Two accidents in quick succession and minimal policy limits presents a special challenge in an injury claim. That was the case for our client, who was driving home from his last physical therapy session in Portland, Oregon when he was t-boned by a car coming out of a parking lot. He sustained severe injuries to his neck and back and also suffered an aggravation of his knee injury from the previous collision. Ultimately, he had to have surgery on his neck injury and he suffered constant headaches. His medical bills came to nearly $100,000, almost double his $50,000 policy limit.
The insurance company refused to make a reasonable offer to our client, arguing that our client was at fault and pointing to the prior injuries. Feeling himself to be very unlucky to have been involved in not just one but two auto accidents – neither of which he was at fault for, no matter what the insurance company said – he decided he needed the expert help of an auto accident attorney.
Given the insurance company’s position, I had no choice but to file a lawsuit. This allowed us to pursue an excess exposure claim. The excess exposure doctrine, developed through case law in Oregon, allows for a recovery greater than the policy limits under certain circumstances, like multiple accidents in quick succession. If an insurance company doesn’t offer policy limits in cases where the damages brought by their insured driver’s liability exceed policy limits, this results in excess exposure. Oregon case law holds that insurance companies cannot act in bad faith in these kinds of situation.
Our case went to mediation, and after several rounds of intense negotiation, the insurance company offered a settlement beyond policy limits, ultimately agreeing with our excess exposure argument. Our client was able to pay his medical providers with some money left over for other accident-related expenses. He was very happy with the result and believed that the expert representation he received from the Personal Injury Attorney at Dwyer Williams Dretke made all the difference.