Portland, OR Car Accident Attorney
Car accidents are the leading cause of personal injury claims in the United States. Every year, thousands of Americans suffer serious injuries and some lose their lives in dangerous highway collisions. Unfortunately, many of these accidents happen because drivers are reckless or irresponsible.
Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC was named to the list of “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News in the practice area of personal injury litigation – plaintiffs. We have been recognized for excellence in pursuing justice for car accident victims.
We have been able to secure many successful settlements and verdicts for our clients involved in auto accidents
- Our client was awarded $1.3 million after his wife was killed and he lost a leg in a head-on semi-truck accident.
- Our client suffered a severe brain injury in an accident caused by poor highway maintenance. Our client was awarded $1.2 million.
- Our client was awarded $1.1 million after sustaining a brain injury in an auto accident.
- Confidential settlement for a passenger injured when a driver was over-served and visibly intoxicated at a bar
At Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC, we believe that reckless and careless drivers should be held responsible for the damage they cause. To us, “liberty and justice for all” is more than a phrase; it is a mandate. Our Portland car accident lawyers work hard to provide serious advocacy for the individuals we represent, and we trust that our hard work will be to your benefit.
What causes car accidents?
Far too many accidents are initiated by reckless driving behaviors. Other collisions occur when drivers fail to adhere to basic rules of the road or drive while distracted. Drunk drivers pose another huge risk to motorists on the road. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 1 in every 5 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime.
Some common types of accidents include:
- Texting Driver Accidents
- Auto Product Liability
- Hit and Run Accidents
- Fatal Car Accidents
- Rear End Accidents
National and state statistics provided by the NHTSA:
- In 2012, more than 2.3 million Americans suffered injuries caused by car accidents.
- In 2012, there were 149,358 car crashes in the states of Washington and Oregon alone.
- An average of 93 people are killed in car accidents every day in the United States.
- Of these daily nationwide fatalities, 28 deaths are caused by drunk driving.
Oregon Car Accident Statistics
Car accidents are common in Oregon. When we turn to the latest reporting year of data from the Oregon Department of Transportation, we can see that there were 57,726 total crashes. Looking more closely at those numbers, we see that there were:
- 403 fatal crashes
- 28,397 injury crashes
- 28,926 property damage only crashes
While many vehicle crash injuries may seem minor, it is important to point out that even minor injuries can lead to major medical expenses. It is not uncommon for our Portland car accident lawyers to help clients suffering from the following injuries after a crash:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Loss of or damage to a bodily organ
- Dismemberment or amputation
- Significant disfigurement
- Other injuries that inhibit a person’s daily activities
These injuries all require significant medical attention and possibly long recovery times for victims. In many cases, a Portland car accident victim cannot work while they recover, or they may be disabled and unable to return to work at all. This could result in them losing the income they need to afford both their medical and regular household expenses. Car accident victims and their families are often put into serious financial jeopardy.
Oregon Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
What is the statute of limitations for an Oregon car accident?
All states put time limits in place, called the statute of limitations, that dictate how long a person has to file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident. This statute of limitations does not apply to a car insurance claim, which is the way that most people receive compensation after a crash. However, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit if the insurance carrier denies a claim or does not offer a fair settlement.
In Oregon, the statute of limitations for a car accident claim is two years from the date the accident occurs. If someone dies as a result of the crash, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is three years from the date of the crash.
If a lawsuit is seeking compensation for only property damage to the vehicle, then a person has six years to file a lawsuit.
Regardless of which deadline applies to your case, if you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has passed, the case will likely be dismissed.
Please note that you should not wait long to file a claim with your insurer of the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. All insurance companies require you to make a claim, or at least give notice of an incident that could trigger a claim, within a short amount of time after an incident occurs.
What is comparative negligence in an Oregon car accident?
In many cases, both parties are at fault in an accident. Suppose you are injured in a Portland car accident and take the other driver to court. After hearing the evidence, the jury agrees that the other driver was to blame, but they also think you were partially at fault as well. In this case, Oregon’s “modified comparative negligence” law will be in effect. This means that you can still recover damages for your injuries, but these damages will be reduced according to your share of the negligence in the accident.
For example, suppose you get into a car crash and sustain $10,000 worth of medical bills. If you take the driver to court and the jury finds that the other driver was 90% at fault and you were 10% at fault, you will not receive the full $10,000 in damages. Instead, you will receive $9,000 (that is the $10,000 minus the $1,000 that accounts for the 10% you were at fault).
If your level of fault exceeds the fault of the other party (or parties) involved, then you are barred from recovering any compensation under Oregon law.
Determining fault is one of the most important parts of a car accident case. By working with a Portland car accident attorney, you will gather the necessary evidence to prove the other side’s fault.
How do you report an Oregon car accident?
Reporting a car accident in Oregon is almost always necessary. According to the Oregon Driver & Motor Vehicle Services, drivers have to file an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report within 72 hours after a crash if the following occurred:
- The damage to any vehicle or other property exceeds $2,500 (even in a single-vehicle crash)
- If any vehicle is towed from the scene of the crash
- If there are any injuries or fatalities as a result of the accident
In most cases, you will need to call 911 after a crash and let police and EMS come to the scene. By doing so, you could be helping your case by ensuring there is a police report to use.
What should you do immediately after an accident?
Once you call 911, there are several steps you should take. Remain calm and check on other drivers who may be injured if it is safe for you to do so.
- If you have a phone or camera, take photos of the entire scene, including all damages, injuries, traffic patterns, weather conditions, causes of the crash, and more.
- Gather the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses to the crash.
- Ask the police how to obtain an official copy of the accident report.
- Seek medical attention for any injuries you sustained. Even if the injuries seem minor, please know that the signs and symptoms of many car accident injuries do not appear for hours or days after a crash. By going to the ER or your doctor, you are establishing a link between the crash and your injuries as well as looking out for your health.
What are the Oregon car insurance requirements?
Oregon has required minimums for car insurance coverage. Failing to carry the following is illegal and could result in legal trouble:
- $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident
- $50,000 liability coverage for total bodily injury or death in an accident
- $25,000 liability coverage for property damage per accident
- $15,000 in personal injury protection, per person
- $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person and $50,000 per accident
What kind of compensation is available for an Oregon car accident?
There are several types of compensation available after a car accident in Portland. When you are struck by another driver, you could be entitled to both economic and non-economic compensation, including the following:
- Your medical expenses related to the accident
- Rehabilitation costs related to your recovery
- Lost wages and benefits if you cannot work
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of personal enjoyment damages
In some cases, you may be entitled to punitive damages if another driver’s gross negligence was to blame for your injuries. This could be the case for drunk and distracted driving incidents.
It is important for those injured in a crash to know that the first settlement made by an insurance carrier will likely be much lower than you truly deserve for the incident. Work with a Portland car accident lawyer when negotiating with insurance carriers. It may be necessary to file a lawsuit in order to get the compensation you deserve.
Discuss Your Case with Our Portland Car Accident Attorneys
Please call Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC today for the legal help you deserve. Begin by scheduling a free case evaluation to discuss your situation.
Our firm has recovered millions of dollars for car accident victims, including numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts. We have the necessary resources to prepare all car accident cases for trial, should going to court be necessary. Whatever it takes, we are committed to securing the most favorable result possible for our clients.