Portland PIP Insurance Attorneys
Under Oregon law, your auto insurance company is required to pay medical bills and certain other living expenses while you are recovering from a motor vehicle accident, even if you were at fault. This part of your insurance policy is known as personal injury protection, or PIP. However, getting all the compensation you are entitled under your PIP policy can be complicated, especially if your insurance company denies all or part of your claim. This is why having an attorney can be a huge advantage. The Portland PIP insurance lawyers at Rizk Law have many years of experience working with difficult insurance companies. We know how to negotiate and navigate every step of the legal process while fighting for your best interests and the compensation you are entitled.
Our founder and senior lawyer Richard Rizk was an insurance defense and coverage lawyer in the 1990s for Nationwide. He understands what insurance companies are trying to do after personal injury accidents, so he knows how to defend the interests of the victims.
There is no risk in contacting us for a free consultation because there is no obligation to take legal action. We take cases on contingency, which means there is no fee unless you get paid at the end of the legal process.
Contact a Portland car accident lawyer today for your free, no obligation legal consultation.
Why You Need a Portland PIP Insurance Lawyer
Unfortunately, people often go through the insurance claims process alone, even if they have suffered serious, or long-term injuries that cause them to rack up huge medical expenses. This is often because accident victims do not understand or know about all the benefits of working with a lawyer and how it could help them obtain maximum compensation after an accident.
Some of the benefits of having a lawyer include:
Strongly Advocating for Your Interests
The PIP insurance claims process is complicated, particularly when your injuries are severe. This is because insurance companies are not particularly concerned about paying you all the compensation you deserve. Their goal is to pay out as little compensation as possible. They are focused on making money because insurance companies are like any other business.
You might be thinking things will be different when you are working with your own insurance company, but even your insurer is more concerned with its best interests than yours.
This is why you could greatly benefit from having someone at your side to advocate for you. Without an attorney, you are the only one fighting for your best interests.
At Rizk Law, our Portland PIP insurance lawyers will be dedicated to recovering fair compensation every step of the way. We know how difficult it is to deal with the legal process after an accident because we have helped many people through it. We will manage the process on your behalf, so you can focus on getting medical treatment and following the doctor's orders.
If the insurance company wants to settle, we will review the offer and explain if we think it provides the compensation you deserve. Without the advice of a trusted, experienced attorney, you run the risk of accepting an offer for much less compensation than you deserve. This will make it much more difficult to move forward from the accident and the injuries you suffered.
Determining the Value of Your Case
An injury creates more than just medical bills, it can keep you from working and hurt your ability to do things around the house that you used to do. Our Portland PIP insurance attorneys have helped many car accident victims, and we understand very well how much an accident can affect your life.
This is why we are committed to thoroughly investigating your crash and working with you to obtain all the necessary documentation of your damages. If you are owed compensation, we want you to have all that you are owed and not a penny less.
Appealing Denied Claims
Sometimes legitimate insurance claims are denied by insurance companies. There are other times where your claim for a specific expense is denied.
Sometimes a denial is the reason people reach out to an attorney. This can be a very smart move. Sometimes all it takes to overturn a denial is to have an attorney send a letter to the insurance company. A letter from an attorney can carry a lot of weight with insurance companies.
Other times, your attorney may need to let the insurance company know you are prepared to file a lawsuit.
In either of these situations, it is crucial to have an attorney. However, you do not need just any attorney. You need one with many years of experience helping car accident victims. You need one with extensive knowledge of Oregon insurance law on PIP claims. The PIP insurance lawyers in Portland at Rizk Law have that knowledge and experience and are ready to put it to work for you.
To learn more about the benefits of having a Portland PIP insurance lawyer, schedule your free consultation today. At Rizk Law, you do not pay us unless you receive compensation.
Call our firm right now at 503.245.5677.
What You Need to Know About PIP Insurance Coverage
Under Oregon Revised Statutes 742.520, every car insurance policy must provide PIP benefits to the policyholder and the following people:
- Members of the insured's person's family that reside in the same household
- Children not related by blood, marriage or adoption who are in the same house and being raised as the insured's own
- Passengers in the vehicle
- Pedestrians struck by the vehicle
State law says the policy must provide a minimum of $15,000 in coverage for each person hurt in the accident and covered by the policy. The policy provides the following benefits:
- Medical expenses – This includes any reasonable and necessary hospital, dental, medical, surgical, ambulance and prosthetic services you need within two years of the date you were injured. Each person who is covered under the policy cannot receive more than $15,000 for medical bills. Your medical expenses will be presumed to be reasonable and necessary unless the medical provider receives notice of denial within 60 days of the insurer receiving notice of the services from the provider. Medical expenses could include things like surgery, X-rays and even dental treatments. You can also receive compensation for transportation to the hospital or doctor's office.
- Lost income – If your injury leaves you disabled for at least 14 days, your PIP insurance policy will pay 70 percent of your lost income until you are able to return to work. However, you can receive a maximum of $3,000 per month for a maximum of 52 weeks, or one year. Your lost income includes not only wages and salary, but also tips, commissions, professional fees and profits from a business or farm you own.
- Essential services – If you are not usually working, you can obtain compensation for the cost of hiring someone to perform household services you would have done yourself, such as cleaning. Your policy provides a maximum of $30 per day for these services for up to one year after the accident.
- Child care – If you have a minor child and you must spend at least one day in the hospital, you can receive $25 per day for child care. These benefits continue for as long as you are unable to go back to work. If you do not work, benefits will continue for as long as you unable to perform essential services around the home. These benefits cannot exceed $750.
- Funeral expenses – If a loved one dies in the accident, you can receive up to $5,000 for all reasonable and necessary funeral benefits within one year of the date of the victim's injury.
Make sure to get clear documentation of all of your expenses, including a letter from your doctor confirming that your injury is the reason you are missing work, and records of miles driven to medical appointments and the various treatments you have received. This includes any bills for services and/or receipts. This will help ensure you receive compensation for all of the expenses covered under your PIP insurance policy.
Most insurers require policyholders to complete a written or telephonic PIP application form in order to obtain PIP benefits. Complete this form as soon as possible. Your insurer needs to know about your injury from the accident and who you are treating with in order to process your medical bills and wage loss claim.
Due to medical records privacy laws, your insurance company will ask for a medical release to obtain your medical records. Generally, you should go ahead and do this because most car insurance policies require you to cooperate with the investigation. You probably will not receive PIP benefits without providing the requested release.
However, if the insurance company for the at-fault driver contacts you, do not provide your medical records. This will give them a head start in their efforts to oppose your claim.
Since this process is complicated, you should consider seeking the help of a qualified attorney. The Portland PIP insurance attorneys at Rizk Law can guide you through every step of the process, helping you build a solid case as you pursue the fair compensation you deserve.
Denial of Medical Benefits
Your insurance company would rather not pay all PIP benefits up to your policy limit. PIP insurers refer to bell charts showing when the average person with your type injury should be finished with treatment. When your treatment is beyond the median level of treatment, the PIP adjuster is prompted to evaluate whether treatment is still appropriate.
Independent Medical Examination
To get the evidence it needs to deny a medical service, an insurer will send you to an insurance company doctor for a so-called “Independent Medical Examination” (IME). Insurance company doctors are rarely impartial or independent. Most insurer-hired physicians decide that future treatment is not necessary.
Before scheduling an IME or if you are already scheduled for an IME, consider discussing the situation with a trusted PIP insurance lawyer in Portland. Your attorney can go over some strategies for this situation, such as not attending the IME, seeing your primary care physician immediately after the appointment, or making a deal with the insurance company for the remainder of your medical benefits.
The PIP carrier may deny any remaining PIP benefits even if you do attend the IME. If you have good medical insurance, not attending an IME may make sense. IMEs usually do not favor an injured person. The PIP carrier may share the IME result with the insurer for the bad driver.
The only way to make sure your own insurer (the PIP carrier) does not generate evidence to undermine your claim is not to attend the IME. However, if you do not attend the IME the PIP carrier will likely deny your remaining PIP benefits.
This is why it is always a good idea to meet with a lawyer when the insurance company asks you to do an IME. The Portland PIP insurance lawyers at our firm can work with you to determine what your next steps should be.
Common Reasons for Denial of Medical Benefits
Two of the most common reasons insurance companies deny medical benefits or decide to discontinue payments for medical services are because the treatment is not reasonable and necessary or it is not related to the crash.
Benefits are Not Reasonable and Necessary
The law says medical expenses that are reasonable and necessary must be covered up to the limits of your policy. That is why insurers like to try to use this language to justify a decision to stop paying benefits.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help reduce the risk of this happening, including:
- Reconsider continuing treatment that has not worked
- Have an up-to-date referral from a medical doctor for all therapies
- Do not see a chiropractor for all your treatment
- Do not miss scheduled visits without reason
- Avoid lapses in treatment
Benefits are Not Related to the Crash
PIP insurers commonly point to other causes for your need for treatment, such as:
- Prior injury
- A disease or condition of unknown cause that arises spontaneously
- Another injury after the accident
A Portland PIP insurance attorney can explain your options if your medical benefits are being denied, whether it is for the reasons above or because of something else. Schedule a free legal consultation today to find out how we may be able to help you.
Contact Rizk Law today to review your legal options.
Repayment of PIP Benefits in Oregon
In most cases, your auto insurer will attempt to recover the amount of compensation it paid to you from the insurer of the other driver who was at fault for the accident. However, if you file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver's insurer after you have already received PIP benefits, your insurer may be able to recover some of what it paid you in PIP benefits.
Filing a lawsuit may be a good idea if you have a strong case for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering from the accident. If the amount of money you receive from your insurance company and the other driver's insurance company is larger than your economic and non-economic damages, your insurance company has the right to recover the PIP benefits it paid you.
This is a very confusing aspect of the PIP insurance claims process. The thing to remember is that if the total amount of money you receive from both insurance companies is greater than the size of your economic and non-economic damages, your insurance company will be able to recover the compensation it already paid you.
For example, if you have $75,000 in damages ($25,000 economic damages and $50,000 in non-economic damages), the other driver's insurance company settles your lawsuit for $75,000, and you already received $25,000 from your insurance company, your insurance company would be able to go after $25,000.
Given how complicated Oregon law is, you should think about meeting with an attorney for assistance. Our lawyers at Rizk Law are standing by to help you recover the compensation you need and deserve after an accident that is not your fault.
Complete a Free Case Evalution form to get started.
Contact a Portland PIP Insurance Lawyer Right Now
If you have been injured in a car accident in Oregon, no matter what the circumstances were, you should consider the benefits of having an attorney.
Rizk Law's trusted attorneys can examine your case and make sure your rights are protected throughout the legal and insurance claims process.
Insurance companies are not on your side, which is why you need a strong advocate with extensive knowledge of PIP laws and how insurance companies will do everything they can to deny or discontinue benefits.
Call today for your free, no obligation legal consultation. 503.245.5677