Dowell v. Oregon Mutual Ins. Co.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Insurance Law
  • Date Filed: 01-28-2015
  • Case #: A153170
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Hadlock, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 742.524(1)(a), personal injury protection (PIP) medical benefits do not include a covered individual’s transportation costs incurred when attending medical appointments or obtaining medication.

Dowell appealed an order granting summary judgment to Oregon Mutual Insurance Co. (Mutual) on Dowell’s claim for breach of contract for personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage. Dowell was injured in a car accident. She applied for and received PIP medical benefits. Mutual refused to pay for the transportation costs to obtain medical treatment or to attend medical appointments, and argued at trial that these transportation costs were not intended by “expenses of medical…services,” and therefore were not covered under PIP. Dowell argued that, because such transportation is necessary to achieve the covered medical services, the transportation related to the medical services was intended to be covered. The Court looked to the plain meanings of “expense,” “of,” “medical,” and “services,” along with the context of ORS 742.524, and determined the legislature only intended the transportation performed by ambulance drivers and other similar care providers was intended for PIP coverage, rather than personal transportation costs incurred by insured individuals attending medical appointments and obtaining medication. Therefore the trial court did not err in awarding summary judgment to Mutual. Affirmed.

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