The Myth of Full Coverage Insurance
When I get a new client who has been seriously injured in a car accident, I tell him I will need to investigate what insurance is available to cover his wage loss, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Oftentimes, the client will say something like "Not to worry, Mr. Johnstun. I have full coverage insurance." The client is always surprised when I tell him that "full coverage insurance" doesn't mean anything. All that matters is the amount of the policy limits.
For example, let's say that you are severely injured in an auto accident. You are out of work for a year, and your medical bills exceed $300,000.00. Let's also say that the person who hit you only has insurance policy limits of $25,000.00 per person. Does that $25,000.00 even begin to compensate you for your losses? No way. Fortunately, your own insurance policy has something called uninsured/ underinsured motorist benefits. This is where your own insurance company steps in and says "Hey, we see that the at fault driver doesn't have enough insurance to pay you for all your losses. We will now step in and pay the difference, up to your policy limits." Hopefully, in this example, the limits on your policy would be high ($500,000.00 +).
Too frequently, I get cases where there simply isn't enough insurance to make the client whole. The client is seriously hurt, he can't go back to work for a long time, and his medical bills are through the roof. If both the client and the at fault driver only have the minimum policy limits required in Oregon ($25,000.00), that's not going to go very far.
There are things I can do to make the available insurance go further for my clients. I can negotiate medical bills down, get health insurance involved, etc. But what I can't do is go back in time and advise you to purchase higher insurance limits (or just tell you how to avoid the accident). Do the smart thing now and increase your policy limits to at least $100,000.00. It won't even cost you much more.
Johnstun Injury Law, LLC
1935 St. Helens Street,
St. Helens, OR 97051
Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.