In this PA car accident law article, our lawyers discuss the claims available for victims of car accidents caused by another party. The article below is tailored to residents of Pennsylvania who have their own car insurance coverage (or are covered under a spouse or relative’s policy). In a later article, we’ll discuss car accident claims available to out of state residents and individuals who reside in Pennsylvania but aren’t covered under any car insurance policy.
PIP (Personal Injury Protection)
PIP claims are made under your own policy, not the policy of the at-fault driver. PIP benefits are mandatory on every car insurance policy issued in PA. The required minimum amount of PIP benefits is $5,000 and covers medical bills. Depending on the policy, PIP may cover lost wages, funeral expenses and other out of pocket expenses, if you elected it in your policy. At a minimum, PIP covers medical expenses due to a car accident.
Because it’s mandatory on every policy in this state and because of PA’s no fault law, anyone who is covered under a car insurance policy in Pennsylvania can make a claim for PIP benefits. It doesn’t matter whose fault the accident was. If you’re injured in a car, truck or pedestrian accident and you have car insurance coverage, you can make a PIP claim. Period. Simply making a PIP claim won’t affect your policy premiums. Your insurance company won’t raise your rates because you made a PIP claim.
Your car insurance company will pay the bills on your behalf directly to your medical providers. Once the PIP benefit is exhausted, your private health insurance would kick in and cover the rest of the medical bills, subject to your copays and deductibles.
Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Driver
If the accident was caused by another driver, you can seek compensation by filing a lawsuit against that driver. You can make a claim for your injuries and damages, including financial losses like medical bills not covered by PIP or lost wages. The lawsuit would be filed against the driver, but the driver’s car insurance company steps in and handles most aspects of the claim itself. That’s how car insurance policies work. Pennsylvania law mandates at least $15,000 of Bodily Injury Liability Coverage in every car insurance policy. This coverage kicks in when an insured (or family member) causes an accident. The injured party can make a claim against the driver, but the car insurance company steps in because it will ultimately pay on the claim (up to the amount of coverage purchased). There are a lot complex laws and nuances to bringing a car accident lawsuit. If you need legal help, don’t delay. Contact our office for a FREE CONSULTATION. (215) 985-0777
There are limitations on an injured person’s ability to sue the at-fault driver, and it’s pretty complicated. Pennsylvania law gives car insurance consumers the right to choose the type of policy they want: full tort or limited tort. If you elected limited tort (and about 60% of people do), your rights are limited when it comes time to sue the at-fault driver. You can only sue for pain and suffering under certain circumstances.
UIM or UM Claims
In addition to the above, you could file a UIM or UM claim under your own car insurance policy, if you purchased this optional coverage. In our car accident injury practice, we’ve found that about half of the people that come to us for help after a car accident didn’t get this coverage. Basically, this coverage kicks in when 1. your injuries and damages exceed the amount of the at-fault driver’s Bodily Injury Liability Coverage (*Remember, the minimum required is $15,000 per policy.), or 2. the at-fault driver didn’t have any insurance coverage at all. This second scenario typically involves the following: the driver’s car insurance coverage lapsed, the driver was joy-riding, or the driver took off from the accident scene and was never found.
Car Accident Law Firm – Philadelphia Office
Our car accident lawyers handle car, truck and pedestrian accidents throughout the Philadelphia region including the suburbs. We’ve recovered max insurance payouts for our clients and are recognized as top lawyers in Philadelphia. Our clients love us and we think you will too. Give us a call at (215) 985-0777.