Medpay and PIP - What Are They? Should I Have Them?
Any motorist runs the risk of being involved in a car accident - they do happen, whether truly accidental, or the result of someone else’s negligence. As drivers in the DC Metropolitan Area, we run a much higher-risk! To assist paying for non-property related damages, car insurance companies offer something called medical expense coverage. That coverage, however, varies widely from state to state. We hope this guide will help you understand the difference, and make a wise decision that will protect you and your family going forward.
What is Medpay/PIP?
In Virginia, the coverage is called Medical Expense Payments coverage, or Medpay.
In Maryland, it is called Personal Injury Protection, or PIP.
These two types of coverage do substantially the same thing, but how it is applied and calculated is a little different. More on that below. Medpay/PIP coverage is a type of no-fault coverage, meaning that choosing to use these benefits in no way admits that you are responsible for an accident. Additionally, because they are no-fault, your insurance rates cannot increase if you have to use them. Medpay/PIP are designed to assist an injured party in paying for hospitalizations, ambulance transport, and other medical care required as the result of a motor vehicle accident.
How much can I get?
Both Medpay and PIP are usually sold in increments of $2,500. It is quite normal to have $5,000, and $10,000 would not be extreme at all. When considering how much coverage to elect, remember this: an ambulance trip averages $500, the emergency room doctors average between $500 and $1,000, and the hospital itself is going to be $1,000 and up!
Here is something else to consider - in Virginia (only), medpay is "stacked." That means, if you elect $2,500 of medpay coverage per vehicle, and have 3 vehicles, you are entitled to $7500 in benefits ($2500 x 3). Virginia law permits stacking up to four vehicles.
The Virginia medpay law may be found here: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title38.2/chapter22/section38.2-2201/
How much will it cost me?
This will depend on your insurance company, but the average answer is: not much. As an example, one of our firm’s paralegals just increased his medical expense coverage to $10,000, and that cost only an additional $10 per month - ten bucks!
Do you recommend getting PIP or Medpay?
ABSOLUTELY. Medical expense payments coverage (Medpay) or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) are low-cost options that can help an injured person through a very stressful and painful period. In short, Medpay and PIP coverage is a lot like a lawyer: you hope you never need it, but when you do, you’re glad its good, and that you have it!
You didn’t mention DC - what about DC?
The District of Columbia has a unique law with regard to PIP coverage. It is offered, but utilizing it usually prevents the injured person from filing a liability claim. We will speaking specifically about DC PIP in an upcoming blog post - stay tuned!
DC's law generally acts as a "tort election," meaning that if you get PIP benefits, you cannot pursue a third-party claim (against the person who injured you!). Now, this is very fact specific. For a DC accident, and the injured person has a DC policy, then DC law would control, and you would NOT want to use your DC PIP coverage.
BUT - if you have DC PIP, and are involved in an accident in Alexandria, then you could use your PIP coverage AND still pursue the third-party claim.
This can get a bit confusing - this is why you should contact Blaszkow Legal right away.
The law about PIP claims and Medpay claims can be convoluted, and that is why it is important to have an experienced personal injury and car accident lawyer on your side. There are deadlines and timelines that need to be met, and you want someone fighting for you who knows how to deal with the insurance companies.
If you have questions about PIP or Medpay coverage, or are unsure whether or not if you should get it, please give us a call. We would be happy to consult with you, free of charge! Call the Alexandria Injury Attorney today.
Serving - Virginia: Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Arlington, Loudoun, Stafford, Prince Willian, Spotsylvania, Manassas - Maryland: Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, and Charles County - District of Columbia