What Is Personal Injury Protection and What Does It Cover?

Personal injury protection insurance, also known as PIP insurance, is a mandatory type of auto insurance in no-fault states. It is a kind of first-party insurance coverage, meaning it pays for the expenses of the policyholder rather than a third party after an auto accident. Only certain states require personal injury protection insurance. Find out if and when personal injury protection coverage may impact your car accident claim in Kansas City, Missouri.

Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Cover Medical Bills?

Yes, personal injury protection insurance covers your medical bills after an auto accident. Regardless of who caused the crash – including if you were at fault or if you were the only driver involved in the crash – your own PIP insurance will pay for your past and future medical costs, up to your policy’s coverage limit. Coverage for medical expenses can pay for:

  • Ambulance fees
  • Hospital stays
  • Time spent in an ICU
  • Diagnostic services, such as x-rays
  • Emergency surgeries and other treatments
  • Specialists
  • Travel costs to see a doctor
  • Dental and optometric treatment
  • Medications and prescriptions
  • Medical devices and prosthetics
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Live-in care

In addition to medical bills, PIP insurance can also cover lost wages if you are unable to work due to your car accident. If a crash causes the death of a loved one, PIP insurance can also help pay for funeral expenses. Finally, personal injury protection insurance can pay for substitute household services in some cases, such as cleaning your home, if you are unable to fulfill these tasks yourself due to your injury.

PIP insurance does not cover injuries to others injured in an auto accident, other than passengers in your vehicle. Only bodily injury liability insurance covers victims outside of your vehicle. PIP coverage also does not pay for property damage to your vehicle or other people’s property. You would need collision or comprehensive car insurance to cover these damages using a first-party claim.

How Much Is the Average Personal Injury Protection Settlement?

This answer depends on the facts and details specific to the car accident case. The value of a PIP insurance settlement is based on factors such as the severity of the victim’s injury, the cost of medical expenses, permanent debilitation and more. It also depends on the coverage limits, as PIP insurance will not pay for damages that exceed the maximum amount on the policy.

A victim may be able to obtain a greater sum for his or her auto accident injuries with a third-party insurance claim against another driver, such as a driver who carelessly or recklessly caused the crash. In this case, the other driver’s insurance company can supplement the victim’s personal injury protection insurance to fully reimburse the victim for losses.

If the driver lives in a no-fault insurance state that requires PIP insurance, however, he or she can most likely only file a third-party claim if the driver suffered serious bodily injuries. The injuries must be severe enough to meet the state’s serious injury threshold before filing a fault-based claim outside of the PIP insurance system.

Is Personal Injury Protection Required in Missouri?

Currently, 17 states require personal injury protection insurance. In five states and the District of Columbia, PIP is available but not a required type of insurance. Missouri is not a state that requires PIP insurance. It is a fault-based state that does not require its drivers to seek coverage from their own insurance providers if someone else is at fault.

If you get into a car accident in Missouri, you will have the right to seek financial compensation from the liability insurance coverage of the at-fault driver. If you caused the accident, however, or the other driver does not have insurance, you will need to turn to your own provider for coverage. A car accident attorney in Missouri can help you with your claim.