What Does Personal Injury Protection Cover?
by Eric Chaffin | Last Updated: April 8, 2021
“No-fault” Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is required on every automobile insurance policy issued in Pennsylvania. Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, this part of your policy provides compensation for essential expenses following a serious crash. You need not worry about the financial ramifications of filing a PIP claim; while insurers may raise regional rates based on the number of claims paid out, using your PIP will not affect your individual premium.
However, if the auto accident resulted in serious injury, you may find the amount of coverage you receive is woefully inadequate.
Contacting a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer can help you better understand your policy and what options you have moving forward. Call Chaffin Luhana for immediate assistance at no upfront cost.
What Does PIP Cover?
Specifically, the Personal Injury Protection part of your insurance plan will cover:
- Medical benefits– Medical benefits cover everything from your ambulance ride, hospital stay, diagnostic testing, nursing care, as well as co-pays for doctors and surgeons. Surgeries, dental procedures, treatments, therapies, psychiatric counseling, and rehabilitation costs are all covered. Medications, essential medical supplies, and prosthetics are considered part of your PIP benefits.
- Loss of income– Partial coverage of wages you were unable to work due to injuries from the auto accident that kept you from working.
- Loss of essential services– Since you are no longer able to take care of your household, you may receive a stipend to cover the cost of essential services like cleaning, meal preparation, lawn mowing, snow removal, laundry service, or childcare.
- Funeral, burial, and survivor benefits – When a family member is killed in the accident, PIP can help pay for the cost of a funeral, burial, or cremation. Most PIP policies pay an additional amount to the spouse, dependents, or next-of-kin in the event of a fatal accident.
PIP coverage extends to the policyholder, passengers, relatives in the household, and authorized drivers. If there are multiple vehicle occupants, your own coverage will apply first and a household member’s policy second. If a pedestrian or biker was involved in the accident, the insurance for any car involved will cover that person’s losses.
What Are the PIP Limits in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania mandates a minimum amount of insurance everyone must carry:
- Medical benefits for the driver: at least $5,000 worth.
- Bodily injury liability for the other vehicle: at least $15,000 per person /$30,000 per accident).
- Property damage benefits: at least $5,000 to replace your car or repair other damage.
You can also agree to pay a higher premium to obtain more coverage. For instance, many people carry at least $50,000 in medical benefits.
Your PIP policy will also cover:
- Work loss: covered at 80% of your weekly earnings to your specific policy limit.
- Household services: at least $12/day, with up to $30/day in optional coverage, capped at one year.
- Funeral expenses: at least $2,500 in benefits, up to $5,000, depending on your policy.
- Accidental death benefits: available in policies of $5,000, $15,000, or $25,000.
Even with the highest amount of coverage you can buy, those with severe and disabling injuries will end up with many out-of-pocket expenses.
How Can I Pay for Car Accident Injuries?
While you will submit a claim to your automobile insurer right away after a Pennsylvania collision, it is your health care insurance policy that will cover the cost of your medical injuries first. Once you’ve exhausted your policy limits, the PIP coverage from your auto insurance policy will kick in.
It is important to note that PIP is considered a supplemental insurance for work loss, so the amount you receive may be reduced by social security benefits you receive, such as workers’ compensation or Social Security Disability insurance.
Pennsylvania mandated personal injury protection coverage in order to decrease the number of lawsuits in state court. However, it is still an option if you were not primarily or solely at-fault for causing the car accident and the other driver’s liability coverage limit proves insufficient.
Lawsuit damages cover the same benefits as PIP (medical, lost wages, funeral) as well as pain and suffering – and with no maximum caps. In order to qualify, you must meet state criteria for “serious injury” – which usually includes broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord damage.
Do You Need A Lawyer for PIP Claims?
While PIP coverage is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t always cover enough.
At Chaffin Luhana, we understand how complicated personal injury protection can be. If your insurance is refusing coverage or if you have sustained serious, debilitating injuries, we can be your advocate.
No matter where you are in the process, it is wise to consult an experienced attorney to ensure you’re getting fairly compensated and maximizing all your benefit options to stay out of debt. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation. We work on a contingency basis only, so there is no upfront cost to you.