Car Crash with Responding ParamedicsIf you’re injured in a car accident,* your immediate concerns are probably medical bills that begin arriving in your mailbox and how they’ll be paid, as well as your lost wages, or how to pay for childcare if you usually care for your kids at home but now can’t.

Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, is meant to give all drivers a minimum level of insurance coverage, regardless of who was at fault. You can make a PIP claim even if you caused the accident. Minnesota requires auto policies to include a total of $40,000 in Personal Injury Protection, also called No Fault insurance. Some carriers, however, do offer more than the minimum PIP coverage for a somewhat higher premium. Minimum PIP coverage pays for your medical bills (up to $20,000), plus wage losses and other expenses (up to $20,000). Regardless of who was at fault in the accident, your own auto insurance pays your PIP claims. And, if you insure more than one car with the same company, you may be able to stack PIP coverage (i.e., add one car’s policy coverage to the other) if you have had the foresight or followed the advice of your agent to do so for a small increase in premiums.

Personal Injury Protection insurance covers:

  • Medical bills
  • Wage loss benefits equal to 85% of your income, up to $500 per week (whichever is less)
  • Retraining, if you can’t return to your job because of your injuries
  • Payments to people you must hire to do housework, snow shoveling, or lawn mowing
  • Death benefits to survivors, as well as funeral and burial expenses if a loved one dies
  • New expenses incurred by survivors when a loved one dies, such as child care if the deceased was the primary caregiver

Unfortunately, there are some occasions when your own insurance company refuses to pay your medical bills or wage losses. This typically starts with a letter from your insurer asking you to see a doctor of its choice for what is called an “independent medical exam” (IME). All too often, however, an IME is anything but independent. It is usually the first step your insurance company has to take towards ending payments for medical bills or lost wages. A personal injury attorney can help you with a PIP claim against your own insurance company.

You may be entitled to PIP coverage even if you don’t own a car. If you are a passenger, or have borrowed a friend’s vehicle, you can make a claim to the No Fault insurance for that vehicle. If you live with a relative who owns a motor vehicle, then you are entitled to receive PIP benefits from your relative’s auto insurance if you have none of your own.

PIP coverage extends to drivers and their passengers from states that don’t have PIP coverage from their own insurers or whose states require less PIP benefits than are required by Minnesota law, as long as the insurer of the out-of-state car is licensed to do business in Minnesota. If licensed to do business in this state, Minnesota law requires that it provide standard Minnesota PIP coverage.

Finally, a PIP claim can be made by pedestrians or bicyclists who are injured by a vehicle. You don’t have to be driving, or even in a car, for your No Fault insurance to protect you. If you have car insurance, your PIP policy covers you if you are hit by a motor vehicle and injured while walking or riding your bicycle. If you have no PIP, under your own or a resident relative’s coverage, then the PIP coverage of the vehicle that struck you must pay PIP coverage on your behalf.

If you have been injured in a car accident or have questions about No Fault insurance claims, call our office today. Our firm has recovered more than $125 million on behalf of victims and we are ready to assist you.

Besides Rochester, we serve the following major southeast Minnesota cities: Red Wing, Winona, Mankato, Austin, Albert Lea, and Owatonna, and all outlying communities, as well as the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Bloomington. We also serve the Iowa cities of Mason City, Charles City, Osage, Spencer, Garner, Forest City, and Northwood and the Wisconsin cities of La Crosse, Onalaska, Sparta, Viroqua, River Falls, Ellsworth, Whitehall, and Black River Falls.

*A note about language:

Federal agencies involved in traffic safety have banned use of the word “accident” for more than 20 years, and with good reason. However, we use the word “accident” on our website, even though we know it has implications that run contrary to our professional thinking and training, because we recognize that “accident” is the word most commonly used in online searches when people are looking for help after being injured in a crash. If you’d like more information about this topic, please see our blog, “Car Accident or Car Crash?”