How long do I have to file a claim following an auto collision?
The Washington statute allows up to 3 years from the date of the collision in which to file a claim. The Oregon statute allows up to 2 years. However, the longer you wait, especially with no professional supporting documentation, the more likely that a claims adjuster will try to attribute your current injury to something other than the collision. Therefore, it is advisable to always go to a doctor for evaluation as soon after an auto collision as possible.
What is PIP?
PIP pays for expenses incurred as related to treatment of auto collision injuries. PIP stands for ‘Personal Injury Protection’, and is attached to an individual’s auto insurance policy.
What are the benefits of PIP coverage?
PIP is considered “no-fault” insurance. Meaning the PIP policy will cover treatment for injuries whether at fault or not. Without PIP coverage, there is a high risk of getting stuck with unpaid expensive medical bills whether the auto collision was your fault or not.
PIP covers all passengers in the car independent of each other. Meaning, if there is a $50,000 PIP policy on the vehicle, then it will pay injury expenses up to $50,000 per person. Of course it all hinges on “medical necessity”.
PIP also travels with the individual. For example, if a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, and that vehicle gets into a collision and does not have PIP coverage, then the passenger’s own PIP policy can be used to cover injury expenses.
PIP is not subject to out-of-pocket expenses such as costly co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles. Your private or group insurance is subject to high out of pocket expenses, and one visit to the ER for even minor injuries can run over $10,000.
PIP is also not bound by health insurance restrictions and limitations such as; annual number of visits, max dollar amount per year, and a restricted referral network, and a very limited number of visits. You have the freedom to choose a doctor that specializes in auto collision injuries, and have the right to be made “Whole” again or reach maximum medical improvement.
PIP will cover time loss from work.
PIP will cover household tasks that are unable to be performed due to injuries. Expenses such as; house cleaner, landscaper, and child care will be covered.
PIP will cover rental car expenses if necessary.
How much PIP coverage should I have?
In Washington the minimum PIP policy is $10,000. ln Oregon the minimum is $15,000. These minimums were set several years ago, and have not kept up with ever increasing cost of health care. Due to the high cost of health care, it is advisable to have at least $35,000 PIP. One ambulance ride and a few hours in the ER can easily consume a good chunk of that $35,000.
Will my insurance rates go up if I use my PIP?
NO. By law the insurance company cannot legally raise rates or cancel a policy. However, the insurance company may raise insurance premiums on the at-fault party.
What if I am in a ‘hit-and-run’ collision?
Immediately note a description of the offending vehicle such as; license plate number and state, make, model, year, color, and location of impact. Also look for Witnesses that will provide written statements, photos, names, phone numbers, and other Contact information. Remember, you can still receive treatment for your injuries under your PIP policy
Do I have to pay anything out-of-pocket for my auto accident?
There are a lot of variables to consider in determining whether or not someone will have out-of-pocket expenses, even when they are not at fault. The best chance of realizing little to no out-of-pocket expenses is to seek out a doctor, clinic, or attorney that legitimately specializes in auto collisions and has done so for many years.