What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Car Insurance?

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Does California Require Personal Injury Protection or Med Pay Insurance?

Does California Require Personal Injury Protection or Med Pay Insurance?

Jul 15, 2022

Paying for car insurance is a necessary inconvenience that isn’t enjoyed by anyone. But unfortunately, there is no way to legally avoid carrying the appropriate minimum car insurance policy requirements set by the state in which you live. If you’ve ever been injured in a car accident and not had insurance (or the driver who hit you was uninsured), you know how burdensome it can be to recover the financial compensation you need afterward.

What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Car Insurance?

Car insurance policies vary considerably from provider-to-provider and according to the needs of each individual driver. At Dordulian Law Group, our experienced car accident lawyers often receive questions from clients regarding a specific type of car insurance known as personal injury protection. But, what is personal injury protection car insurance (and is it even available in California)?

Let’s take a look at personal injury protection car insurance coverage in greater detail below. We’ll also review what the minimum policy requirements are in the state of California, discuss what to do after a car accident, and provide information on how to set up a free and no obligation consultation with one of our dedicated car accident attorneys.

What is Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP)?

Personal injury protection is also referred to as no-fault insurance. This specific type of insurance helps cover expenses such as lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering after a car accident injury. Additionally, personal injury protection insurance can help cover funeral costs in the event of a death after a car accident.

Personal injury protection or no-fault insurance coverage varies from state-to-state. States with no-fault insurance laws include:

  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah

States which require personal injury protection insurance include:

  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Oregon

And states where personal injury protection insurance is optional include:

  • New Hampshire
  • South Dakotav
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington

What is the Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Car Insurance?

What is the Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Car Insurance?

Every state within the U.S. requires some form of auto insurance coverage policy minimums. The two primary auto insurance systems which assess liability in the event of a car accident include fault and no-fault. Let’s look at the difference:

Fault Insurance: At-fault insurance is based on tort liability, which means that each insurance provider assigned to an involved party in a car accident pays for damages sustained in accordance with the degree of fault held by each driver. In other words, the driver who causes a car accident (and is therefore at fault) is responsible for the damages sustained by all other involved parties. As a result, that at-fault driver’s insurance company indemnifies the policyholder who caused the accident by paying for any and all damages up to the policy limits.

No-Fault Insurance: Under no-fault insurance, the question of who caused a car accident doesn’t necessarily apply to how compensation will be awarded for injuries or property damage. Rather, at-fault drivers will often request compensation from their own insurance providers when personal injury claims arise after car accidents. This is typically done through a personal injury protection or PIP policy. That said, it’s important to note that when injury damages exceed a PIP policy’s limits, injured victims of car accidents may still be able to sue the at-fault driver for things like hospital bills, medical expenses, lost wages, and more.

Does California Require Personal Injury Protection Insurance?

California doesn’t require personal injury protection insurance. In fact, car insurance companies aren’t even allowed to offer personal injury protection policies in the Golden State. Rather, California offers an alternative known as Med Pay coverage.

What is Med Pay Car Insurance Coverage?

Med Pay insurance coverage is similar to personal injury protection coverage in that such policies are offered to drivers as policy add-ons. As an optional insurance add-on available in California, Med Pay covers things such as medical bills, hospital expenses, or funeral expenses in the event of a car accident. Similar to personal injury protection policies, Med Pay typically covers such damages regardless of who is at fault in a car accident.

That said, it’s important for California drivers to note that Med Pay policies are often limited to medical and funeral expenses related to car accidents. Personal injury protection policies, on the other hand, will often cover additional expenses like lost wages, lost earning capacity, etc.

Moreover, Med Pay typically covers drivers as well as vehicle passengers, spouses, and other eligible family members. Accordingly, Med Pay can be a valuable add-on for California drivers, particularly in the event of an unfortunate yet serious car accident injury.

What are the Standard California Car Insurance Policy Minimum Requirements?

California Insurance Code §11580.1b stipulates the following minimum liability insurance requirements:

  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
  • $5,000 for damage to property

Liability insurance compensates a victim other than the policyholder for personal injury damage as well as property damage.

However, comprehensive or collision insurance coverage does not meet the minimum vehicle financial requirements for the state of California.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

Driving in Southern California is, much like maintaining up-to-date car insurance coverage, pretty unavoidable. Angelenos, in particular, need cars to get from Point A to Point B. When you’re injured in a car accident, you may be wondering what steps to take to ensure that you are able to recover the maximum financial compensation you need to make a complete recovery – physically, emotionally, and financially.

At Dordulian Law Group (DLG), the first step we always recommend to car accident victims is to assess and attend to any injuries. This means seeking and receiving medical care from a licensed physician immediately after any type of car accident injury. Regardless of the severity of the injury – many of which may not include immediate signs or symptoms – it is strongly recommended that car accident victims undergo a thorough medical examination. Doing so helps ensure that your health is attended to, and that you do not suffer any type of avoidable or long-term injury.

But seeking medical attention after a car accident injury also ensures that you have the proper documentation you need to recover all applicable damages when filing a civil claim against the at-fault driver.

Some additional steps to take (whenever possible) after a car accident injury include:

  • Contact the police and make an official report (but do not admit fault or make an official statement)
  • Gather contact information of all involved parties, including driver’s licenses (particularly for the at-fault party)
  • Gather the information of all involved vehicles
  • Gather the contact information of any witnesses
  • Take statements from any witnesses who may help corroborate your version of events
  • Take photos and videos of the accident scene and any property damage
  • Take photos and videos of your injuries
  • Contact a skilled and trusted car accident attorney from DLG
  • Do not make a statement to the insurance company without having your DLG personal injury lawyer present
  • Do not accept a cash settlement or sign any legal documents without having your DLG car accident attorney present

Can I Sue for Damages After a California Car Accident Injury?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to another driver’s (or pedestrian’s) negligence, you may wish to file a civil claim to recover critical financial compensation. Some common car accident damages that may be sought in civil lawsuits are broken down below according to type.

Common California Car Accident Economic Damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • Emergency department treatment
  • Physical Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost Wages
  • Lost Earning Capacity

Common California Car Accident Non-Economic Damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Scarring or other serious injury
  • Compensation for loss of a limb or disfigurement

Contact the Best Los Angeles, California, Car Accident Lawyers

Securing expert legal representation from a DLG car accident lawyer can help ensure your personal injury claim is maximized, and that you recover all applicable damages after an incident due to negligence. Our Car Accident Division is led by Sam Dordulian, a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County with more than 25 years of experience helping injured victims secure the maximum financial compensation they deserve.

At DLG, we have the proven results you need for peace of mind throughout every step of the car accident claims process. We won’t settle for anything less than a maximum financial damages payout for your car accident injury lawsuit.

It’s important to file your car accident injury claim as soon as possible. Injured victims who fail to file claims within the statute of limitations (usually two years, but sometimes as short as six months) typically waive their right to seek critical financial compensation for damages.

Schedule an appointment online for a free consultation today, or call us directly to speak to our top-rated, expert car accident attorneys.

Contact a DLG Los Angeles, California, car accident lawyer today at 818-322-4056 to arrange for a free consultation. We will work with medical experts and other investigative professionals to gather and preserve crucial evidence that will strengthen your car accident injury case. And our No Win/No Fee Guarantee means you don’t pay a penny until after we’ve successfully recovered a maximum financial damages award for your car accident injury claim.

For a Los Angeles, California, car accident injury, the best call you can make is to the experienced attorneys at DLG.

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