What is Personal Injury Protection?
Car accidents are a very common occurrence in California, with thousands of people suffering injuries in collisions each year. Since California operates on a fault insurance system, you expect the at-fault driver in your accident to pay for your injuries and damages through his or her insurance company. If the driver does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to pay for your damages, you can still claim compensation through Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Contact an Orange County car accident lawyer to help you navigate the legal process.
California’s Car Insurance Laws
California is a fault insurance state, which means that the at-fault driver in a car accident is responsible for paying for the injuries of the other people involved in the accident he or she causes. California state law requires you to carry the following minimum amounts of liability insurance.
- $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person injured in an accident you cause.
- $30,000 in total bodily injury liability per accident.
- $5,000 in property damage liability coverage.
Personal injury protection (PIP) is an optional form of insurance coverage in California. If you are in a car accident with someone, regardless of who was at fault, PIP coverage will pay for a portion of your damages. You can purchase as much PIP coverage you want through your insurance company.
What Does Personal Injury Protection Cover in California?
PIP coverage provides compensation for some of the most important expenses you incur after an accident. The specific expenses your PIP insurance will cover will depend on the details of your policy, but it will most likely include the following costs and services.
- Medical expenses. The most common expense that PIP insurance pays out includes past and future medical treatment for your accident-related injuries. This coverage can include surgeries, hospitalizations, ambulance costs, medications, and doctor’s visits.
- Funeral expenses. In some situations, someone may not survive the car accident and you have to pay for funeral, burial, or other last rite services. These events can be very costly, but PIP coverage can provide compensation for these expenses, up to a reasonable amount.
- Lost wages. You may not be able to work after a car accident due to the extent of your injuries. In these situations, you could receive compensation for your lost wages during your recovery period.
- Substitute services. Car accident injuries can be very debilitating, and you may not be able to complete your regular household tasks. To keep your home from falling into disrepair, PIP coverage can help pay for a cleaning crew and other services to help you during your recovery.
Why Would You Need PIP Coverage in Orange County?
If you are in an accident with someone who does not have car insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the extent of your injuries, PIP coverage can help bridge the gap in compensation. California insurance companies also offer an uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance option for these circumstances as well.
Sometimes, you can get into an accident with a hit and run driver who flees the scene. In these situations, you cannot always wait until the police identify who caused your injuries to receive compensation. PIP coverage can also pay for your injuries if you do not know who was at-fault for your accident.
Another benefit of PIP is that it compensates you regardless of fault. If you were at-fault for the accident, you can use your PIP coverage to pay for your injuries and lost wages. In addition, in the event that your health insurance does not provide you with enough coverage to treat your injuries, PIP can help compensate you for some of the costs.
The state of California does not require you to carry PIP coverage, but this insurance is a great add-on to your existing policy. With PIP, you remain covered for a majority of your potential damages despite the insurance status of the at-fault driver. If you need assistance recovering compensation for your injuries, contact a Orange County personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.