PIP coverage in Maryland is available more often than the insurance companies want you to believe.
The purpose of this page is to explain how PIP insurance works in Maryland if you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident and to help you get PIP if you need it. Most likely, you can get more out of your PIP claim than your insurance company -- or the at-fault driver's insurance company -- wants you to think.What Exactly is PIP Insurance?
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is an auto insurance coverage for lost wages, medical bills and other expenses that can result from personal injuries suffered in a Maryland auto accident.
One of the unique things about this insurance is that it is not fault based (often called "no fault insurance"). These benefits cover your out-of-pocket losses from your accident regardless of who caused the crash. Maryland’s highest court says the purpose of this coverage is assuring “financial compensation to victims of motor vehicle accidents without regard to the fault of the named insured.” So it compensates both innocent victims and the at-fault driver.Seven Categories of Covered Individuals
Under Maryland's statute - Maryland Insurance Code Section 19-505(a) - there are seven categories of coverage: the insured, guests in the insured vehicle, the insured's family members that live in the insured’s household, permissive users, passengers in the car, and injured pedestrians may be covered by the insured vehicle's coverage.Waiving PIP
Our law firm assists our clients with their PIP application and property damage claims for our clients at no charge.
Maryland law does not require PIP coverage on auto policies, but insurance companies must offer the coverage when you buy an auto insurance policy. If you do not wish to have it, you can reject it in writing by executing a waiver.
The mere fact that you were not paying for the coverage does not constitute a waiver of the coverage. If the insurer indicates that your no-fault coverage was waived, make sure that you or your counsel requests a copy of the waiver. In 2013, you can waive this insurance electronically if that is how you signed your application but, otherwise, it must be in writing.
A waiver is not required for government-owned vehicles, taxi cabs, buses, and motorcycles.Example of How PIP Works
This no-fault coverage is very advantageous when you are injured in a car accident in Maryland because it essentially allows you to recover twice for your medical bills and lost wages. For example, let’s assume that you have $20,000 in medical bills and $20,000 in PIP coverage with GEICO as the result of the negligence of an Allstate driver. Your no-fault coverage with GEICO will pay all of your medical bills. Yet you can still collect from Allstate for the same medical bills (and of course for your pain and suffering). This double collection is possible under the collateral source rule.Deadline to File Personal Injury Protection Claim
It is important to remember that Maryland law (Insurance Code Section 19-508) allows insurers to set a one-year "statute of limitations" as the time in which a no-fault claim must be brought from the date of the accident. If your lawyer makes a claim on your behalf after the 12-month period, he or she may be ineligible for these benefits.Questions and Answers About PIP
Question: I was a passenger in my friend's vehicle. He does not have PIP. I don't have any either. Can I still make a PIP claim on my friend's policy?
Answer: Yes. You can waive the coverage for yourself, others named or listed on the insurance policy and for resident relatives who are 16 years old or older. But your friend cannot waive it for other passengers, pedestrians, or kids under 16 years-old.
Question: In a pedestrian accident, which PIP coverage is primary?
Answer: The striking driver's PIP coverage is primary. If two vehicles caused or contributed to the collision, the pedestrian can get PIP from both vehicles. The total amount of coverage which is the largest no-fault policy of the two vehicles.
Question: Can my insurance company increase my premiums because I made a PIP claim if I was not the at-fault driver?
Answer: This is a very common concern. As of 2010, insurers can no longer add on surcharges or re-rate an insured because of a PIP claim for drivers who did not negligently cause the crash.
Question: How much PIP do I have?
Answer: The minimum in Maryland is $2,500. Sadly, that is the amount that most of us have. But some have personal injury protection policies as high as $20,000, and if you are insured in another state, your policy may provide even more. The amount will be listed on the insurance policy on the vehicle in the collision.
Question: What do I use first, my health insurance or my at-fault insurance?
Answer: PIP comes before health insurance. But, you are often better off, for many reasons, getting your lost wages paid to you first before you submit your medical bills. Why? If you are out of work, you need the money you have lost sooner rather than later.
Question: I have a PIP and an uninsured motorist claim? The insurer is telling me they don't have to pay the medical bills and lost wages twice. Is that true?
Answer: No. While many adjusters may believe this, it is not Maryland law.
Question: How long do I have to make a no-fault claim?
Answer: One year from the accident.
Question: How do I appeal a denial of benefits?
Answer: You file a lawsuit against the insurer.
Question: Assuming I make a timely claim, how long can I get treatment that may be covered by my personal injury protection?
Answer: 3 years.
Question: Can an excluded driver make a PIP claim?
Answer: The excluded driver can make a claim as a passenger but not as the driver.
Question: Can I get lost wages if I was not working at the time of the crash but was looking for employment?
Answer: Generally, no. The law provides for lost wage benefits for victims who were "earning or producing income" at the time of the incident. If you are on a sabbatical, FMLA, or were looking for work, you are going to find a hard time getting paid for lost wages. That said, read the policy because every carrier is different.
Question: My car was smashed in Virginia, but I am a Maryland resident. Where do I make my claim for benefits?
Answers: PIP is contractual, so coverage generally follows the residency of the policyholder.
Question: Can I make a PIP claim without hiring counsel?
Answers: As a practical matter, it makes no sense to hire a lawyer to make these claims unless you have an enormous policy. If you are not culpable for the crash, most experienced attorneys will not charge any fee for processing your PIP application.Maryland PIP Appellate Cases
Our appellate courts interpret the major laws that govern no-fault insurance in Maryland. Here are a some of the key PIP cases:
- Nasseri v. GEICO, 390 Md. 188 (2005): Montgomery County case where the Maryland Court of Appeals looked at a plaintiff who was in a crash driving a taxi. The taxi's insurance did not have PIP. The Maryland high court found that the plaintiff could submit a PIP claim to the insurer of his personal vehicle under § 19-513(d) of the Maryland Insurance Article.
- Bishop v. State Farm, 360 Md. 225 (1998): Victim injured while a passenger in a Queen Anne's County. The driver had a $10,000 PIP policy with State Farm. The court required PIP payments because State Farm was the insurer of the motor vehicle involved in the accident even though MAIF had already paid him $2,500 (which must be returned).
If you are at fault for your accident, we hope we were able to help you make your personal injury protection claim with the information provided here.
If you are hurt and are suffering from a car crash and you were not responsible, we can help you. Call 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Applications
- Get more information on dealing with Allstate in these cases
- Get more information on dealing with Erie in these cases
- Get more information on dealing with GEICO in these cases)
- Mutual Benefit Group
- Get more information on dealing with Nationwide on these claims
- Get more information on dealing with Progressive on these claims
- Get more information on dealing with USAA on these claims
Note: State Farm no longer has personal injury protection applications, at least in Maryland... but get more information on how do deal with unsympathetic companyMore Information
- Get an overview of Maryland vehicle crash claims: learn what's in store for you and, frankly, listen to us brag about our incredible history of getting our client's compensated
- Asking for Damages Learn how to send out a demand letter in car crash claims in Maryland.
- Sample PIP Denial Letter
- Pedestrian Get No -Fault Insurance Too: Pedestrians in Maryland can get fault-free benefits from the car that hit them)
- Insurance Company Tricks: These companies have a lot of tricks to play on unsuspecting victims and unsuspecting lawyers. How to stop them when they try to take advantage of you.