Even if you are a safe driver, there is always a risk that you could be involved in a major auto accident. According to reporting from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), in 2015, around 50,000 people were injured in motor vehicle collisions in Washington. Motorists need the right insurance coverage to protect themselves and their families. This could include personal injury protection (PIP coverage).
As not everyone is familiar with PIP coverage, it is common for people to have questions about how it works. What is personal injury protection? Do you have to buy it in Washington? Does it make sense for me to get it? How easy is it to collect benefits when a crash occurs? In this guide, our Seattle auto accident attorneys provide a basic overview of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage?
Personal injury protection offers covered drivers (along with their passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists who suffer injuries as a result of an automobile collision) direct access to compensation for medical expenses and lost wages after a car accident. With PIP coverage, compensation is available through a first-party claim. This means you can obtain immediate recovery from your own insurance company.
Under a standard PIP insurance coverage policy, most drivers can obtain up to $10,000 for medical bills and up to $10,000 for lost wages. Though, this can certainly vary, it is not uncommon for drivers in Washington to buy PIP coverage with a $35,000 limit for both medical expenses and wage replacement coverage.
How Does PIP Coverage Actually Work?
The key thing to remember about PIP coverage is that it is offered on a no-fault basis. For example, if you rear-end another driver at a red light and you know that you are unquestionably at fault for the collision, you would still be able to recover compensation through your PIP policy. You do not have to prove fault to get access to benefits. Your PIP coverage should kick in immediately.
To collect compensation in association with your PIP policy, you generally must make a claim with your insurance company. The sooner you file a claim, the better off you will be. One of the key benefits of a PIP policy is that medical providers can bill your insurance company directly.
This is not to say that all PIP claims are smooth. Disputes can still arise, especially over policy language and wage loss benefits. If you do have a PIP policy and you are having trouble getting access to your full benefits, you should contact a Seattle car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
PIP Coverage is Not Required in Washington.
In approximately a dozen U.S. states, drivers are required to obtain some form of personal injury protection coverage. However, Washington is not one of these states. Under the relevant state law (RCW 48.22.100), PIP coverage is not mandatory. That being said, insurance companies that offer auto coverage to drivers in Washington must make PIP coverage available for purchase and must obtain a written rejection of the coverage from you in order to deny benefits.
Does it Make Sense to Obtain PIP Coverage?
Whether or not it makes sense for you to purchase personal injury protection depends entirely on your specific situation. There is no question that PIP coverage offers real benefits to the insured parties. It will provide you with additional protection in the event of a crash.
One of the big reasons to get PIP is that it provides protection for everyone in the vehicle. Your passengers will be covered under your policy.
Of course, personal injury protection coverage does cost money. It is important to weigh the actual benefits it will offer in your specific case.
Contact the Best Seattle Attorneys Today
At The Walthew Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers in Washington are committed advocates for injured victims. If you or your loved one sustained serious injuries in any type of motor vehicle collision, it is highly recommended that you consult with a qualified legal professional.
To set up a free, no-obligation personal injury consultation, please reach out to our law firm today by calling 206-535-1385. With a law office in Seattle and a law office in Everett, we are well positioned to represent victims throughout the region, including in King County, Snohomish County, Pierce County, Thurston County, and Mason County.