The law in Washington D.C. for personal injury car accident victims regarding PIP Benefits (Personal Injury Protection Benefits) is extremely complicated because it requires accident victims to make an election between PIP benefits and filing a civil lawsuit within 60 days of the accident. If the PIP Benefits are elected by the car accident victim, then the car accident victim loses his/her right to file a lawsuit against the at fault driver unless the injuries are very serious.
This lawsuit restriction on personal injury claims is codified in the D.C. Code at 31-2405 (b). This law applies to persons whose claims are governed by D.C. auto insurance policies and when the accident occurrs in Washington, D.C.
The unfair PIP law also most likely applies to persons insured in D.C. who are involved in accidents out of Washington, D.C. if they are making a claim for uninsured motorist benefits on their D.C. policy.
I believe that this law is very unfair. It forces accident victims to make an important decisiion within 60 days of when the accident occurs. Often times, car accident victims do not know the extent of their injuries so soon after the car crash. I am sure that the insurance industry lobbied very hard for this provision in order to take away the rights of the citizens of the District of Columbia, and to minimze the amount of insurance payouts to car accident victims..
The fact that this law is in effect makes it crucial that D.C. residents involved in car accidents consult with an attorney immediately after they are involved in the accident.