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Typically, the law requires you to file an accident report if it results in personal injury, death, or property damage. But what about Oregon? Here’s all you need to know.

What is a Police Accident Report?

Also known as an incident report, an accident report is a formal record of the facts related to a vehicle accident.

The report outlines details like:

  • What has occurred
  • Who was involved
  • Where the accident occurred
  • Date and time of the incident

An accident report also provides contact information of those involved in the accident including drivers and passengers.

Contact information for anyone who witnessed the accident is also included in the accident report.

filing an accident report

Who Creates a Police Accident Report?

The police officers who are called to the scene of the accident fill out an accident report. Sometimes accident experts are also required on the scene to investigate causes and to recreate the accident events.

What is Included in a Police Report

The police report may contain a statement about who was at fault. This statement is based on police professional judgment.

It is a misunderstanding that all accident reports determine fault. The police report often does not assign blame or ticket drivers.

Police reports may include such important details as:

  • Accident details including date, time, and location of where the crash occurred
  • Driver statements: These may include the fault for the accident.
  • Contact details regarding insurance information.
  • Eyewitness information and contact data.
  • Written details from the officers regarding what they were told about events that led to the accident.
  • Police officer conclusions regarding the accident’s cause are based on eyewitness reports and other evidence.
  • Injuries observed at the accident scene.
  • Description of vehicle damage.
  • Weather and road conditions at the time. These may  be used to formulate conclusions about how and why the accident occurred
  • Diagrams and pictures of the scene. These are used to prove the severity of the accident, property and vehicle damage, and injuries.
  • If tickets were issued proving evidence of driver negligence.

When Should You Call Police to the Scene of an Accident?

In some states, even if an accident seems minor, you are legally required to call the police. If they cannot come to the scene, you can report the accident at the nearest police station.

In other states, an official police report is required only if damage to vehicles or property exceeds a specific amount or there are injuries.

Even if an accident seems minor, it is wise to call the police to the scene of an accident. Many times, vehicle or property damage that appears minor can prove costly.

Why are Police Accident Reports Important?

A police incident report is proof that an accident occurred.

The accident report notes the driver or weather causes of the accident. If you sustain an injury, this information may help your lawyer prove your injuries were caused by the accident. In cases of lawsuits, these data are crucial evidence.

If you decide to seek compensation for the damages you suffered, having the details of the accident is vital to your claim.

Is Oregon an At-Fault State?

Yes, Oregon is an at-fault state.

This means that the person who committed a driving error is responsible for injuries and damages.

However, Oregon’s insurance policies must include a built-in provision called personal injury protection (PIP). As writer Mark Fitzpatrick notes, PIP insurance is mandatory in Oregon if you are driving any vehicle except a motorcycle.

A PIP policy has to provide a minimum of $15,000 of coverage per person injured in an accident. This money may be used to cover such accident-related costs as medical bills and lost wages of the driver or passengers involved in the accident.

when to file an accident report

What is an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report?

In Oregon, according to the Department of Transportation, you must file an accident report with the Department of Motor Vehicles. This Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report must be filed within the first seventy-two hours after the accident.

Unlike a police report, an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report, required by the Oregon Department of Transportation, is filed by the drivers involved in the incident. This report must be filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles under certain conditions.

The Law Requires You to File an Accident Report If…

  • Damages to vehicles involved in the incident are in excess of $2500. This report must be filed even if only one vehicle was involved.
  • A vehicle must be towed from the accident scene, the report must be filed.
  • An injury or death occurred as a result of the accident the form must be filed.
  • Damages to property at the accident scene exceed $2500, a report must be filed.

So, in most cases, the law requires you to file an accident report if it results in personal injury, death, or property damage (exceeding a certain amount).

What Happens If a Report is Not Filed?

If you fail to file an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report, the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license.

What About if Damages Were Under $2500?

If damages in an accident do not exceed $2500, you are not required to file an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report. If the other driver is not insured, you should file a report. Note in this report that it does not meet the $2,500 reporting criteria.

Are Police Reports Admissible in Court?

No. Police reports are considered hearsay. The police did not witness the accident.

However, police reports can provide details from witnesses who saw the accident. These witnesses can testify through deposition or at a trial.

the law requires you to file an accident report if

Why Seek Legal Representation After an Accident?

Whether you are injured or you simply have suffered vehicle damage, you are smart to call a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases.

If you were injured in a car accident, you need legal representation. Furthermore, you need an attorney who specializes in personal injury claims.

Lawyers who deal with accident reports and personal injury suits are best equipped to protect your rights and get you the best compensation possible.

With injury attorneys like Ryan Hilts Law, you can trust that your interests are being well represented. You can focus your time and efforts on recovery.

Ryan Hilts Law specialists have a proud history of helping accident injury victims get maximum compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, and loss of work earnings.

Let’s discuss whether you have a claim for compensation. Request a free consultation from our experienced legal team.

Of course, everyone wants to avoid car accidents, but sometimes they happen. It’s best to be prepared if and when an accident occurs, so when it comes to who’s at fault and if Oregon is a no-fault state, here’s what you’ll need to know.

What is a No-Fault State?

Ashlee Tilford’s article notes that a no-fault state is one in which drivers have insurance that will cover injuries and damages to their car, driver, and passengers.

“No fault” means that it doesn’t matter who caused the accident. Everyone must file a claim with their own insurance company in case of an accident.

All drivers must have personal injury protection coverage as part of their vehicle insurance policy.

getting in a car accident in Oregon, an at-fault state

Which States are No-Fault States?

Currently, there are twelve no-fault American states.

These include:

  • Florida
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Hawaii
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • Utah.
  • Puerto Rico also has no-fault insurance laws

How Does No-Fault Affect Insurance?

In no-fault states, personal injury protection coverage is required. Each state decides on a minimum personal injury protection coverage. Personal injury protection coverage pays up to a certain amount on medical bills for the driver and passengers in the event of an auto accident. 

However, in cases of major vehicle damage and/or serious and/or permanent injuries, these may be only partly covered. Drivers might have to try to recoup losses not covered by their insurance by suing the driver who was legally at fault and the insurer of the vehicle he/she was driving.

So, when it comes to insurance, the question of whether Oregon is a no-fault state comes into play with coverage.

car accident Oregon

Is Oregon a No-Fault State?

No – Oregon is an at-fault state.

This means that the driver who caused the accident is liable.

His/her insurance company has to cover repairs, medical costs, and all other damages that result from the accident.

An at-fault state, like Oregon, is also called a tort state. The blame and financial responsibility are placed on the driver responsible for the accident. The insurer of the car he was driving is liable for the other driver’s losses, including medical bills and property damage.

In Oregon, police officers who are called to the accident will determine who is at fault.

However, each policy has a maximum on damages and medical costs. If your claims exceed this maximum, you will have to sue the driver for the additional costs. In an at-fault state, like Oregon, ITC notes that you are allowed to do this.

Oregon has some provisions built into their insurance. Personal injury protection means that if you suffer injuries and/or vehicle damage in an accident that was not your fault, you can file a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. That company must pay compensation. You must prove liability.

At-Fault vs. No-Fault Insurance

Pros of No-Fault Insurance

No-fault insurance states do not recognize one driver to be at fault for an accident. What happens instead? Both car owners in a crash work with their insurance companies to get medical and car repair compensation. 

If you have passengers in your vehicle, they would go to their own car insurance companies for payment of medical bills or other loss of work income as a result of their injuries. 

One of the strengths of no-fault insurance is that you do not have to wait for the other driver’s insurance company to process payments for vehicle damage or medical costs. Claims are covered quickly and without hassle.

It might also save you the cost and time of suing to recoup compensation.

In no-fault insurance, you decide the maximum amounts of coverage on your vehicle and personal injury. You are not at the mercy of the other driver’s insurance limits. 

In no-fault insurance, there are some exceptions to this. If one party has significant property damage exceeding a specific amount or if one party sustains debilitating injuries or has a permanent physical disability, these cases are deemed exceptions.

In such extreme cases, no-fault states allow third-party lawsuits to be filed against the driver who was deemed responsible.

Even though it is no-fault insurance, legally, the fault is assigned. When police are called to the scene of the accident, they will investigate. They report. They do not assign fault. That is up to your auto insurance company. They assign fault or no fault. 

Your car insurance company will assign a percentage of fault to each of the drivers. This helps the companies determine fault. Each driver can be found to be 0% to 100% at fault for the accident.

Cons of No-Fault Insurance

As Nofaultinsurancequotes.com notes, a major drawback of no-fault insurance is that you have to claim against your own insurance company—even if the fault was not yours. Your insurance rates will most likely go up.

Another con of no-fault insurance is that the driver who caused the accident cannot be sued—except in unusual cases. While costly lawsuits are avoided, drivers who caused accidents are rarely held accountable.

 

car accident Oregon

Pros of At-Fault Insurance

The biggest pro is that bad drivers are held accountable. If you were not found at fault your insurance record is clean and your premiums don’t go up.

Cons of At-Fault Insurance

The downside is that claims may take a long time to get processed. Lawsuits often result. These are costly, stressful, and time-consuming for a driver who had nothing to do with causing the accident.

In the event of the at-fault driver having low/mild personal injury and/or liability coverage, you might end up suing him/her for damages. You may never recover your costs.

Things to Be Wary of in Oregon State Fault Insurance

The insurance payout from the insurance company of the at-fault driver may not be enough. Your losses may exceed the maximum amount of the insurance policy.

The company may be trying to reach a low settlement.

For these reasons, it is always wise to engage the services of a personal injury attorney. With a skilled lawyer, your rights to a fair settlement are protected.

You also need to be wary of time limits on making claims. Suing the other driver and/ or the insurer of the vehicle he/she was driving the company is time-sensitive. Your lawsuit must be filed in under two years of the accident date.

Ryan L. Hilts warns that Oregon personal injury law is neither simple nor easy. His firm urges those who are making accident claims to hire an attorney with several years of experience in personal injury law.

 

If you have questions about making a claim against an Oregon driver, or if you have any other questions like if Oregon is a no-fault state, contact Ryan Hilts Law at (503) 726-5960 or at RYAN@RYANHILTSLAW.COM for more information.