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PIP is the abbreviation for Personal Injury Protection coverage. In Utah, it is mandatory that vehicle insurance policies include this type of insurance coverage. Most people just call it “no-fault” insurance.
PIP coverage pays for medical bills, lost wages, and lost household services. It only covers $3,000 total, unless you have purchased a higher amount of PIP coverage. Your PIP coverage will cover those bills up to $3,000, no matter who was at fault in your accident.
Bert buys a car insurance policy from company X. Company X must include PIP (Personal Injury Protection) at a minimum of $3,000 coverage.
Ernie buys his insurance coverage from Company Y, which also includes the minimum PIP coverage.
One day, Ernie is driving downtown when he checks the messages on his phone and rear-ends Bert. Ernie is at fault, right? Yes, but its Bert’s own insurance coverage that will cover the first $3,000 in expenses. Imagine that Bert is diagnosed by his doctor with whiplash and sent to therapy, his bills are covered by his own insurance.
If Bert recovers quickly, the case is over. His own insurance, Company X, has paid all his medical bills. So even though Ernie caused the accident, his insurance Company Y won’t pay a dime. That’s why we call it “no-fault.”
Imagine Bert doesn’t recover quickly, then Ernie’s insurance might have to pay. If Bert meets a threshold, then Ernie’s Company Y insurance will be obligated to pay. The most common way in Utah to meet threshold is to hit the $3,000 mark in medical bills. Other ways include death, dismemberment, permanent impairment, or having a permanent disfiguring injury.
When Bert’s medical bills go over $3,000, he can now make a claim against Ernie’s Company Y insurance for medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering. When Bert wins and the claim is finally settled, Company Y has to pay all those bills, including paying back Company X for that first $3,000 they paid up front.
Some other important facts are:
- Utah case law discourages people from intentionally running up their medical bills in order to file a lawsuit.
- Motorcycles, trailers, and semitrailers are not required to have PIP.
- At the scene of the accident or at the ER, you will be asked for your auto insurance information, and probably your health insurance information if you are at the hospital.
- Your own auto insurance will pay the initial medical bills, usually $3,000.
- Once the PIP is exhausted, your health insurance will take over. If you don’t have health insurance, then you will have to start taking care of the additional bills.
- Your own PIP coverage will also provide coverage to the people in your car. The people in the other car are covered by that car’s PIP insurance.
- In a pedestrian accident, the pedestrian gets PIP coverage from the vehicle that struck him.
All vehicle insurance companies have to pay PIP benefits. It’s required in Utah. Later, after the PIP benefits are paid out, the insurance company whose driver didn’t cause the accident will try to get its PIP payout back from the other, at-fault insurance company. But those negotiations don’t involve the drivers.
As discussed with Bert and Ernie’s accident, if you are in an accident, your own insurance pays your medical bills, no matter who was at fault, until you have exhausted PIP, or your injuries are serious enough to put you over a threshold. This is the time when your claim should be filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Usually, this is when people begin searching for a good personal injury attorney.
It’s smarter to talk to an attorney before you reach “threshold.” Talking with an experienced personal injury attorney when you can see your expenses will surpass your PIP limits is the best idea. A good attorney in a car accident case will help you with the PIP paperwork and a lot of other details.
If you call the Advocates and we determine you have a good case, we will help you through the initial details that overwhelm many car accident victims. We can help get you a rental car, help get your car repaired or replaced, refer you to a good medical professional, handle the insurance adjusters (both yours and the other company’s), and much more. Our mission is to take the stress and headache out of the insurance process. This can help you heal and recover.
Call the Advocates today – we would love to take the time to help you!
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