Oregon is a “Fault” Car Accident State
Unlike many states that require PIP insurance, Oregon is not a traditional no-fault state, so there’s no threshold that needs to be met before you can sue the at-fault driver in an accident. Assuming the other driver was at fault, you can sue them for costs like Personal Injury Claims and lost income, as well as pain and suffering.
If you sue for compensation from the other driver’s insurer, that money may be subject to subrogation if it exceeds a certain limit. This means that your insurer may be able to recoup from you some of the money it paid you in PIP benefits, if the settlement from the other insurer is large enough. However, your insurer can’t reclaim any money paid unless the amount you receive from both insurers exceeds the total of your economic and non-economic damages.
For example, say you were badly injured in a car accident and had $25,000 in economic damages like medical expenses and lost income. As long as your limits were high enough, your PIP insurer would pay for these expenses. If you decided to sue the at-fault driver’s insurer, and they settled for an amount equal to your non-economic damages (typically pain and suffering costs) your insurer would not be able to reclaim any money from you, as the payments you received did not exceed your total damages (Situation A, below).
In Oregon, a person who suffers any kind of injury or damage due to an auto accident usually can proceed in one of three ways:
- by filing a claim with his or her own insurance company, assuming that the loss is covered under the policy (in this situation, the injured person’s insurance company will likely turn around and pursue a subrogation claim against the at-fault driver’s carrier)
- by filing a third-party claim directly with the at-fault insurance carrier, or
lawsuit for filing a personal injury claims in civil court against the at-fault driver.
Note: While Oregon is not one of the mandatory no-fault car insurance states—in which claimants must turn to the personal injury protection (PIP) coverage in their own car insurance policy for payment of medical bills and other out-of-pocket losses after an accident—PIP coverage is still required in the state. More on this below.
WHAT IS PIP COVERAGE
Personal injury protection (PIP) is a type of car insurance that covers expenses, like medical bills, legal fees, lost wages, and more, when you are in a car accident, regardless of fault. PIP insurance, also known as “no fault” insurance, is required mostly in states with no-fault insurance laws.
PIP insurance was designed to provide an immediate way of obtaining access to medical coverage without the complication of determining who was at-fault. Oregon car insurance companies are required to pay the benefits within 60 days of receiving a claim or provide a written notice of denial stating the reason for the denial and how to contest the denial. As you can imagine this can become complex when an Oregon car insurance company is expressing their opinion as to what was “reasonable and necessary,” or what constitutes “lost wages.” Besides being subject to Oregon car insurance company opinions about reasonable and necessary expenses which can lead to arbitration, PIP benefits are subject to further complexities associated with workers compensation rules, reimbursement requirements, primary versus secondary insurance coverage, and uninsured motorist, to mention a few. It makes a lot of sense to protect your rights by having access to a Attorney and open Personal Injury claims and protect your rights.
How much does PIP insurance cost in Oregon?
The cost of personal injury protection insurance(PIP) in Oregon varies depending on the amount of coverage, the deductible and your driving history. As you can see below, higher PIP coverage limits can increase the monthly cost of an auto insurance policy with minimum liability limits by 22%.
Total Monthly Premium
Car Insurance Requirements in Oregon
You can buy policy from any licensed car insurance company but the required minimum amounts of car insurance in Oregon are:
The minimum requirement insurance a driver must have is:
- Bodily injury and property damage liability
- $25,000 per person;
- $50,000 per crash for bodily injury to others; and
- $20,000 per crash for damage to others’ property.
- Personal injury protection
- $15,000 per person.
- Uninsured motorist
- $25,000 per person; and
- $50,000 per crash for bodily injury liability insurance.
- You must give your insurance policy number every time you register a vehicle, or when you buy a light vehicle trip permit.
So, what do these different coverage requirements mean?
Liability coverage covers medical bills, property damage liability coverage and bodily injury liability coverage, and other costs of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who are injured in an accident or have their vehicle damaged in a car accident you cause, up to coverage limits. You can (and in some situations should) carry more coverage to protect you in case a serious crash results in significant car accident injuries and vehicle damage. Once policy limits are exhausted, you are personally on the financial hook, so higher insurance limits can help protect your personal assets in the event of a serious crash.
Optional coverage in Oregon
Most insurance agents and government officials in the Beaver State will tell you that the bare-minimum auto insurance will not fully cover you. Apart from purchasing higher limits, you may also want to consider including one of the following optional types of coverage to make up a more comprehensive policy:
Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD): Oregon motorists have the option to include UMPD in their policy. While UMBI covers your medical bills in case the at-fault driver is not properly insured, UMPD pays to repair your car following an accident. Higher limits are available, but your UMPD coverage amount can’t be higher than your PD limits.
Physical damage: This portion of your policy includes two coverages: collision and comprehensive coverage. In short, they take care of your car’s repairs, regardless of fault, following a collision or another type of incident. But you’ll need to choose a deductible, which is the amount you pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in. This will affect your coverage premiums.
Personal Injury & Claims Lost Wages
Simply put, lost wages are the wages you would have earned by going to work had you not been injured. For example, if injuries from a car accident make it so you miss two weeks of work, lost wages would be the money you would have earned by working for those two weeks. If your injuries are more severe and require a longer recovery (such as several months), your lost wages from car accident are still available and would be calculated from the time of your injury to the time you can return to work.
Lost wages are typically covered by an insurance company. If another driver caused the accident that resulted in your injuries, that driver’s insurance company will often be responsible for covering your lost wages. In a more serious case, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver, in which case the driver’s personal funds would contribute to covering your lost wages.
Calculating Lost Wages For Personal Injury Claim After Accident
In normal cases, lost wages are calculated by simply multiplying your pay rate by the amount of work you missed because of your injury. If you get paid $15 an hour and missed 40 hours of work, your lost wages would be $600. If you are a salaried worker, lost wages will simply be calculated by looking at how much of your salary you would have earned during the time you missed work.
Proving your lost wages from a car accident is generally simple. You will typically need:
- A letter from your doctor—this letter describes your injuries and your treatment/recovery process. This letter details how your injuries prevented you from working.
- A letter from your employer—this letter is to verify that you did indeed miss work because of your injuries. You will also need proof of your salary or hourly wage (usually in the form of a pay stub).
If you are self-employed or work on commission, calculating and proving lost wages from a car accident can be trickier, however it can be done, so don’t give up on getting the financial recovery you deserve. A good lawyer can help make sure you get the money you deserve.
Will My Car Accident Settlement Cover Chiropractic Treatment?
If you have been in car accident in Oregon, your settlement will likely cover your chiropractic treatment regardless. State of Oregon considers reasonable and necessary medical expenses arising from a personal injury claims to be a form of economic damage. Injury accident victims typically have the right to pursue compensation from the at-fault party for both their economic and non-economic damages.
Integrity Auto & Work Injury Chiropractic
Have you been involved in a car accident In Beaverton, Hillsboro or Portland Oregon? Call us to schedule a consultation to determine if you are a candidate for Chiropractic care or other treatments.