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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.

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Common Torts

A tort is a commonly used term in personal injury law. There are a number of different types of torts for various situation that might occur. Before we explain the different types of common torts, let’s first understand exactly what is a tort? The dictionary definition of a tort states:

“A wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to legal liability.”

One of the primary things to understand about torts is how they differ to criminal law. In tort law there is no government persecution of the wrongdoer. Tort cases are handled in civil court where a plaintiff is seeking compensation for the harm that was done to them. The compensation is most commonly in the form of money which would be paid by the defendant as a result of the harm that they caused.

Common Torts

Elements of Tort Law

There are four elements to tort law which include:

  • Duty: a legal obligation
  • Breach of Duty: Failing to live up to the standard of a duty
  • Causation: Defendant’s conduct (or lack thereof) caused harm or damage
  • Injury: The harm or damage that occurred.

If damages are to be claimed by a plaintiff they must be able to prove all 4 elements of tort law, meaning a defendant was in a breach of duty which caused an injury to them.

Common Torts

There are three primary categories of torts, negligence, strict liability, and intentional torts. There are a number of different situations that can occur which fall under each of these different areas. Let’s take a look at some common torts in each of the categories.

Negligence

Negligence

The most common personal injury cases involve negligence. This is where a person or group of people act irresponsible and in a way that causes hard to someone else. There are many different situations that fall under the category of negligence. Car accidents that are caused by drunk or inattentive drivers is a very common example of negligence that’s often brought to civil court (as well as criminal court). There are also many causes of negligence that involve parents and small children. Parents have a duty to care for their children and negligence can be found if parent leave a small child alone in a car or at home, or in any number of other precarious circumstances. Another example could be carelessness on behalf of a doctor which causes medical problems for a patient.

Strict Liability

Strict Liability

This category is often also referred to as Product Liability and deals primarily with products that are defective and cause harm. A manufacturer or vendor has a duty to provide safe products that do to cause injury to those who use them (during normal use). There’s a wide variety of product liability examples within the consumer goods sector, from toys to appliances any defect that causes harm falls under this category. Another common example is within the food and prescription drug industries. Whether it’s medication or a frozen dinner, products that are consumed are subject to strict regulation and if they aren’t doing things correctly can often find themselves as a defendant in a personal injury case.

 

Intentional Torts

If a defendant purposefully causes harm or injury to someone else, this falls under the category of an intentional tort. What separates this from the other classes of torts is the idea of intent. The harm done was not the results of the lack of action, but rather the complete opposite. There are many different common intentional tort examples. Assault and battery to another person is one of the most common forms, however these are not limited to physical abuse on someone else. Emotional distress can also be considered an intentional tort. Other examples could be theft, trespassing or false imprisonment.

Personal Injury Attorney

Have you or a loved one suffered as a result of negligence, product liability, or intentional harm? Ryan Hilts specializes in personal injury law and torts within the state of Oregon. Please contact us today if you are in need of legal representation.

 

Oregon Statute Of Limitations Personal Injury

Have you been thinking of filing a lawsuit against a third party over a personal injury case but it has been awhile since the incident occurred and you are not sure whether or not you are still able to pursue the suit? There are a number of factors which must be taken into consideration in order to judge the eligibility of a lawsuit and whether or not it falls within the local statute of limitations. We have compiled a handy FAQ which can help aid in determining whether or not your outstanding case is still eligible.

What is a statute of limitations?

A statute of limitations determines the deadline by which one has to file a lawsuit within civil court. For instance, let us imagine you hit someone with your car on accident. Instead of taking things to court, you and the victim end up settling privately. The statute of limitations would prevent that person from turning around and suing you years later once the proof of your personal agreement has become either lost or obscured with time. Likewise, this means that it is incredibly important to take legal action as quickly as possible if one finds themselves in the role of the plaintiff.

In Oregon, the statute of limitations on personal injury claims is two years, meaning that any formal lawsuits should be filed before the end of this period.  While it is still possible to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has passed, however the defendant gains the ability to use the statute of limitations as a valid reason to have the case dismissed.

Oregon Statute Of Limitations Personal Injury

When does a statute of limitations start?

The clock begins running down on the statute of limitations starting from the time that the associated incident occurs, as per the plaintiff’s claim. In the case of personal injury though, this can get a little bit more complicated. Sometimes it is not always immediately apparent that damage has been caused or an injury has occurred at the time of an incident, such as in cases involving lung or nerve damage. In these situations, the statute of limitations would begin from the time of discovering the damage, assuming the plaintiff is able to successfully link the damage to the cause in their claim.

The reasoning for this is that a basis for a lawsuit is required for a statute of limitation to begin. Assuming that no fault or injury is immediately found at the time of incident, then the cause for a lawsuit has yet to be established. This works towards the benefit of the injured, helping ensure that their lawsuit doesn’t become void off of technicality.

delay the statute of limitations

Is there anything that can delay the statute of limitations?

In order to avoid individuals or entities attempting to create situations which might stall the filing of a lawsuit past the statute of limitations, there are indeed exceptions and situations in which the countdown on the statute of limitations may be temporarily frozen. These circumstances are incredibly often specific and sometimes are left to the judge’s discretion.

Consult with a lawyer

Unfortunately, even if your case falls within all of the parameters outlined, there’s still a chance that some of the basic rules regarding the statute of limitations may be superseded by a more relevant statute. The only way to completely know the standing of your claim and any of the deadlines or circumstances which surround it is to consult with a lawyer who will be able to get to the bottom of your specific situation.

How to Sue Someone In Oregon

Sometimes, things don’t work out as planned. Misunderstandings, miscommunication, or sometimes outright malicious intent can get in the way of even the best laid plans. Once all efforts have been exhausted to resolve a dispute in a peaceful and fair way outside of the courtroom, then it comes time when legal action must be taken.

Yet, sometimes people will falter once things reach this point and decide that it’s either too much trouble or become intimidated by the prospect of legal action. Contrary to what many think however, filing a suit isn’t as complicated as it may seem. Once one is aware of the proper process, it simply comes down to a simple matter of filling out the paperwork and going through with the court hearing. In order to help those looking to file a lawsuit, we’ve gone ahead and compiled a handy guide which should get you on your way.

How To Sue Someone In Oregon

Small Claims, Civil Court, and Beyond

When it comes to beginning your suit, first you must decide which court it will be filed in. Depending on the nature and value of the dispute there may be a couple of options open to the plaintiff.

Any dispute worth less than $750 must be filed in Small Claims.

Disputes worth more than $750 but less than $10,000 may be filed in either Small Claims or in general civil court.

One of the main differences between Small Claims and general civil court is whether or not a lawyer can be involved. A lawyer is able to represent you in a general civil court case, but special permissions must be required in order for a lawyer to represent an individual in a small claims case. Additionally, a general civil court suit for under an amount of $750 is technically possible, but again only under special considerations.

When deciding which route to go, it’s important to keep in mind whether or the amount of the dispute is worth getting a lawyer involved. Since lawyers fees must be accounted for, sometimes it makes more sense to pursue Small Claims.

How To File A Case in Oregon

How To File

Once you have decided which kind of claim you would like to make, it is up to you to pick up and fill out the proper form. In the case of Small Claims, this form should include your filing fee, an itemized list of damages, and the names of the defendants.

Great care should be taken when filling this form out, especially when it comes to the itemization of damages. Make sure that any and all claims are reasonable and can be backed up with some sort of proof or professional estimate. If the amount you are seeking restitution for is not backed up by supporting information, there may be doubt as to the fairness of your claim. In these cases, the full amount may not be awarded.

Defendant names likewise must also be correctly documented. The names to be used and listed must be the names of the defendants when the issue occurred.

Full formal names must be used in the case of individuals.

An individual doing business as a legal entity must have both their legal entity’s name and the individual’s name listed.

A corporation must have its registered agent listed.

Where To File

The claim must be filed in one of the following places:

  • The county in which the damage or claim occurred.
  • The county where the defendant was supposed to complete an agreement as per a contract.
  • The county which one of the defendants currently lives.

For more complicated claims or claims involving much larger amounts of money, it will be necessary to seek the assistance of a lawyer. In these cases, your lawyer will work with you in order to make the process as simple and straightforward for you as possible.

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Oregon Pain and Suffering Law

It’s always a challenge to deal with the aftermath of a personal injury, and the last thing most people want to handle is the legal situation regarding reimbursement and other payment. Fortunately, the state of Oregon has quite favorable laws in this area, and there’s one particular concept which can really help: the pain and suffering law.
Oregon Pain and Suffering Law

Definition of Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering have a very vague definition under Oregon law.

Many people instinctively think that the law is always made up of very concrete definitions, but this is a good example of how that’s not always the case. In Oregon, pain and suffering can basically be defined as something which gives you misery as a result of the situation which injured you.

It can be broken into two categories:

  • Physical – actual pain in your body
  • Emotional – psychological ailments which occur in your mind

It’s possible to file an insurance claim for these, but they aren’t the only compensation you may receive.

This amount is separate from lost wages and other medical expenses, such as x-rays, medications, and hospital visits.”

Oregon Pain and Suffering Law

The pain and suffering law in Oregon breaks payments down into two categories: economic and non-economic.

The law is designed to compensate injury victims for various purposes. In this case, the payments are made in the form of damages, and they are easily explained in the following quote:

In general, damages are money awarded to a party in a civil lawsuit for any losses or injuries that are caused by others.

Here are some examples of economic damages:

  • Charges for medical and rehabilitation procedures necessary because of the injury
  • Loss of income due to the injury
  • Costs due to the loss of property because of the accident
  • Damage to a reputation (which will result in monetary loss)

Here are some examples of non-economic damages:

  • Physical and mental pain
  • Emotional stress
  • Humiliation and reputation damage

Oregon Economic and Nonecomoic Damages

Oregon Economic and Noneconomic Damages

Pain and suffering must be proven to be as a result of the accident, but there is no standard way to calculate it.

The degree of pain and suffering an individual experiences can vary greatly from person to person.

You will be required to prove that whatever pain and suffering you have was caused by the accident, and you will need to have appropriate documentation and testimony to prove that.

Oregon Limitations on Pain and Suffering

There are multiple aspects of the Oregon laws which place restrictions on pain and suffering damages, so you need to be aware of these as early as possible.

  • Time: There is a specific time limit in which you have to file your lawsuit.

In Oregon, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases gives an injured person two years from the date of the injury to go to civil court and file a lawsuit. (Ore. Rev. Stat. section 12.110(1)).

  • Caps: There are limits to the amount of the damages you can ask for.
  • Shared Faults: If it can be argued that you shared some of the fault for the accident that happened, this can be used against you (and it may reduce the amount of the damages accordingly).
  • Government: If your claim is against the state government (or an employee), then different rules apply. For example, you only have 180 days to make your claim – not 2 years.

How To Calculate or Measure a Pain and Suffering Settlement:

Economic damages are easier to calculate than non-economic, but there are methods to determine both types.

To calculate economic damages, you just need to have proof. You can show medical bills, the amount of salary you would have been paid for working those days, and similar information.

Non-economic damages are more complicated.

There are a number of approaches that insurance companies take when calculating pain and suffering as part of an injury settlement. The two most common are the multiplier method and the “per diem” (daily rate) method.

  • Multiplier method: This method is commonly used by insurance companies, and it simply multiplies your economic amount by another number to add on. The multiplier number is based on the severity of the injury, and it is generally between 1.5 and 5.
  • Daily Rate Method: In this method, you determine a daily dollar amount of how much effort it is to deal with your pain and suffering, and apply it to the duration (this gets much more complicated with permanent injuries).

Neither of these methods are an exact science, so it’s likely that your real number will be based on a mixture of the two.

How to Prove Pain and Suffering

How to Prove Pain and Suffering

You will be required to show a lot of proof of your claims of pain and suffering, so make sure you keep appropriate documentation along the way.

It’s a good idea to keep any receipts and bills you have because of your injury. Here are some examples of what are commonly used:

  • Medical bills
  • Prescription documentation and receipts
  • Proof of lost wages
  • Photos/medical reports about injuries

In general, the more you can provide, the better.

Why Ryan Hilts Is The Right Attorney For You

Insurance companies are experts at fighting these claims, so it pays to have an experienced and understanding lawyer by your side.

The process of filing a claim for pain and suffering in Oregon gets more complicated based on the severity of the injury, but it is never an easy one to do. I’ve helped countless people through this difficult time, and they were able to get back to things that meant the most to them in their lives – with an appropriate amount of compensation.

You don’t have to suffer alone!

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What to do if you get into a car accident in Oregon?

What To Do in A Car AccidentBeing involved in a car accident is something that we all hope to avoid, but it can, unfortunately, happen to anyone. To be on the safe side, it’s best to be prepared in case you find yourself in such a bad situation.

Do you know what to do if you get into a car accident in Oregon? Follow these pieces of advice, and you’ll be much better off.

Remain Calm

The first thing you should always do, no matter how serious the accident is, is to not panic. You or the people you care about could be injured, and you’ll need to be thinking clearly to help. Even without injuries, minor mistakes can cost a lot of money or legal trouble down the road.

Don’t Leave

This one is fairly obvious, but driving away from an accident is one of the worst things you can do. No matter how severe the accident or who’s to blame, you have to stop and assess the damage with anyone else involved. You can get into serious trouble if you don’t follow the appropriate procedures.

Find Out if Anyone is Injured

Checking on the health of everyone is the first action you should take after a car accident. If anyone is injured, getting them medical attention is the top priority.

Move Out of Traffic (In Non-Serious Accidents)

Oregon Car AccidentIn very serious accidents, or those in non-crowded areas, you may not have much choice but to leave your cars where they are. But, if you have a minor accident on a busy road, it’s usually best to move your vehicles to a safe area. If possible, take pictures before moving, but don’t risk your safety by remaining somewhere where other cars may hit you.

Place Warnings Signs

To help keep yourself safe, you should set up flares, traffic cones, traffic triangles, or any other noticeable objects on the road behind where your cars are.

You should plan ahead for this. You can buy these at any automotive shop, and you should keep a selection inside your car to be prepared. At the same time, it’s wise to keep a first aid kid and some emergency clothes in case of inclement weather.

Inform the Police

Oregon Car Accident AdviceYou’re required by law to inform the police about any accident you have. Also, it doesn’t matter who you believe is at fault, you should tell them everything with complete accuracy. They’re likely to find out the facts eventually, so any lies you tell could come back to haunt you.

It’s also a good idea to record the names and badge numbers of any police officers that are at the scene of the accident. This can sometimes be helpful later on if there are any problems.

Call a Lawyer

If you’ve been injured or sustained serious damage to your car, you should absolutely call a lawyer immediately. There are certain actions that need to be taken, and many of them need to be done as soon as possible.

Even if it seems relatively minor, it’s a really good idea to consult with a lawyer to make sure you aren’t missing anything. A legal expert will be able to tell you if you are eligible for any benefits, and they’ll be able to prepare for any trouble you might face.

Exchange Insurance Information

Even if the police record the insurance information of the other people involved in the accident, make sure you get it, too. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to get out of paying, and you need to be able to tell them exactly who the other drivers were.

Also, make sure that all the documents match. If the registration or insurance of the car doesn’t match the name of the driver, record all of the different names and contact information.

Take Photos

Don’t ever rely on others (including the police) to send you photos after the accident. If you need to prove the truth about what happened, it’s best to take them yourself.

Don’t Admit to Anything

As already mentioned, you should be completely honest with the police. But, that doesn’t mean you have to admit to being at fault for anything. It’s natural to want to apologize in a traumatic situation, but there are many cases where you may think you’re the one who caused the accident, and the law doesn’t. Tell what happened, but don’t ever say you were responsible for the crash.

Look for Witnesses

Witnesses can be incredibly valuable after a car accident. They are normally unbiased, and they had a different view than anyone involved in the wreck. Record the names and contact details of anyone who saw what happened.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you have any pain or injuries, immediately seek medical attention. But, you may have suffered some form of injury even if you don’t feel it. Many issues take time before you’ll notice the symptoms, so it’s best to go get checked by a doctor as soon as possible after the accident.

This is extraordinarily important because as time goes on, it’s much harder to prove that the accident caused your health problems.

Don’t Be in a Hurry to Leave

It can be tempting to want to get away as soon as you can, but be patient to make sure you do everything necessary before leaving the scene of the accident.

You Don’t Have to Go Through This Alone

No matter how severe, car accidents are traumatic experiences. The good news is that with a quality lawyer, you have a caring expert by your side through the whole process. I’ve helped a ton of people through situations they hoped never to be in, and I understand how hard it is. But, please know that the sooner you contact me, the better legal assistance I can offer you.

Drive safely!

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17 Photos That Prove Oregon is The Most Beautiful State

The United States offers a ton of natural beauty. From Alaska to Florida there’s a variety of stunning landscapes from mountains, to forests, to beaches. The question of which is the most beautiful state in the country is up for debate and many people claim their state is the best one. While there’s no real way to prove which state is the most naturally beautiful, our (admittedly biased) opinion is that Oregon is like nowhere else in the USA. We are extremely proud of where we work, live, and spend the majority of our time. We’ve scoured Instagram to put together some photos that try and prove our case! We truly believe Oregon is the most beautiful state in the country and here’s our evidence why.

A photo posted by Camille Gauguin (@oh.cest.ca) on

A photo posted by Cassia Peterson (@cassiapete) on

A photo posted by Irina Bakun (@isbakun) on

A photo posted by Femke van Hilten (@enzooi) on

A photo posted by Amanda (@myoregonjourney) on

A photo posted by Adam Mccabe (@shakiro_850) on

A photo posted by Shantana Nagy (@shantana.lee) on

A photo posted by James (@portland_james) on

A photo posted by @haileys.adventures on

A photo posted by ️Derek Nash (@nashtyimages) on

A photo posted by @haileys.adventures on

A photo posted by Lindsey (@lindseyfilm) on

Need an Oregon personal injury lawyer? Look no further! Ryan Hilts provides you with professionalism, personal service and experience. Contact Ryan Hilts today or learn more about Ryan Hilts here!