Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is a mandatory facet to your auto insurance, and is designed to help your expenses in the event of an accident. Many people aren’t aware of just how much PIP is able to help you with expenses other than medical bills.
In fact, it covers a panoply of things you may not know. This includes: transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, and even wage loss. Yes, you heard us right—wage loss, or missed work due to injuries incurred from your accident.
There are some fine-print notes you should remember before immediately plunging into your pay stubs and records, however.
PIP Covers a Percentage
When we say PIP “covers” medical bills and wage loss, by that we mean a percentage. Don’t expect to have everything covered 100%. Medical bills cover 80%, and wage loss covers 60%. While this isn’t ideal, having this at least partial reimbursement can assist with missed days from your injuries.
Also, your PIP is typically for $10,000.00. Adjustments have been made in PIP’s legislation over the last few years that have caused a $2,500.00 PIP instead of $10,000.00 (we have an article explaining this in more detail here). The highlights: if you don’t receive medical treatment within 14 days of your accident, you aren’t eligible for any PIP at all. Also, if you don’t receive an emergency medical condition, or EMC, you will only be able to receive $2,500.00 in reimbursement through PIP.
Wage Loss Details
First off, there are many details surrounding your wages that, in light of your actual situation, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. This will allow you to receive a comprehensive explanation of how you handle wage loss with your insurance company.
That said, it’s important to evaluate how many days of work you’re missing in conjunction with when you submit your wage loss for reimbursement. Since your PIP is depleted based on medical bills and other factors, you need to be wary that it can become exhausted quicker than you may anticipate. Not only that, but most of the time, this happens on a first come, first serve basis.
For example, if you missed 5 days of work, and you make $500.00 a week, you would be theoretically reimbursed $300.00 as long as there’s PIP available. Since hospital visits can frequently happen after an accident, this can be a massive expense taken out of your PIP (sometimes even half of it for one hospital visit). Taking the half-of-your-PIP scenario, then, this, paired with an MRI which can run upwards of $1,200.00, and medical appointments at 3 times a week, can become massively expensive, and the numbers can add up.
This is why it’s imperative you get help from an attorney, whose know-how in medical bills and PIP can assist you.
Don’t wait weeks after you’ve missed work to submit your wage loss, because you are constantly going to doctor appointments, and you better believe those doctors are submitting your bills to PIP in order to be reimbursed. If your PIP adjuster (the representative from your auto insurance) receives those claims ahead of your wage loss, he or she will process those first, and if there’s no PIP left, you won’t be reimbursed for your missed days of work.
While each insurance company handles PIP slightly differently (much like health providers all have nuanced policies), you should be prepared to provide the following in order to receive a payment:
- A paycheck stub
- Hourly rate (if applicable)
- Days missed
- Verification from your employer
- Anything else the adjuster needs/requests
Keep in mind sometimes they do not reimburse if you use PTO, because you are technically getting reimbursed for your time missed, and that would be double-paying you. This usually goes against the auto insurance’s policy. The idea is to make you whole from what you lost as a result of the accident, and double-paying you is not part of that in their (the auto insurance’s) eyes.
Your adjuster lists all of the payments disbursed in a PIP log, which is monitored by your personal injury attorney. Most of the time, adjusters are more prone to replying back to an attorney rather than an accident victim—don’t be stood up, or not get your calls returned. It’s important to know when to turn in your wage loss to be properly reimbursed, and an attorney can provide that window for you and notify you promptly.
So while PIP does cover your wage loss, it only does as long as there’s PIP available. If you want to learn more, please feel free to contact us, as we are very well-versed in the personal injury field and can help you in the event of a car accident!