What does it mean when I hear the term "no-fault"?
What it means when you hear the term "No-fault" coverage is that regardless of the cause (or person at fault) in and accident, there will be available coverage for medical bills and costs via your own insurance policy. The other party will be covered by their policy.
Some states do not have No-fault coverage and the medical bills/coverage are provided by an individual's Personal Injury Protection (PIP) portion of their automobile policy.
Only 12 states have no-fault of coverage (Washington is NOT on that list). Those no-fault states include: Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Utah.
Washington state insurance providers offer a policyholder the option to select medical coverage through PIP; however, it is not required and you can waive this policy coverage. The insurance company will have to obtain your waiver in writing to ensure you knowingly decided against PIP.
PIP will provide coverage for your medical bills and lost wages due to an accident (or occurrence), however, in some policies there are exclusions. It is important for you to read your insurance policy regarding those exclusions.
Information about PIP can be found by visiting the Washington State Insurance Commissioner's Website - click here.
How Much Will PIP Cover?
PIP provides the following minimums:
- Up to $10,000 for reasonable and necessary medical expenses for each person injured in an auto accident. This is available for up to three years from the date of the accident.
- Up to $2,000 for funeral expenses.
- Up to $200 per week ($10,000 total) for income replacement coverage. This is limited to one year after someone's been disabled for 14 consecutive days after the accident.
- Up to $200 per week ($5,000 total) for loss of services (payment to non-family members for work you can't do).
You are able to purchase additional amounts of coverage through your insurance provider.
Who is included in PIP coverage?
- Person named on the policy
- Household residents related by blood, marriage or adoption
- Step or foster children
- Any non-family passengers and pedestrians involved in an accident
What does "fault" in an accident mean?
When you are talking about "Fault" in insurance claims terms, it means the percentage of responsibility associated to an accident plays a role in recovery. Washington state is an "at-fault" state. This means that even is you are 99% at fault and the other person/driver is 1% at fault, they can only claim up to 99% of the settlement/recovery. Of course, it applies both ways.
Whenever an accident occurs in Washington state the driver responsible for your injuries (they are at-fault) but there will be a reduction for any proven fault of your own. As mentioned in our PIP page, your PIP coverage will apply while you are litigating/negotiating a case against another driver. Essentially, your insurance provider is loaning you money to assist you with your medical bills and lost wages while the claim is being handled by your Personal Injury Attorney.
When a settlement or verdict has been reached and damages are awarded your loan (PIP) has to be paid back, subject to some deductions if your Personal Injury Lawyer was able to obtain a settlement on your behalf.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another, be sure and Call Us Today! (425) 522-4200.