In Oregon, auto insurance is required to protect other Oregon motorists. When an insured motorist causes an injury in a car wreck in Oregon, the insurance company insuring the careless motorist is responsible for any damages caused by their insured. This is what the insurance contract is all about.
In almost all cases, the preferable resolution of an auto injury claim is to resolve the case through a negotiated settlement. However, if there is a disagreement about who is responsible for causing the collision, or the amount of compensation is due, then the case will be filed in a state or federal court.
The insurance company remains involved, and will provide the careless motorist, who is now a defendant, with an attorney. The case still may resolve prior to a trial, and if it does, the insurance company is writing the check.
As the case moves forward through the courts, the insurance company pays court costs, and sometimes compensates their insured for time away from work to sit through a deposition, or a trial. However, the rules of evidence prohibit any mention at trial that there is an insurance company standing behind the defendant at trial, or that the trial lawyer defending the case is actually paid by the insurance company, or in many cases, is an employee of the insurance company.
The insurance company will pay any verdict a jury renders up to the amount of coverage provided to the defendant, which is also referred to as the “policy limits.” Even if the verdict is greater than the amount of insurance coverage provided to the defendant, the insurance company may still be responsible for the “excess verdict.”
Many people involved in an Oregon or Washington auto injury claim are concerned about having to “go after” a defendant or “bankrupt” them with a lawsuit. Auto insurance prevents this, but if you have questions or concerns, call us at 503-325-8600. We will walk you through the whole process, and give you all your options.