What you need to know about Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVAs)

  • Physics dominates motor vehicle accidents. Even at low speeds, a motor vehicle collision creates high force on the body that can easily lead to injury that you may not feel right away.
  • Oregon and Washington have a Personal Injury Protection as part of automotive insurance plans. Generally, this is $15,000 that can go to medical expenses related to an accident.
  • Under this policy you have the right to choose your healthcare provider. Anyone with a doctorate is eligible.
  • Everyone in a motor vehicle accident should, at a minimum, be evaluated by some sort of medical professional.

My first job as a doctor was in a clinic that worked mostly with personal injury protection (PIP) following a motor vehicle accident (MVA). As an east coast native, I was entirely unfamiliar with this option in Oregon. Oregon is one of the few states to still have PIP policies included in all automotive insurance plans. This helps to ensure that anyone involved in an accident receives the care that they need. I also discovered that people get hurt in an MVA, like, really hurt. Very quickly I went from treating generally well people to significantly hurt individuals. The learning curve was steep.

The point of this page is to highlight to you all that you:

  1. Have this coverage to use as you see fit and
  2. Need an evaluation if you are in an MVA.

Generally speaking, you have $15,000 to use towards medical expenses after an MVA. With these funds, you can choose any healthcare provider that has a doctorate to provide you evaluation and treatment even if they are not in your state. So a Washington resident can seek care from a doctor in Oregon and vice versa.

The process to do this is very easy. Simply contact your insurance and state you would like to receive medical care and they will give you a claim number. Give this number to your healthcare provider and they can take it from there. The ability to use this insurance has nothing to do with who is at fault. It also has nothing to do with your health insurance. It is stand-alone funds to be used for all medical expenses related to your MVA, regardless of the intensity of the accident.

So why do I highlight this benefit so much? I had no idea I had it, just like many Oregon residents don’t. Additionally, I wish I had access to this health care when I was younger. I was in what I would have considered a mild accident at the age of 22. By mild I mean that I felt general aches and pains after the accident. The accident itself involved a van traveling around 40+ mph in a 35 mph zone hitting the back of my car, spinning it 180 degrees, and continuing to roll another 100 feet because they did not even touch their brakes. In the world of MVAs this is a worst-case scenario. Neither of us saw each other, no brakes were applied, no one braced for impact, and I was twisted all the way around at the time of impact because I was backing out of a driveway. I strongly believe that I am still suffering residual effects from this accident 10 years later. I truly did feel stiff and achy, but no worse. I was a young healthy male. Xrays showed no significant ligamentous damage at the time, but they did not take sufficient Xrays to rule out damage.

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