved in the accident, you are to file a claim also with the insurance company that covers the vehicle involved in the accident. If that vehicle’s policy doesn’t have PIP coverage, however, you should instead file a claim under your own policy’s PIP insurance.
Why is PIP Important?
As health care insurance rates continue to rise, a PIP election is a fantastic way to ensure one can afford reasonable medical treatment should one be injured in an auto accident. In addition, by hiring an attorney Washington State case law dictates the automobile insurance company gets reimbursed at a reduced rate which means one receives a higher settlement amount at the end of the case. Contact Feldman & Lee to assist with all of your injury accident needs today.
The experienced attorneys at Feldman & Lee, PS will help you obtain the PIP coverage that allows you to seek medical attention and treatment immediately after the accident, without worrying about out-of-pocket expenses. Through our legal assistance and guidance, you can have peace of mind, knowing you may have $10,000 or up to $35,000 of no-fault insurance coverage that you can use for your healing and recovery.
There are strict time limitations that may affect your chances of pursuing a claim. Acting quickly after the accident can improve the chances of obtaining a successful outcome. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today for a free initial legal consultation.