What does PIP stand for?
Personal injury protection (PIP) is a type of insurance coverage. If you are involved in a car accident, you may be able to have certain expenses covered by PIP.
Your PIP may pay for some expenses even if you were at fault for the accident. Read your PIP policy to see what your limits are and what expenses are covered.
Is PIP Coverage Required in Texas?
Drivers are not required to carry PIP coverage in Texas. However, insurers are required to offer this coverage under the Texas personal injury protection statute. If an insurer is writing a liability policy, they must also offer PIP coverage.
If you don’t want PIP coverage, you must reject the coverage in writing.
What Does PIP Cover?
PIP covers some common expenses you may incur after an accident, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reimbursement for essential family or household services
- Death benefits
PIP policies will only cover expenses for up to three years after an accident. However, you should file your claim as soon as possible after an accident. Check with your insurer to see how long you have to file a claim.
Who Does PIP Cover?
PIP covers all of the following people:
- The person named in the policy
- Members of the insured’s household
- Any authorized operator or passenger of the insured’s vehicle
So if you are driving a vehicle and have three passengers, your PIP policy would cover accident-related expenses for all four occupants.
How Do You Make a PIP Claim?
You file a PIP claim with your own insurance company. They will provide PIP benefits regardless of who was at fault for an accident.
You will need to provide proof of your expenses, such as medical bills or lost wages. You and any other covered persons will receive compensation up to the amount of your expenses or the policy limit, whichever is less.
PIP plans must offer at least $2,500 in total coverage for all benefits. This amount applies to each injured person. Some plans have higher policy limits, so check with your insurer to confirm how much coverage you have.
For example, say you and two of your passengers all have injuries from an accident. Your PIP policy limit is $5,000. You and the two passengers can each receive up to $5,000 towards covered expenses.
What Expenses Are Not Covered by PIP?
Many expenses won’t be covered by PIP, especially if you have serious injuries. You may need to use other types of insurance or file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for these damages.
Some expenses not covered by PIP include:
- Property damage
- Medical bills or lost wages that exceed your PIP policy limit
- Pain and suffering
- Injuries to occupants of another vehicle when you are at fault
Many PIP policies have low limits. If you have high medical expenses or a long-term disability from an accident, you will likely need to seek compensation from other sources.
How to Seek Compensation for Accident Damages
You could exceed your PIP plan limits with a single trip to the hospital or a few weeks of missed time at work. At that point, your PIP plan won’t provide any more reimbursement of your expenses.
If another driver was at fault for the accident, you do have the option to make a claim against their liability insurance policy. You should get the name of their insurer at the scene of the accident in case you end up needing to make a claim.
Liability policies typically have higher limits than PIP. You should be able to get more of your expenses covered if your claim is approved. This can be a big help if you have high medical expenses or if you’ve missed a lot of time at work because of your injuries.
You may also be able to seek compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. PIP plans won’t provide you with any compensation for these types of damages.
Making a Liability Policy Claim
To receive compensation for your losses, you’ll need to show the insurer that:
- The other driver was at fault for the accident
- You suffered damages
- These damages are covered by the policy
What if you were also partially at fault for the accident? This won’t necessarily defeat your claim. Under Texas law, you can still seek compensation for injuries as long as your fault percentage is 50 percent or less. Your recovery will be reduced by your fault percentage.
You’ll need to prepare a demand letter to state what your damages are and what compensation you are seeking. The insurance company will investigate the case and decide whether to approve your demand request.
In many cases, the insurance company will offer you a settlement that’s lower than what you’ve requested. You may need to negotiate to get the settlement you want.
If you can’t come to a fair settlement, you have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit and take your case to court.
Talk to an Injury Lawyer
If you need help dealing with the insurance company or understanding your legal options, talk to a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer. Request a free consultation to make sure you don’t miss out on your right to seek compensation for your injuries.