How Texas Personal Injury Protection can help you
If you have been injured in a car or truck wreck, you can receive additional money from your insurance company if you purchased Texas Personal Injury Protection (PIP). You never expect to be in a car accident but if you unfortunately are, PIP is designed to make sure that you have money available to pay for your medical care and lost wages. Under Texas law, every driver automatically has $2,500 in Texas Personal Injury Protection benefits available unless he or she has specifically rejected it in writing. Many people have it and don’t know it so they leave a lot of money on the table when they are settling their insurance claims. This post will answer your questions about
- How PIP works;
- How much PIP can pay you;
- Who can file on PIP; and
- How you can recover PIP benefits even if you did not purchase it
We wanted to write about this important topic because yesterday we obtained a large settlement for our client, after obtaining his $10,000 PIP policy, then reduced his medical bills to make sure he maxed out his settlement funds.
How to get PIP payments: Texas law requires that any new policy ask if the applicant wants to purchase PIP and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists benefits. Many people elect to purchase the minimum amount available of $2,500 per person. Higher limits are available.
Berenson Injury Law strongly recommends that all drivers have at least the basic amount of coverage. That $2,500 per injured person will come in handy should you need it.
You should contact your insurance company and tell them you are filing a PIP claim within six months of the crash.
You will fill out a lot of paperwork. There is an application to file and medical reports and bills, and lost wage verification that have to be submitted. After receiving these documents, your company has 30 days to pay the claim.
Tip: Even if you did not purchase PIP, ask that your insurance company produce your written rejection. If it cannot do so, it has to pay you up to the maximum amount of $2,500.00 if your medical bills pass their audit. The company may claim that it is researching your file or is working on your case and never reply again. We are often successful at getting PIP benefits for our clients when their company cannot produce a rejection.
What PIP pays for:
- medical bills that your company determines to be reasonable and necessary after your car wreck. This includes the ambulance, emergency room, X-Rays, CT-scans, MRIs, and other diagnostic testing, doctor visits, wheelchairs and crutches, surgeries, rehabilitation and physical therapy, cognitive therapy, counseling, prescriptions and funeral bills;
- 80% of your lost income; and
- reasonable household expenses paid to others, e.g. nursing care, babysitters and mowing companies.
How PIP works: Here’s an example. You are taken by ambulance (and later charged $1,500) to the hospital ($1,200) and its emergency room department ($800) takes x-rays which are read ($200) for a first day total of $3,700 and often far more. You treat with your family doctor, who might refer you to a chiropractor or specialist or physical therapist ($2,500 – $5,000 and often higher). You can’t perform your job and lose $500 for a week lost. You are already out at least $7,000.
You can file on your PIP, in addition to your health insurance, the other driver’s liability insurance, and other sources depending on the facts of your case.
You have three years to file a claim under a PIP policy. Sometimes, an insurance carrier does not pay. Or it may say it needs additional medical records and information to stall you. We log in each claim submitted and payment made and hold these companies accountable when they do not timely pay.
Tips: Keep a separate file with all medical bill receipts, medical records including when a doctor keeps you off from your job, and lost wage information. Be careful of signing “assignment of benefits” forms so doctors file on PIP. Carefully note which bills were incurred, submitted, and paid.
- The insurance policyholder and family members injured in a vehicle crash or as pedestrians;
- Any authorized driver of the policyholder’s insured vehicle; and
- All passengers
This helps you because other people riding in your vehicle are often hurt and will have their own medical bills and lost wages. We often see payments of $2,500 X 4 or even more paid.
Who has to repay PIP: No one, unlike the cheaper Medical Payments benefits and with most health insurance plans. There, after you recover money from the at-fault driver’s and possibly other policies, there is subrogation (reimbursement).
Tip: Check your policy online or call your agent to see if you have MedPay and if so, change that to PIP benefits. The cost difference is negligible.
Who needs PIP: Everyone. After you are injured in a car accident in Texas, you will most likely have expensive medical bills to pay and lose money from your job. You will need to file a claim or lawsuit against the other driver who was at fault, but that will take months or even several years to resolve. Your health insurance company may or may pay for medical bills and will often take time deciding what to do.
Tip: If you have PIP, don’t hesitate to file on it.
Should I hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to handle my PIP claim in North Texas?
It is not required but it is often a good idea, depending on your crash and your injuries. While filing a PIP claim may seem easy enough that you can do it yourself, if you have a case against another driver or company that could be contested or your injuries are ongoing, a good car accident lawyer can handle all aspects of your case and allow you to focus on recovering from your injuries.
In addition, PIP benefits do not cover all of your expenses after your car or truck collision. If another driver caused the wreck, you will have to make a claim and possibly file a lawsuit against him or her, and you probably don’t know the mechanics of doing that. A personal injury attorney will recover all of your money and damages lost, including those that are not paid by PIP.
Some companies have a reputation of denying or delaying payments. When they find out that you have an aggressive injury lawyer, they will pay faster. If they don’t, your lawyer can discuss filing a lawsuit against the company to make sure you are compensated.
Berenson Injury Law automatically files PIP claims as a basic service to its clients, often for free so that our clients and their doctors can get paid quickly.
We only handle car, truck, 18-wheeler, motorcycle, and pedestrian crash cases and know how valuable Texas PIP benefits can be.
Please contact our office by calling 1-888-801-8585 to schedule a free meeting to discuss your car or truck crash.