When you’re in an accident that results in serious injury, one of the worst parts is the stress involved in paying your medical bills. They tend to mount higher and higher while you’re just trying to get your life back under control. You’ve got a personal injury case pending, but what can you do in the meanwhile?
You may have heard of personal injury protection, or PIP, insurance, and are wondering if that can help your situation. Not everyone has it, though in Texas it’s offered to everyone. Let’s explore personal injury protection insurance, what it is, how it works and whether you need it, as well as when to call an experienced personal injury lawyer.
WHAT IS PIP INSURANCE?
Personal injury protection insurance is an addendum to your car insurance policy that exists to cover both medical expenses and loss of work income for you and your passengers following a car accident. It doesn’t take fault into account, and as such, it’s often required in so-called “no-fault” states.
Texas, however, is a “fault” state. While the state requires that PIP insurance be offered to those who purchase liability insurance, there’s no requirement that the buyer actually purchases the PIP. That is, while the law states insurance companies must make it available to you, there’s no requirement for you to carry this coverage.
WHEN SHOULD I CHOOSE PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION?
If you do a great deal of driving with a lot of passengers who might hold you responsible for an accident, or if you don’t have good healthcare for yourself, PIP might be a good idea. If you have solid health insurance, it can sometimes render this kind of medical coverage less useful for yourself.
Personal injury coverage kicks in regardless of whether someone else caused the accident or you are at fault. It will cover medical expenses such as ongoing treatments, procedures, surgeries, ambulance fees, medication and other costs for both you and any passengers, up to the limit of your policy. It can also be used for recovery of lost wages if you’re unable to work.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COVER?
PIP coverage in Texas can cover your full medical costs and 80 percent of your lost income, as well as reasonable household duties, such as the need to hire a housekeeper if you’re unable to keep up with housework. However, like any insurance policy, it only pays out up to the policy maximum. That means if your policy only covers $10,000, and your total costs between medical, lost wages and the like amount to $20,000, you’ll still be on the hook for $10,000 of it.
The problem many people face with their personal injury policies is that insurance companies are starting more and more to deny claims for any reason they can. They might insist your injury wasn’t related to the accident. They might even claim that your doctor’s charges are unreasonable and that they should only charge you whatever they accept contractually from standard health insurance.
In addition, they might deny your claim for reasonable household duties if you are the wage earner or income producer in your home. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, which they don’t do by paying out large dividends. It’s an inherent problem with the for-profit nature of insurance companies.
PIP VS. UNDERINSURED AND UNINSURED COVERAGE
If you’re in an accident caused by an uninsured party, there are multiple avenues open to you. If you have uninsured coverage or underinsured coverage, these are usually the first kinds of insurance to kick in on your policy. If, however, you have PIP, this can be issued first, with the insurer then reducing the amount of under- or uninsured coverage issued by an equal amount, as an “offset.”
CALL A QUALIFIED ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
Insurance coverage should be simple—you get hurt, you file a claim and you get paid. Unfortunately, it’s all too often complex and difficult to navigate. Insurers will do anything they can to avoid a payout, sometimes even resulting in bullying and harassing you. This is why it’s so important to have a qualified personal injury lawyer in your corner.
Your personal injury lawyer can help to hold those responsible for your injuries accountable and get you justice. You deserve compensation for the damages you’ve suffered, and you deserve to get the insurance coverage for which you pay. We are the experienced accident and injury attorneys in Corpus Christi, TX, who can help. Contact the Bandas Law Firm for a free consultation on your case today.