In Oklahoma, drivers must carry car insurance meeting at least the established minimum liability amounts. The requirement protects motorists who cause vehicle crashes and those injured in them. Being an at-fault accident state, Oklahoma allows victims to pursue financial recovery from the responsible party. Typically, the injured person will file a claim with the at-fault individual’s insurance carrier. The company may compensate the victim up to the policy limits.
But not all accidents result in damages at or below the liability coverage amounts. Some can be higher. So, what then? How can you recover compensation if your expenses and losses exceed the at-fault party’s insurance coverage?
You have a couple of options. You can file a lawsuit against the driver to seek the difference, or you can go through your own insurance if you have purchased additional coverage on your policy.
To learn more about avenues you can explore to pursue financial recovery after a car accident, contact the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C. at (866) 590-8173. We proudly serve the people of Norman.
The Insurance Company Pays Up to the Policy Limits
Oklahoma drivers are required to have liability car insurance. Liability insurance compensates the injured party (not the at-fault driver) for the harm they suffered in the accident, whether it was injury to themselves or their vehicle.
The minimum liability amounts in Oklahoma are:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person. This is the amount paid out if one person is injured in an accident.
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident. This is the amount paid if two or more people are injured in an accident.
- $25,000 property damage. This is the amount paid if the accident results in damage to the victim’s vehicle or other property.
When an insured motorist causes an accident, the injured party can file a claim to recover compensation with that person’s insurance carrier. The company will provide financial recovery if proven that its customer was responsible for the collision. Because it’s the plaintiff's burden to establish fault, they must fully document the incident by getting pictures of the scene and injuries and keeping copies of records, reports, and bills.
The insurance company is responsible for paying out up to the policy limits. Thus, if you were in an accident with a driver carrying only the minimum liability insurance, you may expect to receive no more than $25,000 for medical care costs and other expenses related to your injuries. You may also get at most $25,000 to repair or replace your vehicle.
Seeking Compensation for Damages Above the Policy Limits
An accident causing severe or catastrophic injuries or substantial property damage may result in expenses and losses far exceeding the minimum liability amounts. They may also go over any greater coverage the at-fault driver purchased.
The insurance company will likely not pay damages over the policy limits, which means you’ll have some out-of-pocket expenses the carrier won’t compensate you for. Depending on the difference between the at-fault party’s coverage and costs or losses you incurred, there may be a substantial chunk of change you need help with. How do you reconcile this?
Generally, the at-fault driver is responsible for covering accident-related damages that go beyond their policy limits. In other words, they must pay the difference themselves.
To seek financial recovery from the other driver, you can file a lawsuit against them. You would have to present your case in court and have a judge or jury decide on an award. However, this option may be limited by the at-fault party’s assets and financial standing.
The other route you can take is filing a claim with your own insurance. Typically, this avenue is available only if you have purchased uninsured motorist coverage from your carrier. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you not only if you are in an accident with someone not carrying auto insurance but also with insured drivers whose policy limits are not enough to pay for all damages.
Uninsured motorist coverage takes care of the costs arising from injuries only. It does not pay for vehicle damage.
Unlike minimum liability coverage, Oklahoma drivers are not required to have uninsured motorist coverage. It is something an insurance company may offer, but drivers can decline it.
Contact Our Firm for Legal Assistance
Although a driver might have the required minimum liability insurance, it might not be enough to pay for all damages you sustained. Still, you may have options for pursuing just compensation. A personal injury attorney can assist in exploring yours.
If you need help navigating the complexities of your car accident case in Norman, please call the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C. at (866) 590-8173 or submit an online contact form today.