by Bill Pippel
In order to legally drive an automobile in the state of Oregon, a person must have applicable insurance coverage that meets the statutory minimums of coverage that are established under Oregon law. Unlike many other states, Oregon requires drivers to carry additional types of automobile insurance coverage, above the basic liability coverage that will cover claims made against you by others involved in a motor vehicle collision for which you are the at-fault party.
Here are three categories of automobile insurance coverage that are required by the State of Oregon:
- Liability Coverage
This type of insurance coverage is what one regularly thinks of as the baseline general automobile insurance coverage. This type of coverage will pay for damage caused to other people in accidents for which you are at-fault. Similarly, when you are involved in a motor automobile collision caused by another person, their liability coverage will be the portion of their policy you will be making a claim on. The purpose of liability coverage is to provide a fixed source of funds to pay claims made against the person who caused a motor vehicle collision, thereby guaranteeing that a valid claimant can recover their damages up to the limits of liability coverage.
Oregon utilizes what is known as a “split limits” minimum coverage in the state’s automobile liability requirements. You are required, at a minimum, to carry liability coverage that will pay a maximum of $20,000.00 for property damage and $50,000.00 for all of the bodily injuries caused by your negligence in any one motor vehicle collision, regardless of the number of people making a claim against you. Of that $50,000.00 in bodily injury liability coverage, the maximum amount that any one person making a claim can recover is $25,000.00.
- Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) Coverage
The second type of insurance coverage that is mandated in the state of Oregon is known as Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) coverage. This is a type of insurance coverage that is part of your own insurance policy and will pay for your medical expenses, a portion of your lost wages, and potential funeral expenses, REGARDLESS of whether you were the person at-fault in the motor vehicle collision. PIP coverage operates to make it easier for you to receive necessary medical attention, and recuperation of a portion of any lost wages, during the two-year time period following the collision.
PIP coverage provides you with immediate access to the funds necessary to seek medical attention. Many people who are involved in car collisions are unable to seek medical treatment due to financial limitations. It is quite common for the insurers for an at-fault party to make offers of settlement immediately following the incident before a person has a full grasp of their injuries. The availability of PIP coverage makes it such that you can be seen by the necessary medical professionals to have your condition evaluated and treated before you move forward with making a final claim against the at-fault party. This way you can make sure that your final claim accounts for all the damage that you have incurred as a result of the collision.
Oregon requires that all persons carry a minimum of $15,000.00 in PIP medical expenses coverage as part of their policy. The limits of coverage for PIP are individual to the driver and each passenger who was insured in the collision. Each person is afforded $15,000.00 in coverage of medical expenses.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
The third type of required automobile insurance coverage in the state of Oregon is the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage will act in place of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage when that person does not have automobile insurance coverage. This category of coverage guarantees that, even when you are damaged by the actions of a person who is driving without insurance coverage, you still have an avenue available to you through which you can make a claim for those damages. Unfortunately, there are a large number of motorists on the road which do not have motor vehicle liability insurance coverage. Having access to uninsured motorist coverage gives you a level of protection against this scenario where the at-fault party does not have assets or insurance to cover your damages. In addition to providing coverage where the at-fault party is uninsured, it will also provide you with additional insurance coverage in situations where the limits of liability coverage from the at-fault party are not sufficient to pay for all of your damages from the collision. As the costs of medical care continue to accelerate over time through inflation, the economic value of the minimum liability coverage required under Oregon law wanes. Having access to additional funds which serve as excess to the liability limits carried by the person at-fault in the collision provides an additional layer of protection against these increasing costs.
Similar to liability coverage, Oregon utilizes a split limits required coverage for the category of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. You are required, at a minimum, to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that will pay a maximum of $50,000.00 for all of the bodily injuries sustained in the collision, regardless of the number of people making a claim. Of that $50,000.00 in bodily injury liability coverage, the maximum amount that any one person making a claim can recover is $25,000.00.
If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident and are looking for a lawyer for personal injury, let us know at Kang Law Group. We are a law firm in Oregon and Washington providing effective personal injury law for clients who have suffered from car accidents, a slip and fall, medical malpractice, and many other instances. Contact us today for a free consultation in which we will evaluate your potential claim.