New law raises reimbursement levels for lost wages

Cars and cellphones have been the media’s main focus when discussing Oregon’s new laws, but the distracted driving bill was not the only significant piece of legislation which came into force on January 1, 2010. Several new measures change state insurance regulations in ways that stand to benefit consumers in significant ways.

Among the most important is a new law raising the ceiling on income replacement benefits from $1250 to $3000 per month. These are benefits paid by your insurer if you are unable to return to work because of an injury. It goes without saying that for many people the old monthly rate of $1250 – essentially a minimum wage salary – fell far short of actually replacing lost income.

The same bill also increased the required level of motor vehicle liability insurance for damage to others from $10,000 to $20,000 (that increase, in turn, bumps up the minimum level of optional uninsured motorist coverage for property damage that companies must offer their customers. This level also goes from $10,000 to $20,000).

The income replacement benefit is especially important not only because it ought to help injured consumers in these tough economic times, but also because it may put pressure on insurers to offer more generous benefit levels. If you are locked in a dispute with an insurance company over income replacement benefits and their appropriate level this would be a very good time to consult with an Oregon personal injury attorney to get a better sense of the new law and how it may benefit you. Experienced Portland severe and catastrophic injury attorneys take the time to examine all legal and regulatory changes like these and give careful consideration to how they may effect your situation. Even at $3000 per month, income replacement will fall short for many people. A careful and compassionate Oregon injury lawyer can help you explore your options should this situation arise.

State of Oregon Insurance Division: 2009 Legislative Summary