, ,

What Happens After a Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident can feel frightening and overwhelming. First and foremost, in the event of an emergency, always call paramedics if you’re able, or take yourself or others involved in an accident to be treated for any injuries sustained in the accident. Even with accidents being commonplace on the road, many are still wondering, what happens after a car accident? While the situation may vary depending on the circumstances of the accidents, it’s important to know what to avoid soon after an accident.

car accident avoid these mistakes

People often make a number of mistakes, when it comes to dealing with car accidents. These are simple, but common mistakes that lead to lost time, energy, and money. Being aware of these mistakes, and how they affect the outcome of both car accidents and the legal actions taken after, will ensure that you don’t make them. Read on to learn more about what happens after a car accident and the mistakes to avoid.

If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident in Oregon, contact Ryan Hilts for personal injury representation. We offer guidance on how to address the following mistakes. For a free case review, send us a request here

Failing To Document The Car Accident

When you are involved in a car accident, it’s very important that you document the details of that accident. If you intend to file a claim or go to court, then you’re going to need documents that showcase the accident, and what took place. However, knowing what happens after a car accident is important, as many often forget about taking notes. Of course, if you’ve been injured, first seek medical attention first, but try to enlist a witness to help you document for a later date.

Make sure that you or someone who witnessed the accident can:

  1. Take pictures of your vehicle, and any damage that is sustained
  2. Then, take pictures of the other person’s vehicle, and any damage that their vehicle sustained.
  3. If you were injured, or if there was any other property damage, you must also take photos of those things.

When you’ve finished taking those photos, you then need to record a few other pieces of information. This information will provide the basis for both a DMV Report and any kind of claim or lawsuit. Other items that you should always make note of after a car accident:

  • Record the date and time of the accident
  • Log the road you were driving on and the address where the accident took place
  • Note the direction you were driving and the direction of the other vehicle involved
  • Pieces of information and details of how the accident took place

What happens after a car accident is that most people are temporarily distracted either by the shock of the accident or from minor injuries. Things tend to happen very quickly and it’s easy to forget minor, but still very important, details of the accident. For this reason, it’s always best to utilize your phone to take proper documentation.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is simply not documenting the accident. If you fail to take any pictures or to record when and where the accident took place, a claim or lawsuit won’t get very far.

mistakes to avoid after a car accident

Driving Away

In the state of Oregon, it’s illegal for you to leave the scene of a car accident investing or taking some other form of action. Even if you weren’t responsible for the damages that took place, you’re still breaking the law, and as such, you can be charged with a crime.

If you leave the scene of a car accident where someone was injured – again, it doesn’t matter if you were responsible for the injury or not – you can be charged with a felony.

Driving away from the scene of a car accident is a big mistake, and it will cost you. Plus, if you intend to file a claim for the car accident, you’ll need to be there so that you can speak to the authorities, talk to the other driver, and document what happened.

Forgetting To Call 911

what happens after a car accident

What happens after a car accident? You always call 911. Even if the car accident resulted in no injuries and very little property damage, it’s a good idea to call 911.

When you do that, the police will come and make a police report. Make sure to ask the officer who’s making the report what the police report number is. Using that police report, you’ll have access to some very important documentation regarding the accident, which will make it easier to file a successful claim and to receive the settlement you desire.

Waiting Too Long To File A Report

In the state of Oregon, if you were involved in a car accident where more than $2,500 worth of property was damaged, then you must file an Oregon Traffic Accident And Insurance Report within 72-hours. 

Waiting too long to file this report could result in your license being suspended. Plus, if you intend to file a claim, the insurance company may find it a little odd that you waited so long to file the accident report. And this is doubly true if you intend to file a lawsuit.

Not Seeing A Doctor

Unfortunately, injuries are a very common byproduct of car accidents. If you have been injured, no matter how severe it appears to be,  you must see a doctor.

While you’re seeing the doctor, a medical report will be created. If you have been injured, and you would like to file a claim, then you can use that medical report to aid in filing the claim. If an insurance company sees that medical report, and sees that your injuries are, in fact, serious, then they are far more likely to give you the compensation that you deserve.

Saying The Accident Was “Your Fault”

When speaking to a police officer or an insurance provider, one of the biggest mistakes that you can make is saying that you were at fault for the car accident that transpired. It doesn’t matter if you were, in fact, responsible, or if you weren’t. Simply saying that you were responsible can lead to those statements being used against you.

If you tell an insurance agent that you were responsible for the accident, but would like to receive compensation for the injuries you’ve sustained, they may refuse to do so. And, if a police report has you, on record, saying that you were responsible, that could lead to legal troubles.

oregon car accident lawyer

Throwing Away Items That Could Be Potential Evidence

Just as it’s very important for you to document and take photos of the car accident, it’s also important that you keep anything that could be used as evidence for a claim or lawsuit.

Perhaps, this is a shirt that has a little bit of blood on it or a side-mirror that fell off of the mirror; anything that was affected by the car accident can be used as evidence.

Throwing away those items is a big mistake because, without those items, you have less proof of the damages that took place. Pictures, records, and reports are all very important, but having physical proof will make it easier for you to receive compensation for the damages that took place.

Failing To Organize Your Documentation

If you are filing a claim, it is extremely important that you organize all of the documentation you have. Make sure you have all of the basic facts written down and recorded, pictures that are labeled and organized, all of the pertinent insurance information, as well as any records from the doctor, your place of employment, your insurance provider, and the police station.

Without this information being properly organized, it will make the process of filing a claim a lot more challenging. Plus, if you hire an attorney, they will need all of that information organized, so that they can pore through it quickly, and determine the best course of action.

Filing A Claim Without An Attorney

Filing a claim – such as a personal injury claim – without an attorney can be very risky and time-consuming. More often than not, it really doesn’t pay off, due to the complexities and nuances of most car accidents and the intricacies of the legal system.

Instead of filing a claim without an attorney, you should contact a good attorney, who will walk you through the process of organizing all of your documentation, filing the claim, and then taking the claim to court and receiving the compensation that you deserve.

Instead, what you must do, is to contact a good lawyer that will walk you through the process of filing a lawsuit that leads to the settlement you are looking for. This is especially important if you – or someone else – was seriously injured in the accident, or if there was significant property damage.

what to do after an accident

Accepting A Poor Settlement

More often than not, insurance companies attempt to pay as little money as they can get away with. But, you don’t need to accept a poor settlement. Instead, you can work to reach a settlement that is ideal for you.

To do that, it’s best to work with an attorney. Working with an attorney will make it easier to receive the settlement that you desire, because the attorney will work directly with you and help you navigate the entire process. In fact, on average, individuals who file a claim while working with an attorney receive $60,000 more.

, ,

Oregon Auto Insurance Laws

Oregon is a state famous for its rapidly changing weather. This is not often good news for its drivers. Unpredictable weather conditions can spell white-knuckle drives. 

Unfortunately, Oregon drivers have become so accustomed to precarious driving conditions that they have become complacent about the need to exercise caution. The most common cause of Oregon vehicle accidents, according to Oregon auto insurance data, is drivers moving too quickly for road conditions.

It is vital that, as an Oregon driver, you have sufficient auto insurance coverage. Failure to do so could result in license suspension, hefty fines and/or vehicle confiscation.

oregon auto insurance laws

Motor Vehicle Insurance in the State of Oregon

It is important that you have a minimum of coverage specified by the state. According to Oregon law, you must carry no less than

  • Uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000/person and $50,000 per accident.
  • Personal injury protection of $15,000 a person.
  • $25,000/person and $50,000 per accident bodily harm Injury coverage.
  • Property damage coverage of $20,000 per accident.

Personal Injury Claims in Oregon

Personal injury protection insurance in Oregon is a minimum of $15,000. This covers the costs of reasonable and necessary medical, dental, and related expenses as a result of a vehicle accident. Personal injury claims must be made no more than a year after the car accident occurred.

insurance laws in oregon

Who is at Fault for an Accident in Oregon?

Oregon Auto Insurance Laws outline that the state is a fault plus personal injury protection jurisdiction. The insurance is kind of a no-fault/fault combination. This will determine whose insurance pays for which claims.

The auto insurance laws in Oregon mostly follow a “fault” system. The driver considered legally at fault for causing the accident by the investigating law enforcement officers is legally responsible for paying for all damages caused by the accident. 

It is important to know that the at-fault driver’s insurance is not a bottomless pit. It will pay only up to the amount for which the driver is insured. Oregon sets a minimum coverage. Drivers are encouraged to insure for amounts greater than the minimum. Should damages exceed the driver’s insurance coverage, then the driver who was deemed at-fault in the accident is personally responsible for the balance of the damages.

Now, let’s look at the “no-fault” part of Oregon’s automobile insurance. Drivers must carry a minimum amount of personal injuries. This covers your injuries during the first year after the accident. Oregon insurance law will allow you to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. You can do this before your personal injury limits have been reached.

personal injury protection oregon

Does this sound complicated? Let’s look at an example:

A Portland driver was on 205N. Traffic forced this woman to come to an abrupt stop to avoid ramming vehicles in front of her. Unfortunately, the driver following her was not as quick to react. He braked hard and swerved. His car rear-ended hers.

The woman underwent treatment for her injuries but was not making a quick or full recovery.

An MRI revealed that she had herniated disks and needed back surgery.  Faced with these costs, the woman contacted an Oregon law firm that specialized in personal injury cases.

The attorneys got her the full amount allowed by the other driver’s filed a claim against her insurance company for the limit on her personal injury. Eventually, she was able to claim expenses totaling $150,000 from the fault and no-fault part of her and their insurance.

Insurance claims can be complicated. In order to ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve, it’s important to make sure you have a good attorney who specializes in personal injury insurance claims.

Not all Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial

If you are concerned that your personal injury case might be held up in the courts for months or even years, you should know that not all cases go to trial. There are three other ways you might receive compensation in an Oregon personal injury accident case.

That’s why it is vital to hire an Oregon personal injury lawyer. He/she will help you understand your options and guide you through the personal injury claims process. 

In Oregon, it is common for cases to be settled by negotiation, mediation, or arbitration, thus avoiding the time, labor, and cost of a trial.
Before the arbitration begins, both sides either agree to abide by the arbitrator’s decision or not. In some cases, the arbitration is just a way to get the arbitrator’s view before the trial, to let the lawyers get a sense of how the trial would progress. In most cases, however, the two parties will agree that the arbitrator’s decision is binding.

Why is it wise for all parties to consider other alternatives before going to trial?

Trials take a long time. That means the claimant may wait for months or years for the compensation he/she needs. Not only that, trials are very costly for all parties. Therefore, most cases are settled before a trial is the only alternative. 

If a case goes to trial usually personal injury attorneys receive a higher percentage of claims that are awarded. They must be compensated for their increased time spent on the case if it goes to trial. 

While there is often a bigger settlement if a case goes to trial, the time and expense thus incurred is often not worth it. There is also the possibility that as a claimant you could lose or receive lower settlement than was offered in negotiations, mediation, or arbitration. This is just another reason it is critical to hire a competent and experienced personal injury claims attorney.

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury claims have a deadline for submission. This is called a statute of limitations. In the state of Oregon, personal injury claims must be submitted no later than two years from the date the injury was sustained. In the case of a wrongful death suit, this must be submitted no later than three years after the date of the accident.

oregon insurance claim

Damage Caps in Oregon

Damage caps set a limit on the amount of compensation that a victim can receive in a civil court suit from a personal injury claim. Many states have damage caps. Oregon is one of them. Oregon has a $500,000 limit on personal injury claims. This does not include loss of work and other economic damages which may result from a personal injury.

Seek an Oregon Personal Injury Attorney

Before you file a personal injury claim as a result of an automobile accident where you were not at fault, be sure to consult an Oregon attorney who specializes in personal injury claims. If your lawyer feels you have a legitimate claim he/she will file your case with the Oregon court system.

When dealing with personal injury claims it is crucial to have the services of a law firm that specializes in personal injury claims. Your lawyer will work with you to establish fault and what damages can be claimed. When it comes to making sure you get fair treatment in Oregon Auto Insurance Laws, contact Ryan Hilts Law. For a free consultation or to set up an appointment.

, ,

Driving Uninsured ORS

Driving Uninsured in Oregon

There is no reason to risk driving uninsured in this day and age. Getting insurance for your vehicle should be an utmost priority. The consequences of failing to get insurance for your car can be very costly in the long run, especially in states like Oregon.

Oregon is one of the 22 states that electronically monitors vehicles in order to verify their registration and insurance status. Each state has varied penalties for driving uninsured, but Oregon’s penalties are among the highest.

Oregon Car Insurance Law

In accordance with Oregon’s Department of Transportation, all drivers within the state are required to present proof of liability insurance when they register their vehicle. Oregon goes further than just requiring drivers to have insurance, like most states, they require vehicle owners and drivers to maintain certain types and amounts of insurance coverage. Every state insurance standard is different, but Oregon’s are among the strictest.

Oregon State’s Car Insurance Standards:

Oregon law requires these minimums in insurance coverage:

  • Bodily Injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Property Damage: $20,000 per accident
  • Personal Injury Protection: $15,000 per person
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage Bodily Injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident

What Instances Require Proof of Insurance in Oregon?

License Suspension ORS

Apart from accidents such as a collision, there are many other times in which Oregon requires drivers to show proof of insurance. Any time you are stopped by police in Oregon you are required to provide your registration and proof of insurance. This would be for any police checkpoint or any other minor infraction you may be pulled for.

Types of items that prove you have insurance can change from person to person, but these are some of the things that you may show in order to prove insurance ownership:

  • A current insurance ID card
  • A current insurance binder or policy
  • A signed letter from your insurance provider or agent, on company letterhead
  • A certificate of self-insurance from the Oregon Department of Transportation

What Happens if You Fail to Provide Proof of Car Insurance?

Oregon has some severe penalties if you are unable or do not have proof of insurance. The law says failure to provide coverage is equal with a class B driving violation. These violations are the same as if someone had exceeded the speed limit over 21 to 20 mph or fails to obey a traffic signal. The penalties associated with this are hefty fines which can be up to $1000 and even can lead to a suspension in your license. Just like getting a ticket these violations can add up to even bigger fines and longer suspensions in the future.

Fines for Driving Uninsured ORS

The fine for driving uninsured ranges from a massive $1000 to a $130 slap on the wrist. Like most tickets the fine changes based on the situation in which you were caught without coverage. A minor speeding infraction would show a lower penalty than if you were caught without insures after running a red light or caused a traffic accident. These fines are always situational and can vary depending on how many time you have been pulled over as well.

Note: If you are required to go to court, the court may decide to impose heavier fines.

Oregon’s Presumptive Fine Option

Oregon insurance

In most cases, people take the presumptive fine option in order to resolve the violation. This option shows you have decided to enter a Plea of No Contest meaning you acknowledge you were at fault and will not need to go to court to plead your case. The fine when you take this option requires two things:

  1. You will send a written explanation to the court
  2. Pay a flat fee of $260

Note: In some cases, the court may that the presumptive fine option is not enough, often because of the seriousness of the accident or insurance violation, This may require you to show your presence in the court and pay a higher fine. Going up to $1000.

Suspensions for Driving Uninsured in Oregon

Fines are not the only form of punishment Oregon has for driving without insurance. Like many other states, call B driving violations can lead to suspension of your license, and Oregon is no different. The time of the suspension can vary from situation to situation. The max suspension can be up to a year and can be applied even if you didn’t directly cause the accident.

Depending on the severity of the situation you could be facing a $1000 fine, suspension of your license up to a year, and the impounding of your vehicle.

How to Reinstate Driving Privileges in Oregon After Being Suspended

Insurance Oregon Driving

After you have served your suspension time in Oregon you can start the process of applying for your license again. Before you do anything else your insurance company will need to file an SR-22 which will be proof of you having insurance and be considered evidence that you can provide financial responsibility in the future. The SR-22 has to be maintained for the 3 years without defaulting of any kind. If at any point during these 3 years it defaults your license will be suspended again and you will need to start this process all over again.

With the SR-22 that is filed with your insurance company, you will have to pay a $75 fee to Oregon. This fee is a reinstatement fee and its used to file all the proper paperwork and get you a new license.

If your car was impounded the next step would be to recover your vehicle. The first step will require notice from the police officer that ordered the impoundment of the vehicle. By law, they must send within 48 hours a release notice to both you and the impound lot. This will add additional fines such as a storage fee, for the time your car was heald, and a towing fee, of course, to pay for your car being towed. There also may be some impoundment administration fees. The grand total will be found on that notice sent by the officer.

Monthly Verification

To help prevent drivers from continuing to not having insurance in Oregon, their Department of Transportation has implemented an insurance verification program. This program is for those who have already had a suspension and have filed the SR-22. This monthly verification is part of that 3 year period which you are not allowed to have your insurance lapse. If it does your license will be suspended again.

This monthly verification works by requiring you to submit proof of compliance (a receipt that shows you are paying and maintaining coverage since recovering your car and license).

Note: if you fail to make premium payment quickly, there is a likelihood that your insurance company could end up canceling your policy and SR-22. In the end, your license will end up being re-suspended, until it’s done right.

Conclusion

Although Oregon is restricted on its insurance policies it is not the only state which views drivers insurance as a necessity. Driving uninsured in Oregon can be time-consuming and costly. With all the fines and potential of suspension, one would think it would be easier just to have insurance. It pays to have coverage, and if you follow the insurance coverage Oregon requires, and that was laid out above you can stay on the open road with peace of mind.

,

Personal Injury Claim Letter

Every year, there are thousands of different personal injury claim letters written. Written by people just like you, who are dealing with a nasty personal injury that was caused by someone else’s negligence.

While there are many types of personal injuries, there are five personal injuries, in the United States, that garner the most number of claims per year. Vehicle accidents. Injuries in public spaces, due to negligence. Medical malpractice. Defective products. And, workplace injuries.

Each one of these personal injuries leads to lost wages, due to the time you are unable to spend at work, medical bills, and, in some cases, permanent physical damage. With a personal injury claim letter, you are able to receive the settlement that you deserve, in order to compensate for those losses.

Writing a personal injury claim letter can be a daunting process. It doesn’t need to be, though. Instead, there is a simple set of guidelines that, if followed, will produce a powerful and effective personal injury claim letter. This personal injury claim letter will deliver the results that you seek.

Who Is At Fault?

In the state of Oregon, if, for example, there is an automobile accident and you were injured, the person who is responsible for that is only liable to pay for any damages if they are, at the very least, 51% responsible for the accident, and the injuries that resulted from the accident.

Right before you draft your personal injury claim letter, it is vital that you consider the individual factors of the accident, when it comes to what happened and how the other party factors into that accident, and your injuries.

Personal Injury Claim LetterSometimes, it is easy to determine the fault of the other party, because, in the case of an automobile accident, they were driving-under-the-influence, and a breathalyzer proves this, or they were speeding. In these cases, the other party has a higher percentage of responsibility, and will also need to pay punitive damages, which are damages that serve as a punishment for outrageous and unlawful conduct.

In other cases, it’s a lot more difficult to determine the fault of the other party. If there is no evidence that the other party in question voided their legal duty, which is a prerequisite for all personal injury claims, or that they are at fault for the damages you received, then it becomes much more difficult to determine whether or not the other party is at least 51% responsible, and if this is unverifiable, your claim will be thrown out.

Everyone has to abide by certain legal duties that are present wherever you go. If you are on the road, then the legal duty is that of a duty of care, which means they need to be careful and respect the other drivers on the road. By hitting another automobile, they breach that legal duty. Depending on what took place, there may be a different legal duty, but they all circle back to the concept of respecting other people, and an injury is a breach of that legal duty.

Proving fault is a process that is conducted based on the evidence that is available. In automobile accidents, there are usually witnesses, as well as security camera footage. These two pieces of objective evidence are exceptionally useful and make the facts of the case much easier for the lawyers and attorneys to parse. Individual testimony is incredibly important, as well.

What Happened?

When writing a personal injury claim letter, the most important thing is to convey all of the facts of your injury, and how the injury has affected you, and how it continues to affect you.

Accident Letter Format

In order for the personal injury claim letter to be useful, you must write down the date and time of the accident, and then you must write down the injuries that took place on that date. You are also going to need to write down any personal information that is applicable, such as your date-of-birth, marital status, and other relevant details.

As you write down the injuries that took place, it’s important to explain them in specific and concise language that is simple, and clear. If you were hit by a car, and broke your leg, explain the specifics of this injury, such as what happened and how it happened. Make sure to use neutral and specific language.

Of course, you can’t just write down the injuries that took place, without providing valid evidence of the injuries themselves. You also need to provide medical documentation that proves the injuries you are describing. More importantly, however, you need to provide medical documentation – usually in the form of bills – that describe the type of treatment you needed, or need, and the costs of these treatments.

If you missed work and lost out on wages that you would normally receive, you need to write that down and provide the proper documentation for that, as well. Property damage is another form of damage that can be compensated for, in court, and you will need to provide proof of that, in the form of pictures and other forms of documentation.

In Oregon, you can also receive compensation for pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and loss of enjoyment. Pain and suffering can be proven through medical documentation that describes the symptoms of the injury that took place, and emotional anguish falls under that umbrella as well. Loss of enjoyment is harder to verify, though.

sample demand letter for car accident

Each piece of documentation helps form the claim that will then be presented in court. This claim consists of your description of what took place, the medical documentation that supports what you are describing, and then, from this, you have a specific amount of compensation that you require, based on those treatment costs, lost wages, and other relevant damages.

What’s Next?

Once you have finished drafting the personal injury claim letter, settlement negotiations will begin one-to-two-weeks later. During these negotiations, it’s best to let your attorney do much of the work, but it’s important to continue to focus on the compensation that you feel is right, based on the injuries that you sustained.

, ,

20 at Fault Accident

Working with your car insurance company to file a claim in regards to an accident can be a difficult and confusing task. The way insurance companies settle claims can vary from state to state and company to company, and it’s always important to keep in mind that insurance companies prefer to pay out as little as possible, as well as accepting the minimal amount of liability they can.

Because of this, it’s important to understand the 80/20 car accident rule and how it influences settlements and further court action.

80 20 Car Accident

What is an 80/20 Car Accident?

Not all car accidents are black and white, or completely at the fault of one driver and not the other. The 80/20 rule implies that an accident was 80% the fault of one driver, and 20% the fault of the other.

A great example of this would be the case of a rear-end collision. Generally, rear-ending another vehicle could be prevented by giving enough lead time, space between your cars and paying attention to the flow of traffic in your lane. However, what if you rear-end another vehicle because they’ve stopped suddenly? Even though you should have allowed more space and attention to maneuver as necessary, that quick stop didn’t help things. In this case, in terms of percentages,  you would be 80 at fault, while the other driver would be 20 at fault.

In other words, the 80/20 rule removes the black and white aspect of car accidents and holds other drivers accountable for their part in potential accidents. Insurance companies favor this arrangement for understandable reasons.

The 80/20 rule isn’t an exact proportion, either. The insurance company can name off any proportion of fault when assessing the details of the case. This includes 70/30, 90/10, or 60/40 for example.

20 at fault accident

Why Choose an 80/20 Agreement?

The 80/20 agreement lessens the financial burden on one driver’s insurance company to cover the entire cost of the damage. It also means that an uninsured driver could potentially pay for their part in an accident, whereas if they don’t have car insurance the driver’s insurance would have to cover the entire cost unless and until they sued the other driver (and even then they may not get anything.)

This type of settlement is strongly favored by car insurance companies in order to recoup at least some of their expenses. In fact, this popularity with car insurance companies can also be a negative thing, too!

Consult With a Personal Injury Lawyer Before Agreeing to an 80/20 Agreement

If you’ve been involved in an accident, it’s important to consult with a personal injury lawyer before signing any agreements between insurance companies. Oftentimes, accident victims are less than familiar with the laws surrounding the circumstances of an accident, or simply can’t afford to pay for a lawyer or a court case to fight against the other driver or other driver’s insurance company. Because of this, many cases of insurance companies assigning some percentage of the blame on the other driver in order to recoup some expense have been reported.

To avoid being taken to the cleaners for any part of an accident that wasn’t your fault, make sure to consult with a lawyer. Admitting fault in a car accident can have unforeseen consequences on your pocketbook anyway – like your insurance premium going up for at least three years – so it’s important to be sure you won’t be paying for your decision to settle later. After all, personal injury lawyers exist to defend your rights and protect from predatory practices. Car insurance companies will often intimidate a victim in the hopes that they won’t be called on their bluff in court. A Personal injury lawyer is equipped to assess and call that bluff!

What Does 20% at Fault Mean

Proportional Comparative Fault at 51%

Another factor to keep in mind is that Oregon uses the Proportional Comparative Fault at 51 Percent rule when assessing whether a victim can file a claim or a lawsuit against another driver. What this means is that you will not be able to take another driver to court if you were more than 51% at fault for the accident.

Depending on the role you played in creating an accident, this is important to know when deciding if a settlement like the 80/20 arrangement will make sense for your case, or if you should go to court to collect the damages that you’re entitled to.

,

Car Accident with No Insurance in Oregon

Every once in a while, a bad situation takes a turn for the once. In this case, we’re referring to being in a car accident where you or the other driver doesn’t have car insurance! Here’s what you need to know if you’re involved in an accident and either you or the other driver don’t have insurance coverage.

Oregon No Insurance Car Accident

Oregon is a “Fault” Car Accident State

Like most states, Oregon is a “fault” car accident state.

This means that whoever is found to have caused the accident is responsible for any harm that results, including medically or replacement or repair of the vehicle.

Oftentimes this is why drivers are required to carry insurance. The insurance policy that the driver carries will carry most of these losses up to the policy limit.

As you can imagine, not having insurance makes the financial responsibility scary and oftentimes life-altering for both parties. Oftentimes, your wages can be garnished and other options to collect money from you that you simply may not have.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

If you get caught without insurance in Oregon, you’ll be in quite a bit of trouble.

Common penalties are fines that can range to thousands of dollars, having your license suspended or even having your vehicle towed. All of these depend on the circumstances of the accident.

Convictions result in having to file proof of insurance with the DMV for three years.  In addition, you can lose drive privileges for a year if you’re found to have caused an accident while not having auto insurance!

No Pay, No Play Rule

Oregon is also a state with a “no pay, no play” rule.

This rule means that if you do not have auto insurance at the time of an accident if you’re struck by another motorist, you are limited in what you can recover.

This is because if you don’t yourself have auto insurance that could compensate another person in case of an accident, then why should you be able to claim full benefits? In other words, you must pay into the system to play. This rule means that you cant collect “non-economic” damages like pain and suffering. However, the basics like medical bills will be covered.

This is why it’s important to always have auto insurance coverage, even if you’re the safest driver in the world! You can never be too careful in this instance.

In addition, many insurance coverage plans allow you to attach Uninsured Motorist coverage. This means if you are struck by someone who is uninsured, you have additional insurance coverage to see to all your damages up to the limit.

Oregon Accident Automobile

What Happens if You Cause an Accident Driving Without  Insurance

If you cause an accident driving without insurance, it’s important to retain a lawyer as quickly as possible.

This is because the person who was struck can sue you for all damages they suffered- including medical bills, lost wages, damage to their car, and physical and mental pain and suffering.

You will be personally responsible for this amount if the other driver obtains a judgment against you.

On the other hand, if you’ve been struck by an uninsured driver, you’ll want to retain a personal injury lawyer.

The personal injury lawyer can review the facts of the case, collect information and support for the damages you’ve suffered and build a case against the other driver.

Because suing may be the only way to claim damages from an uninsured driver, it’s important to get a quality personal injury lawyer on your side who can help you get the damages you are entitled to.

No Car Insurance Oregon Accident

What to Do if You’ve Been Struck By an Uninsured Motorist in Oregon

If you’ve been involved in an accident, the first step is to call the police and exchange insurance information with the other driver.

As with any accident, but especially when dealing with an uninsured driver, you’ll want to collect hard copies of as many facts of the accident and subsequent damages as possible. Medical bills, visits with therapists, counselors, physical therapists, and other service providers, lost wages from work and any evidentiary support that can be used to collect damages.

Finally, you’ll want to retain a personal injury lawyer to review the case and assess what you’re entitled to. If the other driver does not seek a settlement out of court, chances are the case could go to trial. If this happens, you’ll want an attorney on your side to fight for justice in the court of law.

, ,

Oregon Auto Insurance Claim Laws

Are you trying to find out more about Oregon state laws around auto insurance claims? Some of the legal texts can be difficult to read and decipher. To help you learn some fast facts about Oregon auto insurance laws, here are some common laws. These are handy to know in the event of an accident or auto injury. However, before you take any steps following an auto accident we recommend you consult with a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney will be able to review the facts with you. Furthermore, they’ll pursue the maximum amount in damages you require before reaching a settlement. A personal injury attorney will also help you navigate a lawsuit against the other driver and/or their insurance if necessary.

Oregon is a “Fault” State

Depending on the state you reside in, you may live in a “fault” or a “no-fault” state. Oregon is the former, which is the more traditional legal system for handling auto accidents.

In this case, “Fault” refers to who shoulders the financial responsibility for losses that come from an accident. This can cover injuries, loss of wages, vehicular damage, counseling and more. In this case, the person at fault for causing the car accident is also responsible for any resulting harm that comes from the accident.

You Must Report An Accident Within 72 Hours

The first step you must take after being involved in an accident is to report it. You’ll need to notify the Department of Transportation within 72 hours of the accident. This is found in the Oregon Revised Statutes, Section 811.725. At that time, you’ll also provide evidence of insurance and other necessary forms as required.

A Statue of Limitations Applies to Accident Cases

If you plan to file a lawsuit because of a car accident, you’ll have to do it sooner rather than later.

A statute of limitations relating to personal injury in Oregon applies here. If you’re filing a lawsuit relating to personal injury from an accident, you must do it within two years. If you don’t meet this deadline, you’ll lose the ability to sue. That’s not all though! When you lose this ability, insurance companies don’t have much reason to pursue a settlement with you.

The Insurance Company Does Not Choose Where You Get Your Vehicle Repaired

During negotiations and proceedings with the car insurance company, they may strongly imply that you must get your car repaired at a shop in their network. Please note that this is not true, and while you can work with a preferred shop of theirs if you are so inclined, you ultimately have a say in where your car is repaired.

What Minimum Coverage Policies Mean For You

In Oregon, you must carry minimum coverage of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per claim with your insurance.

This ensures that if you get into an accident, your insurance company will pay out up to $25,000 per person injured in the other car, with a maximum of $50,000 paid out to any occupants for the accident. However, if you’ve ever been in a serious accident you know that $25,000 doesn’t usually cover a car repair or replacement, medical bills and loss of wages.

So what does that mean if you’re in an accident and your losses total to over $25,000? Well, you’ll probably have to sue the other driver for the remainder or consider carrying a policy that has higher limits yourself. The reason to invest in insurance coverage with a larger payout is that oftentimes the more expedient way to deal with insurance is filing a claim with your provider. Your insurance company can pay out upfront and then sue the other driver’s insurance company for payment. If you have higher limits on your own policy you have a much greater chance of coverage for the things you need while leaving your insurance company to duke it out with the other driver and their insurance.

,

DUI Personal Injury Settlements

If you’ve been a victim of a car accident while the other driver was under the influence, knowing your legal options is important. If you’ve suffered personal injury or property damage through an accident caused by a DUI, you’ll want to recoup your expenses related to the accident. This can include repairing your vehicle, medical expenses, loss of wages and the costs of rental transportation among other things.

Insurance companies know that the courts look very harshly on driving under the influence, which increases the chance that either the driver’s insurance company or lawyers will attempt to settle out of court. Insurance companies will also do their best to whittle this settlement amount down to the lowest figure they can manage to save money. Because of this, it is very important to retain an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure that the settlement figure will adequately cover your tangible and intangible damages.

What to Know About DUI Personal Injury Settlements

When entertaining a settlement figure from a DUI driver’s insurance company, it’s important to have a personal injury lawyer on your side. This is because arriving at a settlement is, in essence, your attorney and the insurance company decides how much the accident and the subsequent damage is worth in a dollar amount. If both are unable to settle and this goes to court, it is up to the court to determine how much a DUI accident should “cost.” If a victim decides to settle themselves with no representation, there is a higher chance that they won’t collect all the money that they should rightfully be entitled to.

What is Included in a Personal Injury Settlement

When you agree to a personal injury settlement, it’s important not to leave any money on the table. Ideally, all your financial losses pertaining to a car accident should be recouped. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Repair or replace for the cost of your vehicle
  • Hospital bills and bills for follow-up visits
  • Therapy and counseling bills in the case of mental or emotional distress
  • Physical therapy costs
  • Lost wages from not being able to work

Financial losses from a car accident don’t just apply to the scene of the accident. After all, the damages from a car accident can be felt for months and even years after the incident.

Do Not Settle Right Away

Because the full damages of a car accident can take weeks or even months to assess and be fully realized, it is vital that you do not settle immediately. Most insurance companies will attempt to pressure you into accepting a settlement immediately. This settlement will often include some type of release of liability. The release of liability will prohibit you from pursuing further injury claims after accepting the settlement. The release of liability form is final, which makes it doubly important that a personal injury attorney looks over the settlement agreement before you sign the document.

It’s also important not to settle right away so that you can assess your health and financial setback from the asset in the weeks or months after the accident in case long-term injury manifests itself after your initial treatment.

Begin Preparing Yourself As Soon as Possible

Whether you intend to settle with the insurance company or take the driver to court, it’s important to prepare for either outcome as soon as possible. Collecting detailed records of all incidents, injuries, and bills as soon as you are able will help you and your attorney negotiate for an appropriate amount of damages. 

If you are able to at the scene of the accident or from your hospital bed, recount everything you remember about the accident while it’s fresh in your memory. Record it on your phone, or have someone write down your recollections if you’re unable to record it yourself. Obtain the police report, medical record, and doctors notes as well. The earlier you collect these details, the easier it will be on you and your attorney to manage.

 

 

Drunk Driver Totaled My Car

An accident involving a drunk driver that leaves your car totaled is devastating. Not only are your health and wellness affected by the accident, but your livelihood as well. We depend on our vehicles to get to important places like school and our job. Because of this, being faced with the cost and time of replacing your vehicle can seem overwhelming. Thankfully, you have legal options on your side to deal with your car being totaled if you were hit by a drunk driver. It’s important to consult with a personal injury attorney before beginning the process, to ensure you receive the damages that you are entitled to.

What to Do If You’ve Been Hit By a Drunk Driver

If you’ve been in a car accident and you suspect the other driver is drunk, call 911 immediately. You’ll want to call emergency services anyway if you have or think you have been injured. However, the police will also arrive, and be able to assess and administer tests to prove whether the other driver was intoxicated.

It is important to get police on the scene, as their report will be valuable documentation if you need to go to court. A police report of the suspected level of intoxication and subsequent arrest will help you pursue the damages you deserve.

Collect All the Details

Next, write down all the details you remember, even if you’ve told the police officer. Details surrounding the circumstances leading up to the accident will be important in court, and it’s possible some of them may not make it into the official report. If you have to be treated for injuries, dictate the details to someone else or record them if possible.

Finally, be sure to obtain the insurance information of the other driver. If you’re unable to at the scene, the police documentation should contain this information.

Get Legal Help

If your car was totaled in the accident, get a personal injury lawyer. We recommend retaining a personal injury lawyer even if your vehicle was not totaled, but it’s very important when substantial damage has occurred. Even if the other driver is insured, insurance claims can contain loopholes around DUI or DWI. It’s possible that you may have to go to court to get the damage you are entitled to. Do not sign anything from the insurance company or take any settlements before talking it over with a personal injury attorney. 

Make Contact with Insurance

Your next step will be making contact with both insurance companies. If the other drivers’ insurance company is difficult for you to reach, it’s possible for your insurance company to step in. In many cases, they will pay out the cost of replacing your vehicle, and sue the other insurance company to get their money back.

Keep meticulous records of anything relating to the accident that you could be awarded damages for. This includes hospital bills, specialist visits, the value of your vehicle, and the cost of rentals where applicable. If your vehicle was paid for under a lien, make sure to get documentation of the original loan amount and the amount still owed on the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Keep in mind that insurance companies are not personally invested in your injuries or inconvenience. They want to pay the least amount that they can get away with on the claim. This is why it is important to have all documentation and offers looked over by a personal injury attorney.

If the Drunk Driver is Not Insured

If the drunk driver you were struck by is not insured or is underinsured, you most likely will need to go to court to get the damages you need to replace your vehicle, medical expenses, any lost wages, etc. Review your auto insurance coverage as soon as possible to determine whether your plan includes Uninsured Motorist Coverage or Underinsured Motorist Coverage. This determines whether your insurance company will shoulder some or all of the cost of your expenses and if you’ll need to go to court to collect further damages.

,

Hit By a Drunk Driver No Injuries

Getting hit by a drunk driver is a terrifying ordeal that can often have lethal consequences. However, some victims are able to walk away from the accident with no injuries other than to their vehicle. While that can be one of the best case scenarios for victims of this senseless crime, it’s important to be clear on exactly what this means for you in terms of your legal options. Just because you display no physical injuries, this doesn’t mean these are the only types that can earn damages in the court of law. It’s important to know your options and not move too hastily.

What Damages Can You Be Awarded With No Injuries?

Hit By a Drunk Driver No Injuries

No harm, no foul, you may be thinking. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Although you won’t have medical bills to take into account with no injuries, you are still entitled to damages!

You can be awarded damages for reasonable cost of repair, value of a totaled vehicle, loss of use of the vehicle, costs associated with car rentals or alternate transportation, lost wages and even pain and suffering.

Some might be confused by pain and suffering in particular. After all, you just clarified you had no injuries.

Legally speaking, pain and suffering is mental or physical distress that can be awarded damages in a lawsuit.

Even though physically a victim many be fine, many report walking away from a drunk driving accident feeling incredibly shaken and violated. This could be classified as mental distress resulting directly from the accident. Several states approach this definition differently, but often times emotional injury can be assessed in damages. For example, stress and anxiety are common symptoms of emotional distress in pain and suffering damages! Although several states approach and define what falls under pain and suffering differently, mental and emotional injury stemming from the injury can also be assessed. Stress and anxiety are two examples. However, proving emotional and mental damages often takes a little more work. If you feel you’ve incurred mental or emotional injury from the accident, most victims seek a counselor or therapists or a professional diagnosis.

Steps to Take After Being Hit By a Drunk Driver No Injuries

Drunk Diving Accident

If you’d like to proceed with a lawsuit, you’ll need to retain a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. It’s important to do this early on as often the drivers insurance company will pressure you to settle. Generally, if you settle early the insurance company can keep the payout low and release themselves from paying out from further damages. Since it sometimes takes a while to discover the full scope of injury incurred from an accident, you may find that you’ve incurred physical or mental damage that you can no longer seek recompense for after settling.

You will also want to keep a record of everything involved in the accident, from police report, medical evaluations, mental evaluations, receipts and reports from providers and any estimates involving the property damage to your vehicle.

Start this process early as it will help when you and your personal injury lawyer build a case. When you and your lawyer put forth claims for damages, you’ll need the supporting documentation of repairs or total value of car, wages lost while dealing with the accident, and any costs of rentals.

You will need to contact both insurance companies as well. If you have difficulty reaching the drivers insurance company, yours may shoulder the cost of vehicle repair and/ or loss and then sue the other insurance for the amount.

Make sure to keep clear communication with insurance parties and your personal injury lawyer to ensure you’re not leaving any potential damages on the table that you may be owed.