Being hit by another driver can be incredibly stressful, traumatizing, and scary, especially when you know that you did nothing wrong to cause the accident. You may find some solace in the fact that the other driver was responsible for the crash, therefore, they are liable for your damages.
As we have discussed in previous blogs, Oklahoma follows an at-fault system, meaning that the driver who is responsible for a car accident will also be on the hook for the damages of anyone they hit—that is, their insurance company is required to honor the claims of those that were hit by the driver they insure.
But what happens when the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for all your out-of-pocket expenses?
Using Your Own Insurance Coverage
Drivers in Oklahoma are required to have liability coverage in the following amounts:
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage. $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident
Property Damage Liability Coverage: $25,000 damage to another person’s property
Read one of our recent blogs to learn about auto insurance coverage in the state of Oklahoma.
Liability coverage will pay for other driver’s damages, so the purpose of the law is to ensure that drivers who cause accidents have coverage to pay for the damages of others. Ideally, every driver would abide by this legal requirement. However, recent data from the Insurance Institute of Institute shows that 13% of U.S. motorists, or 1 in 8, does not have insurance.
Additionally, while many drivers carry the minimum required liability coverage, many car accidents result in damages that exceed this amount. As a result, you may be hit by a driver with liability insurance, but their coverage amount may not be enough to pay for the full damages they caused you.
This is where your own insurance coverage comes into play. As an auto insurance policyholder, you have the option of adding uninsured/uninsured (UM/UIM) when putting together your policy. Your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is a valuable piece of protection that may cover the following individuals when injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver:
Your family members
Passengers in your vehicle
Pursuing a Civil Claim
If you do not have UM/UIM coverage, then you will be unable to file an insurance claim to recover damages against an uninsured or underinsured driver.
However, you may still be left with out-of-pocket expenses. If this is the case for you, then your next option for reimbursement would be to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver. If the other driver doesn’t pay for the damages you won during the lawsuit, there are usually two options for receiving this money:
Lien on property. If your attorney learns that the defendant (the at-fault driver) has some assets, they can file a lien on the individual’s property; essentially, this freezes their assets and, when they sell, requires them to pay you a portion of the proceeds.
Payment plan. If the defendant has some money but can’t pay the entire amount at once, a payment plan can be established so that the individual is required to pay a small amount monthly or weekly.
Protecting Those Injured By Uninsured Motorists
At Aizenman Law Group, we understand the financial stress that can follow being hit and injured by a driver with no insurance or insufficient coverage. While the last thing you want to worry about it a drawn-out insurance claim or lawsuit, you shouldn’t have to worry about how you are going to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other related expenses.
Our dedicated legal team is standing by ready to review your case for free and determine what your best course of legal action is based on the specific circumstances of your case.
Contact Aizenman Law Group at 631-769-8431 to get started with a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take your call.