Maryland motorists have the option to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) as part of their auto insurance policies. PIP benefits provide quick coverage of medical expenses and missed wages if you are injured in a car accident, regardless of who is to blame. For this reason, PIP is also referred to as “no-fault coverage.”
Every car insurance company in Maryland must offer PIP coverage to their policyholders. You may, however, waive that coverage as part of your insurance plan.
PIP coverage is one of the cheapest policies you can include in your insurance but provides some of the most valuable benefits. Keep in mind that it can take time to negotiate a settlement or obtain a verdict against the insurance company of the person who caused the collision. The at-fault party pays for your injuries one time, typically at the end of your medical care. Having PIP can bring you peace of mind that financial assistance for some of your accident-related expenses will come immediately while any other claims are pending.
Have you been hurt in a crash? A Maryland car accident lawyer can look at your insurance policy to determine what benefits you may be entitled to. In many cases, you could seek compensation through other legal avenues beyond your PIP coverage.
Learn more by contacting Trollinger Law LLC for a free consultation. Attorney Matt Trollinger is an experienced trial lawyer who has fought for the rights of injured people in Maryland for years. Put our skills to work for you. Call or contact us now.
What Is PIP coverage in Maryland?
PIP is a type of no-fault automobile insurance coverage that Maryland drivers can purchase from their insurance companies. The amount of expenses that PIP covers depends on the type of policy that a driver selects. The minimum coverage amount that Maryland insurers are allowed to provide is $2,500, but our attorney with Trollinger Law LLC has seen PIP and medical payments coverage of up to $50,000.
After a car wreck, PIP provides immediate funds to cover a victim’s medical bills, the cost of lost income, and other accident-related expenses. In addition to you, PIP can cover the passengers in a policyholder’s vehicle, such as their family or friends, as well as pedestrians or passengers in other vehicles that were hurt [See Maryland Insurance Code Annotated § 19-505(a)].
Is Personal Injury Protection Required in Maryland?
No, but Maryland law requires insurers to offer PIP as an option. Insurance companies must also retain written proof if the policyholder waives their option to purchase personal injury protection. Otherwise, you might be able to successfully argue that the insurance company never offered PIP as an option.
What Are the Benefits of PIP?
One advantage of PIP is that this coverage kicks in immediately after an accident, once a PIP application with your insurance company is completed. By contrast, negligence claims typically must go through an approval process or legal battle before the policyholder can access them. This means that you will be on the hook for expenses until your injury claim is resolved, which could take months or even years.
In addition, insurers cannot raise a driver’s insurance premiums just for using their PIP coverage for a single collision. With most other types of policies, drivers are often penalized for accessing their insurance coverage, even if they have always paid their premiums on time or have never had to use their insurance coverage in the past.
Furthermore, PIP is just a first line of coverage. Even if victims use personal injury protection to cover some of their expenses from an accident, they are still eligible to receive compensation from the negligent party’s insurer.
For example, if a driver is injured in a crash caused by someone else’s negligence, then they might be able to get $5,000 through their own PIP policy for immediate expenses, in addition to $5,000 from the negligent driver’s insurer for the exact same injury. Additionally, victims of auto wrecks can usually apply for coverage for lost wages through PIP, even if their employer is paying them while they’re off work recovering from their accident by using sick or vacation leave that they would not have needed to use aside from the collision.
This stems from Maryland’s collateral source rule, which allows injured parties to recover full compensation for their damages from the party that caused the accident, despite any compensation they might have already received for their injuries. The idea is that the at-fault driver’s insurance company should not get credit for coverage that you, as the injured person, has.
How to Protect My Maryland PIP Car Accident Claim
Someone who is injured in a collision must initiate a no-fault PIP claim with the insurer within one year of the accident under Maryland’s statute of limitations. After this deadline passes, victims usually lose their right to PIP benefits.
If you file a PIP claim on time and the insurance company denies it, talk to a knowledgeable car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Certain insurance companies “audit” your medical bills or wages after you are involved in a collision. Attorney Matt Trollinger is not afraid to take those insurance companies to court for breach of contract for what is known as a PIP suit. Attorneys at Trollinger Law LLC have filed PIP suits for policies as little as $2,500 and as high as $50,000.
There are a number of steps you can take to protect your initial PIP claim:
- Get medical attention. Have a doctor evaluate your injuries as soon as possible after your accident. Not only can physicians help you get the treatment you need for your injuries, but they can also provide you with a medical report from your visit that can serve as an essential piece of evidence in your PIP claim.
- Gather evidence. The strongest PIP claims include a wealth of evidence to help prove what caused the claimant’s injuries and other losses. Some examples of proof that can help support your claim include pictures of your injuries, receipts from your medical visits, and records of lost income.
- Get help from a trusted car accident attorney in Waldorf. Insurance policies are full of fine print. You might not even know whether you purchased PIP coverage. Getting a lawyer to review your auto insurance policy can ensure that you recover compensation from all possible sources.
Should I Settle or Hire Trollinger Law LLC to Help with My Claim?
Don’t settle without talking to Trollinger Law LLC. You could have a valid claim that entitles you to money outside of PIP limits. However, there are more hoops to jump through when it comes to filing a negligence claim. That’s because you must successfully prove fault to obtain compensation.
At Trollinger Law LLC, we can protect your interests by dealing with the insurance company for you. Adjusters are trained in tactics to minimize and dismiss settlements to accident victims. It’s likely that the first offer you receive will be a lowball one, and an attorney can make a fair counteroffer to keep your claim on track.
Another important reason to contact a car accident lawyer is because laws governing fault in Maryland are particularly harsh. Maryland is one of a handful of states that uses a doctrine called contributory negligence to determine compensation in accidents where more than one party is at fault.
Under contributory negligence, an accident victim can only collect compensation if he or she is not at fault for a crash. If you are determined to be even one percent at fault for your collision, you will be unable to collect any compensation. With such a strict standard to meet, you’d be well advised to talk to Attorney Matt Trollinger before moving forward.