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Posted on 04-18-2017

Will My Auto Insurance Rates Go Up If I Use My PIP Benefits Following a Baltimore Auto Accident Injury?

As a Baltimore Chiropractor that owns two clinics in Baltimore City, I spend the majority of my time in the clinic managing headaches, neck pain, and back pain. Clearly these conditions can arise for a number of reasons. We see people injured from playing sports, working out in the gym, or just waking up with stiff necks and backs. However, one of the most common sources of injuries that we treat in this clinic are auto accident whiplash injuries that result in neck pain and back pain in Baltimore.

One of the questions that my staff and I get asked most commonly is whether or not an injured patient's auto insurance rates will go up if they elect to use their PIP (Personal Injury Protection) benefits. If you recall PIP is Maryland's no-fault benefit that is used when an injury occurs as a result of a motor vehicle collision. PIP is typically written in amounts of $2,500, $5,000, or $10,000 but can be waived at the time of underwriting. PIP can be used to pay for lost wages and post-injury rehabilitation (including x-rays, chiropractic care, and physical therapy) following a Baltimore auto accident injury regardless of who caused the crash.

Its a reasonable question to ask as to whether or not auto insurance rates will go up if you elect to use your PIP benefits. Let's look at two scenarios. One in which the injured patient is at fault for the crash, and one in which they are not. And please keep in mind - obviously I am not a licensed attorney in the state of Maryland nor am I licensed to sell insurance in Maryland. If you have a specific question about your specific set of circumstances you would be best served calling your insurance agent or personal injury attorney to discuss your particular situation

Example 1: Patient A was driving home from an Orioles game and fell asleep behind the wheel. They crashed their car into another car by rear-ending them at a red light. They injured their neck and want to use their PIP benefits to get x-rays and chiropractic care to help heal their neck. In this instance, it is likely that their auto insurance rates WILL go up following their auto accident injury. That is because they caused a crash and their auto insurer will now see them as a larger risk and as such will assess higher premiums for their policy. However, the important thing to note is that their auto insurance rates are ALREADY going up from having caused a crash. In such an instance it still makes sense for the injured patient to file for PIP benefits because they have already been paying a premium for access to this insurance and their rates are going up whether or not they choose to open a PIP claim.

Example 2: Patient B was idling at a red light when they were rear-ended by patient A in the example above. They developed whiplash symptoms including post traumatic headaches, neck pain, and back pain. They present to my clinic worried about whether they should open a PIP claim since the crash was not their fault. In this instance, I would encourage them to open a PIP claim or have one opened on their behalf by their personal injury attorney if they have one, since they were non-faulted victims in a crash. Even though PIP is a first party benefit (paid out by Patient B's insurance not the adverse insurance that indemnifies the driver that caused the accident) Maryland law forbids insurers to raise auto insurance premiums in cases where there is no fault on behalf of the victim. The particular law in question is found under Maryland General Assembly 19-507(c). The law protects the rights of injured patients/claimants by enforcing the rule that a policy premium can not be increased should a PIP claim be opened.

You can read the particulars of the law here.

The choice as to whether or not you should open a PIP claim following a Baltimore auto accident is completely in the hands of the injured patient. The vase majority of patients do choose to open a claim, as they have paid for benefits that they are entitled to. Those that choose against opening a claim are typically worried about financial ramifications (i.e. raising auto insurance premiums) as the reason why they do not open PIP claims. I hope that this information helps people in Baltimore injured in Baltimore auto accident injuries make the best decision they can as to whether or not to open a PIP claim.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a Baltimore auto accident injury, please call Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We now have two convenient locations in Baltimore City to help with your auto accident rehabilitation needs!

Dr. Gulitz

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