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.
Which States are No-Fault States?
Currently, there are twelve no-fault American states.
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
- 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.
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.
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.