If you’ve been injured in an Oregon automobile or some other kind of personal injury accident, you may have to rely on your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover your medical bills until the insurance details are all sorted out. This can become quite stressful for victims and their families, especially if the injuries are severe, which could see the coverage provided by your PIP exhausted in a relative short period of time.
What can you do once your PIP run out? There are a number of steps you can take to ensure continuity of coverage once you have reached the limits of your PIP coverage. It’s important to follow these steps carefully, however, to be prepared when the time comes that your PIP no longer takes care of the mounting medical bills.
PIP protection is mandatory in just 15 states, and Oregon is one of them. In Oregon, PIP policy offers a minimum of $15,000 per accident, so if your injuries, or those of a family member are severe enough, that money could run out in a hurry. Remember, your PIP runs out after one year no matter how much or how little of the $15,000 you have used.
When this happens, it’s important that you:
- Keep track of the exact amounts that have been paid out under the PIP policy. It’s no fun having to use a calculator when you’d rather concentrate on recovery, but failure to do so could lead to treatment being declined or an unwelcome and surprisingly large bill being handed to you. Don’t get caught unawares. Just keep a precise list of all the payments made under your PIP policy. Your insurance company certainly will.
- Once you’re getting close to the limits of your PIP cover, contact your primary health insurance company or Medicare to see if you’re eligible for coverage. Find out which treatments are covered under your health insurance plan’s guidelines.
- Once PIP has expired, and you’ve established what treatments are covered by your health insurance, issue any claims directly to the health insurance company as soon as possible for reimbursement.
- Be aware that once your insurance claim against the at-fault driver has been settled, Medicare and many health insurance companies will insist on being reimbursed for whatever they have paid towards your medical costs. This is another good reason to use up your entire PIP allowance before turning to your health insurance provider.
- Contact a good personal injury lawyer. Time is of the essence, especially in cases where you think the PIP coverage will be quickly swallowed up because of the severity of your injuries. A good Oregon accident attorney will be very familiar with PIP claims and what to do when that cover runs out. They will also be far more likely to get any claim for damages made against the at-fault driver’s insurance company settled quickly than if you act on your own.
Accidents on their own are frustrating and upsetting enough. Throw in a painful or disabling injury, and the situation really becomes dark. When you add in the prospect of bankruptcy due to an inability to pay mountain-sized medical bills, it’s easy to understand why a single car accident can end up destroying more than just metal and glass.
In addition to medical expenses, there’s also the question of other financial damages, including lost wages that occur because the injured person can’t get to work. What happens if they’re unable to return to work in the foreseeable future? What if the injured person was badly scarred by the accident and might need plastic surgery in a year or two? That could be very expensive, too.
What if the accident was so traumatic that you or your family finds yourself in need of psychological counseling? Who is going to pay for that? What if you need ongoing physical therapy due to the injuries you suffered, or what happens if you find out after a few months that you actually received a brain injury and now the headaches and dizziness just won’t go away?
All these “what if’s” and more can be answered by an experienced and knowledgeable Portland personal injury attorney, who knows exactly what you’re facing and understands the stresses and strains being placed on you and your family. Putting the job of looking after the insurance claim into the lawyer’s hands means you can concentrate on what’s really important…getting better.