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What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?

What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?

Oregon is a fault-based state for car accident claims. In a fault state, the injured party has the burden of proof for a liability claim. They must prove the other driver caused the car crash to recover compensation for damages.

State law requires that all drivers have minimum amounts of car insurance. It is illegal to operate a vehicle without liability insurance. Liability insurance compensates accident victims when a driver causes a collision.

The minimum liability insurance requirements for drivers in Oregon are:

  • $25,000 for one person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injuries to two or more people
  • $20,000 per accident for property damage

Liability insurance does not compensate you for your injuries or property damage. However, the state requires you to purchase $15,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.

PIP coverage pays for your medical bills after an accident. You can also receive 70% of your lost wages if you cannot work, subject to state caps. PIP does not require you to prove fault for the cause of the crash.

Drivers must also have uninsured motorist insurance coverage of $25,000 for one person and $50,000 per accident. Uninsured motorist coverage can also help you if the other driver doesn’t have insurance coverage.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage?

What Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage?

Uninsured motorist insurance provides bodily injury coverage for the driver and their passengers if:

  • The other driver caused the car accident; and,
  • They do not have insurance coverage.

You file a claim with your insurance company for an uninsured motorist claim. Your insurance company investigates the claim to determine if the other driver caused the crash. The company also evaluates your damages.

It is important to remember that the insurance company treats your uninsured motorist claim just like all other insurance claims. Therefore, your insurance company might undervalue your claim or try to blame you for the accident. Call a Portland car accident lawyer immediately if you believe the insurance company is not treating you fairly or acting in bad faith.

What Damages Are Available for an Uninsured Motorist Claim in Portland, OR?

When you file an uninsured motorist claim, your insurance company assumes the role of the insurance provider for the at-fault driver. Therefore, you can recover the same damages you would recover if you filed a claim against the other driver’s insurance coverage.

Car accident claims include economic and non-economic damages. Examples of damages in an uninsured motorist claim include:

  • Medical bills
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Rehabilitative therapy
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Mental anguish
  • Personal care and household services
  • Emotional distress
  • Impairments and disabilities
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Diminished quality of life

You must have evidence proving that your injuries were caused by the car accident. It is wise to seek prompt medical care after an accident. Delays in medical treatment could raise questions about whether the crash caused your injuries, making it more difficult to receive a fair car accident settlement.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against the Uninsured Driver

An accident caused by an uninsured driver can cause catastrophic injuries and significant financial losses. You should not be responsible for the damages caused by another driver.

You can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver regardless of whether they have car insurance. However, one of the reasons people do not have car insurance is because they cannot afford it. Therefore, you could sue them and obtain a judgment for damages, but you may never receive payment for the judgment.

An experienced Portland personal injury attorney can evaluate whether a lawsuit is worth the time and expense. They may suggest pursuing other sources of compensation, such as an uninsured motorist claim.

If another party could be partially liable, the attorney may suggest pursuing a claim against that party. For example, filing a lawsuit against a car manufacturer if a defective auto part contributed to the cause of the crash or your injuries.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident When the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?

The law requires drivers to stop as close to the accident scene as possible. You should remain at the accident scene and exchange information with the other driver(s), including their name(s), contact information, driver’s license numbers, and insurance details.

If the other driver states they have no insurance, do not confront them. The accident scene is not the time to decide your legal options regarding an uninsured driver accident.

Instead, focus on what you can control:

  • Call 911 to report the crash and request assistance
  • Ask witnesses and bystanders for their names and contact information
  • Take photographs of the accident scene
  • Make a video of the vehicles and scene to ensure you capture everything
  • Do not refuse medical care or state that you are okay
  • Do not apologize or admit fault for the crash
  • See a doctor as soon as possible

Notify your insurance company of the accident. However, be cautious when discussing the details of the crash.

You might want to meet with a Portland car accident lawyer before you provide a statement or answer questions. The things you say could be twisted and intentionally misconstrued to imply you admitted fault or contributed to the cause of the accident.

Does Contributory Fault Apply to Uninsured Motorist Insurance Claims?

Even though you file an uninsured motorist claim, your claim may be subject to Oregon’s modified comparative fault statute – at least insofar as out-of-court procedures take place under the “shadow of the law.” State law does not bar recovery of damages because of contributory fault. Instead, it adopts a modified comparative fault standard.

If you are 51% or more to blame for causing your car accident, you cannot receive any money for your damages (other than through your PIP insurance). You can recover some of your damages if you are less than 51% to blame for the crash, but the amount is reduced by your level of fault.

Your insurance company may try to blame you for the car accident to avoid liability for your claim. If you hire a car accident lawyer, they can advocate for your rights and interests.

Do You Have Questions About an Uninsured Car Accident Claim in Portland, OR?

Uninsured motorist claims can be challenging to prove. Even though you are dealing with your insurance company, it does not guarantee a fair settlement. Furthermore, you may need to sue the other driver for damages.

If you were injured by an uninsured driver in Oregon, contact our lawyer from Tillmann Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer at (503) 773-3333.

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