PIP

DUII Accident Attorney Settles Claim for Late Client’s Wife

Our client and his wife were driving home from having dinner at their favorite Eugene, Oregon restaurant. Our client, an elderly man, was in his motorized wheelchair, secured in his specially outfitted van, which his wife was driving. They were just a few miles from their house when a drunk driver swerved across the center line and collided head on into their van. DUI-DWI-DUII Accident Attorney Oregon | Oregon DUI-DWI-DUII Accident Lawyer Our client was seriously injured in the car accident. He had been thrown into the back of his wife’s seat and had sustained multiple facial fractures and a neck fracture. Because of his existing medical problems, the attending neurosurgeon ruled that the risks of surgery were too great.

When our client was discharged from the hospital, his condition was too poor for him to return home. He was transferred to a assisted care facility where he passed away two months later due to an illness unrelated to the auto accident. It was an extremely hard few months for his wife, who was emotionally distraught by the events following the accident. In addition to her emotional distress, she was also facing medical bills that amounted to far more money than her car insurance would cover.

Her husband had only carried Medicare Part A, which covered his hospital bills and assisted care facility expenses but none of the co-pays, physician fees, outpatient lab fees, or x-ray fees. Given the amount of medical care her husband had received, this was a substantial amount of money.

Our client’s wife filed a claim with the at-fault drunk driver’s insurance carrier, but they had the nerve to deny it, saying that all of our client’s injuries and other medical problems were the result of his pre-existing condition and had nothing to do with the accident. Knowing this wasn’t the case, she knew she needed help getting the settlement she deserved and contacted us, experienced DUII accident attorneys.

After taking this case, I approached it from several different angles to make sure our client’s wife got the settlement her late husband deserved. First, we opened a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim through the driver’s insurance. That was quickly exhausted, and I then informed Medicare of the situation. I also advised our client’s wife to apply for medical assistance through the Oregon Department of Human Services. Last, but certainly not least, I had several conversations with the drunk driver’s insurance carrier in which I was able to prove to them that his injuries were most definitely related to the automobile accident and not pre-existing conditions.

Ultimately, I was able to negotiate for a policy limits settlement from the drunk driver’s insurance carrier and policy limits from the client’s insurance carrier. Medicare had placed a lien on the settlement for reimbursement of expenses, but their lien covered costs that were unrelated to the accident. I disputed the lien, getting them to reduce it to only accident-related expenses. Our client’s wife was able to cover her late husband’s medical bills, a tremendous weight off her shoulders at a very trying time in her life.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident involving a drunk driver, we can help. No matter how complex the case, our experienced attorneys will get you the settlement you deserve. One of our expert Personal Injury Attorneys will be happy to discuss your Oregon Personal Injury case with you. Call us now: 541-617-0555

Oregon Personal Injury Lawyer Defends Client’s PIP Coverage

Our client was driving through a construction zone on a busy street. She was driving slowly and attentively, eventually coming to a full stop behind the traffic in the lane in front of her. The car directly behind her changed lanes, and the driver in the car behind it failed to notice that traffic had stopped. He crashed into the rear end of our client’s vehicle. She was injured in the auto accident and had to seek medical treatment.

Our client’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy was covering her medical bills. Then, her insurance carrier performed an independent review of her medical records and retroactively stopped medical expense coverage. Oregon Auto Car Accident Attorneys, Accident Attorney Oregon | Dwyer Williams Dretke PC | Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys This left our client with significant outstanding medical bills that she wasn’t sure she would be able to pay. She turned to an Oregon auto accident attorney at Dwyer Williams Dretke for help.

When I took the case, I started with a review of the client’s medical records and the carrier’s independent review report. I immediately spotted some inconsistencies and errors. For example, the independent review was conducted by a general surgery physician and not a specialist in the field of her injury. The independent review occurred months after her treatment, and there were several factual errors in the independent review that were easily corrected by statements in her actual medical records. Additionally, the insurance physician never actually examined our client, just her medical records. After compiling information regarding the errors and problems, I contacted the PIP carrier and disputed their reasons for stopping her medical expenses coverage.

In addition to contacting the PIP carrier, I opened negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Ultimately, we succeeded in getting our client’s PIP carrier to reinstate her medical benefits and pay off all of her outstanding medical bills. The at-fault driver’s insurance company also offered a fair settlement to compensate our client for her pain and suffering and medical costs.

If you have been in a car accident and your PIP carrier or insurance company is refusing you the coverage you deserve, contact us. One of our expert Personal Injury Attorneys will be happy to discuss your Oregon Personal Injury case with you. Call us now: 541-617-0555

Delayed Onset Accident Injuries Don’t Delay Justice for Client

Our client and a friend had planned a weekend getaway. The client’s friend picked her up early in the morning, and the two were off on what was supposed to be a fun, relaxing adventure. Unfortunately for the women, their weekend plans were put on hold when they were involved in an accident, in which their car left the road and rolled several times before catching fire. Neither woman remembered much of the accident or the events leading up to it. Luckily, they escaped the accident with their lives – but not without injury. Oregon Auto Car Accident Attorneys, Accident Attorney Oregon | Dwyer Williams Dretke PC | Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys

Our client sustained soft tissue neck and back injuries consistent with a car accident. She received treatment for these injuries, and they went away in a few months. She was very relieved to be done with the ordeal of the auto accident injuries. Then, about 8 months after the car accident, she began to expeience fainting episodes. Her doctor prescribed a round of extensive medical testing, which added to her already substantial accident-related medical expenses. This was additionally frustrating when the tests came back with normal results, and the doctors were unable to pinpoint the cause of the fainting.

When she attempted to file a claim for her new medical condition, the insurance company refused to pay, claiming that the fainting episodes were not related to her auto accident. Faced with this refusal and worried about her mounting medical bills, she decided to contact an Oregon auto accident attorney.

I reviewed her medical records and was able to prove to the insurance adjuster’s satisfaction that her fainting episodes did in fact result from a concussion she sustained during the accident, in spite of the months intervening between the accident and the onset of the fainting. The client was covered by Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, and I was able to get the insurance company to pay the maximum amount to cover her medical bills. Even after that, the client still had some expenses remaining, and I worked to get her a settlement to completely cover her medical bills and to compensate her for her pain and suffering.

It is not uncommon for auto accident-related injuries to manifest months after the accident. If you have been in a car accident and are having trouble getting insurance to cover your medical expenses, contact us. One of our expert Personal Injury Attorneys will be happy to discuss your Oregon Personal Injury case with you. Call us now: 541-617-0555

I just got in a car accident, who is going to pay my medical bills?

Car Accident Related Medical Expenses

By Arne Cherkoss

Generally speaking, the insurance company covering the car you were in at the time of the car accident will cover your medical bills, at least initially.  This is called PIP, or Personal Injury Protection.  You may recall that PIP is available regardless of fault.  Please see my other blogs covering PIP for more detail.

Are there limits to how long PIP will pay or how much it will cover?

Yes.  PIP usually covers accident related medical expenses incurred within the first year following the accident.  Often times the amount of PIP benefits purchased by the insured is inadequate to cover all the medical expenses.  In that scenario the PIP benefits are said to have exhausted.  Reminder:  Call your insurance carrier and raise your PIP limits.  The minimum in Oregon is $15,000 in PIP coverage.  That will not cover much if you are involved in a serious auto accident.

I just got in a car accident, who is going to pay my medical bills?Another way to lose PIP benefits is by being cut off by the insurance company.  The PIP insurance company may have you examined by a doctor of its choosing.  The insurance companies call this an “independent medical examination.”  My experience is that these “independent” medical exams are generally slanted towards the insurance company.  The insurance doctor will usually blame the ongoing injuries on anything other than the auto accident.  If the “independent” doctor concludes that the need for treatment is unrelated to the auto accident, the insurance company will stop paying.

If the PIP year runs, the PIP benefits exhaust, or PIP stops paying, the next insurance in line to pay for accident related medical expenses is health insurance.  Health insurance generally will not cover medical bills until PIP is no longer paying.

 PIP ran out and I don’t have health insurance.  Now what?

Under this scenario, you will be responsible for paying for your ongoing medical treatment.  It is a good idea to speak with the health care providers and ask about working out a payment plan while you are still treating or ask whether they can put the bill on hold pending settlement of your case.

Of course there are other intricacies involved in the payment of automobile accident bills.  This blog is just meant to give you a brief sketch of who pays for accident related medical bills and the pecking order for who goes first.  I hope this sheds some light on this issue.  Remember, raise your insurance limits!

Do I qualify for PIP benefits?

By Arne Cherkoss

PIP benefits

PIP | Personal Injury ProtectionEvery motor vehicle liability policy issued for delivery in Oregon that covers private passenger motor vehicles must provide PIP benefits. The term motor vehicle means a self-propelled land motor vehicle or trailer, other than (1) a farm vehicle (or other self propelled equipment designed for use principally off public roads, while not on a public road; (2) a vehicle operated on rails or crawler treads; or (3) a vehicle located for use as a residence or premises.

A private passenger motor vehicle is defined under Oregon law as:

A four-wheel passenger or station wagon type motor vehicle not used as a public or livery conveyance, and includes any other four-wheel motor vehicle of the utility, pickup body, sedan delivery or panel truck type not used for wholesale or retail delivery other than farming, a self propelled motor home, and a farm truck.

The named insured and family members residing in the same household are entitled to PIP benefits from the use, occupancy, or maintenance of any motor vehicle except: (1) a motor vehicle owned by any person not covered for PIP benefits; (2) a motorcycle or moped not owned by any person when the injury or death result from the person’s operating or riding on it; (3) a motor vehicle not a passenger motor vehicle when the injury or death results from the person’s operating or occupying the vehicle.

PIP benefits from the use, occupancy or maintenance of any motor vehicle

Generally, Oregon courts require a causal link between the injury and the use, operation, or maintenance of a motor vehicle. For example, a person who injures him or herself while exiting a vehicle (e.g. twist and hurt ankle) is entitled to PIP benefits. On the other hand, Oregon courts have found no causal link when an insured who was standing approximately 30 feet from his car when a car jacker shot him in the chest. The court reasoned that the insured’s injuries did not “result from” the use, occupancy, or maintenance of a motor vehicle.

Who else does PIP cover?

PIP coverage is required for the person insured, members of that person’s family residing in the same household, passengers occupying the insured motor vehicle, and pedestrian (under certain circumstances) struck by that vehicle.