OKLAHOMA UNINSURED DRIVER ACCIDENTS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
If you are injured in a car accident caused by another driver in Oklahoma, there is a good chance that the driver who hit you has no insurance. According to a 2014 study by the Insurance Research Council, Oklahoma had the highest percentage of uninsured drivers of any state. The Oklahoma Department of Insurance estimates that more than 500,000 vehicles in Oklahoma are uninsured.
If you are injured by a driver who has no insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your medical bills, an Oklahoma injury lawyer who has experience handling uninsured motorist claims can assist in obtaining the compensation you need to get back on your feet. The lawyers at Burch, George & Germany, P.C. represent people injured by uninsured motorists across Oklahoma.
What Auto Liability Coverage Are Oklahoma Drivers Required to Have?
Oklahoma requires all drivers to carry a minimum of:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability insurance
- $50,000 total bodily injury liability insurance per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability insurance per accident
Although auto liability insurance is mandatory, one out of every four Oklahoma drivers is uninsured. Many other drivers have insufficient insurance to cover the damages they cause in a serious accident. Medical bills and losses in a serious accident often exceed the low limits of minimum liability coverage, as seen in our years of experience representing accident victims.
Drivers are not required to have uninsured motorist coverage in Oklahoma, but insurance companies are required to offer it. It’s important to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to protect yourself and your family from irresponsible drivers. In the event of an accident caused by an uninsured motorist, your uninsured driver coverage pays for personal injuries to you and other occupants of your car, including your children. It covers:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of income caused by inability to work
If you have underinsured motorist coverage, that policy will cover your medical bills that exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s policy in an accident caused by a motorist who doesn’t have sufficient insurance.
Motorcyclists often incur substantial medical bills in accidents. When an uninsured motorist causes a motorcycle accident, you want enough insurance coverage to pay your hospital and doctor bills. If you are a motorcycle rider, it may be prudent to purchase all the uninsured/underinsured driver coverage that you can in case an uninsured driver hits you.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage also covers your injuries if you are a bicyclist or a pedestrian who is injured by an uninsured motorist. Uninsured motorist coverage does not cover damage to your vehicle however.
Oklahoma has stiffened the penalties for driving uninsured. Starting in 2014, Oklahoma law enforcement agencies began confiscating the license plates from uninsured motorists who failed to have auto liability insurance. The driver can reclaim the seized license plate when they can show proof of obtaining car insurance and pay a fine and administrative fees. While getting uninsured motorists off the street is a good step, the penalties won’t help a motorist who is harmed by an uninsured motorist.
But what if your insurance company denies your uninsured motorist claims or offers you less than what is needed?
Oklahoma Bad Faith Insurance
When you make a claim, the insurance company that provides your UM/UIM policy has a contractual responsibility to review the claims and, if approved, pay you the full limits of your policy. Unfortunately, some insurance companies deny legitimate claims, delay processing claims or offer lowball settlements. Insurance companies sometimes engage in these kinds of practices in hopes that the person will get frustrated and give up or accept less than they really deserve. Insurance companies that engage in bad faith insurance practices can and should be held accountable.
If you are hit by an uninsured driver, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance company to cover medical expenses. Some people try to deal with insurance companies on their own and end up receiving a settlement that is far less than their injuries and losses merit. You can bet that the insurance company will have lawyers representing their interests. You should too.
It’s important to talk to a lawyer to understand your legal options. Seek the help of an Oklahoma City car accident attorney at Burch, Geoge & Germany, P.C. who handles UM/UIM claims and can explain review your accident and explain your legal options. Burch, George & Germany, P.C. has achieved successful outcomes representing people harmed by insured drivers. Let us help you.
Learn more about how we handle car accident cases to find the answers to frequently asked questions about the legal process.
Sources: Insurance Information Institute