Oregon Case Law Update: PIP Application Form Inadmissible in Suit by Insured Against Tortfeasor

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Oregon Case Law Update: PIP Application Form Inadmissible in Suit by Insured Against Tortfeasor

From the Desk of Joshua P. Hayward: Insureds who submit a personal injury protection (“PIP”) claim are often asked by their insurer to fill out a PIP application form.  When the insured later sues the defendant who was allegedly at fault for the accident, can the PIP application be admitted into evidence at trial? Read on to find out.

Claims Pointer: Following an incident where the defendant drove over and fractured a minor’s leg, a dispute arose as to whether the PIP application could be admitted into evidence.  The Washington Court of Appeals held that the PIP application was protected under the work product doctrine, and further determined that admitting the PIP application was prejudicial.  This case is important to adjusters who regularly deal with PIP claims, applications, and litigation.

Figueroa v Mariscal, 34671-4-III, Washington Court of Appeals Div. III (April 3, 2018)

In this case, Defendant Consuelo Prieto Marisca (“Defendant”) was driving her minivan down the road when she heard a noise and felt a slight bump underneath her tires.  Defendant pulled her vehicle over and saw Plaintiff Monica Diaz Barriga Figueroa’s (“Plaintiff”) minor son lying on the road next to his bicycle.  The child was taken to the hospital where imaging results revealed a fractured leg.

A few days later, Plaintiff contacted an attorney for assistance in making an insurance claim to her insurer for her son’s injuries.  Because Plaintiff was a monolingual Spanish speaker, a legal assistant who spoke Spanish assisted Plaintiff.  The assistant first asked Plaintiff to sign a blank PIP application form.  After Plaintiff signed the form, the assistant filled out the form by using facts in the police report to describe the accident – the police report stated that Plaintiff’s child was struck after he drove his bicycle into the road from a blind spot in...

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