March 21st, 2023
A Primer on “PIP”: How Can It Help Your Patients
Author: Jonathan F. Lieberman
Maryland Personal Injury Protection insurance, also known as “PIP”, is no-fault auto insurance coverage which MUST be afforded by auto insurers in Maryland. PIP coverage provides immediate funds to pay for 100% of any medical bills and/or 85% of lost gross wages to your patients who are injured in a motor vehicle accident. The coverage afforded is a minimum of $2,500 per person but can be more depending on the amount elected. Your patient is entitled to the benefits regardless of whether they caused an auto accident. In addition, under Maryland’s PIP statute, the insurance carrier has 30 days to pay benefits from the date the medical bills or lost wage documentation is submitted.
PIP follows the car and covers the policyholder (also known as the insured), any listed drivers on the policy, his or her family living in the policyholder’s household, passengers in the vehicle involved in the accident, as well as any pedestrians who are physically struck by a car. If your patient is in someone else’s car that provides $2,500 in PIP and they have more on their own household policy, they can use the “excess” to pay bills or collect lost wages.
PIP is an opt-out coverage and therefore can be “waived.” The waiver must be in writing and applies to not only the policyholder who signed the waiver, but any household relative 16 or over living in their household. If PIP is waived on a personal auto policy, that patient cannot collect it from anyone else’s policy either. The waiver does not, however, apply to any passengers who are not 16 and over living with the policyholder.
A common misconception is that using PIP coverage will raise a patient’s policy rates. This is not true. The Maryland PIP statute prohibits an auto insurer from raising policy rates on the insured’s current policy.
For any questions on PIP or other coverage that may help your clients please contact any of our Personal Injury attorneys.