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The Basics on Auto Insurance Coverage in Oregon: From PIP to UIM

People who are injured in car accidents in Oregon may already know that an important factor in most cases is the extent of automobile or other insurance coverage available. If the car or truck accident caused serious head and back injuries and a legacy of medical expenses, a personal injury attorney can explain how uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, personal injury protection (PIP) benefits and personal umbrella policies can come into play.

To be best prepared in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, drivers and passengers alike can benefit from a better understanding of car insurance in Oregon. A few key concepts outline the basic standards required by state law and a few options that policyholders can consider:

  • PIP coverage, sometimes called no-fault insurance, provides compensation for personal injury and wrongful death damages regardless of who caused the accident.
  • Bodily injury liability coverage is the part of a policy that compensates people who are harmed by the policyholder’s vehicle, including other drivers, passengers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Typical damages paid include medical and funeral expenses.
  • Property damage liability coverage provides the actual cash value (ACV) or cost of repair to any other vehicles or other property damaged in an accident caused by a driver of the policyholder’s vehicle.
  • Collision coverage reimburses the policyholder for the costs of repairing the damage caused by a collision, rollover or other accident, or pays the car’s value if the vehicle was is a total loss.
  • Comprehensive coverage pays for vehicle damage caused by weather, vandalism or auto theft.
  • Uninsured bodily injury (UMBI) coverage goes toward medical expenses, loss of income, rehabilitation and other losses if an insured’s family member is injured or killed by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, including hit-and-run accidents where the negligent or reckless driver cannot be identified.
  • UIM property damage coverage pays for vehicle damage caused by an uninsured, underinsured or hit-and-run driver.
  • Personal umbrella liability policies provide benefits beyond the limits of other policies, and can easily be triggered in accidents involving multiple injuries or extensive property damage.

Under Oregon law, every vehicle must have minimum coverage for bodily injury ($25,000/person, $50,000/accident), property damage ($20,000/accident), PIP ($15,000) and UIM bodily injury ($25,000/person, $50,000/accident). Beyond that, motor vehicle owners have several options to customize a policy that recognizes their degree of risk and specific needs. For instance, UIM property damage coverage might be used to supplement collision coverage for someone who wants to carry a high deductible.

Pursuing Fair Compensation From Insurance Companies

The Oregon Insurance Division cautions policyholders to never release an insurance company from responsibility too early, and to consider that some car accident injuries are not immediately noticeable. Similarly, when estimates for vehicle damage do not meet the customer’s expectations, they should understand their rights under a policy’s appraisal clause.

These points are every bit as relevant when an injury victim negotiates with another driver’s insurance company for medical expense reimbursement, crash damage and other crucial car accident compensation issues. The more complex and serious the situation, the more likely an Oregon car accident lawyer can share helpful insights about the injury victim’s rights.

When a driver, passenger, bicyclist or pedestrian is seriously injured or killed due to another’s negligence, insurance coverage alone will not always cover damages for long-term medical care, rehabilitation, lost income and other harm. By exploring the full range of circumstances – from employer liability in commercial vehicle accidents to auto defects that contributed to an accident – an attorney can advise a family about their legal options to face the financial challenges caused by car accidents.

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