What is PIP Insurance?


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

PIP insurance stands for Personal Injury Protection. It is an extension of car insurance available in some U.S. states that covers medical expenses and in some cases, lost wages, and other damages. PIP is sometimes referred to as “no-fault” coverage because the statutes enacting it are generally known as no-fault laws, and PIP is designed to be paid without regard to “fault”, or more properly legal liability. PIP is also called “no-fault” because, by definition, a claimant’s, or insured’s, insurance premium should not increase due to a PIP claim.

PIP is mandatory coverage in some states. The PIP coverage may vary from state to state in terms of what is covered and what types of treatments are covered. In Texas, it is mandatory to have a minimum of $2,500 of PIP insurance, but you can buy more coverage if you want. If you do not want PIP, you must reject it in writing.

What does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Pay? PIP insurance pays the same as medical payments coverage, plus 80 percent of lost income and the cost of hiring a caregiver for an injured person. PIP should cover 100% of necessary medical, surgical, x-ray, dental, prosthetic devices, ambulance, hospital, professional nursing and funeral services. The insurance company may require medical documentation form health care providers that the injuries were as a result of the automobile collision.

The lost wages and medical claims will all come out of the same $2500 pot, so if you have $1500 in medical bills and $1500 in lost wages, you can only recover $2500 and nothing more. Unless, of course you have more than the mandatory $2500 PIP coverage.

Who does PIP cover? PIP covers you, your family members, and any other passengers in your car, regardless of who caused the accident.

When filing a claim for damages under the PIP coverage, it is important to remember that benefits under this provision can be paid before damages under any other policy coverage are paid.

Our attorneys will help you file for the PIP coverage. We will submit them for the insurance company review and follow up with the insurance company until the coverage is paid, usually about 30 days after the claim is submitted.

Processing the PIP claim for our clients is a courtesy service that we provide at no extra charge to our clients if it can be accomplished without litigation.

If you are in an accident, call our law firm at (512) 343-2572 or contact us online. Our attorneys will help you recover your, PIP insurance, medical bills, and lost wages.

Social Media and Car Accidents


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

We all like our social media so that we can keep in touch with family and friends.  Social media is also important to show that we have a respectable online profile for job applications, college applications, or general goodwill for charities.  We like to keep everyone updated on our lives, but should you use social media to announce to friends that you have been in a car accident?  People fail to consider how their online presence will be perceived by a court of law in the event any legal action is taken.

A good rule of thumb to remember is there is no such thing as privacy on any social media sites.  As a personal injury plaintiff, you must realize that anything that is posted about you on anyone’s profile is not private.   You should never post anything that you would not want heard in front of a judge and jury (your community).

The picture or post may not even be what it seems, but the insurance defense lawyer will twist any of your postings , requiring you to provide an explanation during trial about what was really meant in the post.  Be warned, insurance companies may start monitoring and copying your social networking accounts almost immediately after an accident occurs.

How can social networking be harmful if you are a victim in a car, motorcycle or, trucking accident?  If you are claiming injuries in a motor vehicle accident, you would not want to post something like “I just ran a 5k today!”  Or if you are claiming a severe back injury, “I just rode a horse today!”  This may show that you are not as seriously injured as you are claiming.

Sure, even people with serious injuries have good days and may take a picture of themselves doing something they normally can’t do, but any photo is discoverable (even if it’s not posted online), so you may have to provide it to the defense lawyer after suit is filed and then you can be sure they will show it to the jury to try make you out to be a liar.  Not fair?  Of course not, but insurance companies and their lawyers play dirty.

You also do not want to post anything about your feelings toward the person that caused your injuries, any status updates about your law suit, or anything about you, your family, or your lifestyle.  You do not want to post any pictures of yourself.  All these things can affect the part of your case where your attorney is arguing that you have a lower quality of life due to your sustained injuries.

If you think we’re advising you to stay away from cameras and social media after you’ve been hurt in a collision, you’re right!

According to an article written for American Association for Justice by Steve Gordon, defense attorneys and insurers will readily spend ten to thirty thousand dollars in hopes of getting 10 seconds of video footage showing the injured plaintiff doing something that “he could not possibly do if he was truly as injured as he says.”

Take time to “Google” yourself and see what comes up.  You do not want a website popping up that shows you just won a marathon over the weekend.  This will discredit you in your case to the defense and the jury.  You must assume that defense attorneys will be googling your name and checking out your social networking profiles to see how injured you truly are.  If you have something that you think might hurt your case, tell you lawyer about it upfront.  It is better for your lawyer to know what is going on rather than have him surprised at mediation or in court.

If you have any questions about social networking and your pending law suit or if you or anyone you know has been injured in a car accident, call the Traub Law Office at 512-343-2572 or contact us online.

UPDATE

Here are three document production requests we received in a client’s case (from Progressive Insurance’s lawyers):

  1. For each social media account maintained by you since the date of the accident to the present, produce the exact web address (URL) and user’s name as it currently appears on the social media site, or as it last appeared before you cancelled services with the social media site.
  2. For each social media account, other than Facebook, maintained by you since the date of the accident to the present, produce any photos, videos, messages, posts, blogs, status updates, location “check-ins” or other content from the date of the accident to present.
  3. If you maintained a Facebook account, produce a copy of your account archive.  Your account archive is obtained by navigating to your account settings and clicking on the “download your Facebook data” link.

What Jurors Need to Know


Last Updated on October 16th, 2018

In this video, I’m going to let you in on a secret the insurance companies don’t want you to know.

If you are going in for jury selection, then this video will give you some insight into what’s going on behind the scenes.

You see, the insurance companies have successfully gotten the word “insurance” out of lawsuits where they are not being sued directly.

If someone is injured in a crash and the insurance company won’t pay full and fair compensation for the medical bills and injuries caused by their insured, the insured, and not the insurance company is sued.  So you see Plaintiff Joe v. Defendant Suzy, not Defendant Rip em Off insurance.  Then, while you’re listening to the trial, listen for not only what’s said, but what’s not said.  What won’t be said is the word insurance.

You see, even though there are not studies to confirm this, the insurance companies long ago convinced the legislature that if people knew insurance was available, they’d be more willing to give money.  No studies confirm this theory, but I the opposite is actually more likely.  Juries are more likely to under-award a plaintiff who is injured because they feel sorry for the defendant.  They worry about saddling the poor, widowed, retired school teacher with a heavy burden, never finding out that she has a $100,000 insurance policy.

Watch the video and I’ll tell you how things work behind the scene and how you can tell whether the defendant has insurance.

When Should I Notify My Insurance Company


Last Updated on October 16th, 2018

Two common questions I answer in this video are “Do I need to notify my insurance company if I’m not at fault?” and “When should I notify my insurance company after an accident?”

Don’t forget – if you have any questions, you can call us at (512) 246-9191 or order our free books for accident victims.

The Most Important Insurance


Last Updated on October 16th, 2018

In this video, I discuss something so important, it’s amazing to me how many insurance salespeople don’t tell their customers about it.

You can get a Free Insurance Buying Guide prepared by us as well. Enjoy!

Don’t forget – if you have any questions, you can call us at (512) 246-9191 or order our free car accident reports for victims.

PIP v Medpay


Last Updated on October 16th, 2018

When you buy auto insurance or your insurance is up for renewal, should you get PIP, Medpay, or neither?

Play the video below to find out what’s your best option in Texas.

Don’t forget – if you have any questions, you can call us at (512) 246-9191 or order our free guides for car accident victims.

Dallas Starts Towing Uninsured Vehicles


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

The City of Dallas has begun in earnest with the new policy of towing the vehicles of uninsured motorists. I hope the Austin Police copy this tactic and that word spreads quickly and greatly reduces the number of drivers who don’t carry the mandatory auto liability coverage. This would be a great benefit to our personal injury clients, and to motorists in general. On New Year’s Day Dallas police towed 20 vehicles.

I’ve written many times about the problems Texas has with uninsured motorists. More than 25% of Texas drivers have no auto insurance, even though it’s required by state law. This new policy of towing uninsured cars will disproportionately affect poor people, who find it harder to afford insurance. But the law is the law – even poor people are required to carry insurance, and poverty is not a good excuse to drive uninsured.

If you drive in Dallas and you either haven’t bought insurance or you have let your insurance lapse, you better take care of that soon or you could be facing very expensive costs to get your car out of the pound.

Did Driver's Knowing Risk Void Policy?


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

A criminal flees the police at speeds topping 100 mph, crosses into oncoming traffic and smashes into a car.  Sounds like a nightmare?  It gets worse.  His insurance company doesn’t want to pay up on his $300,000 auto insurance policy.

The Texas Supreme Court will soon decide who deserves the law’s protection – the family whose car was in the wrong place at the wrong time (the 1999 wreck left 7-year old Roney Tanner comatose for a week, in the hospital for a month and in physical therapy for five years) or an insurance company (Nationwide) with a reckless and irresponsible client.

Nationwide has taken the position that the fleeing driver (Richard Gibbons) violated his insurance contract by leading police on a wild chase all but guaranteed to end in a horrific wreck, relying on a starndard “intentional acts exclusion” clause to void coverage – and two courts have agreed with them so far.  Welcome to Texas where the insurance companies rarely pay for their insured’s mistakes.

Nationwide argues that Gibbons ought to have known that disregarding stop signs, traffic signals and lane markings during a protracted high-speed police chase would eventually lead to the type of accident that critically injured Roney Tanner.

But Don Cotton, the Tanners’ lawyer, said the accident was not inevitable. ,
The most dangerous parts of the chase were over by the time Gibbons hit the Tanners on lightly traveled roads surrounded by farmland, he said.

Significantly, Cotton said, pursuing police officers noted that Gibbons slammed on his brakes in an attempt to avoid hitting the Tanners’ 17-yearold Honda Accord with his Ford F-350.

“It is nonsensical to say that somebody intentionally caused harm when the only evidence in the record is that he was trying to avoid causing that harm,” Cotton told the nine justices. “The test is not reckless (acts). The test is ‘intentional.’ ”

If this isn’t a good reason not to carry Nationwide insurance than I don’t know what is.  It’s also all the more reason (as I always say) to carry high uninsured/under-insured coverage.

Drive Less, Save on Insurance


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

A Dallas-based company is offering Texans auto insurance by the mile.

MileMeter, which is targeting people who drive fewer than 12,000 miles a year, is the only company offering mileage-based insurance in Texas despite a law passed in 2001 that encourages such a plan.

MileMeter charges from 3 to 20 cents per mile, depending on coverage options chosen, and it takes the driver’s word on the odometer reading.  The policies are for six months, whether or not the driver has reached the mileage limit.

The company can offer low rates for low-mileage drivers because “it’s very difficult to get into an accident when your car is parked,” said MileMeter chief executive Chris Gay.  “The less you drive, the less risk you’re exposed to.”

Federal statistics put the average number of miles driven in 2006 at 14,768, but many Americans have driven less this year because of higher gas prices.  According to Gay, roughly half the population drives around 12,000 miles a year.

Progressive is planning to introduce a mileage-based plan in 2009 which uses GPS technology to track usage.

The problem, though, is that MileMeter’s limits top out at $50,000 per person and $100,00 per accident which is not nearly enough.  Also, the insurance automatically ends when the odometer has registered the number of miles purchased or six months have elapsed, whichever comes sooner.

New database will help agencies crack down on drivers without insurance


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

To reduce the number of drivers without auto insurance, the state of Texas has launched a database that allows law enforcement officials to tell which drivers have insurance and which don’t.

The program, known as TexasSure, began in the Austin area on June 2, and is being tested for about 60 days before it is expected to go statewide.

Texas drivers are required by law to have auto insurance, but one in five is uninsured, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Drivers will still be required to carry proof of insurance, but the database was created to counter those who purchase an, insurance policy, get an insurance card and then cancel their policy.

The $7 million program is a joint effort among DPS, the Transportation Department, the Texas Department of Insurance and the insurance industry. It is being financed by vehicle registration fees. TexasSure requires all Texas insurance providers to supply a list of customers with up-to-date policies. The state then matches those policies to a driver’s license number, license plate number and vehicle identification number.

Under current law, drivers pulled over fora traffic violation who are found to be uninsured are ticketed $350 for the first offense, plus fees. Repeat offenders face fines of up to $1,000 and a two-year license suspension.