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Portland, Oregon

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Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claims Basics

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Part of Oregon’s mandatory insurance coverage is Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage. Basically what that coverage says is that your insurer will pay for compensatory damages which the uninsured or underinsured motorist is legally obligated to pay. That general grant of coverage is riddled with exceptions and qualifications. And the insured must comply with the terms of the policy, including the duty of cooperation with the insurer’s investigation of the facts, the duty to give statements and or submit to exams under oath, and to be examined by doctors of the insurer’s choosing.

Uninsured motorist claims for a known uninsured motorist are fairly straightforward. Hit and run and phantom vehicle claims require more of the insured. The government must be notified of the incident within 72 hours and phantom vehicle claims require a witness who does not have a live claim against the insurer. The appellate courts approved of one claimant abandoning a claim to satisfy the witnessing requirement in order to preserve the phantom vehicle claim of the other claimants.

Underinsured motorist claims are a bit more complex because you have to figure out who is an underinsured motorist, the extent of the insurer’s exposure or obligation to pay, and you need to get the UIM insurer’s consent to settle the claim against the bad driver. If the claim against the bad driver is settled without the UIM insurer’s consent, the insurer will likely argue that it has no obligation to pay.

Hiring an attorney to deal with a UM or UIM case is a wise choice because of the wrinkles involved in Oregon UM and UIM claims.