Wage Loss and Medical Benefits After a Car Accident in Oregon
One thing that is different in Oregon than some of the other states with regard to car accidents is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits are mandatory in Oregon. This means that with the purchase of every car insurance liability policy in the state of Oregon the beneficiaries of the policy are also entitled to PIP benefits. These benefits include:
1. Medical Bills: All reasonable and necessary medical treatment for injuries related to the auto accident are covered. Medical treatment is not limited to any one type of specialty and includes general practice medical doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, counselors, dentists, and others. It also covers emergency room, urgent care, and ambulance services.
Coverage for these services will be extended up to one year from the date of the accident or $15,000, whichever comes first. This means that if you incurred $18,000 in medical treatment three months following the car crash, your personal injury protection medical benefits would be exhausted in three months. Similarly, if you treat for the full 12 months, your medical benefits would end, even if you didn’t “use up” the entire $15,000. Also, keep in mind that the 12-month/$15,000 limit is the minimum as required by state law. You can purchase higher limits if you wish. Some insurance companies offer limits of $100,000 and a two year time span to use it.
2. Wage Loss: If you were regularly employed at the time of the car accident and the medical provider took you off work due to the injuries you suffered, you are entitled to receive wage loss benefits during your recovery period. There is a fourteen day disability threshold that must be met before the wage loss benefits take effect. This means that you must be taken off work for at least fourteen consecutive calendar days to receive wage loss. If the doctor takes you off for a week and then you return to work you WILL NOT have met the threshold to receive wage loss benefits under your PIP benefits.
Also, there is a limit to the amount of benefits. Wage loss payment will equal seventy percent (70%) of your normal wages up to maximum of $3,000 per month. Therefore, if you were earning $1,000 per month, your wage loss benefit would equal $700 per month. Similarly, if you were earning $10,000 per month, your wage loss benefits would be capped at $3,000 per month.
Finally, these benefits are available to you for an aggregate of 52 weeks. Unlike the medical benefits described above, the wage loss benefits are available for an aggregate of 52 weeks. This means that you can collect wage loss benefits even longer than a year after the auto accident as long as you have not already received 52 weeks of wage loss benefits. For example, if you were off of work only four weeks during the first six months after the car crash but then required surgery which cause you to miss more time from work you would be entitled to another 48 weeks of wage loss coverage.
3. Household Assistance: If you were not employed at the time of the car accident but, the injuries you sustained as a result of the accident have disabled you from performing essential services you would normally perform, you may hire someone to perform those services for you. Essential services are activities you would normally perform if you were not disabled from the accident – things like washing dishes, vacuuming, laundry, cooking, etc. As is with the wage loss benefits, there is a 14-day threshold requirement and it is valid for up to 52 weeks in the aggregate. Also, there is a limit of $30.00 per day.
*** The totality of the PIP benefits available to you are described in Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 742.524.