Getting injured in an accident that you didn’t cause is bad enough. Learning that the other driver doesn’t have insurance can be horrifying. What are your options? How will you pay your medical bills? What if it takes a long time to recover and you have to miss work?
As far as medical bills and wage loss, you can file a claim with your own insurance company for personal injuries, medical expenses and lost wages. This is called Personal Injury Protection or PIP. You can file an uninsured motorist claim with your car insurance. This coverage allows you, members of your household, and your passengers to receive damages for injuries caused by a negligent, uninsured driver. Basically, your own insurance company steps into the shoes of insuring the at fault person that doesn’t have insurance.
Oregon law requires you to have a minimum of $25,000 of uninsured motorist coverage. It’s your coverage that you already pay for. You make the claim against your own insurance company and, if the other driver was at fault, your carrier will deal with that person to collect damages. Keep in mind, the validity of the claim depends on whether or not the uninsured driver is negligent in causing the injury and the total amount depends on how bad your injuries are.
After an accident with an uninsured driver, contact your insurance company to report the accident, and file a claim. It is also advisable to seek the help of an attorney that specializes in these types of personal injury cases early in the process.
It is important to get an attorney involved right away. Insurance companies are required to set a reserve on each case by law. That means that if they get a claim in on Jan 1st they have to take money and set it aside to cover the anticipated costs of that claim. They do that by estimating the value of the claim based on the nature of the injury. If it’s a real serious injury the costs go up. They generally set the reserve higher when there’s an attorney involved because they know they’re not going to be able to take advantage of a client. Letting the insurance companies know about your injuries, the severity of those injuries and that there is an attorney involved is important for getting as high a settlement as possible for your case.
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist, call the Law Offices of Brian Whitehead for your complimentary case evaluation.