What Are Policy Limits in a Personal Injury Case?

Oregon Personal Injury Law Questions and Answers

Q: What are policy limits and how do they affect me if I’ve been in an accident?

Oregon auto insurance claim, Portland car accident claim, portland accident compensation settlmentsA: Oregon accident policy limits are the maximum amount of money an insurance company will ever have to pay any injured person in the event of an accident. So, this greatly affects your case because it’s the maximum amount of money you can demand from the insurance company, no matter what your injuries are.

What happens when you are injured badly enough that fair compensation for your injuries would be more than the other person’s policy limits?

As the injured party, you can turn to your own insurance for a part of your policy called UIM, or Underinsured Motorists Insurance, which is a good way to work out the difference between your costs and the other person’s insurance policy limits in a personal injury case.

How do I find out the other person’s policy limits for a demand?

The easiest way is to call and ask the other person’s insurance adjuster for the policy limits. This does not often work, but you can always try. If this doesn’t work, you do not have many options – often, insurance companies will not reveal this information unless the injury victim has an attorney. There is no law that says they have to provide this information.

Currently, Oregon law ORS 806.070 requires that an insurance policy issued within the state must have liability limits of at least $25,000/$50,000.

The first number reflects the maximum amount that an insurance company has to pay to any one individual in an accident. So, if the person who hit you only has a $25,000/$50,000 policy, their insurance company will never have to pay you more than $25,000 for your injuries.

The second number is the most amount the insurance company will ever have to pay for the accident in total. For example, if four people were injured,  the company would not have to pay over $25,000 per person, but for the entire group, they would not have to pay more than $50,000. To take this example further, if a bus containing 50 people were struck by a driver with a $25,000/$50,000 policy limit, the insurance would not pay more than $50,000 total for all 50 people, for an average of only $1,000 each. So the policy limits in a personal injury case are important in determining whether your case is worth pursuing, especially in multi-person accidents.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and want to know more about policy limits and how they affect you, please read our free book 7 Common Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Oregon Accident Case. Or call our office at 503-222-4411 to start discussing your case so that our attorneys can help