Why Do I Need Personal Injury Protection in Philadelphia?
You need to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance in Philadelphia because the law says so, also commonly known as first-party benefits (FPB) under Pennsylvania law. All drivers must also buy and maintain minimum auto insurance requirements to legally drive on Pennsylvania roadways, something known as maintaining financial responsibility under the law.
What Exactly Is Personal Injury Protection in Philadelphia?
The main goal of personal injury protection is to avoid proving fault for an auto accident. Without having to prove fault, drivers could collect compensation quickly and without the need for arbitration, which is time-consuming and expensive.
With the no-fault insurance system, you waive your legal right to sue an at-fault driver for your auto accident-related losses because your own insurance will cover them. You could only sue an at-fault driver if you suffered catastrophic injuries, such as permanent or long-term disability or disfigurement. But if you have full tort auto insurance, you’ll be able to sue an at-fault driver for pain and suffering and related damages, which isn’t allowed if you only have limited tort auto insurance.
What Does PIP Cover in Philadelphia?
PIP pays for the insured driver’s medical expenses, lost earnings, accidental death, and funeral costs following an auto accident, regardless of who’s at fault. But take note that drivers are only required to have a minimum of $5,000 for the medical benefits portion of PIP coverage. They can, however, purchase up to $100,000. Covered medical expenses include:
- Hospital services
- Dental services
- Physical rehab and psychiatric services
- Ambulatory services
- Diagnostic tests
On the other hand, coverage isn’t required under law for these PIP benefits and are purchased separately from the required medical benefits:
- Extraordinary medical benefits – An extraordinary medical benefit kicks in when necessary and reasonable medical and rehabilitative treatments exceed $100,000. Coverage limits must be between $100,000 to $1.1 million.
- Income loss benefits – This benefit reimburses drivers for lost income because of a disability they sustained due to injuries from an auto accident. They’ll be entitled to up to 80% of their weekly income up to their policy limits. Also, this benefit pays for a reasonable amount of household services, such as cleaning or childcare services.
- Accidental death benefits – The policyholder’s representative or next of kin could collect the full amount of the policy’s limits. Limits could be bought at $25,000, $15,000, and $5,000.
- Funeral benefits – This benefit covers all the policyholder’s related funeral costs. Drivers who opt to buy this coverage would be entitled to benefits amounting to $2,500 up to $5,000.
What Happens If I Don’t Have Personal Injury Protection in Philadelphia?
If you own a motor vehicle and don’t have PIP and other required auto insurance coverage, or allowed your coverage to lapse, your car registration privilege would be suspended for three months, unless the lapse was not more than 31 days and you are able to prove to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that you did not drive your car during the lapse in coverage.
In the event that the DOT determines that you drove your car without the required auto insurance coverage, your driver’s license might also be suspended for at least three months. Likewise, you must surrender your driver’s license, registration sticker, and license plate to the DOT to officially serve your suspension.
You must also proof of insurance and pay restoration fees before the DOT reinstates your driving or registration privileges. In addition, if law enforcement stops you for a moving violation and finds out that you are driving your car without the necessary insurance coverage, you could face more costly fees and severe penalties.
Who Is Eligible for PIP Benefits in Philadelphia?
There are instances in which injured drivers or passengers don’t have their own insurance coverage. In such cases, they might be driving their parent or spouse’s car with their permission or were passengers when an auto accident occurred. When such an instance takes place, who should pay for the medical bills they incurred due to the accident?
- The person identified by name as the policyholder of the auto insurance policy
- If living in the policyholder’s household, insured individuals can include the spouse or another relative of the policyholder, or a minor under the custody of the policyholder, or a relative in the policyholder’s household.
Speak to a Knowledgeable Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Now
The main takeaway is yes, you need personal injury protection or medical benefits because you are required under Pennsylvania law to carry it. And yes, Pennsylvania accident and auto insurance laws could be very confusing. If you suffered injuries in a Philadelphia car accident, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Mattiacci Law, LLC. To arrange your free case review with our Philadelphia car accident lawyer, fill out our online form or call 215-709-7915 today.