Availability of First Party Coverage, namely Personal Injury Protection after a collision

Posted Saturday, June 05, 2010 by Ed Harper

First Party insurance is insurance purchased by the injured person or provided by the government or employer which provides insurance coverage that extends to the injured person because of his or her status at the time of the injury. The following is a list for possible available First Party Insurance Coverage:

A. Personal Injury Protection “PIP”
B. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist “UIM”
C. Medical Insurance
D. Disability Insurance
E. Life Insurance
F. Labor and Industries/Workers Compensation
G. Medicare/Medicaid
I. Social Security Disability

For automobile Insurance, here in the State of Washington PIP and UIM coverages are mandatory coverages. PIP provides no-fault coverage for medical and hospital expenses, funeral expenses, income continuation, and loss of services incurred by an insured due to bodily injuries suffered in an automobile accident. RCW 4.22.085(1). A written waiver refusing PIP coverage can be signed and agreed to. Because the coverage is mandatory, and insurance must provide a signed waiver establishing you (insured) knowingly consented to less than the state required coverage. Without a signed rejection, an insured is entitled to the coverage. RCW 48.22.095. A similar rule exists for UIM coverage as well.

In regards to Personal Injury Protection, currently the minimum limits for PIP are $10,000 in medical benefits, incurred within three years of the date of the accident, and 85% of lost wages or $200 per week, whichever is less, beginning 14 days after the disability arises and continuing for 50 weeks thereafter, plus $2,000 for funeral expenses and $5,000 for loss of services, up to a maximum of $40 per day and $200 per week. RCW 48.22.095.

Extended coverage for PIP is offered in Washington, and one should ask their insurance agent for an explanation of the extended coverage and make an informed decision whether extended coverage would suit the insured. One problem with online enrollment for insurance is the lack of a face to face meeting with an insurance agent. In the past, an agent would describe the positives and negatives of a variety of insurance coverages, and the respective costs of these coverages. However, due to the recent proliferation of online insurance, the consumer has lost out on the ability gather as much information. PIP provides a great source of funds available to compensate one after an injury. Problems can be avoided by choosing a higher limit of PIP and/or UIM coverage.

Who is covered? An insured means:
a. The named insured or person who is a resident of the named insured’s household and is either related to the named insured by blood, marriage, or adoption, or is the named insured’s ward, foster child or stepchild; or
b. A person who sustains bodily injury caused by the collision while: (i) occupying or using the insured automobile with the permission of the named insured; or (ii) a pedestrian accidentally struck by the insured automobile.

Pedestrian under the PIP statute is defined as “a natural person not occupying a motor vehicle…” RCW 48.22.055(11)

The author as an EAGLE member of the Washington Assoc. of Justice (WSAJ) has access to a great number of materials on Automobile Accident Litigation. Many of these ideas and suggestions come from WSAJ resources. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your automobile insurance coverage, contact Harper Law at 425 284 3333 or e mail info@edharperlaw.com.

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