Personal Injury Protection, also referred to as "PIP" is a no-fault medical and insurance policy available for anyone insured in Oregon. In Washington, this coverage is not required, but you may have personal injury protection on your auto insurance policy. Here are the basics on all PIP.
In Oregon, there are minimum amounts of coverage for PIP. At a minimum, you have $15,000 in medical insurance. The medical insurance will cover any necessary medical care for injuries that resulted from the auto collision. Also, this coverage is "no-fault." This means that it does not matter whether you were at fault, your driver was at fault, or the other driver was at fault. All you need to prove is that you were in the car, and that you suffered an injury that requires medical care.
An insurance company may question whether your care is necessary, or whether the care is related to the auto collision. In these cases, the auto insurance carrier can have you seen by a doctor of its choice to determine whether your ongoing care is reasonable and necessary. Sometimes, it may be better for you not to attend these examinations because the doctors are often strongly biased against the injured party, and are paid by the insurance company.
The Oregon personal injury protection policy also provides a disability benefit. This disability benefit will pay you for your lost wages at a rate of 70% of your average weekly wage. In order to qualify for these benefits, you must have written authorization from your treating physician to be off work. Also, you must be disabled for a minimum of 14 days consecutively for this coverage to start payment. Again, this is a claim with your own insurance company, and you still have the right to make a lost income claim against the responsible party's insurance carrier. The coverage is available for 52 weeks of disability, and there is a limit on the total amount of benefit you can claim for any given month.
You do not have to be the policyholder or the owner of the car to be covered for all PIP. If you are a passenger, or if you are using a friend or family member's car with their permission, you are insured under these provisions.
If you are a pedestrian, it is possible that you may be covered by the personal injury protection insurance policy of the car who struck you and caused her injuries. This depends on whether you have access to health care through other health coverage.
Washington does not require insurance companies to provide this coverage, but it is optional. Our experience is that the coverage is very from policy to policy. We recommend that you take a look at your insurance policy to see what your coverage provides in case you are injured in a Washington auto collision.
Both Washington and Oregon will allow you to buy more coverage. Whether you should have more coverage depends upon whether you have access to medical care through an employer sponsored health plan, or other health coverage.
If you are facing an issue regarding personal injury protection coverage because of a Washington or Oregon auto collision, and you have questions, give us a call at 503-325-8600. We handle these issues every day, and are happy to answer any questions you may have.