What You Don’t Know Now About No-Fault—Personal Injury Protection (PIP)—Auto Insurance Can Hurt You Later
When you’ve been injured in a Minnesota car accident, handling the complex and confusing claims process can be baffling and overwhelming. Fortunately, Minnesota is one of 12 states along with Puerto Rico that require licensed vehicles to carry no-fault “Personal Injury Protection” (PIP) insurance. For those injured in a car accident, their medical expenses are covered by their own insurance company through no-fault insurance. But most policyholders don’t know what it does and doesn’t cover or the requirements for filing a claim. Not knowing the facts could leave you with huge bills and expenses.
It’s usual to be confused by Minnesota’s personal injury and auto insurance laws. It’s also not unusual that when you’ve been in a car accident to not know what you’re entitled to receive. Although you’ve always paid your premiums, your own insurance company is in the business to make money, not lose it. To protect their profitability, they will likely try to pay you as little as possible. If you accept the first settlement they offer, you may have difficulty being able to hold the at-fault driver accountable for your losses in the future. So, understanding Minnesota’s car accident and personal injury laws can make it easier to handle your claims process.
As you can see, it’s critical to know just what no-fault insurance is and isn’t. This article explains PIP’s complicated and confusing terms in simple language.
No-Fault Insurance Covers These Expenses No Matter Who Is At Fault
Also known as “Personal Injury Protection” (PIP), when you or passengers are injured in your vehicle, no-fault coverage (up to the limit of the policy) pays a multitude of costs, including:
- Medical bills
- Health insurance deductibles
- Ambulance transportation cost
- Emergency room treatment
- Laboratory tests
- Prescription drugs
- Private duty nursing
- A percentage of lost wages if the accident rendered you or passengers unable to work
- “Replacement services” including house cleaning/chores you are too injured to perform
- Fatality related expenses such as funeral costs
- Car mileage for transportation to and from medical appointments
Besides the devastation of being injured in an auto accident and the resultant medical expenses, your distress can be exacerbated by other financial worries. When you should be focused on healing, the stress you feel about how you’re going to cover costs such as your mortgage or rent, utilities, groceries, phone, child care, and other typical expenses which can make healing more challenging.
To Alleviate Some of Your Financial Concerns, Here Are the Wage Benefits That Can Help with Non-Medical Costs
To relieve you of money worries, it’s crucial that you know that if you, or your passenger(s), are unable to work because of accident-related injuries, no-fault coverage will pay you 85% of your gross income, typically up to a maximum of $500.00 per week. For a self-employed person injured in a car accident, no-fault benefits include the wages necessary to pay a substitute worker to handle your responsibilities. Some policies provide for higher benefit levels. You will want t o make sure that someone experienced can review your policy to make sure you are receiving all of the benefits that you are entitled to receive.
$40,000 for “No-Fault” Coverage Per Person, Per Accident is the Minimum Required
It’s important to know the minimum PIP vehicle insurance dollar amount for coverage required by Minnesota state law. In Minnesota, the minimum PIP coverage is $40,000 per person in your vehicle who was injured by the accident. The breakdown of that $40,000 is allocated between $20,000 for medical costs; the other $20,000 may cover non-medical expenses such as wage losses. You have the right to purchase more than the minimum $40,000 mandated by Minnesota law.
What Happens if the Accident Caused Expenses and Losses That Aren’t Covered By PIP?
No-fault coverage does not mean that insurance companies will cover all losses in an accident regardless of who is at fault. For instance, PIP doesn’t usually cover motorcycle or snowmobile accidents in Minnesota. For these vehicle accidents, a separate insurance policy must be purchased. Also, no-fault insurance does not cover property damage or pain and suffering.
No-Fault Coverage Is Separate from A Liability Claim
If your medical expenses and other costs exceed your no-fault coverage, it’s vitally important that you have additional coverage. When the other driver is at fault for your accident, and your no-fault policy doesn’t cover “pain and suffering” and other non-economic losses, it may be necessary to file a liability claim against the other driver.
The Time Limit and Requirements for Filing A No-Fault Claim Are Strict
A claim must be made within six months of the accident, but it’s best if you contact your insurance company immediately. Along with completing the benefit’s application, documentation of your medical and other expenses must be provided. If your insurance company requests a medical examination, you will likely have to submit to it. Also, your other accident-related bills should be provided to your insurance company as they arrive.
While this article probably doesn’t answer all your questions about Minnesota’s no-fault insurance, the Minnesota attorneys at Sieben Edmunds Miller can further explain and help you maneuver through the claims process.
It’s Easy to Speak to Us So You Can Get the Financial Help You Need
Our compassionate, friendly attorneys stand ready to listen to what happened. Just pick up your phone and call 651.323.2464. Or send us a note on our message pad. We answer our phones and respond to messages promptly.
We look forward to answering all your at-fault and personal injury questions and concerns!