Tulsa UM/UIM Car Accident Lawyers
Helping OK clients injured in hit and run, Uber & Lyft, and other car accident cases
According to the Insurance Research Council, 24% of drivers in Oklahoma are uninsured. In many parts of Oklahoma well over 50% of drivers are uninsured. For this reason, uninsured motorist coverage is the most important automobile insurance coverage you can buy. It is so important that Oklahoma law requires your insurance agent to present you with an opportunity to buy the coverage and they must have you sign a UM form that is created by the state and outlines your wishes as they relate to obtaining UM coverage.
So what is UM coverage and how does it apply? If the person who hit you doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your bodily injury damage then you have the right to pursue a claim for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage with your insurance company. At Biby Law Firm, our experienced Tulsa car accident attorneys handle UM claims for clients every day. We understand the laws of Oklahoma and we make sure that insurance companies handle your UM/UIM claim in accordance with the laws of Oklahoma. We will work to get you the full compensation you deserve under the laws of Oklahoma.
What are Oklahoma’s car insurance liability minimum requirements?
In Oklahoma, all car owners are required to have the following minimum insurance coverage on all their vehicles:
- Bodily Injury (BI) Liability for one person. BI liability insurance pays for the injury or death of another driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, or a bicycle rider who is injured in a car accident. This coverage also can be used for wrongful death claims. The minimum amount required for injuries or death of one person is $25,000.
- Bodily Injury Liability per accident. Car owners must have at least $50,000 in BI liability coverage to cover everyone who is injured or killed in a car accident.
- Property damage insurance. Car owners must have at least $25,000 to pay for the cost to repair or replace a car that was damaged due to the car owner’s fault.
Payment for bodily injury includes all damages allowable under the law of Oklahoma. This includes medical bills including surgeries, doctor visits, therapy bills, and medications. BI insurance also includes pain and suffering and lost wages.
All car owners should consider buying as much as BI liability insurance as possible. Just one night in a hospital can cost a victim tens of thousands of dollars.
How does uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance work in Tulsa?
UM/UIM insurance is the way Tulsa car accident victims are compensated for their damages when the liable parties don’t have enough insurance, or don’t have any insurance. Many vehicle owners, if they do have insurance, just have the minimum 25/50/25 that Oklahoma requires; a serious crash can cost much, much more.
The right to file a UM/UIM claim generally requires:
- A showing that the liable defendants don’t have any insurance. In many cases, drivers have no insurance, despite laws requiring coverage.
- A showing that the liable defendants don’t have enough insurance. In other cases, an at-fault person had insurance coverage. However, the person injured has damages that exceed the available insurance coverage. Once a value is placed on the damages (either by agreement) or by a court decision, then a determination can be made as to whether the liability insurance cover is insufficient.
An experienced Tulsa UM/UIM lawyer can explain when you can file a direct claim with your own insurance carrier and when you need to wait until the liability case against the defendants is resolved.
What does “stacking” mean?
If you own multiple vehicles all registered to one household and paid a separate premium for the policies, you may be able to “stack” the uninsurance motorist coverage in the event of a wreck. It works like this:
Say you own three cars: your car, your spouse’s car, and your teen child’s car. You paid a separate premium for $25,000 UM/UIM bodily injury policy on each vehicle. One night, your teenager is hit by a drunk driver who is uninsured, accruing $60,000 worth of medical bills. You may be able to “stack” your coverage to pay for the costs of your child’s care through the three policies.
You may also stack your coverage if the driver is underinsured. If, for example, the driver only has the minimum $25,000 in bodily injury insurance, you can supplement the costs of the medical care with your UM/UIM insurance policy, as well.
However, it is key to contact an attorney because the law of Oklahoma was recently changed by the Oklahoma Legislature. Stacking is now prohibited in many situations. However, you should ask your attorney to review your specific UM policy so that an assessment can be made on a case by case basis.
How are property damage claims handled when there’s no liability insurance or not enough insurance?
Generally, the UM/UIM coverage does not include damage to your vehicle. If a car is damaged, the liability coverage may cover the damage to fix or repair the car. If the responsible parties didn’t have property damage insurance or didn’t have enough property damage insurance, then the owner of the car that is damaged due to the fault of others can only seek payment through his/her “comprehensive” insurance policy.
For example, if your new car is totaled in a car accident and costs $40,000 to replace because you bought the super-deluxe model, you can claim the full $40,000 from your comprehensive carrier if the defendant didn’t have insurance. If the defendant only had the minimum $25,000, then with the help of Tulsa comprehensive insurance lawyers, you’ll seek payment of $25,000 from the defendant and another $15,000 from your own comprehensive insurance carriers.
Who’s covered by Tulsa car accident liability and UM/UIM insurance?
In the simplest case, the driver of the car that is struck also owns the car. The injured car owner can then seek payment for the UM/UIM carrier if the defendants don’t have liability insurance or don’t have enough insurance.
The right to UM/UIM coverage gets a little more complicated if the injured victim is not the car owner. Generally, other victims can also file UM/UIM claims. The question is whether they can file the claim through the policy of the car that was struck or through their own UM/UIM policy.
Our lawyers explain which policies, if any, apply when:
- A member of the car owner’s household is injured in car accident
- A passenger is injured
- A pedestrian is struck by a car
- A bicycle rider is truck by a car
For example, we can explain if the pedestrian can use his/her own UM/UIM policy if the responsible drivers don’t have enough insurance – even though the passenger wasn’t driving his/her car.
Does UM/UIM insurance cover Uber & Lyft accidents?
If an Uber or Lyft rideshare driver causes an accident, the victims can include:
- The passenger in the Uber or Lyft
- The drivers of other cars
- The passengers in other cars
Generally, Uber and Lyft rideshare owners must meet the minimum car insurance requirements for Oklahoma.
Uber and Lyft may cover bodily injury damages. Their coverage depends on whether the rideshare driver was eligible for picking up rides and if the driver had arranged to pick up a rider.
If the rideshare driver and the rideshare company, combined, don’t have enough insurance to cover you damages or the wrongful death of a loved one, the victim may be able to seek damages through their UM/UIM policy or the UM/UIM policy of the vehicle that was struck.
Does UM/UIM insurance cover hit and run accidents?
Sadly, some drivers cause a car accident and then flee. Even with a police investigation, the driver can’t be found. If the driver is located, often, that driver may not have insurance. Many drivers who do flee drive away for just that reason - they know they don’t have insurance.
In hit and run cases, the victims of the car accident can then file a claim through their UM/UIM carrier.
Talk with a premier Tulsa UM/UIM car accident lawyer today
The insurance companies will fight to deny or reduce your claim. You need experienced Tulsa car accident lawyers on your side. At Biby Law Firm, we work to determine who is liable and how much your case is worth based on the strength of your case and how other cases have settled. If the defendants don’t have the coverage to pay your full claim, we work to have your UM/UIM carrier pay the balance of what you are due. To discuss your car accident case and UM/UIM claim, call us at 918-574-8458 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We handle liability and UM/UIM cases on a contingency fee basis. We proudly serve the communities of Broken Arrow, Bixby, Claremore, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Wagoner, Muskogee, and the surrounding areas.