Philadelphia Personal Injury Protection Accident Lawyers
Pennsylvania requires all drivers purchase a certain amount of insurance to drive legally. However, drivers have many choices when it comes to insurance and, if you’ve ever purchased an insurance policy before, you know that the terms used in these policies alone can be a little overwhelming. However, if you are involved in a Philadelphia car accident, insurance—either your own or the other driver’s—is likely going to be your best way of recovering for your accident-related damages. However, figuring out which policy to file a claim with can be challenging.
At MyPhillyLawyer, we’ve assembled a dedicated team of Philadelphia personal injury lawyers who command an in-depth understanding of the state’s insurance laws and how to use them to our clients’ advantage. We have decades of combined experience helping Philly car accident victims recover the compensation they need.
Philadelphia Car Accidents are Common
Each year, there are more than 100,000 car accidents across Pennsylvania, injuring over 60,000 people. This amounts to three traffic-related fatalities per day and an additional 168 accident-related injuries. As the largest city in Pennsylvania, it’s no surprise that Philadelphia County sees the highest number of car accidents out of any county in the state. In fact, nearly one in ten Pennsylvania car accidents happen in Philly.
While the number of Philadelphia car accidents has decreased over recent years from about 11,000 to closer to 10,000, there are more fatal accidents than ever. For example, in 2020, the rate of Philadelphia car accidents almost doubled, from 91 in 2019 to 166 in 2020.
Given the rate with which Philadelphia car accidents occur, understanding the Pennsylvania car insurance requirements is imperative. While no one ever expects to get into an accident, the fact is, thousands of people are seriously injured each year. The more you know about your insurance policy, the better position you will be in when it comes time to file a claim.
What is Personal Injury Protection Coverage?
Personal injury protection coverage, more commonly referred to as PIP coverage, is a first-party insurance benefit. In this context, first-party means that you, as the insured, are filing the claim. The other common type of insurance claim is a third-party claim in which you file a claim under another motorist’s policy.
Pennsylvania is a no-fault state in terms of insurance coverage. This means that your primary avenue of recovery will be through your own policy, absent certain exceptions.
All drivers must purchase insurance coverage. More specifically, every driver in Pennsylvania must obtain at least the following amount of PIP coverage:
- $5,000 in medical benefits coverage;
- $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage; and
- $5,000 in property damage coverage.
Pennsylvania law does not use the term “PIP” by name. However, because Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, all coverage is essentially PIP coverage. Pennsylvania car insurance requirements guarantee that all drivers will have access to some compensation in the event of an accident. However, the insurance requirements are quite low. Thus, the damages an accident victim sustains often far exceed their available PIP coverage unless they purchased additional coverage.
Because Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, insurance premiums are higher than average. In fact, The average person in Pennsylvania pays over $1,400 per year in car insurance premiums. This is about .5 percent higher than the national average.
At MyPhillyLawyer, our knowledgeable team of Philadelphia car accident lawyers represents clients who were seriously injured in motor vehicle collisions. We can help you understand the role insurance plays in recovering for your injuries and work with you to identify all policies that may cover your injuries. We will also file claims on your behalf, negotiating with the insurance company to ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, it illegal to drive without PIP coverage. If PennDOT, finds out you are driving without PIP coverage, your license plates, vehicle registration and driver’s license will be suspended. Additionally, you will be required to pay fines, provide proof of insurance before getting your driving privileges reinstates, and may have a higher insurance payment in the future.
What You Need to Know About PIP Coverage in Philadelphia
There are a few important things to know about personal injury protection coverage. First, PIP coverage applies regardless of fault. So, even if you caused an accident, you can still file a claim under your own PIP coverage. The second thing to know about PIP coverage is that it is generally the primary coverage after an accident. This is because Pennsylvania is a no-fault state. Thus, if there are multiple insurance policies that cover an accident, you will tap into your PIP coverage first. Then, if your damages exceed the amount of PIP coverage you have, the other insurance policies will kick in.
For example, assume you were hurt in a Philly car accident after another driver ran a red light and crashed into your car. You have $5,000 in PIP coverage, and your damages were $25,000. In this case, you would first file a claim under your PIP coverage. Then, you could file a claim against the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability coverage seeking the remaining damages that were not covered by your policy.
Pennsylvania insurance laws are complex, and anyone who was injured in an accident and questions about how their policy will cover the accident should reach out to a dedicated Philadelphia car accident lawyer.
What Does PIP Cover?
Personal injury protection coverage benefits kick in to pay for certain accident-related expenses in the event you are in a Philadelphia car accident. All medical bills that are reasonably related to the accident will fall under this coverage. For example, emergency room admissions, surgeries, follow-up visits, and physical therapy sessions all fall within medical benefits coverage. PIP coverage will also cover your lost wages. And, if a driver is involved in a fatal accident, it will also provide funeral benefits.
PIP coverage does not provide compensation for property damage caused in an accident. An accident victim must file a personal injury lawsuit in court to recover for a property damage claim.
What Is “Full Tort” Versus “Limited Tort” Coverage?
All Pennsylvania drivers have the choice to purchase “limited tort” or “full tort” coverage. The difference between these coverages is the availability of certain damages. While limited tort coverage will allow you to recover for your medical expenses and lost wages, it does not provide compensation for certain non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. However, if you purchase a full-tort policy, you will be able to recover for your damages related to any pain and suffering you endure as a result of the accident.
Is Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Protection Required in Pennsylvania?
Underinsured motorist protection covers accidents that are caused by a driver who does not have insurance. Similarly, underinsured motorist protection kicks in when an at-fault driver does not have sufficient coverage to fully compensate you for your accident-related damages.
Neither of these coverage types is required under Pennsylvania law. However, both are highly recommended because many car accidents result in damages that far exceed the basic Pennsylvania insurance limits.
What to Do After a Philadelphia Car Accident
After a car accident, things can seem like a blur. One moment everything is normal, and the next, your world is turned upside down. Below are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your rights are protected.
- Remain at the scene
- Report the accident to law enforcement
- Gather any evidence from the scene of the accident
- Obtain immediate medical attention
- Report the accident to your insurance company
- Follow through with recommended follow-up treatment
If you’ve been in a Philadelphia car accident, chances are that there are several insurance policies that may cover the accident. However, determining which policy provides primary coverage can be challenging. Further, to maximize your recovery, it is recommended that you work with an experienced car accident law firm.
Insurance companies are out to pad their bottom line in any way they can. Often, this means they will deny valid claims or offer to settle claims for far less than they are worth. At MyPhillyLawyer, we can help you understand your rights and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure you receive the compensation you need and deserve.
Contact the Car Accident Lawyers at My Philly Lawyer Today
At MyPhillyLawyer, we represent those who have been seriously injured in all types of motor vehicle collisions. Our seasoned team of Philadelphia trial attorneys is comfortable both at the negotiation table as well as in court. We work diligently to secure a favorable settlement offer when possible but will not hesitate to take a case to trial if the other side is unwilling to engage in fair negotiations. To learn more about how we can help you recover compensation for the injuries you have sustained, call 215-227-2727 or toll-free 866-920-0352. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you recover for your injuries.