Oregon Case Law Update: Offsetting Jury Awards by Previously Paid PIP Benefits

Attorney Profile Case Update Template - Josh

Oregon Case Law Update: Offsetting Jury Awards by Previously Paid PIP Benefits

From the desk of Josh Hayward: Under ORS 31.555, courts are to offset a party’s jury award if the party has previously received payments for personal injury protection (“PIP”) benefits.  But when the economic damages on the verdict form are unsegregated, creating an ambiguity that does not allow a court to determine whether the jury’s award specifically includes PIP benefits paid by the insurer, will the court reduce the award?  Read on to find out.

Claims Pointer: In this case arising out of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, the court held that offsetting plaintiff’s award by previously provided paid PIP benefits was proper even though the damages were not segregated. It was proper because the verdict form offered by the plaintiff did not ask the jury to segregate the economic damages. In the future, we should expect plaintiff attorneys to submit much more detailed verdict forms asking the jury to specifically determine which medical treatments were related to the accident.

Daniels v Allstate Fire and Casualty Company, 289 Or App 698 (2018)

This case arose from injuries suffered by Danny Daniels (“Plaintiff”) in a car accident.  Following the accident, Plaintiff received PIP benefits from his insurer, Allstate Fire, and Casualty Company (“Allstate”).  Plaintiff later sued Allstate for UIM benefits. Following the trial, the jury returned a verdict awarding damages in favor of Plaintiff.  Relying on ORS 31.555, the trial court reduced the award by the amount of PIP benefits that Allstate previously paid to Plaintiff.  Plaintiff appealed the trial court’s decision.

The Oregon Court of Appeals reviewed the trial court’s decision to offset the award by the amount of PIP benefits that Allstate paid to Plaintiff under ORS 31.555.  The text of ORS 31.555 states that:

“If judgment is entered against a party on whose behalf an advance payment...

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