How does personal injury protection work? What's the difference between PIP and medical coverage?


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Question:

How does personal injury protection work? What's the difference between PIP and medical coverage?

Answer:

If you live in one of the twelve no fault states, understanding how does personal injury protection work is very important. Personal injury protection is designed to make sure that anyone who gets into a car accident can pay for the treatment necessary for his injuries, and can survive if he has to miss work time and lose income as a result of those injuries. PIP does have some limitations, however. PIP is also different in many ways from medical coverage, which is an optional form of insurance that can be purchased in fault states. 

  • PIP is required in Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota and Utah. In New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Kentucky, drivers get to choose if they want to opt into PIP or not
  • When PIP is purchased, that PIP covers the driver (as well as his family members) for any injuries that happen because of a car accident, no matter who caused the given accident. The driver is limited to only collecting damages from PIP, which means only collecting medical bills and lost wages, unless his injuries are legally defined as "serious." Only when the injuries meet the threshold of seriousness can the driver sue or pursue a claim against the responsible driver for pain and suffering and lost wage

In other states, called fault states, PIP is not required and the at-fault driver always pays. However, drivers may purchase medical coverage as an add-on to many car insurance policies. Doing so may be a wise idea for those who don't have health insurance, since their medical coverage will then pay their bills if they cause an accident and get injured in the process. 

To get help understanding the rules for your state and for advice and assistance in enforcing your insurance claims after an accident, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced attorney. 

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