The Benefits of Personal Injury Protection Insurance in Maryland
Dedicated car accidents lawyers serving clients in Baltimore, Columbia and throughout the state
Personal Injury Protection, known as PIP, is insurance that provides medical coverage and reimbursement of lost wages to people involved in automobile accidents. This coverage is no fault, which means that benefits are available even to those who may have caused the accident. It typically provides benefits up to $2,500, but some policies have as much as $10,000 in PIP coverage.
At Plaxen & Adler, P.A., our Baltimore auto accident lawyers are often asked questions about PIP. We thought it would be helpful to address some of the more common questions and concerns in one place, so that you can have a better understanding of what this form of car insurance does.
When is PIP available?
PIP benefits are available to anyone involved in an automobile collision except in certain circumstances, including:
- Taxicab and bus accidents. Taxis and buses are not required to carry PIP.
- State vehicles. Vehicles owned or operated by the State of Marylandare not required to carry PIP.
- Individuals with waivers. An insured driver may waive PIP coverage by following a very specific procedure that informs them, among other things, of the cost of PIP and the effect of a waiver.
- Intentional injury. If a driver intentionally causes a collision, PIP is unavailable.
- Crimes. If an insured has stolen a vehicle, is committing a felony, or fleeing the police, PIP is unavailable.
There is still some question as to whether political subdivisions (like Baltimore City) are required to provide PIP.
What Does Personal Injury Protection Cover?
Personal injury protection coverage is even better than your health insurance because with your personal injury protection coverage, you can go to any doctor, they must take your PIP, and PIP will pay 100%. There’s no deductible, there’s no copay; and unlike with health insurance at the end of the case, they may ask for their money back, personal injury protection coverage cannot ask you for money back.
PIP pays for reasonable and necessary expenses from motor vehicle accidents for medical, dental, funeral and nursing services. Additionally, it will pay for the cost of household services and 85% of lost income. Importantly, PIP only pays for expenses/lost income incurred within three years of the collision.
How do I apply for PIP?
In order to apply for PIP, you or your attorney must do so within one year of the date of the automobile accident. Each insurance company has a specific protocol to obtain PIP benefits. Some insurance companies require completion of a unique application.
Will my attorney charge to get PIP?
Ordinarily, lawyers are not allowed to charge clients a contingency fee (a fee based on a percentage of the recovery) for recovery of PIP because in Maryland it is usually unethical. There is an exception where PIP collection is not routine; for example, where there is a genuine dispute over the scope of insurance coverage, or where multiple insurance companies argue over which insurance company is responsible. Attorneys may charge a nominal fee for collection of PIP. At Plaxen & Adler, P.A., you will not pay a fee for processing your routine PIP application.
Can my insurance company retaliate if I’m involved in an accident with an uninsured driver?
If you utilize uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage, you are simply using the coverage you pay for. It would be illegal and improper for your insurance company to raise your rates on an accident that is not your fault. We often have clients reluctant and worried about using their own insurance. We guarantee that your insurance company cannot and will not raise your rates for an accident that is not your fault.
Will my insurance rates go up when I use PIP?
No. If you use PIP benefits available from your own policy, your insurance rates will not increase. Also, if you receive PIP benefits from another person’s policy, that person’s insurance rates will not go up.
I don’t have automobile insurance. Am I entitled to PIP?
Maybe. PIP coverage is often available if:
- You are a family member and live with someone who has PIP coverage
- You were a passenger in a car involved in an automobile accident
- You were a pedestrian hit by a car covered by PIP
Determining whether PIP is available can oftentimes be difficult. At Plaxen & Adler, our Maryland injury attorneys are experienced at investigating the numerous possible sources of PIP coverage to get clients the best possible result.
Where can I find Maryland rules on PIP?
In Maryland, the rules on PIP can be found in MD. CODE ANN., INSURANCE §§ 19-501, 19-505, 19-506, 19-507, 19-508 and 19-513. Importantly, these provisions are interpreted in appellate court decisions.
Let Plaxen & Adler, P.A. help you after an auto accident
If you were involved in an automobile accident in Baltimore, Columbia or anywhere in Maryland, Plaxen & Adler, P.A. wants to hear from you. We can help you navigate the insurance process, and are happy to answer any questions you have about PIP. Please call 410.988.4449 or fill out our contact form today to make an appointment.