How to File Uninsured Motorist Claim in Oregon

Hitting the open road in Oregon is breathtaking, but the unexpected can lurk around the bend. An uninsured driver collision can leave you facing medical bills, lost wages, and a frustrating fight for compensation. But you don’t have to navigate this alone. Oregon law requires uninsured motorist coverage, a safety net for accidents like these.

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    This guide offers everything you need to navigate the claim process with confidence. While resources like this can empower you, remember that complex cases will benefit from the guidance of a Portland car accident lawyer.

    We can help ensure your rights are protected and you receive the maximum compensation possible. Buckle up, and let’s explore the road to recovery.

    What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

    Uninsured motorist coverage, often referred to as UM coverage, is a type of auto insurance that safeguards you if you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance.

    In Oregon, UM coverage is mandatory, and the minimum required coverage is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury.

    This type of coverage empowers you to receive compensation for necessary medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and even funeral costs following an accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver.

    What Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Pay For?

    What Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Pay For?

    Uninsured motorist coverage can be a financial lifesaver if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who lacks insurance or has insufficient coverage. It typically covers a range of critical expenses, ensuring that you and your passengers are protected in the event of such unfortunate situations. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what uninsured motorist coverage pays for:

    Bodily Injury

    This portion of UM coverage helps pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and other injury-related costs for you and your passengers. Whether it’s hospital bills, doctor’s fees, rehabilitation costs, or even compensation for wages lost due to the accident, uninsured coverage is designed to ease the financial burden that can arise from injuries sustained in a collision.

    Property Damage

    Insurance providers must offer UM coverage that protects against property damage, but drivers are not required to purchase it. However, if you elect to pay for this aspect of UM coverage, it can also help repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance.

    This is especially valuable because vehicle repairs or replacements can be costly. Having UM coverage ensures that you won’t have to shoulder these expenses on your own, even if the other driver is unable to cover the costs.

    Hit-and-Run Accidents

    In the unfortunate event that you’re the victim of a hit-and-run accident and the responsible driver cannot be identified or located, your uninsured motorist coverage can step in to cover your expenses.

    Hit-and-run accidents can be particularly frustrating and stressful, but with UM coverage, you have a safety net to rely on, helping you recover financially while you focus on healing from your injuries.

    What Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

    Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is a component of auto insurance that operates similarly to uninsured motorist coverage but serves a slightly different purpose. UIM comes into play when you are involved in an accident with an at-fault driver whose insurance coverage is insufficient to cover your damages fully.

    It provides an added layer of protection, ensuring that you won’t be left with significant financial burdens if you’re in an accident with an underinsured driver. In Oregon, UIM coverage that pays for bodily injury costs is required alongside UM coverage. UIM coverage for property damage is not mandated by law, but it is highly recommended.

    While Oregon law requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, some motorists may opt for the bare minimum, which might not be enough to cover the costs associated with a severe accident. This is where underinsured motorist coverage steps in, bridging the gap between the at-fault driver’s coverage and your actual expenses.

    How Often Do Car Accidents Involve Uninsured Drivers?

    The risk of encountering an uninsured driver on Oregon’s roads is unfortunately more than just a theoretical possibility. While state law requires insurance coverage, the reality is that some drivers still flout the rules, leaving victims of accidents facing significant financial consequences:

    How Often Do Car Accidents Involve Uninsured Drivers?

    Approximately 10.7% of Oregon drivers are currently driving without insurance, according to a study by the Insurance Research Council.

    How to File an Uninsured Motorist Claim in Oregon

    Filing an uninsured motorist claim in Oregon is a structured process that involves several important steps to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Here’s a brief guide on how to file a claim:

    Report the Accident

    Contact law enforcement immediately after the accident occurs. This is a crucial step, as the police report will serve as a vital piece of evidence for your claim. Ensure that the police are informed about the accident and provide them with accurate details of the incident.

    Seek Medical Attention

    If you or anyone involved in the accident sustains injuries, seek medical attention promptly. Document all medical expenses related to the accident. This includes bills for hospital stays, surgeries, doctor’s visits, prescription medications, physical therapy, and any other healthcare services you receive.

    Contact Your Insurance Company

    Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Contact the claims department and let them know of your intention to file an uninsured motorist claim.

    Provide your insurance company with all the necessary details regarding the accident. This includes the police report, medical records, photographs of the accident scene and damages, contact information of all parties involved, and any witness statements if available.

    Get Legal Assistance

    Get Legal Assistance

    If you encounter difficulties with your insurance company, consider seeking legal counsel from Newlin Law Offices. Our seasoned Portland car accident attorney can protect your rights and advocate on your behalf.

    Legal assistance can be particularly valuable if the insurance company is offering an inadequate settlement or if there are disputes over liability or coverage.

    How Much Can I Get from an Uninsured Motorist Claim?

    The amount you can receive from an uninsured motorist claim in Oregon is determined by your policy limits. The state’s minimum requirements for this type of coverage are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, along with $20,000 for property damage.

    While these minimum coverage limits are mandatory, it’s important to note that you have the option to choose higher coverage limits. Opting for higher coverage limits is a prudent decision, as it can result in a more substantial payout in the event of a claim.

    How Long Does an Underinsured Motorist Claim Take?

    The duration of an underinsured motorist claim can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the extent of the injuries, and the cooperation of all parties involved.

    While some claims may be resolved relatively quickly, others could take several months or even longer to reach a settlement. It’s advisable to maintain open communication with your insurance company and be patient throughout the process.

    UM vs. PIP

    In Oregon, drivers have access to both uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection (PIP) as part of their auto insurance options.

    As discussed earlier, UM provides protection when you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. It primarily covers bodily injury costs.

    PIP coverage, on the other hand, is a no-fault insurance that pays for your medical expenses, lost wages, and essential services, regardless of who is at fault in an accident. PIP can also cover funeral expenses and other non-medical costs related to the accident.

    While both UM and PIP are valuable, they serve different purposes. UM focuses on covering damages caused by uninsured drivers, while PIP provides immediate medical and financial assistance to policyholders, regardless of fault.

    Common Issues with Uninsured Motorist Claims

    Common Issues with Uninsured Motorist Claims

    While uninsured and underinsured motorist claims in Oregon share similarities with personal injury claims against insured drivers, they present unique obstacles that can complicate the road to recovery. These challenges can be broadly divided into the following categories:


    Like in any personal injury claim, establishing who caused the accident is crucial. This can be more challenging in UM/UIM cases, especially with hit-and-run accidents or uncooperative, at-fault drivers. Thorough evidence gathering and legal knowledge become even more critical.

    Set-Offs and Credits

    Insurance companies often attempt to reduce payouts using credits for benefits already received, like personal injury protection payments. Understanding these tactics and their limitations is crucial to maximizing your compensation.

    Stacking vs. Offsets in Underinsured Claims

    Recent changes in Oregon law allow “stacking” of UIM coverage on top of the at-fault driver’s settlement, but offsets may still apply depending on the final recovery amount. It’s crucial to navigate these complexities with legal guidance.

    Health Insurance Involvement

    Serious injuries often exceed the limited medical coverage under PIP, prompting the involvement of private health plans. Reimbursement rules for these plans differ from auto insurance, requiring careful attention to ensure fair compensation.

    Be Prepared for the Unexpected

    Oregon drivers hold the power to protect themselves and their loved ones from others. Armed with this guide and a robust uninsured motorist coverage plan, you can face the open road with confidence. But for those bumps and detours that life throws your way, you’re not alone.

    Newlin Law Offices is dedicated to helping injured clients navigate the complexities of uninsured motorist claims. Our passion and skill can help you reach your destination: fair compensation and a swift return to normalcy. Don’t hesitate — if an uninsured driver has wronged you, contact us for a free case review, and let us help you today.

    Confused by Your Uninsured Claim?
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