This is one of the most common questions after a Philadelphia car accident that results in injuries, whether you’re an innocent driver, passenger or pedestrian or you’re the at-fault party. The answer is that for the vast majority of Philadelphia residents who’re injured in a car accident, their OWN car insurance policy will pay for the first $5,000 of medical bills. $5,000 is the minimum amount required by Pennsylvania law, under a special type of coverage known as PIP (Personal Injury Protection). Many PA residents purchase more PIP coverage on their policies.
Under Pennsylvania car insurance law, the PA Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, every car insurance policy issued in this state must provide PIP benefits to the insured and members of their household (spouse and children/dependents). The PIP coverage amount (minimum of $5,000) applies per person, per accident. It also applies to any type of auto accident including car versus car/truck, car versus pedestrian or car versus bicycle.
PIP coverage is required to be available without regard to fault. If you’re injured, you make a PIP claim for medical bills under your OWN insurance policy. This tends to be counter-intuitive for people who are injured in accidents caused by another driver. Why shouldn’t the at-fault driver pay for the medical bills that resulted from their own negligence? It’s a common question and it certainly feels fair for the at-fault driver to have to pay for medical expenses incurred by innocent victims.
However, PIP law in Pennsylvania doesn’t take sense of fairness into account. PA is a no-fault state with respect to the payment of medical bills (and lost wages, if applicable) under PIP coverage. The at-fault driver doesn’t pay directly for the PIP benefits paid out to the innocent victims.
Instead, the victims retain the ability to sue the at-fault driver for the injuries and damages in court. One of those damages is the financial damages caused by the accident. An auto accident victim can file a legal claim to recover medical bills, lost wages and out of pocket/miscellaneous expenses that were incurred after PIP coverage exhausted.
It’s important to note that there are limitations to an injured Philadelphia resident’s ability to seek pain and suffering damages, depending on the situation. See discussion of limited tort law in PA and how it affects an injured victim’s ability to get financially compensated after a car accident.
Making PIP claims after a car accident in Philadelphia requires notification to your insurance company and a PIP claim form. Failure to notify your insurance company and provide the necessary forms may result in delay or denial of the PIP claim. Read more about PIP claims after a car accident in Philadelphia.
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