According to the court, Farmers failed to comply with laws that regulate personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. According to Oregon statute ORS 742.520, insurance companies are required to cover the costs for “all reasonable and necessary expenses of medical, hospital, dental, surgical, ambulance and prosthetic services incurred within one year after the date of the person’s injury,” up to a $15,000.
Insurance companies are supposed to protect their insured and help them when they are injured. Too often we see that insurance companies don’t care about people at all – they just care about profits. By denying injured Oregonians health benefits through PIP, Farmers Insurance was violating the statute as well as the spirit behind it, the spirit of good will and assistance that we hope for from our insurance.
The trial court in Multnomah County awarded $900,000 in compensatory damages, and $8 million in punitive damages. In addition, Farmers was required to pay all attorney fees.
Not all states have mandatory PIP, but in Oregon we are lucky that we do. PIP is an extension of car insurance that will cover medical bills and lost wages. No matter who is at fault, PIP is available. In Oregon PIP is only available for 1 year after the accident or up to $15,000, whichever comes first.
PIP is very important when you’ve been in an auto accident. If you were injured, PIP will pay your bills until the insurance company of the driver at fault can establish a claim number and begin paying. Basically, through your own insurance PIP will pay your bills, and then the bad driver’s insurance company will pay your insurance back.
In many cases, however, PIP will be exhausted before you are done treating for your accident injuries. In this case, it is advisable to seek legal help from an Oregon car accident attorney. Injury lawyers can help you communicate with the other driver’s insurance and get the rest of your medical bills paid, your lost wages compensated, etc. It’s important to remember that if you’ve been hurt, there are options.