Practice Areas – Personal Injury Protection

Oregon Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP)

Oregon law mandates that all Oregon1 non-commercial automobile2 insurance policies include Personal Injury Protection (often referred to by the acronym: “PIP”) coverages.  This coverage applies in accidents and regardless of whom was at fault (PIP is a “no fault” type of coverage.  PIP covers ,primarily, medical care costs, and loss of income.  Per Oregon law, the minimum amount of medical coverage that an Oregon auto policy must provide is $15,000.003.  Wage loss (the maximum monthly benefit is $3,000.00 per month)4 is also reimbursed, if the injured person meets certain criteria.  The medical expense reimbursement coverage is available for two years from the date on which an accident occurred (unless the medical benefit is “exhausted” before the expiration of the coverage period).

PIP coverage can be available even to someone who is injured in a car accident while they were riding a bicycle or were a pedestrian.  Generally speaking, in such a case the PIP coverage for the car involved in the accident is available to the injured pedestrian or bicycle rider.

NOTE: Far too frequently, the insurance company providing PIP benefits seeks to discontinue payment of benefits by requesting that the injured person attend an “Independent Medical Examination” (aka: “I.M.E.”).  This is yet another reason why someone injured in an accident needs representation. Oregon law conditions an insurer’s ability to require that an insured attend an I.M.E. and there are almost invariably important reasons for not attending such an examination, starting with the fact that the insurance companies have the same small group of physicians perform these examinations.  Why?  Because the examiner’s conclusions are predictable – they opine that the person is no longer injured or otherwise does not need medical care, and the insurance company then relies upon that opinion to stop paying benefits.  In these cases the insured person has rights, and that includes filing suit (or demanding arbitration) against the insurance company to make them cover the additional medical care costs and/or income loss that they “denied.”

1 PIP coverage is generally available in Washington auto policies, although there it is an optional coverage, in contrast to Oregon.
2 This coverage is available in policies covering motorcycles, although it is optional.
3 We very strongly recommend increasing this coverage to at least $50,000.00 (per accident) given how expensive medical care has become.  In more serious injury cases, $15,000.00 can be exhausted after just a one-day stay in a hospital.
4 In cases where the accident was caused by the other driver’s negligence and the injured client’s wage loss exceeded the monthly maximum available through PIP, we pursue recovery of “the difference” as a part of the settlement offer extended to the at-fault driver’s insurer.