What are the statutes of limitations for PIP claims and uninsured motorist claims?

Sometimes, when you’re in an accident, your own insurance company will pay some of your expenses. PIP, or Personal Injury Protection, will cover your medical expenses up to a certain amount. UM (Underinsured Motorist) and UIM (Uninsured Motorist) will cover some expenses caused by a motorist who should have been carrying their own insurance but wasn’t, or was not carrying enough liability insurance to pay all of your expenses after an accident.

What are the statutes of limitations for these claims?

While the statute of limitations for filing a claim against someone else’s insurance is usually 3 years, these claims sometimes work differently.

A claim for UIM benefits is technically a contract claim, so the statute of limitations is 6 years from the date of breach. However, some UIM auto insurance policies have modified that period. You must always read your UIM policy to see if there is a shorter time limit on when you can bring a claim.

A PIP claim is considered a no-fault claim. This means it does not matter whose fault caused the accident. If you were in the vehicle when an accident occurs, you are entitled to PIP medical and/or wage loss benefits.  However, most auto policies impose a 3 year time limit for the PIP benefits, i.e., the treatment or wage loss must occur within 3 years from the date of the collision.

What should you do to check if you’re covered?

Read the agreement you signed with your insurance company to see when you need to file a claim and what you can file a claim for. Uninsured Motorist coverage is sometimes an additional protection that you must purchase before you are in an accident; it’s not something you can retroactively add to your policy after an accident has already happened. While UM/UIM coverage can cost drivers a small additional fee per year, it may save tens of thousands of dollars when an accident happens. 

Chris Davis
Top-rated, award-winning, attorney practicing wrongful death & serious injury law in Seattle.