In the State of Washington, automobile PIP coverage is a required offering. What is PIP? PIP is Personal Injury Protection coverage. If you are buying car insurance, the insurance carrier is required by law to provide you with PIP coverage unless you elect to waive it in writing. It essentially provides coverage to you, any occupants of your car who are injured in your car, or any pedestrian or bicycle rider who is injured by your car, for the costs of treatment and wage loss within certain defined limits.
It also generally provides coverage to you and any members of your family residing with you who are hurt in any vehicle, whether you own that vehicle or not. This coverage is also available in addition to any other coverage that is required to pay first after that coverage has paid. It is paid irrespective of fault.
In Washington State, PIP coverage must provide the following benefits, as a minimum:
Up to $10,000 for medical expenses for each individual injured in an auto accident.
Up to $200 per week for lost wages (income replacement coverage), commencing after 14 days of injury.
Up to $2,000 for funeral expenses.
Up to $5,000 for loss of services (payment to others for work you can't do such as cleaning and yard work).
You can also purchase this coverage in higher amounts, usually up to $35,000.
I sometimes have people come into my office who have been injured, whose insurance company has told them that they do not have PIP. If you have a Washington issued policy, you have PIP unless your insurance company can produce a signed written waiver of PIP coverage by the person who purchased the auto insurance.
Without any question, PIP coverage is some of the cheapest coverages you can buy. Insurers and their agents have people waive it frequently, which I believe is a great disservice to those people because of its relatively low cost in comparison to what it does for you and your family if there an accident, whether they are riding in your car or riding in someone else’s car.
Invariably people who don’t’ have this coverage when they are injured buy it after talking to me, or increase the amount of the coverage if they purchased only a $10,000 benefit. On several occasions I have seen an emergency room visit that produced $10,000 in X-ray or other imaging when the injury to the patient ultimately was not significant. Having this coverage makes that kind of expense easier to swallow.
A couple of decades ago a major financial commentator advocated not buying PIP because you could rely on your health insurance and avoid the expense of PIP. The problem with that is that health insurance doesn’t cover everything. For instance, chiropractic care might not be covered or might be limited to a few visits. PIP typically pays everything. Further, if there is a snag and the insurance carrier doesn’t want to pay something (very common), it is easier to enforce the policy against a PIP carrier than a health insurer.
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If you need an accident attorney in Washington or Oregon, you can hardly find anyone as experienced and knowledgeable as Mr. James Sellers, with more than 40 years of experience. If you've been in an auto accident or your or a member of your family has been injured in a truck accident or a pedestrian motor vehicle accident and you are uncertain what you next step should be to file a claim for damages, please fill out our free case consultation or call us to speak with Mr. Sellers for an informal discussion regarding your options. There is no fee for initial consultation and this free consultation is provided with no obligation whatsoever.
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