Delaware PIP Law – Wilmington & Dover Car Accidents
Every auto insurance policy issued in the state of Delaware automatically comes with a medical treatment coverage, known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP). The minimum amount required is $15,000 (per person, per accident), which covers medical treatment, lost wages, household help and funeral expenses.
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PIP applies without regard to fault. If you cause a car accident in Delaware and need medical treatment, you can make a PIP claim under your own policy. It doesn’t matter that you were at fault in causing the car accident. That’s the nature of PIP benefits in Delaware.
In addition, the following apply when making a PIP claim in Delaware:
- PIP only pays for up to two years after the date of the accident,
- PIP maxes out at whatever limit was purchased (minimum limit required is $15,000),
- you may be required to see a special doctor hired by the insurance company paying the PIP benefits to determine your continued eligibility, and
- you may be required to pay a PIP deductible.
PIP Claims for Drivers & Passengers
Under Delaware’s PIP law, PIP benefits are available for every person who is occupying a vehicle that’s in an accident, assuming that the car is insured under a Delaware auto insurance policy. The statute is clear that PIP benefits come from the car insurance policy of the car that’s involved in the accident, not the driver’s policy.
For example, a Delaware resident is driving his friend’s car for a weekend beach trip to Dewey. Both the resident and his friend have their own auto insurance policies. The friend’s policy covers the car that’s being driven. They are in a serious accident and both need medical treatment. The driver would make a PIP claim under his friend’s auto policy, even though he has his own policy. Likewise, the friend/owner of the car would also make a PIP claim under his policy.
PIP Claims for Non-Occupants (Pedestrians & Bike Riders)
In addition, DE PIP law further extends benefits to “any other person injured in an accident involving such motor vehicle, other than an occupant of another motor vehicle.” This means that PIP benefits are available to pedestrians or bicyclists.
For example, a Dover resident walking in a crosswalk is hit by a car. The Dover resident can make a PIP claim under the striking driver’s auto policy, if the driver is insured under a Delaware policy. What if the driver is an out of state driver? In that instance, the pedestrian would most likely make a PIP claim under their own auto insurance policy as a named insured. If they don’t have their own policy, they may be eligible as a member of a household, i.e., spouse or child of a named insured.
Even though PIP eligibility sounds clear cut, Delaware courts routinely have to decide whether someone is eligible. Last year, State Farm was ordered to pay PIP benefits to a bus rider who after exiting the bus was struck by a car on the other side of the road. State Farm, which covered the bus, tried to argue that the girl was not eligible for PIP benefits because she wasn’t occupying the bus at the time of the accident. The Delaware Supreme Court disagreed and found in favor of the girl. Read more about Delaware court cases on eligibility for PIP benefits.
Wilmington & Dover Car Accident Lawyer – Help with PIP Claims After a Car Accident
Get a free consultation with our Delaware car accident lawyers. Our offices are located in Wilmington, Dover and Newark. (302) 658-1717
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