Oregon law requires court approval before settling a minor’s personal injury claim unless the minor will receive $25,000 or less after payment of medical expenses, liens, attorney fees and costs. ORS 126.725. To obtain court approval you must petition the court. Although the settlement proceeds may be deposited into a conservatorship account, that can be expensive as the conservator must file annual accountings showing the court how the funds were spent.
To avoid these expenses, the settlement proceeds may be deposited into a structured settlement. A structured settlement is like a life insurance policy which pays benefits plus interest to the minor after they turn 18. In addition to being cheaper, another benefit is that the interest earned is not taxable. See, Reasons to Structure a Minor Settlement for more information.
More than 1 in 8 drivers in Oregon were uninsured in 2015 according to a March 28, 2018 article in KTVZ.com. The number of uninsured Oregon drivers driving increased over 40% from 2012 to 2015. If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured driver, your insurance company will pay your damages under your uninsured motorist coverage. However, your insurance company only has to pay up to your policy’s limits. That’s why it is important to buy enough uninsured motorist coverage. For more information, read my blog about Uninsured Motorist Coverage or this KTVZ article.
If you are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, you have a claim against your auto insurance company for uninsured motorist benefits or UIM. Contact your insurance agent or insurance company claim office to set up an UIM claim.
UIM is coverage that pays for the medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering damages you are entitled to when you are injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident caused by a driver with no insurance or not enough insurance to pay your damages. ORS 742.500(5).
Oregon law requires motor vehicle insurance policies to have the same amount of UIM as they do for liability insurance unless you tell them that you want less UIM insurance in writing. ORS 742.502(2)(a).
The minimum amount of liability/UIM insurance you must have in Oregon is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per MVA but you should have more than that. ORS 742.502(2)(a). You should have UIM coverage of at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident most experts say.
UIM property damage coverage pays to repair or replace your car when it is damaged by a driver with no insurance. You should have this coverage as well. Insurance companies are required t6o make uninsured property damage coverage available if you want it but you are not required to buy it. ORS 742.510(1). If buy it, you must purchase at least $20,000 of coverage per accident. ORS 742.510(1).
For more information read Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers.
OREGON DOG BITE LAWS
Different cities and counties define "dog at large" differently. Within Bend, Madras, Redmond and Sisters Oregon a dog is "at-large" if it is not leashed, bridled or confined within a vehicle. Bend Code, Madras Ordinance, Redmond Municipal Code, Sisters Municipal Code.
In Deschutes County outside the city limits a dog is not deemed to be "at-large" so long as it is under the complete control of the dog owner or another capable person even though the dog is not leashed, bridled or otherwise confined. The City of Prineville has a similar regulation.
Read about how GRJ Law can help you with your Dog Bite Case.
Oregon’s New Distracted Driving Law goes into effect October 1, 2017
Driving includes being on the road but stopped at a stop light or for some other reason such as traffic but does not include stopping off the side of the road or in a parking space.
The uses the law prohibits includes voice calls, texting, emailing, navigating, surfing the Internet, or using the phone for entertainment such as playing music.
For copy of the law click the following link: Distracted Driving Law.
To get your bills paid when you are injured in a motor vehicle accident in Oregon, you need to file one or more claims for personal injury protection benefits or PIP. PIP is what I call, “health insurance for the car”.
The insurance company for the owner of the car in which you were riding when you were injured must pay PIP benefits first. So, if you were injured:
To get your bills paid, call the insurance agent to set up a PIP claim.
PIP will pay at least $15,000 of your medical expenses for treatment within 2 years of the accident.
PIP will also pay 70% of your lost income up to $3000 per month if your injuries keep you from working for at least 14 days. PIP will pay for up to 52 weeks of lost income.
PIP will also pay for other expenses such as help around the house, babysitting, and funeral benefits.
PIP will pay for all your medical expenses with limited exceptions.
If your PIP medical benefits run out, submit your unpaid medical bills to your health insurer. Your health insurer may not agree to pay for the medical expenses you incur in a car accident that was someone else's fault.
Read more about how GRJ Law can help you with your Car Accident Case.
Many attorneys claim that they are experienced in handling personal injury cases but you need to ask questions to make sure you hire an attorney experienced in handling personal injury cases and in trying those cases in court before a jury.
First, find out how long the attorney has been practicing law in Oregon by clicking this link: Oregon State Bar Member Search and entering the attorney’s name. The first two numbers of the attorney’s bar number is the year the lawyer began practicing law in Oregon. My bar number begins with 93 because I have been practicing law in Oregon since 1993.
Second, ask the attorney how many personal injury cases the attorney has tried in court before a jury all the way to verdict. Many attorneys have not tried many cases. I have tried many personal injury cases in court before a jury to verdict.
It is important that you hire an attorney who has tried many personal injury cases in court before a jury because insurance companies keep track of which attorneys settle and which attorneys take cases to court if the insurance company does not make a fair settlement offer. Insurance companies pay more to accident victims when they know the person's attorney will take their case to trial if the insurance company does not make a fair offer.
An experienced Oregon lawyer recently told me that, “People sued will pay more, and people suing, will accept less on the courthouse steps.” What he meant by that is many cases will settle the morning of the day of trial because the insurance company will pay more when they know that the injured party’s attorney will take the case to trial.
Third, ask the attorney whether he or she handles only personal injury cases or handles other types of cases as well. Many attorneys who handle personal injury cases also handle criminal cases and divorce cases. If the attorney handles different types of cases, ask the attorney what percentage of cases he handles or personal injury cases. I have handled mostly personal injury cases since 1993. I only handle personal injury cases now.
Fourth, find out if the attorney’s office is in Central Oregon or somewhere else. Many Portland attorneys have satellite offices in Bend but spend most of their time in Portland. I recommend hiring a lawyer whose office is close to you as they can provide better service at less cost to you and know more about the area and judges.
Read more about how GRJ Law can help you.
1. Call the Police and Take Photos. Photograph the vehicles or have someone do it if you cannot. Remember what the other driver says. Watch what you say. Do not admit fault! You may have to report the accident to the Oregon DMV within 72 hours. Read When Must You Report a Motor Vehicle Accident to the Oregon DMV.
2. Getting Your Medical Bills Paid. If an ambulance comes to the scene and the EMT wants you to go to the hospital, go in the ambulance as your auto insurance will probably pay for it. See Getting Your Bills Paid when Injured in a MVA. Follow Your Doctor’s Orders regarding treatment. Attend all scheduled visits and promptly schedule future visits.
3. Getting Reimbursed for Lost Income. Your auto insurance will also reimbursee you for your lost income if your injuries prevent you from working for at least two weeks. For more information read, Getting Your Bills Paid when Injured in a MVA.
4. Getting Paid for Your Pain and Suffering. To get paid for your pain-and-suffering, set up a liability claim against the at fault driver's insurance company. Be careful what you say to the at fault driver's insurance company. Everything you say to them will probably be recorded. You do not have to give them a statement about the specifics of the accident or your injuries. Do not sign anything from them without first talking to an attorney. I do not charge for such calls. If you sign a document called a release or settlement agreement you may give up your rights.
5. Call an Attorney. It’s your decision whether to hire an attorney but if you don’t you may miss out on benefits you never knew existed. I do not charge for such calls.
Read more about GRJ expertise and car accidents.
Jury Awards Punitive Damages of $150 million
In July, 2017, a jury awarded Oregon resident Jesse Mitchell $150 million in punitive damages against a drug manufacturer. See, Reuters article.
Damages You can Recover if Injured in an Accident
When someone is injured in an accident, the damages that they may recover include "economic damages", "noneconomic damages" and, in some cases, punitive damages.
Economic and noneconomic damages are designed to compensate a person injured in an accident.
Economic damages are amounts an injured person incurred for medical expenses, damage to their vehicle, lost income and other things. See, Definition of Economic Damages.
Noneconomic damages are amounts an injured person may recover for their pain-and-suffering, emotional distress and other things. See, Definition of Noneconomic Damages.
Punitive Damages defined
Punitive damages are damages designed to punish the at fault party when their conduct is outrageous.
At Fault Party Must have acted Maliciously or Outrageously
To seek punitive damages in Oregon, the injured person must prove that there is evidence that the at fault party acted with malice or did something outrageous. See, Definition of Punitive Damages. For example, someone injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by someone driving under the influence can seek punitive damages.
Oregon law allows punitive damages when the at fault party “… has acted with malice or has shown a reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and his acted with a conscious indifference to the health, safety and welfare of others.” See, ORS 31.730 (2015).
Why Seek Punitive Damages?
Many insurance policies do not provide insurance coverage for punitive damages. Thus, unless the at fault party has lots of money, it will be more difficult to get paid if punitive damages are awarded. So why seek them?
One reason to seek punitive damages is because juries often award more economic and noneconomic damages when the at fault party has acted outrageously and insurance companies know that. Moreover, insurance companies have a duty to settle claims against their insureds for a reasonable sum within the policy limits if they can. An injured party often can get a larger settlement from an insurance company when the insured might be liable for punitive damages.
Another reason to seek punitive damages is that it allows evidence of the at fault party’s net worth to be admitted in court.
Must Prove Right to Seek Punitive Damages
To be allowed to include punitive damages in a lawsuit, an injured party must prove to the court that there was some evidence that the at fault party acted maliciously or outrageously. See, ORS 30.725 (2015).
Clear and Convincing Evidence Required to Recover Punitive Damages
To recover economic and noneconomic damages, an injured party must prove that they incurred such damages by a “preponderance” of the evidence. A preponderance means more likely than not.
To recover punitive damages, an injured party must prove that there is “clear and convincing evidence” that they are entitled to those damages. See, ORS 31.730 (2015). That is more difficult to prove than a mere preponderance.
Amount of Punitive Damages Limited by Constitution
Oregon courts, and even the United States Supreme Court, have held large awards of punitive damages to be unconstitutional when the amount of punitive damages awarded greatly exceeds the amount of economic and noneconomic damages awarded.
The Oregon Court of Appeals held that a $22.5 million award of punitive damages was unconstitutional under the due process clause when the jury only awarded $500,000 in compensatory damages. See, Bocci v. Key-Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 189 Or App 349 (2003). The court held that an award of 7 times as many punitive damages as compensatory damages would be constitutional and reduced the verdict to $3.5 million in punitive damages and $500,000 in compensatory damages. Id.
However, in 2015 the Oregon Court of Appeals reduced an award of $125 million in punitive damages only to $25 million even though the jury had awarded only $168,514 in compensatory damages. See, Schwarz v. Philip-Morris-USA, Inc., 272 Or App 268 (2015). That’s a ratio of over 148 to 1! The court probably allowed a large punitive damage award because the conduct of Philip Morris was especially outrageous.
Unfortunately for Mr. Mitchell his $150 million punitive damage award against AbbVie discussed at the beginning of this blog will probably be held unconstitutional as the jury did not award any compensatory damages. See, Counsel Financial article. I will keep you posted.
Oregon Gets 70% of Punitive Damages Awarded Once Judgment Entered
One downside to recovering punitive damages is that 70% of the punitive damages awarded must be paid to the State of Oregon. See, ORS 31.735 (2015). This is because punitive damages are not awarded to compensate the injured party but rather to punish the at fault party.
However, some parties have avoided paying Oregon its share of punitive damage awards by settling after a jury returns a verdict but before a judgment is entered. See, Patton v. Target Corp., 349 Or 230 (2010). The state appealed the ruling that it was not entitled to be paid and the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the state was not entitled to be paid because a judgment had not been entered before the settlement. Patton, 349 Or at pages 243 – 244.
The Oregon Supreme Court in 2011 again held that the State of Oregon could not prevent parties from settling after a verdict awarding punitive damages even if the settlement wiped out Oregon’s right to punitive damages.
The court held that, “[t]he parties remain free to settle the case as they see fit [after the verdict]. The state’s consent to the settlement is not required even if the settlement reduces or eliminates the punitive damages award that would be allocated to the state under ORS 31.735. However, once a court has entered judgment awarding punitive damages, and only then, does the state have the right of a judgment creditor to enforce the statutory allocation of part of the punitive damages award to the crime victims’ fund.” See, Williams v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, 351 Or 368 (2011).
The bottom line is that it may be worthwhile including punitive damages in your personal injury case as it will encourage the insurance company to offer more to settle the case and will make it more likely that you recover more at trial.
This article discusses the different types of car insurance coverage and how much of each type of coverage you should have. Every driver in Oregon is required to have car insurance and driving without insurance can get you a ticket and the fine of up to $427. ORS 806.010(1). If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident while driving without insurance you might not be able to recover damages for your pain-and-suffering. ORS 31.715.
There are several different types of motor vehicle insurance coverage including:
What is it? Liability coverage pays the damages of others when you are at fault for causing a motor vehicle accident. Liability coverage pays economic damages such as medical expenses, lost income, and property damage as well as noneconomic damages for pain-and-suffering and emotional distress for people you injure in an accident.
Minimum Liability Coverage for Personal Injury $25,000 per person/$50,000 per MVA.
Oregon law requires a minimum of $25,000 of liability coverage for injuries or death to any one person and a minimum of $50,000 of liability coverage for everyone injured or killed in any one accident. ORS 806.070(2)(a). This is what is referred to as a “split limit” coverage because there is one per person limit and a another per accident limit. You must have a minimum of $25,000 of coverage for any one person injured or killed and $50,000 for each accident. In other words, you have to have $25,000 of coverage to cover each person you injure and $50,000 of coverage to cover all the people regardless how many you injure in an accident.
How much Liability Coverage should you have? Most experts recommend liability insurance coverage for personal injuries of at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per MVA.
Minimum Liability Coverage for Property Damage $20,000 per MVA.
Property damage includes damage to vehicles, personal property in vehicles, and damage to buildings and other property caused by car accidents. ORS 806.070(2)(c).
Personal Injury Protection Coverage
Personal Injury Protection coverage also known as PIP is like health insurance for your car. Every auto insurance policy in Oregon must have PIP coverage with limited exceptions. ORS 742.520(1).
PIP Benefits include Medical Expenses, Lost Income, Funeral Benefits, Babysitting and Help Around the House. ORS 742.524(1).
Who is Entitled to PIP Benefits?
You and passengers in your car who are injured as a result of the “use, occupancy or maintenance” of your car are entitled to PIP benefits under your auto insurance policy. ORS 742.520(2)(b). It doesn’t matter who was at fault for the accident. It doesn’t even matter if anyone was at fault.
You, others insured under your auto insurance policy, and members of your household who are injured from the “use, occupancy or maintenance” of any car are also entitled to PIP benefits under your auto insurance policy. ORS 742.520(2)(a).
You May the Entitled to Stack PIP Benefits from Multiple Policies!
The PIP insurance for the owner of the car in which the injured people were riding pays first. ORS 742.526(1)(a) & (b). If you are injured while a passenger in someone else’s car, you can recover more PIP benefits from your auto insurance policy if the PIP benefits provided by the car owner’s policy run out. ORS 742.526(1)(d). In other words, you can stack your PIP benefits onto the car owners PIP benefits to double the amount of coverage available.
Minimum PIP Coverage
Medical Expenses $15,000. Lost Income $3000 per month for 1 year. Funeral Benefits $5000. Babysitting $750. Help around the house $30 per day. ORS 742.524(1).
How much PIP Coverage should you have? I recommend having $100,000 of PIP medical benefits as increasing your PIP limits doesn’t increase your insurance premium much and you don’t have to pay for your medical treatment if your health insurer pays or refuses to pay.
For more information about PIP benefits read the following article on my webpage: What is Personal Injury Protection Insurance?
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (“UIM”)
What is UIM? UIM is coverage that insures you for the damages you are entitled to recover when you are injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident caused by a driver with no insurance or not enough insurance to pay your damages. ORS 742.500(5).
Minimum UIM Coverage Same as Liability Coverage.
Oregon law requires motor vehicle insurance policies to have the same amount of UIM as they do for liability coverage unless the insured elects lower limits in writing. ORS 742.502(2)(a).
Minimum UIM Personal Injury Coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per MVA. ORS 742.502(2)(a).
How much UIM Coverage should you have? You should have the same amount of UIM coverage as you do liability coverage. As noted above, most experts recommend liability insurance coverage of at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per MVA.
UIM Property Damage Coverage Not Required. Insurance companies are required to make uninsured property damage coverage available if you want it but you are not required to buy it. ORS 742.510(1). If buy it, you must purchase at least $20,000 of coverage per accident. ORS 742.510(1).
What is it? Collision coverage, also known as full coverage, pays for property damage to your car when you are in an accident with another car or object regardless who is at fault.
How much will it pay? Collision coverage will pay the lesser of the cost to repair or the fair market value of your vehicle on the date of the incident if it is totaled less the deductible.
What is a Deductible? A deductible is an amount that the insurance company deducts from the amount it is required to pay under the policy. For example, the insurer would only be required to pay $2500 if your vehicle sustained $3000 in damage and you had a $500 deductible. The higher deductible, the lower insurance premium.
Do you need collision coverage? If you have an expensive car, you probably want to have collision coverage because without it your insurance company will not pay to repair your car when you are in an accident that is your fault or that is not someone else’s fault.
How much should you have? With collision coverage, the question is how high of a deductible should you have. The higher deductible, the lower insurance premium. However, the higher deductible, the less the insurance company pays if you make a claim. You should have a deductible of $500-$1000.
What is it? Comprehensive coverage, also known as full coverage, pays for property damage to your car caused by something other than a MVA. Comprehensive coverage would pay if your car was stolen or vandalized or damaged by a flood, fire or other type of incident.
How much will it pay? Comprehensive coverage will pay the lesser of the cost to repair or the fair market value of your vehicle on the date of the incident less the deductible.
What is a Deductible? A deductible is an amount that the insurance company deducts from the amount it is required to pay under the policy. The higher deductible, the lower insurance premium. For example, the insurer would only be required to pay $5000 if your vehicle sustained $10000 in damage but was only worth $6000 on the date of the incident and you had a $1000 deductible.
Do you need comprehensive coverage? If you have an expensive car, you probably want to have comprehensive coverage because without it your insurance company will not pay to repair your car when it is damaged by something other than an accident
How much should you have? With comprehensive coverage, the question is how high of a deductible should you have. The higher deductible, the lower insurance premium. However, the higher deductible, the less the insurance company pays if you make a claim. You should probably have a deductible of $500-$1000.
Rental Car Coverage
Rental car coverage is coverage that pays for a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired after a MVA or other incident covered by your policy.
Gap insurance pays the difference between the fair market value of your car and the balance owing on the loan used to purchase or finance the car.
Do you need gap insurance? If you borrowed money to buy your car, you should buy gap insurance because if your car is totaled in a MVA, your insurance company will only pay the fair market value of your vehicle and that will probably be less than the amount you owe on your loan.
Umbrella insurance is extra liability insurance above the limits of your homeowner’s, auto, and other types of insurance. For example, if you have auto insurance with liability limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per MVA, your umbrella insurance will pay if you injure someone in a MVA that is your fault and their damages are more than $100,000.
Do you need umbrella insurance? If you have assets such as real property with lots of equity, you should probably have an umbrella insurance policy. This is because 13% of personal injury liability awards and settlements are for $1 million or more. If you don’t have assets, you may not need umbrella insurance but you may have to file bankruptcy if you severely injure someone in a MVA and they obtain a large judgment against you.
How much umbrella insurance should you have? I recommend $1 million of umbrella coverage.
Contact Us with any questions or read more about motor vehicle insurance here.
What is personal injury protection insurance in Oregon? Personal injury protection insurance, a.k.a. PIP, is what I call “health insurance for the car”. PIP pays your medical expenses, lost income, and other benefits when you are injured in a car accident. Every auto insurance policy in Oregon must have PIP coverage with limited exceptions. ORS 742.520(1).
Who can collect PIP? Anyone who is injured in a car accident can collect PIP from the auto insurance company for the owner of the car in which they were riding. ORS 742.520(2)(a). If you are injured while driving your car, your insurance company will pay PIP. If you are injured while a passenger in someone else’s car, their insurance company will pay PIP. ORS 742.520(2)(b).
Can pedestrians injured by cars collect PIP? Yes pedestrians and bicyclists injured by cars can collect PIP from their insurance company or, in certain cases, from the insurance company for the owner of the car that hit them. ORS 742.520(2)(b). (The definition of pedestrians includes bicyclists. ORS 742.518(6).)
What does PIP pay? Medical Expenses, Lost Income, Help Around the House, Childcare, Funeral Expenses.
Will PIP pay for all of my medical expenses? Yes with a few exceptions:
Can a Medical Provider Refuse to Accept PIP? Yes a medical provider can refuse to accept PIP so make sure they will accept PIP before you treat with them. If they refuse to accept PIP and you pay them directly, you can seek reimbursement from PIP but you may not get reimbursed in full as PIP is only required to pay the amount a provider is authorized to bill by the fee schedule. ORS 742.525.
How do I get My Medical Bills paid by PIP? Call the PIP insurance company and make a claim. You will need the PIP policy number to set up the claim. They will give you a claim number and the name and contact information for the claims representative handling the claim. When you go to see the doctor, make sure they will accept PIP before you treat with them. When you get to the doctor’s office, tell the person you check in with to bill PIP and give him or her the PIP claim number and name and contact information for the claims representative handling the claim.
What Do I Do if I Run Out of PIP Medical Benefits? If you use all of the PIP under the policy, you can sometimes find another policy that will provide PIP. For example, if you were injured as a passenger PIP will first be provided under the policy of the vehicle owner. If you use all of those PIP benefits, you can then make a claim for PIP under your own insurance policy if you have one. If you can’t find PIP under another policy, you can try to get your health insurer to pay your medical expenses. Beware that some health insurers will not pay for medical expenses necessitated by a motor vehicle accident that was someone else’s fault. Check with your health insurer.
Can PIP Refuse to Pay My Medical Bills? PIP can refuse to pay medical bills for treatment that was not reasonable or was not necessitated by injuries sustained in a car accident but must have some evidence to support its refusal to pay. PIP must provide you and your provider written notice of its refusal within 60 days of receiving the bill. ORS 742.528. The charges are presumed to be reasonable and necessary unless PIP notifies the provider within 60 days that it is refusing to pay the expenses. ORS 742.524(1)(a).
Can PIP Require Me to See a Doctor of Its Choosing? Yes PIP may require you to attend a medical examination to determine whether medical treatment is reasonable or necessary. ORS 742.520(7)(b) and ORS 742.518(1). This is sometimes called an independent medical exam.
Can PIP Have My Medical Records Reviewed? Yes PIP can have your medical records reviewed by one of its employees or a third party medical record or bill review service to determine whether medical treatment is reasonable or necessary. ORS 742.520(7)(b) and ORS 742.518(1).
What Should I Do Have PIP Refuses to Pay for My Medical Treatment? Contact an attorney immediately to discuss your options.
Contact Us with any questions you have.
You are especially vulnerable when riding a bicycle in traffic. You should always wear a helmet and understand that the rules of the road are different as are the insurance laws. Here’s some things you should be aware of if you ride a bicycle a lot:
Rules Of The Road For Bicycles.
Insurance Laws Regarding Bicycle Accidents
I was a pedestrian hit by a car. What should I do?
A brief summary of what you should do when injured as a pedestrian to get your medical expenses paid.
Who is a pedestrian?
A pedestrian is someone walking, walking or sometimes riding a bicycle, and someone in a wheelchair, even if the wheelchair is powered. ORS 742.518(6).
Who Pays an Injured Pedestrian's Medical Bills?
When a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, the pedestrian's auto insurer will pay the pedestrian's medical bills under its personal injury protection coverage or PIP. ORS 742.520(1). The auto insurer for the vehicle that hit the pedestrian will pay the pedestrian's medical bills under its PIP coverage but only if the pedestrian does not have auto insurance or health insurance and is not entitled to health insurance under a state or federal plan. ORS 742.526(1)(e).
How Much of My Medical Bills will the Auto Insurer Pay?
The amount of medical expenses PIP will pay depends on the insurance policy. PIP is required to pay at least $15,000 in medical expenses under Oregon law. ORS 742.524(1)(a). Some insurance policies pay more, so make sure to get a copy of the policy and read it.
For How Long Will the Auto Insurer Pay for Medical Treatment?
How long an auto insurer will pay PIP for your medical treatment depends on the insurance policy. Auto insurance companies are required to pay for medical treatment incurred within 2 years of the MVA under Oregon law. ORS 742.524(1)(a). Some policies require the insurance companies to pay for treatment received within more 2 years of the MVA so make sure to get a copy of the policy and read it.
How can I Get the Auto Insurer to Pay My Medical Bills?
To get the auto insurer to pay your medical bills you need to file a PIP claim with the responsible insurance company. If you have auto insurance, have your insurance agent open a PIP claim. Remember you can make a claim against the driver’s insurance company if you didn’t have insurance so make sure to get the name of the driver's insurance company and policy number so you can make a PIP claim against the driver's policy. Once a PIP claim has been set up, the insurance company should give you the name and contact information of the claims representative and a PIP claim number. Make sure to bring that information with you when you see your doctor's so they can bill the insurance company providing the PIP benefits.
For more information about PIP coverage.
Read the following article on my webpage What is Personal Injury Protection Insurance in Oregon?
You can also read about PIP coverage in the following article from the Oregon State Bar Association: Personal Injury Protection.
A wrongful death suit is a case in which someone has been killed by another person’s unreasonable or negligent act. See, Action for wrongful death. Wrongful death cases can result from car accidents or other types of accidents.
What should you do when a family member has been killed in an accident?
You need to do 2 things when a family member has been killed in the accident.
Who is entitled to the money recovered in a wrongful death case?
The family members who are entitled to the money recovered in a wrongful death case are the:
What money can be recovered in a wrongful death case?
How much money can be recovered in a wrongful death case?
How much money can be recovered depends upon the victim’s age, health and income as well as the quality of the victim’s relationship with his relatives, usually surviving spouse and children, who are entitled to recover the damages awarded in the wrongful death case.
Determining how much money can be recovered requires the use of an expert economist.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within 3 years after the date your family member died with some exceptions. See, Deadline to file lawsuit.
Can a wrongful death claim be settled?
Yes a wrongful death claim can be settled but the settlement must be approved by the court. See, Settlement Rules.
1. Types of accidents you must report.
You must report a car accident to the Oregon DMV when:
(a) your vehicle sustained more than $1500 in damage;
(b) any other vehicle or property (e. g., building) sustained more than $1,500 in damage and a vehicle was towed from the scene; or
(c) someone was injured or killed.
2. You have 72 hours to report the accident.
You must report the accident within 72 hours of the accident using the following form: Oregon DMV MVA Report.
3. If you do not file the report, your license may be suspended.
If you do not file an Oregon DMV MVA Report, the DMV can suspend your license until you file it even if you didn’t know that you had to file one. DMV suspended a driver’s license for failing to file a MVA report because someone had been injured in the accident. The driver appealed the suspension because he did not know that the person had been injured. The court upheld the suspension! See, Case Upholding Suspension.
Gary R. Johnson is a Central Oregon attorney who has handled personal injury cases since 1994.