As a “no-fault” state, New Jersey requires drivers to carry personal injury protection, or PIP, coverage as part of their auto insurance policy. PIP coverage provides compensation to a driver or insured following an auto accident, regardless of fault for the crash. If you are a driver in New Jersey, you should learn how PIP works, so that you understand your legal rights and options if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident.
What Does PIP Cover?
PIP provides coverage for three categories of expenses: medical costs, work loss, and funeral expenses. As for medical costs, PIP will cover expenses such as:
- Hospital visits and stays
- Diagnostic services
- Ambulatory services
- Physical and other rehabilitation services
PIP will also provide partial or full replacement of your income if you are unable to work or to work full time due to injuries you suffered in a car accident. The amount of wage replacement is based on the amount of PIP coverage a policyholder has purchased.
Finally, if a driver or passenger is killed in a car accident, they may be entitled to a contribution of up to $1,000 towards funeral and burial expenses.
How Much Does PIP Cost?
The cost of PIP coverage may depend on the amount of coverage you purchase, your risk as a driver, the size of your deductible, and whether you choose to use your health insurance as your primary insurance for medical coverage. New Jersey law requires drivers to purchase a minimum of $15,000 in PIP coverage, although policyholders may purchase up to $250,000 in coverage. The maximum $250,000 coverage automatically kicks in for a driver or passenger who suffers a severe brain or spinal injury.
By default, PIP is subject to a $750 deductible (the amount an insured must pay out-of-pocket before coverage kicks in), although this can be adjusted upward or downward to change the premium. Finally, if an insured selects their health insurance as the primary provider of medical coverage, that can also decrease premiums.
When Can You Use PIP?
You can file a claim for PIP coverage if you are a policyholder, named driver, or household member of a policyholder, when you are injured in a motor vehicle-related accident, including being hit by a vehicle as a bicyclist or pedestrian. However, PIP coverage is excluded if you were injured while riding as a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, or if you were intoxicated or committing a felony at the time of the accident.
PIP vs. Health Insurance
Some policyholders choose to reduce their PIP coverage premiums by selecting their health insurance as the primary provider of coverage for medical expenses for auto accident injuries. In this arrangement, PIP will only pick up eligible expenses not covered by your health insurance. However, some health insurance policies expressly forbid coverage for medical expenses incurred due to a motor vehicle accident. In addition, by designating your health insurance as primary, you may end up with a larger increase on your health insurance premium than you would if you designated PIP coverage as primary. It makes sense to compare costs to determine which is the best option for you.
Contact a Chatham Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Blume, Forte, Fried, Zerres & Molinari represent clients injured because of car accidents in Parsippany, Mount Olive, Rockaway, Union City, and throughout New Jersey. Call (973) 635-5400 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at One Main Street, Chatham, NJ 07928, as well as offices in Jersey City, Sea Girt, and North Bergen.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.