What Is Personal Injury Protection Insurance in Pennsylvania and New Jersey?
Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP) in PA and NJ
Personal Injury Protection insurance – also known as PIP – is no-fault insurance coverage that pays the costs associated with medical expenses that result from a car accident. PIP covers medical costs even for people who do not have health insurance. PIP may not cover other expenses, such as damage to your car or lost wages, depending on how much coverage you have.
Does the State I Live in Require Personal Injury Protection Insurance?
Both New Jersey and Pennsylvania require car owners to carry personal injury protection insurance coverage. These are "no-fault" states, so your PIP policy will cover your medical expenses regardless of who was at fault for your accident. Most PIP policies have both a minimum (about $5000) and a maximum limit on coverage (around $25,000). It is illegal in these states to operate a car without carrying PIP insurance. However, PIP is not required for the operation of a motorcycle or other motorized vehicle.
The fact that motorcycle operators are not required to carry PIP is distressing. Motorcycle accidents result in serious bodily injury, brain injury, and death far more often than car accidents. If you are involved in a motorcycle, recreational vehicle, or skimobile accident, speak to an injury attorney about your right to compensation for your injuries.
What If I am Injured in a Car Accident in PA or NJ?
If you are injured in a car accident, you may have expenses that result from treatment for your injuries. Your personal injury protection insurance policy will cover your initial medical expenses (to a limit), after which your health insurance policy will kick in. This is true for anyone involved in the accident, regardless of fault. Your PIP policy may or may not cover damage to your car and other expenses you incur while you are recovering from your auto accident.
Unanticipated Expenses from an Accident
PIP covers costs associated with your accident, including ambulance fees, emergency room visits, inpatient hospital stays, surgeries, and rehabilitation. However, there may be additional costs that you have not considered. These may include:
- The cost of repairs to your car, or the cost of a new car
- Lost wages – if your injuries are serious, you might require a prolonged period of recovery that exceeds your paid sick leave
- Childcare and household assistance – if you are the primary caregiver for your children, you might need to hire help while you recover
- Emotional pain and suffering
Your PIP Might Not Cover Trauma
There is a great deal of evidence today that trauma can continue to interfere with your physical and mental health long after the traumatic event has passed. Emotional and psychological trauma can cause long-term suffering, known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
PTSD can manifest as substance abuse issues, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, and fatigue. Some people with PTSD develop an aversion to doctors, and this can cause complications to their health. In more serious cases, PTSD can cause flashbacks, nightmares, and hallucinations. According to American Psychological Association, motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of PTSD since the Vietnam War. PTSD is a complex condition that could require extensive treatment.
Even if your personal protection insurance covers the treatment you require immediately following an accident, symptoms that appear weeks, months, even years after may not be covered. In addition, the crippling symptoms of PTSD can make navigating appointments and insurance claims very difficult.
Another scenario that could exceed your PIP benefits is a traumatic brain injury. TBI -- the most common serious injury resulting from auto accidents -- nearly always requires long-term treatment and rehabilitation. It is possible that your need for extensive treatment related to TBI will quickly exceed your insurance policy’s limit.
How Can I Get Compensation for My Accident in PA or NJ?
Your personal injury protection insurance coverage might be sufficient to offset all of the expenses that result from your car accident. If not, you can still file a personal injury claim with an attorney. In order to maximize the chances that you will receive compensation, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will make sure you are receiving the care you need and will remind you to request copies of your hospital records, police report, and any photos that were taken at the scene of the accident.
To File a Claim, Call a Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney
The minutes, days, and weeks following a car accident can be scary and confusing, but the information you gather and preserve can determine your financial future. A Philadelphia personal injury attorney can help you sort out all of the details of your case and file a lawsuit on your behalf. You may be entitled to monetary compensation that will help you get back on your feet. Contact us today for a free consultation. At Mattiacci Law, LLC, we are always available to take your call, and you pay nothing until we win your case.