Every state has an insurance code that regulates auto insurance. Part of that code tells the insurance companies what kind of and how much of certain coverage must be provided. Some coverage is mandatory, and some is not. Sometimes, the coverage is optional. It must be offered to the motorist, but it does not have to be accepted. Washington has this kind of coverage for Personal Injury Protection benefits.
Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, is a no fault medical and disability coverage. "No fault" means that you do not have to prove fault or negligence in order to obtain benefits. You might even be at fault. You do have to show that you were injured, and that the injuries occurred as a result of using the vehicle covered by the policy. You also have to show that there is relationship to the medical care or disability and the collision.
There are four classes of people that may be covered under PIP in Washington: the named insured, a relative that lives with the insured, someone using the car with the insured's permission, and pedestrians struck by the insured's vehicle.
If a motorist does choose to obtain PIP coverage, there are minimum coverage amounts. Minimum medical coverage is $10,000.00 up to three years from the date of the collision. The medical expenses must be for necessary and related medical care. This may be an issue with the PIP carrier.
Income loss, or disability coverage provides for payment 85% of the injured party's average weekly wage, up to $200.00 per week, but the cap on overall benefits is $10,000.00. A Washington motorist can buy up to $35,000.00 in lost income coverage, with a $700 per week benefit. The 85% percent of average weekly wage includes all other income loss benefits, like a private disability plan, or workers compensation. The payments do not begin until the injured person has been disabled from their job for at least two weeks. Benefits stop 54 weeks after the collision.
Washington PIP also provides coverage for "loss of services." which is payment for services that the insured would perform herself without payment, like chores around the house. Unless the policy provides otherwise, family members cannot receive this benefit. The required coverage provides for $200.00 a week, with an overall cap of $5,000.00.
If you find yourself injured in a Washington collision with no PIP coverage, you will want to confirm that the coverage was offered by your agent or insurance company. If there is no proof of the coverage, the insurance company may be required to provide the coverage.
If you were injured in a collision because of someone else's carelessness, than you have a claim against the other driver's insurance carrier. You may, however, have to reimburse your PIP carrier for the benefits it provided to you as a result of your injury.
If you have any other questions about a Washington auto collision claim, call us at 503-325-8600. We help people with these issues every day.