PIP (short for personal injury protection) is a benefit offered in all automobile insurance policies sold in Maryland. Unless you have waived your coverage, you have PIP under your policy.
What is PIP??
If you've been injured in an accident, PIP is a wonderful thing to have. Whether or not the accident was your fault, PIP will pay for your lost wages and medical expenses up to certain amount. Policies in Maryland are usually written with PIP coverage of either $2,500, $5,000, or $10,000.
I have health insurance, should I waive PIP??
NO. I would say that its NEVER advisable to waive PIP. PIP is generally inexpensive and it covers lost wages. Your health insurance will not cover your lost wages. In addition, PIP will cover the medical expenses and lost wages of all passengers involved in the accident. Your health insurance will not cover any lost wages or medical bills of passengers.
If the accident was NOT my fault, won't the other driver's insurance company pay my bills?
Assuming the other driver has insurance and his/her insurance company accepts liability, the other company will pay your bills. In Maryland, however, under the collateral source rule, you are essentially allowed to recover TWICE.
For example, let's say your medical bills are $2,500 and the accident was not your fault. Your PIP insurance will cover the entire bill. In addition, you will also be able to recover the $2,500 (even though PIP payed) from the at fault driver's insurance company.
PIP is your friend! Don't waive it.
What about pain, suffering, incovenience, etc.?
PIP will not cover these. PIP will only cover lost wages and medical expenses.
I've been in an accident, how do I take advantage of my PIP?
Immediately following the accident, contact your insurance company (or the company that insured the car you were in) and request the forms. Fill the forms out promptly and completely. If you have an attorney, ask him/her to assist. As a courtesy, I help my clients fill out the forms as they can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming.
Keep a record of lost wages. Simply note the dates and times of missed work, along with the amount of wages you lost
**Of course, there is much more information that I could have included here, but this is a very basic outline. Call me if you have any questions as I'm sure I have not covered all of the "quirks" that inevitably occur.
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