Oklahoma City Uninsured/Underinsured Car Accident Lawyer
Every driver of a motor vehicle in Oklahoma City and throughout the state must obtain insurance. This insurance provides protection both for their drivers themselves as well as for any other person who suffers losses because of their actions.
Driving a car without insurance is a criminal act. Even so, this does not automatically mean that the defendant is at fault for a collision. Plaintiffs in car accident cases where the other driver does not carry insurance still must demonstrate that the defendant was at fault for the collision. The main difference arises in how they must pursue compensation for their losses.
An Oklahoma City uninsured/underinsured car accident lawyer could help you to evaluate your paths to recovery in instances where an uninsured driver causes you injury or when a negligent driver’s insurance coverage is insufficient to cover your damages. Reach out to a dedicated car wreck attorney today to get started on your claim.
Insurance Requirements in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma laws require every driver to obtain and maintain an insurance policy on their vehicles. In fact, OS 47 §47-7-606 states that a failure to obtain an insurance policy that meets the state minimum level of protection is a misdemeanor-level criminal offense, punishable by a fine of up to $250, 30 days in jail, or both.
What are the minimum levels of protection? Any Oklahoma car insurance policy must provide at least $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage, used to pay the medical bills of other injured parties. Additionally, these same policies must provide at least $25,000 of property damage liability coverage.
Even though maintaining a valid insurance policy is required under state law, a failure to do so does not mean that a defendant driver is at fault for an accident. An Oklahoma City uninsured/underinsured car accident lawyer could still help to prove the core of a case: that a defendant driver was negligent, and that this negligence caused a plaintiff’s injuries.
What Does it Mean to be Underinsured?
As discussed above, state law requires insurance policies to carry a minimum level of protection. In many cases, however, this may be insufficient to cover a plaintiff’s losses following an accident. For instance, a car crash may inflict a traumatic brain injury that requires multiple surgeries to correct, which would almost certainly result in medical bills that cost more than the $25,000 minimum policy protection. In this scenario, the defendant is underinsured.
What Options Do Plaintiffs Have When a Defendant is Underinsured or Uninsured?
The purpose of an insurance policy is to shield a policyholder from loss. As applied to car accidents, this means that the insurance company, instead of the defendant, pays the medical bills or property loss of an injured plaintiff up to the policy limits. The policyholder is therefore liable for any damages that exceed those policy limits.
If the medical bills exceed $25,000, the defendant is personally liable for any excess costs. The injured plaintiff can demand that the defendant pay that excess cost personally. Many defendants in car accident cases do not have any assets to cover those losses, however. It may, therefore, be beneficial for drivers to obtain a policy that provides uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage.
Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage is an optional coverage in Oklahoma car insurance policies that can provide payments in cases where a plaintiff suffers harm in a hit and run accident where there is no identifiable defendant or where the defendant does not carry insurance. A plaintiff in these cases must still demonstrate that the defendant was at fault for the accident, but they can then claim damages from their own insurance policy. An Oklahoma City uninsured/underinsured car crash lawyer could help people to evaluate their legal options with or without uninsured motorist coverage.
An Oklahoma City Uninsured/Underinsured Car Accident Attorney May be Able to Help You
Being involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist could create several difficult legal questions. It is important to remember that just because a defendant does not carry insurance does not mean that they are not responsible for the accident. An at-fault defendant is always liable for their actions, even if they do not carry the required insurance protection.
An Oklahoma City uninsured/underinsured car accident lawyer could help you to recover compensation for your losses in these unorthodox situations. A lawyer could help prove that a defendant was at fault as well as explore every potential path to payment. Contact an attorney today to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.