Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is usually a feature of auto insurance in “no-fault” states. There, drivers must file with their own insurance rather than filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. While Maryland is an at-fault state, drivers can still get PIP insurance, potentially giving them greater protection in case of an accident.
In general, PIP must be accepted or waived – and there are various rules about how to waive PIP and when you can waive PIP. In any case, if you do have PIP coverage, it will protect you, anyone in your household, any passengers in your vehicles, and any pedestrians you hit while driving.
For a free car accident case review, call the Maryland car accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.
What Does Personal Injury Protection Insurance Cover in a Maryland Auto Insurance Policy?
PIP coverage is designed to get you payments to cover medical bills and lost wages after a crash. When you are injured, you usually sue the at-fault party and get coverage from their insurance – but that can be difficult. Because the defendant does not want to pay – and their insurance company does not want to pay – you will often need to fight an uphill battle to get coverage out of them. With PIP, you can get some benefits paid to you without the need to fight to prove fault first.
PIP insurance policies in Maryland start with $2,500 worth of coverage, but you can pay for additional coverage. This insurance covers three major areas of damages:
Any “reasonable and necessary” bills for medical care should be covered by PIP as long as the treatment takes place within 3 years of the accident in question. This coincides with the statute of limitations in Maryland – the outside limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit for an injury.
Under Md. Code, Ins. Art., § 19-505(b)(2)(i), these benefits should cover things like ambulance rides, surgeries, hospital care, and other listed services. The terms of your particular policy will be more specific about what your policy covers, as this law only states the minimum requirements.
85% of Lost Income
Your PIP coverage will also provide disability benefits to cover up to 85% of any lost income. Under subsection (b)(1) of the same statute, “income” is defined to include wages, farm earnings, commissions, and other earnings, as well as the fair value of any property or services paid in lieu of cash wages. Subsection (b)(2)(ii) limits lost wages to only those incurred within 3 years of the accident and only for people who were actually working when the accident occurred.
Services for Non-Earners
Since lost income benefits are only paid to people who were actually working, you might think that that means you cannot get benefits if you were not working. Lost wages help cover the cost of household services and other things you need to pay for during your recovery – but if you don’t work, your PIP covers those services directly instead.
Under subsection (b)(2)(iii), homemakers and non-earners can get compensation for household services and other expenses they now need to pay for. Again, this is limited to the damages incurred within 3 years of the crash.
Who is Covered by PIP Insurance in Maryland?
When you pay for a PIP policy, you cover more than just yourself. Subsections (a)(1)-(3) of § 19-505 state that the following people are all covered by a PIP policy: you, any family members in your household, anyone driving your car with permission, any passengers or guests in your car, pedestrians, anyone in/on or getting into/out of a human-powered or animal-powered vehicle. That last item is a bit odd but would cover anyone on a bicycle or horse-drawn vehicle (like a buggy, tourist carriage, or hayride).
Note that this coverage applies to you and any family members in your household. This is usually meant to cover a spouse, parents, children, and teen drivers. Because the policy specifically says “family,” it will not usually extend to roommates or unmarried dating partners driving their own cars, so make sure to speak with an Annapolis personal injury lawyer or an insurance agent about who is actually covered on your policy.
There are also some parties that do not get covered under PIP, and it is up to the insurance company to block coverage if they want to. Usually, this applies only to someone who did something wrong or is out of state. Under Md. Code, Transp. Art., § 19-505(c)(1), benefits can be blocked for drivers who cause a crash intentionally, pedestrians who don’t live in Maryland that you hit while driving in another state, drivers of a stolen vehicle, drivers committing a felony, and drivers and passengers in an uninsured vehicle.
PIP for Motorcycles and Scooters in Maryland
Coverage might be different for motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds, so check what your insurance policy covers. Section 19-505(c)(2) allows insurance companies to deny personal injury protection coverage for motorcycles, so many insurance companies don’t cover motorcycles. This is primarily because motorcycles are seen as riskier vehicles, and insurance companies do not want to take on that enhanced risk.
However, mopeds and scooters can often be driven with a normal driver’s license instead of a motorcycle license, and they often have speed limiters. Check with your insurance policy to see if mopeds, scooters, autocycles, and other similar vehicles are covered under your PIP policy.
PIP For Bikes and Non-Electric Scooters in Maryland
Operators and passengers of muscle-powered vehicles like bikes and non-electric scooters are often covered by the PIP policy for the driver who hit them.
Can You Waive PIP in Maryland?
Paying for PIP means you get coverage for your injuries right away without having to go through the other driver’s insurance. However, it is more expensive to have PIP coverage on your auto policy. As such, you can waive PIP in most cases, but there are limitations. Speak with an Ocean City personal injury lawyer for help.
Insurance companies cannot use your refusal to waive PIP coverage against you when deciding whether or not to issue you the rest of your car insurance policy.
Full vs. Limited PIP in Maryland
In addition to waiving PIP, you also have a choice between “full” and “limited” PIP. When you get full PIP coverage on your policy, it covers you and everyone else discussed above in the accident, whereas “limited” PIP covers only minor children in your household and people outside your household that would be covered (e.g., cyclists and pedestrians).
Be careful when waiving PIP or choosing limited PIP because it prevents you from getting coverage under other PIP policies as well, such as when you are hit as a pedestrian. Electing limited PIP should not prevent other drivers in your household from getting PIP coverage on their own policy, such as an adult child who lives with you and wants to pay for PIP on their own insurance policy.
Call Our Maryland Car Accident Lawyers Today
For help with a car accident case, contact the Aberdeen car accident attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras by dialing (410) 694-7291.