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Posted on 10-25-2015

The Application of PIP in Pedestrian Accidents and Bicycle Accidents In Baltimore, MD

As avid readers of my blog are already aware, I am a chiropractor that spends the majority of my time treating Baltimore auto accident injury patients. Typically these patients are occupants in a vehicle that either hits or gets hit by another vehicle. In these injury cases, the occupants of the vehicle have access to PIP under Maryland law. If you've read my other blog posts, you know that PIP (Personal Injury Protection) is a Maryland first party benefit for injured claimants involved in Baltimore auto accidents. The injured claimant has to open a PIP claim with their auto insurance carrier and then they qualify for PIP benefits. For those who may not have read my previous blog post, PIP is used both for economic/wage loss (up to 85% of wages) and to pay for medical and chiropractic care following an auto accident injury, regardless of fault. PIP is typically written in the amounts of $2,500, $5,000, and $10,000 but can be waived in writing at the time of underwriting.

During the summer as the weather gets better we typically see other injured patients/claimants that have access to PIP although they are not technically seated within a motor vehicle during the time of their injuries. Specifically, pedestrians and bicyclists fall under this category. Provided that they are following the rules at the moment of their injuries (i.e. pedestrians are walking within a cross-walk or on a side walk) and are not in any ways contributing towards their injuries, then both pedestrians and bicyclists have access to PIP under Maryland law.

Whether one of my patients in an injured bicyclist or an injured pedestrian, if they were struck by another motor vehicle, they have four sources of benefits to pay for their injuries. The order is as follows:

1) PIP of the faulted vehicle
2) PIP of their own auto insurance policy (provided they also have a car and elected to purchase PIP)
3) PIP of a family member over age 16 that they live with (provided that family member has PIP)
4) The bicyclist's and/or pedestrian's health insurance

I find this rule in Maryland to be particularly interesting. Obviously no one who is riding a bicycle or walking as a pedestrian wants to be injured in a bicycle vs. motor vehicle collision or a pedestrian vs. auto collision, but the state law makers have made it very easy for these injured patients to have access to medical care in these instances. I find it peculiar that although pedestrians and bicyclists are not required to apply for a license to ride a bicycle or walk (and therefore are not required to by insurance to do so) they can claim PIP benefits from the automobile that injured them. That is a benefit that is not the same in cases of Baltimore auto accidents between two motor vehicle collisions. It's as if the pedestrian or bicyclist is "inside" the car that struck them at the moment of impact.

While many pedestrians and bicyclists choose to engage in these activities for exercise and socialization, some who are injured do not have their own automobile insurance with PIP, and as such, without this rule would have no way to pay for their lost wages had it not been for this law.

As with Baltimore auto accident injury claims, if an injured party did not cause or contribute to his injuries as a pedestrian or bicyclists and they choose to open a PIP claim, their auto premium rates will not go up as a result.

The message is clear: speak to your auto insurance salesman. Ask them to review your auto declarations page. Make sure that you have PIP and make sure that you are purchasing as much as they will sell you. It costs pennies and is worth thousands. Hopefully you'll never need to use it, but if you do, it is worth it.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a Baltimore bicycle or Baltimore pedestrian accident and have questions about how you will pay for your injuries, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be happy to help!

Dr. Gulitz

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