This article looks at options for recovering lost income if you are involved in a personal injury claim in Oregon or Washington. Many of the ideas we offer are common to both states, but the laws differ somewhat.
Get It In Writing
Regardless of whether you have disability coverage, or where you go to obtain lost income benefits, you are going to need documentation that you cannot work. At the very least, your treating physician will have to state in writing that you are unable to work, and for how long.
Auto Injury Disability Benefits
If you were injured in a auto collision in a car insured in the State of Oregon, then you are covered under the personal injury protection part of the auto policy. This is commonly referred to as "PIP" coverage, and is a no-fault medical and disability policy. Among other benefits, you can claim disability benefits if your physician takes you off work for at least fourteen consecutive days and you were gainfully employed at the time you suffered your injury.
Washington auto insurance laws do not require personal injury protection benefits, but do require insurance companies to offer it as optional coverage. The available disability benefits vary.
Other Disability Policies
Auto insurance policies with disability benefits have coverage limits, meaning that they will only pay a maximum amount of benefits over a limited period of time. You may have to look for other sources of income replacement.
Your employer may have paid time off benefits ("PTO"), oe you may have a disability plan through your employer. These plans will pay benefits after you have been off work for a period of time. Just like with your auto disability, you must document your inability to work through a doctor's note or opinion. Most disability plans will send you a form for your doctor to fill out that asks specific questions about your medical condition.
Credit Card or Creditor Benefits
You may have purchased disability benefits with a creditor, like a credit card company or the company that finances your car purchase. Sometimes, these insurance policies will pay a lump sum benefit, or will take over payment of the loan. These policies are restrictive, and usually have tight deadlines. If you are going to look at this kind of coverage, you need to contact the bank or credit card company as soon as possible to find out if you qualify for these benefits. Just like all other disabilty benefits, there are documentation requirements.
If you are injured on the job, you may have a workers' compensation claim. Each state has its own workers' compensation system. In Oregon, you are generally entitled to a temporary total disability benefit that will cover two thirds of your "average weekly wage." Washington Labor and Industries claims have a similar benefit. In any claim, documentation is a must.
Social Security Disability
Finally, if you are looking at a permanent disability, you should consider applying for Social Security Disability benefits. There are two kinds of Social Security disability. One is known as Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, and the other is Supplemental Security Income, also referred to as SSI. Regardless of which benefit you apply for, you must show that you are disabled, which essentially means that you are not only unable to perform your prior work, but any other jobs that exist in the national economy. If you are over 50 years of age, there may be some jobs you can still do, but you would still be considered disabled. Also, your disability must have lasted or be expected to last for twelve continuous months.
Got A Question? Contact Us
Still have questions? Contact us. We handle issues like this every day, and can explore all options with you. If we take on the case, there is no fee unless we make a recovery in your favor.