Car Accident Attorneys in Bend, Oregon
Many of us are aware that driving a car is one of the riskiest activities we can engage in, and yet it’s one that almost all of us do on a regular basis. As a result, it increases the chance of being in an auto accident at some point in our lives, and it is vital to know what to do if that happens. Accident claims are handled differently depending on the state you’re in. Oregon’s laws will dictate how and when you’ll be able to file a personal injury claim to pursue damages.
If you’ve recently been in a car accident, you need to consult with a reliable personal injury attorney. Contact our team at the Haskett Williams Monaghan Attorneys at Law. We have the knowledge, resources, and compassion to assist you during these challenging times. We proudly serve those in and around Bend, Oregon, including the surrounding areas of Redmond, Sun River, Prineville, and Sisters.
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Liability for Car Accidents in Oregon
The first thing to understand about accident claims is knowing whether you live in a “no-fault” or “at-fault” state. Oregon operates under an at-fault model, which essentially means that whoever caused the accident is also the one who’s legally responsible for paying any damages associated. This is in contrast to a no-fault system, where each driver must first file for compensation under their own insurance policy before pursuing a claim with another party, regardless of fault.
That said, you still do have some options if you find yourself involved in a car accident.
File a claim with your own insurance: Though state law doesn’t require you to first file on your own insurance policy, you still may choose to do this. In many cases, doing this can get you compensation much more quickly than waiting for a claim to be processed through the other driver’s insurance. It’s worth noting that if the crash resulted in serious property damage or personal injury, the payouts may not be enough to cover all your expenses which means you may also have to file another claim with the other driver.
File a claim against the at-fault driver: If you feel the other driver caused the crash and you don’t want to file a claim with your own insurance provider, you can move directly to filing a claim against the other driver.
File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver: In cases where the damages are so extensive that the insurance plans don’t cover all your expenses or the other driver was under or uninsured, you may have to pursue a lawsuit.
Oregon Insurance Requirements
Compared with many other at-fault states, Oregon has fairly extensive insurance requirements for its drivers. For example, most at-fault states don’t require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP), but in Oregon, you have to carry at least $15,000 in PIP. Other Oregon insurance requirements include:
$25,000 in liability coverage for bodily injury for one person if the accident was caused by the policyholder.
$50,000 liability coverage for total bodily injury for one person if the accident was caused by the policyholder.
$20,000 in liability coverage for property damage.
$25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist protection.
State Laws Addressing Personal Injury Claims
One of the most important questions you should be asking along with your insurance adjuster is, “Who is liable in a car accident?” To answer this, you’ll need to be familiar with the concept of comparative fault. Oregon uses a modified comparative fault rule when deciding cases like this which means that fault (liability) can be shared between the parties. This will come into play when you’re seeking damages or when a judge is determining the final settlement in a personal injury claim and evaluating car driver negligence.
For instance, if you’re found to be 20% liable for an accident occurring, your total payout will be reduced by 20% (if you were originally awarded $50,000 you’d now only get $40,000). Additionally, you can only seek damages if your own share of fault is less than 50%. If you go over this threshold, you’ll be barred from seeking any damages.
When filing a personal injury claim you’ll need to be aware of the state’s statute of limitations, which says you have only two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. Speak with a dependable personal injury attorney for legal assistance.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
If you’re representing someone who lost their life in a car accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. Oregon only allows the deceased “personal representative” to file, but if this role hasn’t been established, a judge can assign it, and it will typically fall to the surviving spouse or other close family member. Families may be awarded damages related to funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, pain, and suffering, and lost wages and benefits.
Car Accident Attorneys Serving Bend, Oregon
If you’d like to learn more about your options after a car accident injury, reach out to our knowledgeable team at the Haskett Williams Monaghan Attorneys at Law in Bend, Oregon. We can help you pursue the compensation you deserve, that way, you can look toward a brighter future.