Q: Which type of lawyer do I hire for a civil suit regarding damage and injury during a car accident with uninsured driver?
A few weeks ago I was t-boned by an uninsured driver who ran a stop sign and I have some injuries that I am currently seeing a chiropractor and LMT for 3-4 times a week under PIP coverage with my insurance company. I do not have collision coverage, only liability.
I am seeking compensation for damage to my car ($5000, I have professional estimates) and punitive damages as this uninsured driver gave me false information for two weeks and claimed they had insurance when the do not. Pulling their criminal history I see that they have several previous charges including driving uninsured and driving on a suspended license. The repairs will also take two weeks to complete so I am seeking rental compensation for that time. I have tried to collect with them out of court and they have cut off contact.
Should I seek a personal injury attorney or is there another type I should be seeking? Or, would you like to represent me?
A: I believe you are the same person as who posted this at Avvo, and yes, you need a personal injury attorney. That said, attorneys here and there cannot solicit your business, you have to contact them first. This is partly the rules on the websites, but also partly the somewhat archaic bar rules.
Under Oregon Law you will have to combine your property damage claim with your personal injury claim if you sue the at fault driver. So you can't rush suing the at fault driver for the property damage and wait and see how your injuries resolve and then sue for those damages. You will want to get a personal injury lawyer. Personal Injury lawyers are used to dealing with both the property damage and the bodily injury claims.
Since this driver didn't have insurance you will have an uninsured motorist's claim under your own insurance. That will cover you bodily injury damages up to the amount of your UM/UIM policy limits. Under Oregon Law you should have at least the minimum which is $25,000.00 per person. (You might have higher limits.) Unfortunately your UM/UIM does not cover property damages. You would need to have purchased full coverage or comprehensive coverage under your policy to get your property damages paid. If you have full coverage, even though you have deductible, it would be best to make a claim under your full coverage to get your car fixed.
You own insurance company will be subrogated to your right to sue the other driver to the extent that you collect insurance benefits under your policy. I would imagine that you are already tapping your PIP benefits to pay for your medical treatment. You will probably want to collect your UM/UIM. So what this means is that your attorney will have to be very careful not to hurt your insurance companies right to try to get reimbursed from the at fault driver. An experienced personal injury attorney should know how to navigate these issues.
A: PS Going after the at fault driver is very risky. Even if you get a judgment against the at fault driver they can avoid paying you a dime by declaring bankruptcy. An experienced Personal Injury attorney should be aware of these risks and advise you accordingly.
A: The real target for the injuries would be uninsured motorist coverage. Why not contact a member of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association--they give FREE consultations. As to the car,if you don't have collision, your attorney can bring a case against the driver & /or seek to have their license suspended. Punitive damages do not apply.
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