I was in a Car Accident in Massachusetts. What is “PIP” or Personal Injury Protection?

car-crash-3-1512740“No-Fault” Insurance Coverage

“PIP” stands for “Personal Injury Protection” and it is mandatory in Massachusetts as part of every driver’s insurance coverage pursuant to M.G.L. c.90 Sec. 34M.

The purpose of PIP is to help pay up to $8,0000 for medical costs, lost wages, funeral costs and household services incurred as a result of an injury from a car crash, regardless of who is at fault for causing the motor vehicle collision.

That means that it doesn’t matter whether you were responsible for causing the accident, or if someone else was, the “PIP” benefits are still available from the car insurance provider for those who qualify.

If you are injured in a motor vehicle collision, you will likely receive forms from insurance companies called “PIP Applications.”  This can be an overwhelming process for people who are already dealing with injuries from a car accident.  At the Carney, Rezendes & Crowley, LLC, we have experience attorneys who can represent you to help coordinate and facilitate the documentation and process.

What Benefits Does “PIP” Cover?

  • Medical Expenses: PIP will cover reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to injuries from the accident incurred within two (2) years of the date of the accident. If you have private health insurance, PIP will cover up to $2,000 in your medical expenses.  However, you must submit a PIP application and submit the medical bills to the car insurance company.  If you do not have private health insurance, PIP will cover up to $8,000 in medical bills.
  • Lost Wages: PIP will reimburse you for 75% of your lost average weekly wage.  This amount is not taxed.  However, if you are entitled to worker’s compensation, you are not eligible.  If you receive sick/vacation/personal time from your employer, you may be allowed to “buy-back” the accrued time that you used due to your injuries.  You will need to submit a doctor’s note to support this claim.
  • Household Services: In some instances, PIP may cover household services that you would typically perform, but are forced to hire someone else (non-family member) to do to them.  For example, such services may include shoveling snow or landscaping.
  • Funeral Costs: For families who cannot afford to cover the funeral costs of a loved one lost in a tragic motor vehicle accident, a portion of the funeral costs may be covered by PIP.  In this unfortunate situation, the family may also have a wrongful death claim to bring against the other driver, depending on the circumstances.

Who is Eligible for “PIP” Benefits?

  • You and anyone occupying your automobile with your consent.
  • A pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle in Massachusetts (The PIP insurer for the motor vehicle driver will pay for the PIP benefits of the injured pedestrian).

PIP does NOT apply in the following circumstances:

  • When a person is injured riding a motorcycle or motor bike.
  • When a person is injured within the scope of employment and is entitles to workers’ compensation for those injuries.
  • When a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, in the act of committing a felony, or intentionally caused injury.

What if Someone else is Responsible for Causing the Crash?

You may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the other driver if you are struck by another vehicle as a driver or pedestrian.   PIP is not to be confused with Liability or Bodily Insurance, Under-insured or Uninsured Motorist Coverage.  That is separate coverage that can be obtained through the personal injury claim.

To bring a personal injury claim, the injured person must have incurred at least $2,000 in reasonable medical expenses, and/or has suffered serious and permanent disfigurement, bone fracture, substantial loss of hearing or sight, or death.

Motor vehicle injury cases can be complex.  It is important to have someone on your side who can navigate the challenges for the best possible outcome.  At the Carney, Rezendes & Crowley, LLC, we have experienced attorneys who can help you during difficult times when suffering from an injury resulting from a motor vehicle collision.  We seek to maintain quality cases to ensure balance so that we can be very responsive with our clients.  We have a 24-hour phone call return policy which means if you are a client and you call us, your phone call will be returned within 24-hours.

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