Personal Injury Protection Benefits in Maryland
Personal Injury Protection Benefits is also known as PIP coverage in Maryland. It is no fault automobile insurance coverage which means that it can be used regardless of who is at fault in the car accident.
Nearly all automobile insurance policies sold in Maryland are required to have at least $2,500.00 of PIP coverage unless the purchaser of the insurance policy waives the PIP Coverage.
Personal Injury Protection coverage can be used for lost wages (it only pays 85% of lost wages), reasonable and necessary medical bills, and/or for funeral expenses.
PIP insurance covers the named insured on the insurance policy, family members of the named insured, permissive users of the named insured's vehicle, passengers in the vehicle, and any pedestrian who is struck by the insured vehicle. Therefore, the bottom line is that if you are injured in a car accident in Maryland, you probably have at least $2,500.00 of PIP coverage available to you. PIP coverage can be used regardless of whether or not you are at fault in the accident (it is called no fault coverage). Maryland PIP benefits must be applied for within 1 year of the accident.
What Are Your Personal Injury Protection Benefits in Maryland?
Once the initial application is filed and accepted, the PIP coverage can be used for medical bills and lost wages incurred for up to 3 years after the accident. Maryland PIP coverage is governed by Sections 19-505 through 19-508 of the Insurance Article of the Maryland Code. There are also numerous cases from the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and Maryland Court of Appeals that further define PIP benefits. Below are some frequently asked questions about Maryland Personal Injury Protection benefits:
- If I am injured as a passenger on a bus or taxicab in Maryland, am I entitled to PIP coverage?
- Busses and Taxis are not covered by PIP in Maryland. However, if you are injured on a bus or a taxicab, and you are insured under a different automobile policy, then you can make a personal injury protection claim under your own insurance policy. See Nasseri v. Geico, 390 Md. 188 (Md. 2005) in which the Maryland Court of Appeals explained that the driver of a taxicab could make a PIP claim under his personal GEICO policy even though there was no PIP coverage on the taxicab that he was driving. The language of the Insurance Article, as well as numerous opinions by this Court, make it clear that an insured, who has PIP coverage under a policy on the insured's motor vehicle, and who is injured in an accident while occupying a different motor vehicle owned by someone else, is ordinarily entitled to PIP coverage under the policy on the insured's vehicle. If the vehicle occupied by the insured also has PIP coverage, that coverage will be primary and the coverage under the policy on the insured's vehicle will be secondary.
- Would PIP coverage be available if I am injured on a motorcycle in Maryland?
- Probably not. Section 19-505 (c) (2) allows insurance companies to exclude PIP benefits for motorcycles. In our experience, Maryland PIP benefits are not usually available if you are injured in a motorcycle accident. However, if you are injured in a motorcycle accident in Maryland and the crash was not your fault, then we can represent you in making a claim against the driver(s) who were at fault for the crash.
- Under what circumstances can an insurance company exclude PIP coverage in Maryland?
- Maryland insurance companies can exclude PIP coverage for (i) intentionally caused accidents, (ii) non-resident pedestrians struck by the Maryland vehicle outside of Maryland, (iii) those injured in a stolen vehicle, (iv) those injured in a car while committing a felony, and (v) for the named insured and their family members if occupying an uninsured vehicle owned by the insured or his/her resident relatives. The allowable exclusions are set forth in Section 19-505 (c) of the Insurance Article of the Maryland Code.
- There is also no PIP coverage for taxicabs or busses in Maryland because they are not defined as motor vehicles for purposes of the PIP law. See Section 19-501 (a) (2).
- I am buying insurance and my agent says I can save some money by waiving my PIP coverage. Should I waive my PIP coverage?
- Absolutely not! Maryland's PIP law is there to protect consumers like you and you should never waive your PIP coverage. You will typically only save a few dollars on your car insurance, yet if you are involved in an accident, PIP provides very valuable protections. PIP waivers are governed by Section 19-506 of the Insurance Article of the Maryland Code. For a PIP waiver to be enforceable, it must be in writing on a specific form in 10 point bold face type provided by the Maryland Insurance Commissioner, and you must be given written notice of the nature extent and cost of the PIP coverage. The Maryland Legislature made if difficult for consumers to waive PIP coverage because it is coverage that is a good deal for Maryland citizens. DO NOT EVER WAIVE YOUR PIP COVERAGE OR UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE! In fact, if you can afford it you should purchase PIP coverage (or Med-pay Coverage) in excess of the $2,500.00 minimum limits. Most insurers will allow you to purchase at least $10,000.00 in PIP benefits for a very reasonable cost.
- If I make a Maryland Personal Injury Protection Claim (PIP Claim) and receive payment for my medical bills, can I still make a claim against the other driver's insurance company for my losses?
- Yes. This is one of the rare circumstances where Maryland law is favorable to the injured party. Maryland law allows for a double recovery up to the amount of your PIP benefits. Since Maryland PIP benefits are non-subrogable, if you are injured in a car accident in Maryland you can make a PIP claim and a claim against the other driver for your medical expenses and lost wages. Section 19-507 of the Insurance Article of the Maryland Code explains that PIP benefits are payable without regard to fault of the named insured and without regard to any collateral source of benefits.
- If I make a PIP Claim in Maryland, will my insurance rates go up?
- No. Maryland insurance companies are not supposed to increase your insurance rates if you make a PIP claim. Section 19-507 of the insurance article of the Maryland Code provides that insurance companies may not impose a surcharge for a claim or payment made for Personal Injury Protection Benefits in Maryland. We have heard of some rare occasions where insurance companies have tried to raise a person's rates for making a PIP claim. If this happens, the consumer should consider filing a complaint against the insurance company with the Maryland Insurance Administration. For more information about filing a complaint against a Maryland Insurance Company for improperly raising rates for making a PIP Claim, call 1-800-492-6116 x2340.
- If I am injured in a car accident in Maryland can I make a PIP Claim and a liability claim against the at fault driver?
- Yes. There is no prohibition in Maryland insurance policies against making a PIP Claim and a property damage or liability claim for Maryland car accidents. This is different than in Washington, D.C. For those individuals insured by D.C. policies, if a car accident happens in Washington, D.C. (or for uninsured motorist claims) if you make a PIP Claim you may very well be precluded from making a liability claim against the at fault driver.
- How Long Do I have to file a PIP Claim in Maryland?
- In Maryland, A PIP Application must be filed within one year of the date of the accident. Once the Maryland Personal Injury Protection Claim is filed and set up, it will pay allowable benefits incurred for up to 3 years after the date of the accident. It is a good idea to get your Maryland PIP Application filed as soon as possible after an accident.
Not Sure If You Have A Claim? Contact Goldberg Finnegan Today
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