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, some 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.
Uninsured? Read Oregon Uninsured Motorist Laws
Motor Vehicle Insurance in the State of Oregon
It is important that you have a at least the 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.
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.
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.
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.