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Personal Injury Basics, Part 1: PIP

Every profession has its alphabet soup of acronyms, and personal injury attorneys are certainly no exception to that rule. Today we will be talking about one of the terms most frequently used by accident lawyers, doctors, and insurance company claims representatives when they talk about drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians involved in auto accidents: that word is PIP.

What is PIP?

If you have ever been injured in an auto accident, chances are you are familiar with the term PIP. You know that we’re not talking about a Dickensian protagonist or a feature on your television, PIP is short for Personal Injury Protection. PIP is a component of your car insurance policy that provides coverage of reasonable and necessary medical and dental expenses in the event that you are injured in an accident involving an automobile. That means that whether you are a driver or a passenger, in your car or a friend’s, on a bicycle or on foot, whether or not the accident was your fault, PIP insurance can come into play. Not only will PIP cover your medical bills, but it also provides for reimbursement of lost wages and essential services performed by another person on your behalf.

Sounds Pretty Good, How Can I Get PIP?

Chances are you already have it. Oregon law requires a minimum coverage level of $15,000 per person; many people choose policies with greater coverage.

Okay, but What’s the Catch?

Just like genies freed from magic lamps, there are limits to the giving power of PIP insurance. PIP coverage lasts for one year from the date of accident, or up to the dollar amount specified in your policy, whichever comes first. Also, you may have noticed we said earlier that PIP covers accident-related medical treatment that is “reasonable and necessary.” What if your insurance company doesn’t think that your treatment is reasonable or necessary? That’s a topic for a future article. Another limit to PIP is on wage loss. PIP covers up to 52 weeks of lost wage, up to a maximum of $3,000 per month.

So What Can I Do if PIP Won’t Pay My Medical Bills of Lost Wages?

We know how frustrating it can be to suffer the trauma of being injured in a car accident, only to have your own insurance company add insult to your injuries by refusing to pay doctor’s bills or give you money for your lost income while you are unable to work. That is when it really pays to have an aggressive and diligent attorney on your side. We deal with the insurance company so you don’t have to.

If you have been injured in an auto accident as a result of another person’s negligence, give us a call. We will be happy to give you a free phone consultation to answer your questions and explain more about PIP and any other part of the process.

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