Is Oregon a No Fault State for Car Accidents?

One of the first things drivers want to know when they obtain car insurance is whether they live in a fault or a no-fault state. After all, this determines who they will file a claim in the event of an injury. This also influences what their legal options and proceedings might look like.

In a no-fault car insurance state, drivers who are in accidents must submit claims to their own insurance. In this instance, their insurance would pay for medical bills, car repair or replacement, etc. The driver’s insurance would do this whether they cause the accident or not – in essence, whether they are at fault. The idea behind “no-fault” state guidelines is to streamline the process a little bit. Insurance companies must then sort it out between themselves. Meanwhile, injured drivers can get repair and medical costs paid out earlier than they would if they had to settle. An even longer delay may result from a court battle.

However, many states still use the traditional fault-based system. In these systems, the driver that caused the accident is liable for repairs, medical costs, and damages that result from the accident. Oregon is an at-fault state.

What Happens if I Get in a Car Accident in Oregon?

Car Accident Settlement

Because Oregon is an at-fault state, the process you might take after getting into an accident is a little less streamlined. If you’ve been struck by another driver and aren’t at fault, this might be an instance to obtain a personal injury attorney. The reason for this is that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will attempt to drag their feet on paying out damages. In addition, they will most likely try to settle for the bare minimum. If you take on an insurance company and accept a settlement before speaking to an attorney, chances are you’ll lose out on the full amount you are entitled to.

This is why it is incredibly important not to settle before speaking to an attorney. Once you sign a settlement, there is usually wording in there that you cannot make more claims against the company, even if you find more costs mounting. Because the effects of vehicular accidents can take months to manifest, you may belatedly realize you need surgery or even extensive physical therapy. However, if you’ve already settled, there will be no additional funds from the driver’s insurance company.

Oregon Law states that you must notify the Department of Transportation within 72 hours of the accident. This is regardless of whether you caused it or not. You’ll then provide insurance and other necessary documents.

Retain a Personal Injury Attorney to Help You Navigate

Oregon Car Accident Settlements

There are several reasons that an insurance payout from the at-fault driver’s company may not be enough. Perhaps your losses total over the maximum amount the insurance policy can pay out. In addition, the insurance company may be attempting to settle for an amount that is too low. In any case, this is why it is crucial to retain an attorney. A personal injury attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement. In the instance that the insurance company is low-balling, your attorney can prepare to take them to court.

Suing the other driver and/ or their insurance company is very time sensitive. There is a statute of limitations in Oregon, after all! You must file a lawsuit relating to your accident or personal injury within two years. If you wait to file past this point, you will no longer be able to bring a lawsuit. What’s even worse is that the insurance company loses the incentive to settle with you.

Collect Documentation Early and Often

Car Accident Settlement Documentation

Regardless of whether you plan to settle or sue, it is important to cover all of your bases. I can’t stress the importance enough of collecting documentation for everything relating to the accident. As soon as you are able to audio record or write your recollections down of the accident, do so. It is important to include details of everything you saw and heard before and after the accident. Obtaining a police report early is a must, and getting the statements from witnesses is important too.

If you are hospitalized after the accident, collecting copies of medical bills, documentation and physicians notes are important. Your medical records will be necessary to get restitution for any procedures or care that were a result of the accident. Counseling or physical therapy appointments should also be documented carefully, as well as notes and reports from attending physicians, counselors or healthcare workers.

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