Car accidents are inherently stressful and emotional but become even more frustrating when an uninsured driver is at fault. According to Portland lawyers, uninsured motorist claims are some of the most difficult and taxing due to state statutes. If you’ve had the misfortune of being the accident victim of an uninsured (or even an underinsured) driver, you may be wondering who is responsible for paying your medical bills. Oregon has special state laws pertaining to this very matter. We’ll carefully explain these statues and give you information to aid the process of dealing with car accidents involving uninsured individuals.
Oregon revised statute 742.502 concerns Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage and states that in Oregon, all legally licensed and insured drivers are required to carry at least $25,000 in Uninsured Motorist Coverage. The statute further states that a motor vehicle bodily injury liability policy will have the same limits for uninsured motorist coverage as for bodily injury liability coverage—unless the policy holder elects to be self-insured. What does this mean for you? It means that even with the minimum required coverage, your insurance should offer at least some methods of paying for damages. Although, those limits still may not be enough.
If you have been involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver in Portland, it’s wise to seek professional help from a Portland car accident lawyer. Why? Statistics show that 1 in 10 Portland drivers is uninsured, and our state’s low minimum uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 may not be enough to help you cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, seeking medical treatment, and paying for ambulance services. Your auto accident attorney can help you properly file a claim with your insurance company so they pay you per your policy.
One of the greatest benefits to having Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage is the ability to file a claim against your own insurance company after you’ve been hit by a driver without proper insurance. Filing against your insurance requires special claims and can be time-consuming and tedious; however, this process allows you to recover damages up to your policy limits, thereby saving you great personal expense. You can file for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering, permanent injury, and inability to conduct your normal daily life/activities. You can also file for economic damages, such as medical expenses and wage loss. Additionally, if you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident where the responsible party fled the scene and you don’t know their identity, your auto accident lawyer will advise you to file a claim with your insurance company to access your UM benefits.
In the difficult situation that your own insurance company is not compliant with paying out the policy, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. Your accident lawyer will walk you through the process and advise you about your next steps, and tell you which documents are necessary to move forward with litigation. Filing a lawsuit is your right under Oregon law and as a policy holder of your insurance carrier. You may also be able to recover attorney fees from your insurance company if they have failed to meet certain standards.
If you have been hit by an uninsured driver, need legal advice before speaking with your insurance, or you wish to file a claim, contact Paul Galm Law today!