Oregon Case Law Update: Reasonable Examinations Under Oath Permissible in PIP Claims

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Oregon Case Law Update: Reasonable Examinations Under Oath Permissible in PIP Claims

From the desk of Katie D. Buxman: The Oregon statutes governing Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits, unlike those governing Uninsured Motorist (UM) claims, are silent on whether Examinations Under Oath (EUO) are permissible. As a result, it has been a continuing practice of Oregon insurers to include language in their policies requiring their insureds to submit to reasonable EUOs for PIP claims, but the issue has not been addressed by an appellate court until now.

Claims Pointer: In this case arising out of a dispute over PIP benefits, the Oregon Court of Appeals determined that the PIP statutes do not prohibit an insurer from reasonably demanding an EUO, and that allowing EUOs in the PIP context facilitates the efficient resolution of PIP claims. The case makes it clear that allowing insurers to demand an EUO is consistent with the insurer’s obligation to reasonably investigate claims.  EUOs are therefore permitted in PIP claims so long as the circumstances make it reasonable for the insurer to request an EUO.

Kachan v. Country Preferred Ins. Co., 279 Or App 403 (July 7, 2016).

Nikolay Kachan (Kachan) was insured under an auto policy issued by Country Preferred Insurance Company (Country) that provided for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits in the amount of $15,000.  In March 2013, Kachan was injured in a rear-end collision, and he sought chiropractic treatment and made a claim for PIP benefits.

Country requested that Kachan participate in an independent medical examination (IME), which he did.  The IME physician believed that Kachan sustained soft-tissue injuries in the accident and that it was reasonable for him to seek treatment for those injuries for no longer than six months post-accident.  He further opined that the frequency of Kachan’s chiropractic treatment was unreasonable, recommending a reduced treatment regimen and a home-exercise...

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