Every automobile insurance policy in Oregon is required to include personal injury protection benefits, or PIP, in the amount of at least $15,000. This PIP protection benefit applies to the insured driver, other family members, children living with the insured (even if unrelated) and passengers. It also covers pedestrians and bicycle riders involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. PIP primarily provides coverage for medical care.  However, it also provides some coverage for lost wages, and some other coverage such as funeral expenses up to a given amount.

When there is PIP coverage involved, your doctor will bill the insurance company directly.  Sometimes, usually when there has already been at least two or three months of treatment, insurance companies will deny claims for medical expenses, claiming that the expenses were unrelated to the automobile collision, that the treatment was not necessary, that the charges were unreasonable, or for other non-specific reasons. You have statutory rights to pursue claims against its insurer for PIP coverage issues, and in many circumstances an attorney will also be able to include an “attorney fee claim”, which as a practical matter is a way for the attorney to get paid as many of these claims will be handled on a “contingent” or no attorney fee without recovery basis.

In cases in which you are not at fault, the insurance company that paid the PIP may have a right to share in any settlement you make with the responsible person’s insurance company. However, the PIP paying insurance company can in most cases be forced to elect whether it desires to recover its payment directly from the other insurance company or have your attorney pursue the PIP claim on its behalf.

Recommendations When Choosing Insurance

  1. $15,000 is the minimum requirement, and is a very low amount of coverage. Everyone should consider raising the PIP limit on their policy. Usually the cost for doing so is minimal. Medical care can be very expensive.
  2. Motorcycle Insurance policies are not currently required to have PIP coverage in Oregon. You should get it anyway – do not purchase a motorcycle insurance policy without PIP coverage.

The foregoing article is a general article, and is not legal advice.