When involved in an auto accident, most people rely on personal injury protection, or PIP, insurance to help cover their medical bills. Some accidents result in injuries so severe that those impacted are forced to take some time off work to heal properly.
Luckily, PIP will also help cover lost wages that an individual might incur following an accident. The problem, though, is that most people don’t know how much coverage they will receive when they need it. They simply hope that they have enough protection in place to pay for all of their expenses, which is a mistake.
Like any type of insurance, the amount of money to which you are eligible through PIP depends on how much you pay for your policy. Although some states mandate PIP coverage for all drivers, California does not. Many policies start coverage at $15,000, and although it can help in minor accidents, it’s not enough to cover serious injuries or time away from work, and you might face a financial crisis as a result.
At a minimum, you should aim for a policy that will cover lost wages for up to six months. Otherwise, you will quickly burn through your claim money and be left to pay the remaining expenses alone. Remember, PIP is an extension of your car insurance policy, which might provide additional help with your medical fees. But it still might not be enough to prevent you from paying out of your pocket. If your insurance does not cover the full cost of your medical bills and lost wages, you are not out of options yet.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
People and businesses are required to behave in a way that will not result in the death or injury of others, but some choose not to live up to that standard. If another driver was acting in a careless manner and caused an accident, then you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit and receive compensation for the damages to supplement any gaps in your PIP policy.
To maximize your odds of winning in court, it is important you file your lawsuit as soon as possible. As time goes on, witnesses start to forget important details and evidence can be misplaced. Filing in a timely fashion will prevent those problems from occurring and give you a good chance of reaching your desired outcome in court.
Do You Have a Case
Before you file a lawsuit, you might be wondering if you have a case, which is understandable. You could be awarded compensation in court if the other driver was acting in a way that can be considered negligent. For example, if someone is texting while driving and runs a stop sign, then they can be sued for any damages that result.
Speeding, disobeying traffic signs and driving while intoxicated can also be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. However, if you were also acting in an unsafe manner at the time of the accident, it might be difficult to win your case.
How to File
If you have decided to file a lawsuit to help cover possible gaps in your PIP coverage, then you have to do so within two years of the accident. If you wait any longer than that, you will violate the statute of limitations for personal injuries, and you will not be entitled to any compensation as a result.
Getting the process started does not need to be difficult; simply go to your local courthouse and inform them that you want to file a personal injury suit.
Having PIP insurance is a great step in protecting yourself and your passengers from medical expenses, but it is not always enough. When PIP does not cover all of your doctor bills or lost wages, then you might start feeling hopeless.
If the accident resulted from the other driver’s inattention, then you will likely win a personal injury case if you file in time. Although you can get the process started on your own, doing so is not recommended unless you have extensive legal experience. When you want the best possible odds of success, contact a qualified personal injury lawyer right away. Have more questions?