medical expenses

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help With Medical Providers

Roughly once a week someone takes the time to send a Thank You card to my office.  Many come from clients.  Some come from vendors.  Sometimes they come from medical providers.  This week I received a lovely card from a Chiropractor.  The Chiropractor had been the treatment provider for a car crash client in a case I was involved in.  The case went to trial and he testified on behalf of our client. A couple of weeks after the trial we had lunch to discuss the trial.  During the conversation, we also started to discuss how Oregon personal injury lawyers should be assisting their clients with medical providers.  Things like billing issues, referrals, and obtaining medical records were all topics of discussion.

Many of my Personal Injury clients already have a medical provider when they come to see me.  If that is the case then I do my best to help the provider with any insurance billing issues they may encounter.  This allows my client to focus on getting better and the provider can deal with my office that regularly interacts with insurance companies. 

My office can also work with a provider who is treating a client who had their personal injury protection benefits terminated by their insurance company.  There are various ways to do this, but often the medical provider is concerned about payment for future services, so it is my office's responsibility to assuage those concerns and do my best to force the insurance company to reinstate PIP medical benefits. 

PDX Car Crash Lawyer Thank You From Chiropractor.JPG

Occasionally my personal injury clients will ask for a referral to a medical provider.  I do not have a common referral list, but there are some providers that I have told my clients to steer clear of.  At the end of the day, the client needs to be with a provider that they feel comfortable with.  

If you, or someone you know, has been injured by another and need a free case evaluation call Portland Oregon Personal Injury Attorney Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658.  At Ross Law LLC we do our best to help people injured in Car Crashes, Bus Crashes, Trucking Accidents, Bicycle crashes, Bike Crashes, Motorcycle Crashes, and dangerous premises cases.  Please remember this post, this blog, and website can be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. 

Oregon Court Decision Helps Crime Victims Recover Losses

Many crime victims do not realize they have a right to recover restitution for their out of pocket losses.   Oregon Law allows crime victims to recover "economic damages" that were a result of the criminal's activity.  ORS 137.106(1).  This typically means that crime victims and survivors can recover out of pocket losses that were a result of the criminal's behavior.  Economic damages are typically hospital bills, surgery bills, mental health bills, property damage bills, and past lost wages.  Economic damages are not things like embarrassment,  pain, suffering, and humiliation.


There are different avenues for victims and survivors to recover damages for pain, suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, etc.  However these types of damages are not part of criminal restitution, and most victims and survivors will have to use the civil court to obtain full compensation for their harms and losses.  

However, the term "economic damages" is often disputed by defendants that do not want to pay victims for all of the harms and losses they cause.   Recently Oregon's Supreme Court clarified victim restitution issues with their ruling of State v. Ramos.  The Court noted that a defendant is responsible for all economic damages that are a result of the criminal activity.    The court addressed whether or not 1) that damages are limited to harms that result from reasonably foreseeable risks and 2) whether or not attorney fees and litigation costs are generally not recoverable as restitution unless authorized by statute or contract.  

The Ramos Court concluded,   "reasonable foreseeability is a limiting concept that applies to an award of economic damages under ORS 137.106."  What this means in layman's terms is that the economic damages must "result from" a defendant's criminal activity in the "but for" sense and must be a reasonably foreseeable result of the defendant's criminal activities.  The court also determined that in some cases that a victim or survivor's attorney fees and litigation costs may be recovered as part of criminal restitution.   This case is a good tool for prosecutors to assist victims and survivors obtaining restitution. 

If you or someone you know have are a crime victim and have medical bills, mental health bills, property bills, or have suffered harms, losses, embarrassment, humiliation, pain, or suffering as a result of another's conduct, please call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658.  Please remember the law is constantly changing.  Call a lawyer or ROSS LAW instead of relying solely on this post or the law cited in this post.


What to do if injured in a Uber or Lyft Crash....

Uber and Lyft have become incredibly popular in Portland and other Oregon cities.  These convenient ride shares allow customers to quickly hitch a ride virtually any time and anywhere within the Portland Metro region.   The drivers are regular folks who are often driving as a second job.  However, this can create problems.   Uber and Lyft are regularly in the news for the various issues that arise when their drivers don't behave or make mistakes.  People have reported incidents of Assaults, Sexual Assaults, and verbal abuse from ride share drivers.   However, the most common incident with Uber or Lyft is when the driver gets in a Car Crash with a passenger in the back seat.  (Click here for recent story of Uber Driver Crashing Into Gas Pump)

If you are in a passenger in a Ride Share program and are injured in a car crash you are going to face some unique issues.  One of the major issues that you will face is whose insurance is going to pay for your medical bills and compensate you for your injuries.   Many insurance policies exclude coverage for drivers that are working for Uber or Lyft.  That means if the Rideshare driver was at fault for the crash, then their bodily injury insurance may not provide coverage to pay you for your medical bills or damages.  Uber and Lyft have their own insurance policies, but they are not usually willing to pay without being forced to.   That is why you will usually need a lawyer if you are injured while a passenger in a ride-share program.

If you are injured in a crash with an Uber or Lyft driver here are some tips for you:

  1. Ensure you preserve the driver's information.   You need the driver's name and the license plate of the vehicle.   You can take photos of the driver's license and the license plate.  However, it is important to try and document the Uber or Lyft Ride. The best way to do this is Screenshot the Lyft or Uber app right after the crash.  This is not always possible due to the severity of the injury, but that is the best way to ensure you have the driver's information.  If you were unable to screenshot the App immediately after the crash, both apps have a ride history section where you can bring up the driver's information and the ride route. (click here for instructions for UBER) (Click here for instructions for Lyft)  Once you find the ride then screenshot the page to ensure you preserve it. 
  2. Get the UBER or LYFT Driver's Insurance Information:  Get their Auto Policy information and all of the Uber or Lyft Insurance information.  If the driver drives for both Uber and Lyft then try and get insurance information from the driver for both companies.
  3. Other things to do At the Scene:   Once the area is safe, USE YOUR CELL PHONE to gather evidence: Take pictures of the car damage, the scene, the bad driver, witnesses, and the bad driver' driver's license, the bad driver's license plate, and the bad driver's insurance card.  Call 911 if there is an injury and relay what the injuries are. Have witnesses text or email you their contact information from their phones. This way you can locate them later if needed.   
  4. Seek Medical Care:  Immediately seek treatment if you are injured. Oregon auto insurance policies should pay $15,000.00 for up to two years of crash related medical treatment.  The Uber or Lyft Driver's insurance may pay as well.  This is why it is important to contact a lawyer first, as these issues need to be addressed early in the case.  
  5. Call A Lawyer at 503.224.1658:   It won't cost you anything to chat, and you can learn about what you need to do next. I will give you a free case evaluation. 
  6. If you choose not to call a lawyer, you should contact your auto insurance if you have it: Call your insurance company to set up a claim. Cooperate with them, but be cautious of their motives.
  7. Be Cautious of Discussing things with The Other Driver's Insurance and Lyft or Uber.  

If you have any questions please call Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658 for your free case evaluation.   Legal Stuff: Please remember this post is for informational purposes only and you will likely need to do more than what is listed above to pursue an injury claim on your own behalf.  Also, the law is constantly changing, so please consult with a lawyer rather than relying on this post. 


Reimbursement for Transportation to Crash Related Medical Appointments?

Here in Oregon we are fortunate to have Personal Injury Protection Benefits, or "PIP" benefits.  PIP benefits are no fault auto insurance benefits that allow people that are in car crashes to receive up to $15,000.00 to cover crash related medical expenses.  (Click here for a more detailed explanation of all PIP benefits and limitations).   Although the law mandates Oregon Auto Insurers to provide PIP benefits, it is not always clear exactly what are crash related medical expenses.  More specifically, does an Oregon Auto Insurance policy provide benefits to reimburse a person to travel to medical appointments?  Oregon's Supreme Court recently said no.  PIP benefits do not include transpiration costs to receive medical benefits.  

This is a blow to injured people in Oregon that rely on these benefits, and especially rural Oregonians.   This is due to the fact that folks living in urban areas have easy access to medical care.  However, people living on the Oregon Coat, in Southern Oregon, Central Oregon and Eastern Oregon may have to travel hours to see a medical specialist and even stay in a hotel.   Unfortunately, Oregon's Court did not find that argument compelling.

The Oregon Supreme Court  addressed the issue of whether or not medical transportation is reimbursable under Oregon's PIP law, ORS 742.520 (1).  In Dowell v. Oregon Mutual Ins. Co. 361 Or 62 (2017),  the court analyzed the 2007 PIP statute which notes Oregon Auto Insurance Policies must have a provision that that covers:

"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, but not more than $15,000 in the aggregate for all such expenses of the person.” ORS 742.524(1)(a)

It is important to note, the law has since changed to allow services for two years after the date of the person's injury.   However, that did not effect the court's analysis in this case.   The court determined ORS 742.524 did not intend expenses for ordinary transportation to receive medical treatment or to obtain medication .  Again this is not good news for injured Oregonians and we can only hope for a legislative fix.   

All hope is not lost though.  You may still be able to recover transportation costs to medical care from the at-fault driver.  If you or someone you know has questions about your PIP benefits please call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658. Ross Law LLC is happy to give you a free telephonic case evaluation.    

Also, remember the law is always changing.   Please rely on the text of the Court's decision and not solely on this post. Also, remember to rely on the current statute as the legislature is constantly changing the laws.   Lastly, this post is not intended to be legal advice and is for informational purposes only.   This could also be considered legal advertising.