The issue of whether there is sufficient insurance to cover someone's losses in an Oregon auto injury claim is becoming a more common concern. For a long time, Oregon law has required a motorist to carry a minimum of $25,000.00 in liability coverage. We refer to this as the "policy limits." This is coverage for any liability or damages caused for careless behavior.
If you were injured by a careless driver with minimal policy limits, the $25,000.00 coverage must compensate you for your lost wages, your medical expenses, and compensation for the loss of your health, often referred to as "non--economic damages", or compensation for pain, suffering, and loss of activities. We like to refer to this compensation as compensation for the loss of your health.
In many cases, my clients will suffer serious injuries that required extensive medical care, and caused significant disability. As a result, the medical expenses and lost wages alone will exceed the available insurance policy proceeds from the responsible party.
The first option we explore is an underinsured motorist claim. Uninsured motorist coverage exists on every Oregon auto insurance policy, and is designed to insure you against the uninsured motorist, or the "underinsured" motorist. Your uninsured motorist coverage is the same as the amount of liability coverage you purchased from your insurance company.
An uninsured motorist claim exists when you are injured by a driver with no insurance coverage. An underinsured motorist claim is a claim against your insurance company, but is only available to the extent that your "uninsured motorist" coverage exceeds the liability coverage of the other party. This is why we strongly recommend that you review your insurance policy to make sure you have adequate protection.
If your uninsured motorist coverage is the same as the responsible party's liability coverage, then generally, you will not have an uninsured motorist claim. In these cases, we will work with medical creditors, as well as your insurance company to negotiate any outstanding liens or medical bills to maximize your recovery. However, you may be faced with a serious injury without adequate compensation.
To learn more about whether there is enough insurance compensate you for your injury, request are free book, or give us a call at 503-325-8600.