If you have been injured in a car accident in which you weren’t driving but instead were a passenger in someone else’s vehicle – or if you weren’t in a car at all (such as if you were a pedestrian) – you’re very likely concerned about whose coverage is responsible for the losses you’ve incurred. The thought at the top of your mind might be whether your PIP will cover your losses. Fortunately, your PIP coverage could help. If you’ve been injured as a passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist in a car accident, reaching out to an experienced Austin auto accident attorney is in your best interest.
What’s in This Guide
- PIP Coverage
- When to File a PIP Claim
- Your Medical Coverage
- Your Lost Earnings
- The Distinction between Med-Pay and PIP
- Your PIP Coverage Is in Addition to the At-Fault Driver’s Coverage
- Your Damages
PIP coverage refers to personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, and it is insurance that you yourself carry. PIP policies in Texas are designed to cover all the following:
- The policyholder
- Any family members of the policyholder who live in the same household
- Any driver who has permission to drive the policyholder’s covered vehicle
- Any passengers of the policyholder
PIP insurance covers the following losses:
- PIP covers all related and reasonable medical and/or funeral expenses that are claimed within three years of the precipitating accident.
When you purchase car insurance in Texas, the insurance company is required to include at least $2,500 in PIP coverage in your policy, and the only way to reject the coverage is by doing so in writing. PIP insurance covers the injuries you and/or anyone else included in the coverage suffer in a car accident – regardless of who is at fault.
When to File a PIP Claim
You have only three years from the date of the injury-causing accident to file a PIP claim, and your claim can only address those costs that you incur within this three-year window. You are, however, well-advised to file your PIP claim as soon after the accident as possible – once you’ve established how extensive your injuries are (and under the careful guidance of your dedicated car accident attorney).
Your Medical Coverage
PIP coverage only extends to the limits of the PIP policy you purchased prior to the accident that leaves you injured, but within this limitation, PIP will pay 100 percent of your reasonable covered medical expenses, which can include:
- Ambulance services
- X-rays and other tests
- Treatments related to dental and eye care
- Professional nursing care
- Medical procedures and treatments
- Prosthetic devices
- Chiropractic care
If you need a professional caregiver as a result of your injuries, PIP will cover 80 percent of these expenses.
Your Lost Earnings
PIP will cover your lost wages at the rate of 80 percent of your income (at the time of your accident). However, you will need to prove that your lost income is a direct result of the covered accident, which means that the injuries you sustained are directly responsible for your decrease in earnings. Proving this direct causation can be far more challenging than demonstrating your medical expenses.
The Distinction between Med-Pay and PIP
Med-Pay (or medical payments) is similar to PIP coverage, but there are important distinctions. For one, insurance companies are not required to include Med-Pay in every policy. If, however, your insurance provider offers both Med-Pay and PIP, you are not required to carry either, but you can only choose one (if you decide to do so). In Texas, insurance policies cannot include both Med-Pay and PIP. Additional distinctions between PIP coverage and Med-Pay include:
- Med-Pay may have to be paid back to your insurance provider if you recover compensation for your injuries from the at-fault party.
- Med-Pay does not cover lost earnings (or essential services for those who are unemployed) the way PIP does.
Your PIP Coverage Is in Addition to the At-Fault Driver’s Coverage
If you are injured by a motorist’s negligence when you are either a passenger, pedestrian, or cyclist, your PIP coverage will be in addition to the at-fault driver’s coverage. You aren’t required to reimburse your medical providers – for PIP coverage – with the compensation you receive from the at-fault driver (the way you would be with Med-Pay coverage). Because the losses you suffer as a result of even a relatively minor car accident can be extensive, this additional coverage can be extremely advantageous.
The losses – or legal damages – you suffer as a non-driver in a car accident can include several primary categories.
Your Medical Expenses
The medical costs you face as a result of a driver’s negligence can be ongoing and can include any combination of the following:
- Emergency care and transportation
- Surgeries and aftercare
- Medical treatments, tests, and procedures
- Pain management
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Home health care
- Adaptive physical devices
- Prescription medications
Your Lost Wages
While you recover from your injuries, you can expect to take a hit in terms of earnings, and if your injuries are serious, you could be looking at losses related to your earning potential. Even the course of your career can be affected.
Your Pain and Suffering
The physical and psychic pain and suffering you experience as a result of being injured by a motorist’s negligence is very real and should not be ignored.
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Discuss Your Concerns with an Experienced Austin Car Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured by a driver’s negligence and your concerns include your PIP coverage, look no further than the focused Austin car accident attorneys at The Patel Firm. Our skilled legal team has the experience and legal insight to help you, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 361-400-2036 for more information today.