As one of Portland's premier personal injury law firms, Pacific Injury Law Firm is well-versed in the myriad of questions following a car accident. Our expertise in Oregon's complex legal landscape and our commitment to our clients' well-being are at the core of our practice.
With the staggering number of car accidents in the United States (approximately 6 million per year), we understand that navigating the aftermath can be overwhelming. To help you through this challenging time, we've compiled a list of the eight most frequently asked questions we receive from our clients after a car accident.
- What should I do immediately after a car accident? Your safety and well-being should be your top priority. First, assess your physical condition and the condition of your passengers. If you or anyone involved requires immediate medical attention, call 911. It's crucial to receive appropriate medical care, even if you feel fine – symptoms may not manifest until hours or days later.
Next, move your vehicle to a safe location, if possible. Turn on your hazard lights and set up warning triangles or flares to alert other drivers. Exchange information with the other party, including names, contact information, driver's license numbers, insurance information, and vehicle details. Avoid discussing fault or responsibility for the accident.
Lastly, gather evidence. Take photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any injuries. Speak to witnesses and document their contact information.
Should I call the police? In Oregon, you must call the police if the accident results in injury, death, or significant property damage. Even in less severe cases, it's advisable to call the police to document the incident. A police report can be valuable evidence in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
When should I contact my insurance company? Notify your insurance company as soon as possible following the accident. Your policy likely contains a clause requiring prompt reporting. Failing to report the car accident promptly could jeopardize your coverage.
When speaking with your insurance company, stick to the facts and avoid speculation. Do not admit fault or liability, as this may be used against you in subsequent negotiations or legal proceedings.
What if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured? Oregon law mandates that drivers carry a minimum level of auto insurance, which includes uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Your insurance policy may cover your injuries and damages if you're involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. Consult with an experienced Oregon personal car accident injury attorney to understand your options and protect your rights.
What types of compensation am I entitled to? Victims of car accidents may be entitled to compensation for their losses, including:
- Medical expenses: Current and future medical costs related to the accident.
- Lost wages: Compensation for income lost due to time off work and diminished earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering: Monetary compensation for physical pain and emotional distress.
- Property damage: Repair or replacement costs for your vehicle and other personal property.
- The specific amount and types of compensation you may receive depend on the details of your case. A knowledgeable Oregon personal injury attorney can help you maximize your recovery.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in Oregon? Oregon has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Generally, you have two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. However, some exceptions, such as cases involving minors or claims against government entities, may apply. Failure to file within the statute of limitations may result in losing your right to seek compensation. Consult with an attorney to ensure you meet all deadlines.
Do I need an attorney? While it's not legally required to hire an attorney after a car accident, enlisting the help of an experienced Oregon personal injury lawyer with expertise in litigating car accidents is highly recommended. Navigating the complexities of insurance claims and legal proceedings can be daunting, especially when focused on your recovery.
A skilled attorney can: - Evaluate your case and determine the appropriate course of action. - Investigate the accident and gather evidence to support your claim. - Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. - Represent you in court, if necessary. - Maximize the compensation you receive for your injuries and damages. - Also, most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won't pay any legal fees unless you win your case.
- What if I'm partially at fault for the accident? Oregon follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which allows you to recover damages even if you're partially at fault for the accident. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you're found to be 30% at fault and your total damages amount to $100,000, you would receive $70,000 in compensation. If you are more than 50% at fault, you lose your right to recover certain forms of compensation. Note that being at fault does not impact your right to seek medical help for injuries or your coverage under Oregon no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) laws.
Seeking a free consultation with an Oregon car accident lawyer is easy.
It's crucial to remember that fault determination can be a complex and contested process. An experienced personal injury attorney can advocate for your interests and help you receive your deserved compensation.
The aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, but the attorneys at Pacific Injury Law Firm are here to help. Our dedicated attorneys are committed to guiding you through every step of the process and fighting for the compensation you deserve. If you've been involved in a car accident in Portland or the surrounding area, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.