How To File For PIP
Filing for PIP is very simple and in most cases involves requesting forms, filling them out and submitting proof of your damages. You do not need to hire a personal injury lawyer to file PIP for you. In fact, our firm files PIP for our current clients as a courtesy and charges no legal fee.
You do not need a lawyer to file PIP but if you have an lawyer you are advised to listen to their legal advice and have him or her assist you in filing for PIP. This ensures that the maximum amount available is recovered. Just make sure your lawyer is not going to charge more than a nominal fee to do this for you.
You should notify the carrier of your intent to make the PIP claim soon after the accident. You must file all the necessary paperwork (i.e. the application or claim form) within one year after the accident. Most carriers have a claims hotline or department. The number can usually be found on the carrier’s website.
1) Immediately after a car accident contact the insurance company that wrote the policy of insurance covering the vehicle you were injured in. In most cases, if you are driving, this is your own liability carrier. Ask them to send you the Maryland Personal Injury Protection claim forms including the Application for Benefits. If you wish to also pursue a claim against the negligent driver as well, you should also contact a personal injury lawyer.
2) In addition to requesting the PIP forms, ask your carrier or agent to advise you of the steps to take in filing the forms. Every insurance company has different methods of handling PIP and doing it their way can often expedite your recovery.
3) Once you have received the forms, fill them out completely and return them within one year of the date of the collision. Ideally, you should do this as soon as possible after the collision. At this point, most insurance companies will contact your medical providers and pay them directly. In the event they do not do this you must submit your medical bills for payment.
4) If you are missing time from work, keep a list of the hours and rate of pay. Once you have finished missing time, you make a claim for your wages.
One way of doing this is to write down the hours you missed and the rate of pay for those hours and have a supervisor sign this sheet. Submit the sheet to the carrier with a letter asking them to pay you those hours.
* You do not have to wait until you finish missing time from work to make a wage claim, this is suggested only because it is often easier to submit once rather than several times during the course of your treatment. Certainly if you have the time and need the money sooner, submit your lost wages as they accrue.
Word Of Caution:
As a personal injury lawyer there is one area where I see clients get in trouble with the insurance company and sometimes even the law. That area is with submitting lost wages for payment. To avoid possible prosecution for insurance fraud, never lie on your PIP forms or include hours and wages you did not miss. This does not mean that you can not claim hours you missed but were paid for (i.e. by sick leave or vacation pay). What this does mean, is that you should never include hours you did not miss nor should you inflate your rate of pay. Insurance companies almost always will contact your employer to verify that the dates and hours you claimed you missed you were in fact not working and the rate of pay you are claiming.
Follow this simple rule: If you were scheduled to work, and did not work as a result of the car accident injury, you can claim those hours you were scheduled to work. It does not matter if you were paid for those hours, what does matter is that you did not work those hours and you otherwise would have.