The best thing you can do for you and your family is to have more than the minimum uninsured motorist (“UM”) and underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage.
The Oregon minimum uninsured motorist (“UM”) and underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage is $25,000. But that is too low. Increased UM/UIM coverage is not expensive. and gives you an adequate recovery when you are seriously injured by an uninsured or low insurance bad driver. Many careless drivers have the minimum insurance required by law, I see it all the time.
UM (Un-Insured) versus UIM (Under-Insured) Claims
Many drivers have no insurance. An injury caused by one of them gives an un-insured motorist claim.
Many other drivers have the minimum liability insurance. If you have a devastating injury, that small policy is not enough to get you fair compensation. A serious injury caused by a minimum insurance driver gives you an under-insured motorist claim. Here is how your under-insured motorist coverage works.
The minimum liability coverage under Oregon law is only $25,000 per person. Here is the law that sets out the minimum:
ORS 806.070 Minimum payment schedule. (1) This section establishes a schedule of payments for the following purposes:
(a) An insurance policy described under ORS 806.080 must provide for payment of at least amounts necessary to cover the minimum required payments under this section to qualify for use for financial responsibility under ORS 806.060.
(b) A person who is self-insured under ORS 806.130 must agree to pay according to the payment schedule established by this section.
(c) The payment schedule is the minimum required payment of a judgment for purposes of ORS 809.020, 809.130 and 809.415.
(2) The schedule of payments is as follows:
(a) $25,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident;
(b) Subject to that limit for one person, $50,000 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident; and
(c) $20,000 because of injury to or destruction of the property of others in any one accident.
If you are seriously injured by one of these drivers, you could be permanently hurt and out of work for a year or more. The $25,000 minimum is not adequate to make up for what happened. If you have for example $250,000 in under-insured motorist coverage, then your UIM policy will make up the difference.
UIM Change as of January 1, 2016
The UM/UIM law in Oregon is changing for policies written on or after January 1, 2016. Until you get a 2016 policy, you will not get the total of the at-fault driver’s amount plus the amount of your own UIM coverage. For 2016 policies, you can get the total of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage amount, plus your own UIM coverage amount.
To read the full text of the Oregon Senate bill that makes this change, click on Enrolled Senate Bill 411.
The new law also allows “stacking” of the UIM coverage you paid for. This means that your UIM amount will be added to the recovery from the at-fault driver.
When you have an under-insured motorist claim, you are entitled to a full settlement amount. This includes economic damages, such as lost income. This also includes non-economic damages, such as a fair amount for pain and suffering and interference with your life activities.
The process for getting an under-insured settlement requires that you figure out the amount to demand, and to submit the demand with supporting documents, images, medical reports including a letter report from your treating physician, and testimony you will offer in support if an arbitration hearing is necessary.
The Next Step
If you would like to talk about your under-insured motorist claim, and what kind of presentation will be appropriate to get your settlement, you can contact my office by calling (503) 221-2000. No charge for the telephone conference. If you have a good case, this is usually followed by an office visit when you are ready to go over more details.
Car wreck injury cases, including under-insured motorist cases, are done on a contingent fee basis. This means that you do not pay for attorney work on your case, the attorney is paid out of the money paid by the insurance company.
This page written by E. J. Simmons.
Image by Christian Ferrari..