What You Need to Know About Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Washington state requires that auto insurance companies offer you personal injury protection (PIP), but it’s up to you to opt in. It’s usually a good idea to protect yourself and your loved ones against unforeseen hardship, so talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer about your options.

While you’ve probably heard about personal injury protection (known as PIP for short), you may not fully understand what it is and why it is important. Essentially, when an auto accident occurs, PIP can step in and help to cover the costs of injuries resulting from the incident. Whether or not you have existing health insurance, PIP can cover your medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses that are directly caused by the car accident. Since Washington state requires insurance companies to offer PIP to everyone, it’s worth taking a closer look at how PIP works, whether you should buy it, and how it could benefit you.

How PIP Works

Personal injury protection is basically no-fault insurance, and it’s designed to cover the medical expenses of you and your passengers in the event that you are injured in an auto accident. If the costs exceed the PIP policy limits, your health insurance may be able to provide additional coverage. If you are injured in a car accident, your PIP can step in and pay for your medical care, whether or not you were responsible for the accident. Should you be hit by an uninsured driver, your PIP will still cover your costs, if you’ve opted to pay for PIP coverage. At its core, PIP is intended to protect you and your passengers from outrageous medical expenses and other financial woes if you happen to suffer injuries in an unforeseen car accident.

PIP in Washington State

While many other states require residents to carry PIP auto insurance, some states—including Washington—only compel insurance companies to offer it to clients, but it’s up to you if you want to opt in. If you do not want PIP, you’ll need to issue a formal rejection in writing. Without such a written rejection, the insurance company will view your silence as consent and begin charging you for PIP coverage. In Washington, PIP typically covers up to $10,000 in medical and hospital expenses for each person who was injured in the car accident. Some policies allow you to purchase additional coverage to receive up to $35,000 in medical coverage. Many PIP policies also provide up to $200 per week—up to $10,000—for lost wages you suffered due to your injuries. You may also be eligible to receive PIP coverage for loss of services or funeral expenses.

PIP Limitations

Of course, there are several limitations on what PIP can cover. If you were operating farm equipment, an off-road vehicle, or moped at the time of the accident, your PIP will not apply. It’s up to your insurance company to determine whether the expenses you are requesting coverage for are: (1) reasonable; (2) necessary; (3) related to the accident; and (4) have accumulated within three years of the date of the accident. You’ll also need to make sure that the car you were driving at the time of the accident is documented on the declaration page of your auto insurance policy in order to be eligible for PIP coverage.

Get Started With a Knowledgeable Personal Injury Attorney Today

Henderson Taylor Law Firm helps individuals and families in the Vancouver area successfully resolve a wide range of legal matters. If you have questions about PIP insurance and how you can ensure you and your loved ones receive the compensation you need in order to make a full recovery, call (360) 737-1478 today to speak to a dedicated personal injury lawyer.