Who pays my medical bills after a car crash?

If you have been injured in a car crash in the State of Oregon, you will likely have many questions.  One of the most common is: “Who is going to pay for all the medical bills?”.  Most people are surprised to see just how expensive medical treatment after a car crash can be.  An ambulance ride can cost hundreds of dollars, and even the shortest of hospitalizations can run into the thousands of dollars.  While some people may be lucky and have only mild soft tissue injuries which resolve in a matter of months, each human body is different; the same cervical, thoracic or lumbar strain which in one person resolved in three months for a couple thousand dollars in medical bills, could take a year or more to resolve, and require ten thousand dollars or more in treatment for the next person.  Keep in mind this is for soft tissue (commonly known as “whiplash”) type injuries.  Many car accidents will have additional injuries (broken bones, bulged discs, herniated discs, radiculopathy, post concussion syndrome, traumatic brain injury, etc.)  Depending on the extent of the injuries, the cost of treatment could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In most cases, your medical bills will be covered by the auto insurance of the automobile you were travelling in.  This is because most auto insurance policies sold in the state will carry PIP (Personal Injury Protection).  This type of coverage is mandatory per Oregon law in (ORS 742.520).  The benefit of this setup is that if you were injured in a car accident, you can see your doctor, and so long as the injury you are seeking treatment for is related to the motor vehicle accident, and the treatment is reasonable, PIP insurance will have to pay.

There are certain important limits to this coverage.  The two most important things to keep in mind are that the minimum limits are $15,000.00 per person, and treatment will only be paid for medical services rendered within two years of the date of the crash.  It is important to keep in mind that $15,000.00 is the minimum for policies issued in the state of Oregon.  Your actual policy may provide higher limits.  It is advisable to check the language of your policy carefully to see how much coverage you are entitled to.  If you cannot find this information, it would be wise to talk to a reputable personal injury lawyer.  Most knowledgeable attorneys who practice in this area will be happy to help you find this information, and most personal injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation.

Keep in mind that in order to receive these benefits, the auto insurance company must be notified, and a PIP benefits application must be filled out and returned.  It is advisable to speak to an attorney about your case before doing this.  Remember, insurance companies handle hundreds if not thousands of cases per day.  Chances are you may only be involved in one or two cases in your entire lifetime.  If you are unsure what you are supposed to do, a personal injury lawyer in your area should be happy to advise you.  Don’t risk being denied your benefits.

If you have been injured in a car crash, give us a call (541) 323-2013.  The call and the initial consultation are free.  If we are hired we will only charge fees if we recover for you, and then only based on a percentage of your recovery (contingency fee)

We practice state wide, including in the counties of: Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Lane, Multnomah, Marion, Clackamas, etc.

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