I've been in an accident. What can I do?
The first thing you should do is seek medical treatment, if you need it. Second, you should contact your insurance company and make sure they know you have been in an accident. You can ask to begin paying your medical bills through your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage - your adjuster should explain this process to you. Give your medical providers your PIP info. so they can correctly bill your auto insurance (not your health insurance). Remember, though, that PIP only lasts a certain amount of time and will cover $15000 worth of medical bills.
Can you tell me more about PIP?
PIP is no fault insurance, meaning that it will pay your bills even if you were the one who caused the accident. PIP will pay your bills until you receive compensation from the driver who caused the accident, but (unlike health insurance) can also cover any lost wages from your accident injuries. Using PIP is preferable to using health insurance because PIP usually will not ask to be reimbursed from any settlement you receive from the other insurance company, whereas health insurance usually will - and these health insurance liens can take large amounts of any settlement you are able to achieve.
What if the other driver does not have insurance?
If the other driver was at fault and did not have insurance, PIP will still pay $15,000 worth of bills and lost wages. But this is where UIM, or uninsured motorist, coverage comes into play - your UIM coverage will pay for any further damages beyond the $15,000. In Oregon, the minimum requirement for UIM is $25,000 but we recommend paying a little more for extra coverage because this can be important if you are hit and seriously injured. There are many uninsured drivers in Oregon, so be prepared and sprotect your family with higher UIM coverage.
What if the other driver's insurance doesn't cover my injuries?
This can happen in many cases - the other driver does have insurance, but your injuries are so severe that their insurance policy limits do not cover all the treatments you need now and in the future. Well, UIM can cover this difference as well. Another good reason to have higher UIM coverage!
How can I get the other driver's insurance to pay?
Call them and start a claim, but do not give a recorded statement. If you have serious injuries, do not give a statement or sign anything until you have spoken with a personal injury attorney in Portland for more information about the worth of your case.
A personal injury attorney can 1) make sure PIP is billed correctly to reduce health insurance liens, 2) file a claim against the at-fault driver's insurance, and 3) file a claim with your own insurance if the first settlement does not compensate you for all the accident damages.
UIM and PIP Coverage In Oregon
In Oregon, both UIM and PIP coverage are required for auto insurance policies. Learn why this coverage is required and how they can help if you have been in an accident.
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and.how they may affect a case. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.