Utah “Personal Injury Protection” Benefits (“PIP”). Utah Code 31A-22-306 to 309.
All Utah issued car policies of insurance must have personal injury protection benefits. You can’t waive them. You can waive PIP for motorcycles, ATVs and scooters, but not motor vehicles. If you are involved in a Utah car accident your personal injury attorney should be helping you with the PIP application and ensure all PIP benefits are flowing. If they don’t even know what PIP is, or all the benefits associated with it–you have the wrong lawyer.
What Does Utah PIP Benefits Consist of?
Household Services. $20 per day for 365 days max. Utah Code 31A-22-307(b).
“a special damage allowance not exceeding $20 per day for a maximum of 365 days, for services actually rendered or expenses reasonably incurred for services that, but for the injury, the injured person would have performed for the injured person’s household, except that this benefit need not be paid for the first three days after the date of injury unless the person’s inability to perform these services continues for more than two consecutive weeks;”
Medical Payments. $3,000 minimum and you should get more. Utah Code 31A-22-307(a)(i). Medical payments can cover all sorts of medical providers. Here is what the statute expressly lists. (i) medical services; (ii) surgical services; (iii) X-ray services; (iv) dental services; (v) rehabilitation services, including prosthetic devices; (vi) ambulance services; (vii) hospital services; and (viii) nursing services. These medical services must be caused by the car accident to be covered by PIP medical payments.
Lost Wages. $250 per week or 85 percent of your income, whatever is less. 52 Week Max. Utah Code 31A-22-307(b). It reads:
“the lesser of $250 per week or 85% of any loss of gross income and loss of earning capacity per person from inability to work, for a maximum of 52 consecutive weeks after the loss, except that this benefit need not be paid for the first three days of disability, unless the disability continues for longer than two consecutive weeks after the date of injury.”
Funeral Benefits. $1,500 towards funeral benefits.
Heirs Payments. Wrongful Death. $3,000 payment to the heirs on the account of death. This benefit does not require anyone to be at-fault for the Utah car accident. It pays regardless when someone dies from a motor vehicle accident.
HOW DO YOU TRIGGER PIP BENEFITS IN YOUR UTAH AUTO ACCIDENT?
The best practice for triggering PIP benefits after you are in a car accident is to provide a doctor’s note and paystubs.
Doctor’s Note. The doctor’s note can be from any medical provider, but obviously a surgeon carries more weight than a chiropratic physician. Physical therapists, nurses, physician’s assistants or chiropractors can write the letter stating your inability to work or do daily household services.
The doctor’s note should state:
(1) What your injuries are.
(2). That the car accident caused your injuries.
(3). That you can’t work or do household services because of the injuries, and
(4). You can’ work for how long.
Wage Loss Documentation. The second piece of evidence should be some paystubs, W-2s or tax returns showing your lost employment or what your wages were prior to the car collision. $250 per week is pretty low, so most any pay information will suffice.
Catastrophic Injuries. Bed Ridden or 3 Week ER Stays. If you are involved in a catastrophic car accident where you are in the ER for a month or bed ridden up on your discharge, just submitting your ER discharge records should trigger PIP benefits. The insurance company will have a hard time denying that one. If they deny your PIP benefits, you should consider suing them for breach of contract.
FILLING OUT THE PIP APPLICATION. Utah Car Accident Lawyer Jake Gunter
Don’t submit the PIP application by yourself. You need to be careful what you say in the application. Have your attorney review the application language. Often when you are submitting for PIP benefits you don’t know the extent of your injuries and should state them blandly. No real detail is needed and that detail can be used against you at any future trial or deposition.
The at-fault insurance company who hit you will often subpoena your insurance company’s records and discover your PIP application. There is no need to give an insurance company ammunition to cross-exam you at trial regarding your injuries by filling the PIP application out without your injury attorney approving it.
PIP BENEFITS PROCESSING TIMES.
Expect 30 days for the insurance carrier to start processing and paying your Utah PIP benefits. So getting your PIP application out early is critical.
STACKING PIP BENEFITS.
The insurance companies hate when you try to stack PIP benefits, but it can be done in some circumstances. Meaning once your primary PIP benefits have exhausted, you can start your secondary PIP benefits. Often these attempts are denied by the secondary PIP insurance carrier. Citing the language of their respective policy doesn’t allow for it.
OUT-OF-STATE CAR INSURANCE POLICIES.
Not every state has mandatory “PIP like” benefits, but most do. Your Utah car accident attorney should call the particular car accident carrier and inquire about any PIP like benefits. PIP benefits are often called first-party insurance benefits or no-fault benefits, because they pay out regardless of fault and are attached to your own car insurance policy.
PRIORITY AND ORDER OF PIP PROVIDERS.
Here are some examples which illustrate how PIP is paid out, which insurance company pays first and second.
Rear-End Car Accident. I-15. You are driving your own car and are rear-ended on I-15 near Provo Center Street Exit. You tear your knee on the dashboard requiring surgery. (Dashboard Knee) Your own car insurance is primary PIP payor. Paying any benefits your injuries and circumstances require up to their applicable PIP limits. Any passengers in the car would also have PIP benefits available to them.
Rear-End Car Accident. Passenger State Street. You are rear-ended on Orem State Street. You are a passenger in your buddy’s car going to lunch. Your head hits the dashboard, causing you a concussion. The primary PIP payor is the car you are a passenger in. Your own car’s PIP that was sitting back at the office becomes secondary PIP payor.
Truck v. Bicycle. Provo Center Street. You are hit by a truck on Center Street, Provo while riding your bicycle. The truck who hit you is primary PIP payor and your car insurance on your car back in your driveway is secondary PIP payor.
Car v. Pedestrian. Orem Center Street. You are hit while crossing the street, drunk and in the middle of the road near Orem Center Street. You are completely at-fault for getting hit. The car that ran you over is the primary PIP payor and will pay even though you were completely at-fault.
SUING FOR FAILURE TO PAY PIP BENEFITS.
Utah’s PIP statute allows for reasonable attorney fees if you prevail in suing and winning against an insurance company for failure to pay PIP benefits.