If you or a loved one is injured in a North Carolina auto accident, how will you cover your medical expenses, lost wages and other costs resulting from the crash? In North Carolina, drivers can opt to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which will cover some of the costs associated with injuries sustained by you or your passengers in a car crash.
PIP is often referred to as “no-fault” coverage, and is designed to pay out regardless of who caused the accident. Because PIP insurance is classified as “no-fault”, the insured party’s premium should not increase when PIP claims are filed. In many states this coverage has a mandatory minimum, but in North Carolina, PIP insurance is optional, and a wise choice for damage protection, especially for North Carolina drivers that do not have health insurance or Med Pay coverage.
Unfortunately, PIP claims are not always properly paid by insurance companies, and in some cases the coverage limits aren’t enough to cover medical expenses for severe injuries. Personal Injury Protection is a beneficial option, but it’s important to understand how this coverage works – and how to protect your rights.
The North Carolina auto accident law firm of Mike Lewis Attorneys offers the vital legal guidance victims in car accidents deserve. Our esteemed team of lawyers has been fighting for clients in personal injury claims for decades, including car accident cases and Personal Injury Protection claims. For expert legal help with your auto insurance policy claim or auto accident case, contact Mike Lewis Attorneys today.
Items Covered by Personal Injury Protection Insurance
Personal Injury Protection coverage is designed to pay for medical expenses up to the limit provided for in your policy. These expenses are meant to be paid in a timely manner, and bills submitted for reimbursement should be paid within 30 days. In some cases, penalties and interest can be applied to late payments from the car insurance company.
Unfortunately, many medical facilities still report bills that go unpaid by PIP carriers. This causes many healthcare providers to be hesitant when treating PIP-covered injuries. Such hesitation can lead to a substandard of care, (and even medical malpractice,) if injuries are not treated properly or in a timely manner. If your healthcare provider has concerns over payments from your PIP provider, you may wish to consult with an auto accident attorney.
Under most policies, Personal Injury Protection coverage is also extended to relatives inside the car, and in some cases, non-relative passengers. The coverage includes many benefits, including:
- Medical Costs
Most PIP policies cover 80% of treatment expenses for the injuries sustained in a car crash. Coverage for medical bills may include such items as doctor’s appointments, radiology tests, surgeries, ambulance transport, hospital stays, rehabilitation, prescription drugs, glasses, hearing aids and other items necessary for treatment.
- Transportation Expenses
PIP coverage also extends to the costs associated with getting to and from the healthcare facilities where your treatment is being performed. Most policies cover 80% of the costs of transportation to the pharmacy, doctor’s office, hospital and other related locations.
- Lost Income
When your injuries are severe enough to keep you from working, PIP coverage will provide for 60% of your lost wages. This applies to your earning capacity, and can be applied even for those who were in between jobs at the time of the accident. The inability to work must be documented by health professionals in order to collect this benefit.
- Lost Services
Injuries often prevent one from performing basic household duties. PIP insurance covers the expenses for replacing those services that are considered “reasonable”, such as maid service, landscaping and other household maintenance requirements.
- Death Benefits
If the injuries sustained in a car accident were fatal, most PIP policies will provide up to $5,000 per person, up to the maximum coverage detailed in your policy.
North Carolina Car Insurance Carriers Hesitate to Pay PIP Claims
As with most types of insurance, car insurance companies in North Carolina are reluctant to pay for costs in a PIP claim. The nature and extent of a claimant’s injuries are often questioned by the insurance company, and many claims are denied because the company will deem them not “severe” enough.
Mike Lewis Attorneys can help individuals who have had a North Carolina PIP claim denied. We work closely with medical experts that can give qualified opinions about the nature of a victim’s injuries, as well as the long-term effects of those injuries. We can also submit a written request to our clients’ PIP providers to demand prompt payment under their policy. Insurance companies may not wish to pay out claims, but far more, do not wish to engage in legal battles. An attorney’s communication efforts often have swift results.
Sometimes injuries are so serious that the PIP coverage the victim purchased isn’t enough to cover medical expenses and lost wages. In such cases, there is another payment option – if the accident that caused the injuries was the result of someone else’s negligence. If the injury victim chooses to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party, their attorney can draft a Letter of Protection, or LOP. An LOP is a document from an attorney to a medical provider on behalf of the injury victim. This document guarantees the medical provider will be paid from any damages received as a result of the lawsuit. When a doctor accepts an LOP, they then agree not to turn any medical bills over to a collections agency for the duration of the legal proceedings. An LOP can ensure you receive proper medical treatment without further compromising your finances.
Whether your injuries exceed your PIP coverage or you need help getting your insurance company to accept your claim, a North Carolina car accident lawyer with experience in PIP claims can improve your odds of a favorable outcome.
Contact Our North Carolina Insurance Claims Attorneys
The legal team at Mike Lewis Attorneys knows the law, and how to fight for the maximum benefits from an insurance company. Victims who have been hurt in an auto accident that wasn’t their fault deserve justice. When insurance companies deny a Personal Injury Protection claim for a responsible driver who has opted for this type of coverage, we can work to fight for that justice.
We are proud to serve our North Carolina neighbors through our offices in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, and to provide comprehensive legal services to clients in the following areas:
- Oak Ridge
- High Point
- …and many surrounding communities
We have the expertise to represent you in your PIP claim. Call 866-299-1769 today to discuss your legal rights and options with our experienced legal staff.