“PIP” stands for “personal injury protection.” It is a form of auto accident insurance that is optional in most states, but mandatory in “no-fault” auto insurance states.
Since Louisiana is an “at-fault” auto insurance state, PIP insurance is optional. Nevertheless, carrying PIP insurance is a good idea for many motorists.
How Louisiana’s “At-Fault” Auto Accident Insurance System Works
After a Louisiana car accident, you can seek compensation from the at-fault driver. You can do this by filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy (as a third-party beneficiary), by demanding compensation directly from the at-fault driver (thereby inviting negotiation), by suing the at-fault driver, or by suing the at-fault driver’s liability insurance company directly.
Losses That PIP Covers
PIP covers your economic damages from a car accident, including:
- Medical bills
- Ambulance fees
- Surgical costs
- Lost wages
- Rehabilitation services
- Consequential costs, such as child care or transportation
All of the foregoing expenses are considered economic damages. PIP doesn’t cover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. It doesn’t necessarily even cover all of your economic damages—that depends on the terms of the policy you purchased.
The Benefits of Carrying PIP Insurance:
Even though PIP insurance isn’t required in Louisiana, it may be a good idea to purchase it nonetheless.
Louisiana PIP is No-Fault (Even Though Louisiana is an “At-Fault” State)
PIP is no-fault, which can be a blessing if, for example, you have bills you need to pay immediately. Since there is no need to determine fault, you can get your benefits more quickly instead of waiting for the at-fault driver’s liability insurance to pay up or waiting for the outcome of a trial. The benefits are even more obvious if you were at fault for the accident, or if you share fault with the other driver.
Keep in mind that PIP also covers any injured passengers in your car, regardless of fault.
PIP Helps Solve the Uninsured Motorist Problem
Unfortunately, almost 12% of Louisiana drivers are uninsured, in violation of Louisiana law. Since many of these drivers fail to carry liability insurance simply because they cannot afford the premiums, don’t anticipate obtaining compensation from an uninsured driver’s “deep pockets.”
In all likelihood, their pockets are shallow. Fortunately, PIP will pay up to its policy limits even if the at-fault driver is uninsured.
The Underinsured Motorist Problem
Louisiana administers a 15/30/25 mandatory auto insurance regime:
- $15,000 per person in bodily injury liability insurance;
- $30,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance; and
- $25,000 per accident in property damage liability insurance.
Many Louisiana drivers carry only this minimum amount of auto insurance. It might not be enough to cover you if your injuries are serious. Fortunately, PIP pays out if the at-fault driver is underinsured.
In a hit-and-run accident it doesn’t matter if the other driver is insured, at least if you can’t find them. PIP pays out even if you never locate the hit-and-run driver.
Difference With MedPay
MedPay is another form of optional insurance that is available in Louisiana. Its coverage in some ways mimics Louisiana’s PIP insurance. MedPay covers less than PIP does. It doesn’t cover, for example, lost wages or assistance with home tasks that you can no longer manage due to your injury.
If You Are an Out-of-State Driver
If you are from a no-fault state like Florida and you get into an accident with a local driver in Louisiana, what does your PIP insurance cover?
It covers both your losses and the other driver’s losses. Consult a lawyer if you find yourself in this situation, because more complications might arise.
How PIP Works in “No-Fault” States
PIP works differently in “no-fault” states like Florida. In no-fault states, PIP insurance is typically mandatory. Meanwhile, you cannot sue the at-fault party or its insurance company unless your injuries reach a certain legal threshold of severity.
Your inability to sue or file a claim against the at-fault driver is combined with your ability to file a claim directly against your PIP insurance, regardless of whose fault the accident was.
Why You Might Need a Lawyer: Insurance Company Negotiating Tricks
Watch out for the following tricks from the insurance company:
- Issuing a “lowball” offer worth far, far less than your claim deserves. An insurance company’s first offer is almost always lowball.
- Monitoring your social network accounts for media they can use against you. Did you know your social media posts are admissible evidence?
- Seeking a recorded interview with you so that they can ask you trick questions and use your answers against you later.
A decent personal injury lawyer won’t fall for any of these tricks, or the many more that insurance companies are adept at.
Talk to an Experienced Lafeytte Car Accident Lawyer
You might not need a lawyer to help you resolve a minor fender-bender. However, if anyone suffered an injury or if the damage to your car was extensive, you might find yourself in need of a lawyer.
Don’t worry that you might not be able to afford one. You can, because almost any Lafayette personal injury lawyer will represent you on a “no win, no pay” basis as long as you have a strong claim.