Kansas is one of several no-fault auto insurance states. Kansas law requires that minimum auto insurance coverage includes not only liability coverage and underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, but also personal injury protection benefits, commonly referred to as PIP coverage. PIP coverage and no-fault coverage are terms that are often used interchangeably to refer to the benefits you are entitled to through your own auto insurance following a collision.
What exactly is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage?
You will have access to your PIP benefits through your own auto insurance company immediately after a collision, regardless of fault. This coverage helps address your immediate medical expenses after a collision, and is included as a benefit that you pay for with your insurance premiums. Without personal injury protection coverage, you may be stuck waiting for your health insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company to cover your medical bills. Kansas law requires every auto insurance policy sold in the state to include minimum PIP coverage of $4,500 for medical bills.
Because these are no-fault benefits, you will be entitled to your PIP benefits whether you are the “at-fault” driver, you are a pedestrian, you hit a deer in road, or someone else is 100% responsible for the collision. If you are injured in a motor vehicle collision, the first portion of your medical bills will be handled by your own auto insurance provider and no other insurance company will process your bills until your PIP benefits are exhausted.
What other benefits are available through PIP?
Kansas has set minimum required limits for insurance coverage. The following are the minimum limits as applied to PIP:
- – For medical expenses – $4,500 per collision/person
- – For lost wages – $900/month for a period of 12 months
- – For household assistance (called KS Essential Services) – $25/day for a period of 12 months
- – For funeral expenses – $2,000
Who is covered under PIP?
Everyone who is the titled owner of a vehicle is required to carry auto insurance. If you carry auto insurance, the PIP portion of your policy, will cover:
- You as the holder of the policy.
- Your family members, who live in the same house as you, whether they were driving a vehicle or riding as passengers.
- Unrelated passengers who were in the vehicle with you at the time of the collision. (If an unrelated passenger also carries auto insurance, the passenger will have access to the personal injury protection benefits under his/her own auto insurance policy.)
When does PIP coverage not apply?
Although determination of fault or negligence is not a consideration when it comes to PIP benefits, there are other factors that can make you ineligible to receive no-fault coverage. These include:
- A collision that is an intentional act: If you intentionally cause an auto collision, the insurance company can disqualify you from receiving PIP benefits.
- If the injuries are sustained in a motorcycle collision: In Kansas, personal injury protection coverage is not mandatory for motorcycle owners/riders. Unless you have specifically opted to purchase PIP coverage for your motorcycle, you may not be eligible to receive PIP benefits.
- If the collision occurred while you are on a work-related trip: If the mishap occurs while travelling for work (excluding travels to or from work), then PIP does not apply to injuries sustained in such a collision. Your worker’s compensation benefits will cover you in this scenario.
How much time does it take for PIP claims to be processed?
Once you send the PIP application to your insurance company, they have 30 days to pay the benefits after receiving the written notice. If the payment is delayed beyond the 30-day limit, you may be entitled to receive interest.
If you make a PIP claim, will it increase your policy premiums?
No. Personal injury protection is no-fault coverage and is separate from liability coverage. A no-fault claim should not have any impact on the cost of subsequent coverage. Insurance premiums generally increase after a determination of fault, or the receipt of a moving violation or citation.
How do PIP benefits apply to people who don’t own a car?
No-fault coverage is available for motorists, passengers and pedestrians who do not own a vehicle, if the vehicle they were driving in, riding in or hit by as a pedestrian, is covered by auto insurance at the time of the collision. If the there is no insurance coverage through those avenues, there may be coverage up to minimum limits provided by the state of Kansas through the Kansas Automobile Assigned Claims Plan (KAACP).
Will you be eligible for PIP benefits if you are driving a new car that has not yet been added to your existing policy?
Kansas laws give you 30 days to add a new car to your auto insurance policy. If you own another vehicle that is insured, you can claim PIP benefits as long as you are within the 30-day time limit.
If you make a PIP claim, does this mean you cannot sue the at-fault driver?
No. Liability will be determined after an examination of the facts surrounding the collision. If it is determined that the other driver is responsible for the collision, you can still bring a claim against the at-fault driver and pursue a settlement from the insurance company that will cover all your economic and non-economic damages. However, because you are not responsible for the collision, your own insurance company will be able to file a lien against your settlement to be reimbursed for the benefits they provided through your PIP coverage.
Having the right law firm to help sort through the intricacies of Kansas no-fault laws and insurance policies, can make a huge difference in the amount of money you pocket. If you have been seriously injured, $4,500 of PIP coverage may not get you through the first few days of medical treatment, and it may feel like you are out of options.
At DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers, our goal is to remove from your shoulders the stress of dealing with insurance companies, PIP liens, and medical bills. We want to make this process as worry-free as possible. Over the years, we have helped hundreds of people get the medical treatment they needed and the compensation they deserve. Our experienced lawyers settle for nothing less than fair compensation. While you focus on your recovery and getting your life back on track, we will take care of everything else.