Car Accident Attorney in Portland, Oregon
Being involved in a car accident can be a difficult and confusing experience. In 2020, there were nearly 28,000 people injured in crashes on Oregon’s roadways according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. Even when injuries are minor, victims still may be dealing with property damage and mental trauma.
If this applies to your situation, you’re likely wondering about your option for seeking compensation, but you may not know where to start. If you’re ready to talk about your case and how to begin the personal injury claim process, call me at Injury Lawyer PDX, LLC. I’m proud to serve those in the Portland, Oregon area and surrounding region including Clackamas, Washington, Multnomah, Marion, Lincoln, and Tillamook counties. Your first consultation is free.
Liability for Car Accidents in Oregon
For insurance purposes, Oregon is considered an “at-fault” car accident state. Essentially, this means that whoever caused a car crash to occur is also the person who’s responsible for paying any damages related to it. In practice, it means that most drivers who are involved in an auto accident that wasn’t their fault will first want to file a claim against the at-fault driver to pursue damages like medical expenses due to injury or property damage.
In some cases, you may also decide to file a claim through your own insurance policy regardless of who was at fault. Some drivers may be able to receive compensation faster by doing this, but the total damages you’ll be able to recover will depend on your level of coverage. You should also contact your own provider to report the accident, even if you don’t end up filing a claim.
If you’ve filed a claim on your policy and the other driver but you still have uncovered expenses related to the accident, you may then need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This last step may be necessary, but it can also be a long and complicated process which is why it’s always a good idea to contact a local car accident attorney for help with this.
Oregon Insurance Requirements
Oregon has fairly high insurance rate requirements for drivers compared with other states. To start, all auto insurance policies must come with both bodily injury and property damage coverage which comes to at least $25,000 per person for injuries, $50,000 in injury protection per crash for others, and $25,000 per crash for property damage.
In addition to this, Oregon also requires all drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP). This is most often required in “no-fault” states (ie. those where both drivers must first file a claim against their own policy regardless of who caused the crash). But in Oregon, all drivers must carry at least $15,000 per person in PIP. If you decide to file a claim on your own policy after a crash, it will be your PIP that pays out first for medical expenses.
Lastly, drivers must also have uninsured motorist (UM) protection which comes to $25,000 per person and $50,000 per crash for bodily injuries. Those who neglect to carry this required insurance can be issued a citation and will also still be held legally liable for any damages they cause.
State Laws Addressing Personal Injury Claims
One important state law to understand anytime you’re pursuing a personal injury lawsuit is comparative fault. This rule acknowledges how fault for an accident can be shared between the drivers.
For example, if you file a claim against the other driver, but a judge determines you held 20% of the responsibility for the accident occurring, your total compensation will be reduced by 20%. So if your final settlement was $30,000 you would only receive $24,000 to account for your share of car driver negligence.
You also need to be aware of the state’s statute of limitations which for most cases is two years from the date of the accident. But if you’re only pursuing compensation for property damage, you have six years from the incident date.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
If someone you love lost their life as a result of a car accident, you’re likely eligible to sue for compensation on their behalf. Unlike a personal injury claim, with a wrongful death claim, you have three years from the date of death to file.
To do this, you must show that the death was caused by the negligence of another individual. Furthermore, the state only allows the “personal representative” of the deceased to file a claim. If this has not been assigned in a will or other estate planning document, a judge can intervene to place someone in this role which is typically a close family member such as a surviving spouse or adult child.
Car Accident Attorney in Portland, Oregon
To speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in Portland, Oregon, reach out to me at Injury Lawyer PDX, LLC. With my nearly three decades practicing law, I’m committed to not only being a fierce advocate for your rights but also being an honest and compassionate listener. Call today to get started with a free consultation.