Even though Oklahoma requires that car owners carry minimum insurance coverage to cover the bodily injury damages, more than one in 10 Oklahoma drivers drive without any insurance coverage. Many drivers don’t have enough insurance – they are underinsured.
What is UM/UIM coverage?
UM/UIM stands for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. It’s a type of auto insurance designed to help you if you get into an accident with another driver, and you need additional help paying your bills. If the responsible driver did not have enough insurance, then you can make a claim through your own UM/UIM policy.
This coverage is not automatic, though. Even though you seek coverage through your own UM/UIM policy, a skilled attorney could be needed to negotiate your claim. Damages in UM/UIM cases are limited to the insurance policy limits.
Why pay for UM/UIM coverage?
You’r be surprised how many drivers don’t have enough insurance coverage. Oklahoma requires that car owners have at least $25,000 to cover a bodily injury claim when one person is injured, and $50,000 if more than one person is hurt or killed. Often, $25,000 in coverage doesn’t begin to cover an accident victim’s damages. When another driver, any passenger, a pedestrian, or a bicyclist is injured, they have the right to be paid for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The medical costs can add up quickly. If you don’t have medical insurance, you may end up having to use your car insurance to help cover your claim. Medical costs include:
- Hospital admitting, surgery, and daily care costs
- Medical care costs to see a family physician
- Treatment with physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and other counselors
- The cost of diagnostic tests such as X-Rays, MRIs, and CT scans
- Medical device expenses for items such as wheelchairs and prosthetic devices
- The cost of prescription drugs
These medical costs can be thousands and tens of thousands of dollars for broken bones, muscle damage, and soft tissue injuries. If someone suffers a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, burns, or other catastrophic injuries, the medical costs can jump into the millions of dollars.
Lost wages is another real concern. The average weekly wage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for the last quarter of 2018 was $900. This means if you’re out of work for six months, that you can lose $23,400. Your bills won’t stop just because you aren’t working, so you can make a claim for lost wages, too, to help with your bills.
Pain and suffering damages include compensation for the inability to use arms, legs, or other body parts. It includes your daily physical aches, your constant worry and stress, your inability to spend time with family and friends, and all the hurt you endure while you’re trying to heal. Injury victims may also be awarded additional compensation if they have scarring or any disfigurement such as the amputation of a limb or burns on their face, arms, or other body parts.
What your attorney does to help you after a crash
In Oklahoma, injury victims need the help of experienced personal injury attorneys. There are several key steps that experienced lawyers take on your behalf to obtain just compensation for your injuries:
- The attorneys work to show that another driver caused your injuries or the death of a loved one.
- The lawyers work with your doctors, employers, family, friends and co-workers to diagnose and document all your expenses and all your pain.
- The car accident lawyers determine which insurance coverages apply. If a driver caused your injuries, they work to obtain the policy limits – often the minimum insurance coverage requirement of $25,000. They verify when the responsible driver or car owner did not have any insurance.
- They pursue your UM/UIM claim, to ensure you get the help you need.
At Cunningham & Mears, our Oklahoma City car accident lawyers have been fighting for victims since 1996. We work aggressively to help victims obtain every dollar of compensation they deserve. To make an appointment, call 405.212.9234 or complete our contact form. Consultations are free.