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Maryland: PIP, Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage and Other Coverages Briefly Explained

Posted on: August 16, 2018

You are probably familiar with your rights to recover compensation if you are injured in an auto accident. In most cases, you would assert a claim with the insurance company that carries a car insurance policy for the “at-fault” driver. Maryland insurance laws require all motorists to purchase a designated minimum amount of insurance coverage for bodily injury and property damage. This is because of a legal concept known as the “at-fault” rule, which states that any injured party can recover compensation from the negligent driver who was negligent. There are three scenarios, however, in which this rule becomes a problem for you as an injured victim:

  • The other driver does not comply with state law on insurance requirements and is considered an uninsured motorist;
  • Though the negligent driver complies with Maryland’s minimum auto insurance laws and has purchased the minimum amount of required insurance, your injuries are severe and exceed the available insurance coverage amount; or,
  • The responsible motorist fled the scene of the accident, so you do not have the contact information necessary to file a claim with his or her insurance company.

In any of these situations, you could be left with significant medical bills and lost wages, in addition to pain and suffering and other losses. Recognizing the tough position this puts car accident victims in, Maryland has enacted another law that could allow you to obtain compensation when you cannot recover what you should from the negligent driver.

Key Definitions and Concepts in Insurance Coverage

Insurance terminology can be complicated, so it is important to understand the basics on definitions and legal concepts.

  • Bodily Injury Coverage: This type of insurance covers damages that an injured victim incurs as a result of a car crash. You can file a claim for compensation with the other driver’s insurance company and could potentially receive up to the policy limit, either through settling your case or filing a lawsuit in court. Typically, you would also carry this coverage to protect you in the event you hurt someone else.
  • Uninsured Motorist: When drivers do not have any car insurance, they are considered uninsured motorists or UM for short.
  • Underinsured Motorist: This category of drivers carries the required amount of insurance, or perhaps less. The term underinsured applies to situations where the bodily injury/liability policy does not carry enough coverage to satisfy the losses caused by the negligent actor. For example, in serious auto collisions, your medical expenses may be higher than the amount of liability coverage available to you, and you could also lose wages for a long period of time. Plus, your pain and suffering may be considerable. In such a situation, the insurance and/or personal assets of the tortfeasor may be insufficient to cover your losses. When the adverse insurance coverage is insufficient, you face an underinsured motorist– “UIM” – situation.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage: PIP is a type of insurance coverage that Maryland insurers are required to provide to their policyholders, unless they waive it in writing. Drivers who purchase this coverage can obtain compensation by filing a PIP claim with their own insurance company, so it can be useful in an accident with an UM or UIM.
  • First Party vs. Third Party Insurance Claims: If you do file a PIP claim with your own insurance provider, this is a first party claim because you have a direct business relationship with the insurer. Seeking compensation from the responsible driver’s insurance company is considered a third party insurance claim.

Filing for PIP Coverage

If you did not sign a PIP waiver when you bought auto insurance, you can file a first party claim with your own insurance company. Passengers in your vehicle, family members who live in your household, and drivers you permit to use your car would also be covered under PIP provisions. Therefore:

  • You would file a first party PIP claim any time you are involved in a motor vehicle crash with an uninsured driver or someone who fled the scene.
  • A PIP claim would also be an option if you were in an accident with an underinsured motorist, and your losses exceed the amount of coverage he or she carries. Note that Maryland’s minimum coverage amounts are $30,000 for bodily injuries and $60,000 for one or more injured victims, however PIP generally has much lower mandatory limits. (Typically $2500.00 minimum coverage required.) You could easily exceed this amount – and be on the hook for the rest of your losses – in a serious auto crash if no other coverage were available.
  • In addition, you could file a PIP claim if you are not even in a car. You can seek compensation from your insurance company as a first party claimant if you were on a bicycle or were walking when hit by a negligent UM or UIM.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claims in Maryland

Your first party PIP insurance provides some protection if you are injured in a car accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist, but you may still need legal assistance in dealing with your insurer. Just like third party claims, insurance companies frequently will do what they can to protect their financial interests. You could get a rejection or a low-ball offer on your claim, even when you are dealing with your own insurance company. To hear more about your options, please contact us.

Read Some of Our Recent Client Reviews!

02:32 04 Aug 18
The lawyer who was initially handling my case parted ways with the company and I was assigned a new lawyer. This new lawyer was amazing! Christina Franetovich made me feel secure by double checking all the facts and notes in my case so that I was not worried during this transition. I was on disability from an a different accident while she was finalizing my case, and I had called and hounded her about the time frame of my settlement very frequently to the point that I felt guilty for calling so much. Christina was very sympathetic to my situation and assured me that she would do everything in her power to make sure the situation would be resolved quickly. She actually finalized my case before the time frame she had given me, was always very courteous and knowledgable on the phone, and I feel extremely lucky that she ended up handling my case because the previous lawyer was not as amazing with customer service as Christina. She also has a way of making you feel comfortable and builds incredible rapport quickly. I am going to highly recommend her to my friends and family. Thank you Christina!!!
Andrea Barajas
Andrea Barajas
15:13 16 May 18
My husband and I were in a car accident in August 2017. We contacted Bob Katz team for legal representation in our case. Kristen A. Turner was our paralegal and she was excellent. It took 9 months for us to receive our settlement and Kristen kept us updated throughout this entire process. She was very kind and patient as I happened to have several questions. She always answered my questions promptly and thoroughly. I would highly recommend this firm and Kristen if you are in need of legal assistance.
Richard Hose
Richard Hose
02:26 27 Jun 18
On Feb 23, 2017 I was in a bad accident on the JFX. I had been rear end by another driver. Almost immediately I felt pressured by the other drivers insurance. Everything from wanting a recorded statement; to failing to acknowledge responsibility. No one would answer my questions, nor would anyone take responsibility. I was frustrated and overwhelmed with everyone from the towing company, to the repair shop, to the insurance company nightmare I just entered. I reached out to Attorney Robert Katz and I was assured they were here to help. He provided with some much needed information, and told me not to worry, Sarah his Paralegal would be in touch to help get things moving. Sarah reached out as expected and explained their process and walked me through what my expectations would be. She as well assured me they were here to help me navigate the obstacles. What Sarah really did was so much more than help. She took the stress and burden off my shoulders and assumed ownership for handling everything on my behalf. I knew what to expect, and I received regular updates throughout the entire process. Honestly, I received so much more than I anticipated. Some of the most frustrating items to chase after are medical records and hospital charges. While I was trying to recall events and timelines, she had already obtained my records and information. She made this process so painless. I truly cannot say enough about the exceptional service she provided. Many thanks for all your help. Sincerely, Richard Hose
Claudette Pope
Claudette Pope
13:18 30 Aug 18
I was referred to Gordon & feindblatt in 2014 when my family was in an accident, Mr. Katz personally consulted with me by phone and he was very polite and professional, Mr. Carpuso, one of the litigation attorneys even came out to our home and went over our case with us, he made sure all of our needs was addressed and before he left our home that day I felt like we were old friends. that case was settled and I was very pleased, I have used this law firm twice since then and the results are always the same, I have nothing but great experiences with Gordon & Feindblatt the staff are courteous and professional and they get the job done but the one in particular that really stood out for me is Rebecca Slattery, she is truly a gem, she is so compassionate, she walked me through the entire process, she even checked up on me from time to time just to see how I was feeling and I really appreciated her kindness. I will use this law firm again and again for any future legal issue that may arise and I would highly recommend Gordon & Fiendblatt to friends, family and co-workers.
15:24 09 Feb 18
My experience here was great. My lawyer Rebecca was so professional and I love her personality. She handled my case well and kept me updated and made the process easy and always made me feel comfortable to call whenever I needed to know anything.
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Chris Shin
Chris Shin
18:23 20 Jun 18
They were very polite, professional. and informed current status of the case time to time. Great Job !!!
Jonathan Roane
Jonathan Roane
22:51 17 Nov 17
If you ever need any assistance with an accident or injury-related claim this is the firm you need hands down. These are the most professional and caring people I have ever met in my life. Two people you should contact are Rebecca Slattery who was actually my paralegal and also Allan Serrano. You will be in good hands.
Israel Thompson
Israel Thompson
00:52 06 Dec 17
Attorney MR Bob Katz outstanding Human being, went beyond and above to help me during my accident, he showed me tremendous kindness and support.Thank you so much will highly recommend him to anyone who needs help with their auto accident
Marta Kritselis
Marta Kritselis
16:19 01 Sep 17
Rebecca Slattery the paralegal She took care my case and she was very helpful throughout the whole process. I highly recommend to my family and friend the services of Attorney Bob Kats and there team .
Myong Kim
Myong Kim
22:04 31 Mar 17
I am grateful to Bob and Justin Katz and their team for working hard to get me the most money. They were very professional and easy to work with in Korean. I will recommend them to friends and family any chance I have.
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