How Is A Personal Injury Claim Different From A Personal Injury Protection Claim?
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may find that you have multiple claims arising from that same accident. An experienced personal injury lawyer can assist you in determining which claims are appropriate, and ensuring that you receive adequate, complete compensation.
Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, you will be able to pursue a personal injury protection [PIP] claim. These are first-party, no-fault benefits. In Maryland, you will have coverage* in the amount of $2,500, unless you waived the coverage in writing, or purchased higher coverage. The funds are available to you to pay for your medical expenses and your lost wages. This is your insurance. An insurance company cannot raise your rates simply because you filed a single PIP claim.
If you did not cause or contribute to the happening of the accident, and you sustained personal injury in that accident, you will be entitled to pursue a personal injury or bodily injury claim against the at-fault party. This is a “fault-based” claim, and here, the operative degree of fault is negligence. In a personal injury claim, you are entitled to collect economic damages from the negligent party- or their insurance company. Generally, items of economic damage are things like lost wages and the payment of medical expenses.
In Maryland, you are entitled to collect economic damages from the negligent, at-fault party, even if you recovered those same benefits as part of your PIP claim.
In a bodily injury claim, you are also entitled to receive non-economic damages. Components of non-economic damage are things like"
- mental and physical distress
- compensation for physical and emotional pain, suffering, and inconvenience
- scarring or disfigurement in an appropriate case.
This claim is typically paid from funds provided by the at-fault party's liability coverage, or, if the at-fault driver is uninsured, from your UM/UIM coverage, or, failing that, from the at-fault party directly.
Personal injury protection and personal injury claims are overwhelmingly the two most common claims that follow essentially every car accident where there is personal injury. There may be others. If your car is damaged, as presumably it would be if there was personal injury involved, you would have a claim for property damage which is typically covered under another provision of most policies. If you were in the scope and course of your employment when the accident occurred, you may have a claim for worker's’ compensation benefits as well. The bottom line is this:
If you sustained an injury in a motor vehicle or other type of accident, you really need to quickly and promptly identify, locate and visit a veteran personal injury attorney to get some guidance on your options.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 8/5/19.
*The Assembly has recently enacted a change in this process. Marylanders now have the option of carrying less insurance. An insured may now reject personal injury protection altogether, under specific circumstances. See Insurance Article, Md. INSURANCE Code Ann. § 19-506.1.