Auto accidents are tough under the best of circumstances. However, the more prepared you are, the easier the process becomes. Gaining insight into how your case is handled will better equip you on what steps need to be taken.
Each state has different laws, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with these state-specific auto accident laws. For instance, does your state operate on a “no-fault” or “at-fault” system? If you are a resident of Oregon, which system does it follow? Let’s look at how this could affect your case.
No-Fault vs. At-Fault Systems
What’s the difference between these two systems? Before exploring Oregon-specific auto accident laws, it’s helpful to understand the difference between no-fault and at-fault systems. In a no-fault state, neither party is considered to be at fault for the accident. Regardless of who is responsible for the collision, each driver seeks compensation from their own insurance provider. A party is not required to first prove the other party is at fault before receiving compensation. However, there are some exceptions. If one of the involved parties is suffering from significant injuries or property damage, they can file a third-party lawsuit against the responsible party.
The purpose of a no-fault system is to expedite the insurance process and provide compensation sooner. With a no-fault system, you have to submit a claim to your insurance provider even if you are not at fault.
Most states, however, use the traditional at-fault system. In at-fault states, each insurance company pays for damages measured against the degree of fault with each party involved. If you are the injured party, you will file a claim with the insurance company of the driver that is responsible. The driver who caused a collision is responsible for the damages of the injured party; the insurance company of the party found at fault pays the injured victim.
This means that, after an auto accident, you must first prove who is at fault and to what degree. This is typically handled by an adjuster assigned by your insurance company. If you disagree with the insurance adjuster, you can seek uncompensated damages by filing a lawsuit.
Which System Does Oregon Follow?
For auto accidents, Oregon uses an at-fault system. Since Oregon is an at-fault state, the injured party files a claim with the insurance company of the driver responsible for the accident. If you can prove they are at fault, their insurance company will pay damages for injury or property damage. It’s possible to share liability. In this case, the insurance companies will determine to what degree each party is responsible.
However, Oregon law requires insurance policies to include no-fault provisions. This provision requires insurance companies to provide personal injury protection (PIP) to anyone paying for insurance in Oregon, even if they are considered at fault. PIP pays up to a certain amount by your insurance provider for medical expenses, funeral expenses, childcare expenses, lost income, survivors’ loss benefits, and household services. This payout also extends to passengers of auto accidents.
What Compensation Is Available for At-Fault Auto Accidents?
Each case is different, and compensation is determined by the severity of injuries or property damage sustained. However, there are several types of compensation that are typically covered. These include:
- Medical Expenses: Reimbursement for your medical expenses includes payments for hospital visits, physical therapy, pain medication, and future medical bills related to the auto injury.
- Lost Income: This includes payment for times you weren’t able to work while recovering. You can request compensation for these lost wages. If the injury affects your ability to continue your current line of work, you can also sue for future loss of wages.
- Pain and Suffering: This refers to both physical and emotional pain experienced during the accident and recovery process. It’s intended to help compensate for the impact an accident has on your daily life. This includes anxiety, depression, physical pain, strained relationships, and inability to engage in daily activities.
- Punitive Damages: This is paid on top of compensatory damages if the guilty party has performed outrageous conduct. It’s meant to deter future misdeeds and help the victim if compensatory damages are not sufficient. In an auto accident, this may be awarded if someone was driving drunk.
Should You Seek Legal Representation?
Often, insurance companies don’t have your best interests in mind. Though a provider may not go as far as to act in bad faith and wrongfully deny coverage, they may attempt to minimize the amount of compensation you receive. Since insurance companies may act in their own interests, it is helpful to seek legal representation. A personal injury attorney acts in your interest and helps you receive fair compensation after an accident.
If you have suffered an accident resulting in injury or property damage, the expert team at Warren Allen LLP is here to help. We provide solid legal advice and representation. If you are attempting to receive compensation after an accident, we are here to help you receive fair compensation and the best resolution possible. Contact our firm today to learn what your options are.
Once you’ve been involved in an accident, immediately begin keeping comprehensive records and documentation. This will help determine fault and increase your chances of receiving compensation. After an accident, collect the names and contact information of any witnesses. Keep records of injuries and damages through photos and writing. Seek medical care and keep copies of receipts. Report your symptoms and keep a written account of your experiences. Make sure to faithfully continue medical treatments.
Even though the effects of an accident can be difficult, taking the proper steps can help mitigate the process and may entitle you to more compensation. Get the help you need so you can receive proper care and compensation. With the right attorney, you can focus on what matters most – healing!