Bend Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in Oregon and across the nation. If you have been hurt in a car crash that was someone else’s fault, contact Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC right away. Our Bend, Oregon car accident lawyers have a history of success representing injured people.
Why Choose Our Firm?
- There is no cost to you unless we win. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay us no fees until we recover compensation for you.
- Our lawyers will act in your best interests at all times. We are transparent and honest with our clients.
- We have an excellent reputation, numerous recognitions and awards, and more than 100 years of combined experience.
Car Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports the following car accident facts pertaining to the most recent years for which statistics are available:
- 37,461 people were killed in traffic crashes on America’s roadways in 2016.
- 2,443,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents in 2015.
- The fatality rate per 100,000 population in 2016 was 11.59.
- The injury rate per 100,000 population in 2015 was 761.
Statewide Car Accident Statistics
In Oregon alone, the Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports that in 2016, there were:
- 448 fatal crashes
- 30,284 non-fatal injury crashes
- The fatality rate was 1.36 – a 9.27% change from the previous year
- The traffic crash injury rate statewide was 121.54
What are the most common car accident injuries?
Most vehicle accident injuries are minor but remember that we said even minor injuries can lead to major medical expenses. Common injuries we deal with in the aftermath of a Bend car accident include:
- Broken and dislocated bones
- Severe lacerations
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
- Whiplash injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
These injuries vary in severity, but all of them can lead to expenses that can lead to financial instability for victims and their families. The cost for first-year medical care for a spinal cord injury ranges from $359,000 to over $1.1 million according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents have a variety of causes, but most are caused by driver error. According to the 2016 Oregon Traffic Crash Summary, common driver errors leading to a crash include:
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Failure to avoid a stopped vehicle
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Tailgating (following too closely)
- Failure to maintain the traffic lane
- Driver inattention
How important is it to seek medical care after a car crash?
- Car accidents cause a wide variety of injuries. Some of them are serious and require immediate medical attention in the emergency room. If this is the case, a crash victim should be taken to the hospital from the scene in an ambulance.
- However, most vehicle accident injuries are not catastrophic. This does not mean that they will not cause you difficulties. Even minor injuries can lead to major medical expenses, especially if you ignore a minor injury and it gets more severe.
- You need to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. This could mean a trip to the ER, or it could mean a visit to your primary care physician. Tell your doctor about all of your complaints. Tell the doctor about any symptoms that appeared in the minutes, hours, and days following the car crash and any other symptoms, even if the symptoms have ended.
- You also need to tell your doctor about your job. If you are employed, a car crash injury can prevent you from performing your job duties. Your doctor may advise you to stop working for a while after the crash. Not only will this lead to you having medical expenses, but your injuries could cause you to suffer from lost income as well.
Who Is Liable?
Oregon is a modified comparative negligence state. This means if you are assigned part of the blame for an accident caused by another driver, you can still recover damages, but they will be reduced by your share of fault, provided it is not greater than the fault of the other party. If your level of fault is determined to be greater, you will not be able to recover any damages at all.
For example: In a case where another driver caused your accident and injuries, the jury determines that you were 10% responsible for the crash. If your damages total $100,000, they will be reduced by 10%, leaving you with a $90,000 award.
What types of damages can I receive for my car accident claim?
There are various damages that a Bend car accident victim may be able to recover. These can include both economic and non-economic damages such as:
- Coverage of your past, current, and future medical expenses related to the crash
- Recovery of lost wages and benefits if you are unable to work
- Loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
- Possible punitive damages against the negligent party
Your attorney will work to calculate your total losses in order to properly negotiate a settlement with the insurance companies. However, insurance companies are not your friend, and their goal is to pay as little as possible in a settlement. If they do not offer an amount that will satisfactorily cover your total expenses, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit.
What if I am hit by an uninsured motorist or a hit-and-run driver?
All drivers in Oregon are required to carry at least $25,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. If you are struck by an uninsured motorist or a hit-and-run driver, your insurance will “fill-in” for the at-fault driver’s insurance. You will know quickly whether or not a driver who hits you does not have insurance. The police will conduct a preliminary investigation of the crash and tell you whether the other driver has insurance.
What evidence should I gather after a car accident?
The most important thing to do after a crash is to ensure everyone is safe. You need to report the collision and ensure law enforcement gets there. Then, you need to do everything you can to preserve evidence of the crash.
Nearly everyone has access to a camera now thanks to the prevalence of smartphones. If you have a camera at the time of the crash and you are not seriously injured, start taking pictures of everything. You do not know exactly what evidence will be important, so snap as many photos as possible:
- Your vehicle and its condition (any damages)
- Any other vehicles involved and the damage
- Skid marks left by vehicles
- Debris left on the roadway from the vehicles
- Any dangerous roadway conditions
- The weather at the time of the crash
- Any visible injuries that anyone involved sustained (only take photos of other people with their permission)
When you take pictures, try to take them of the same things at varying distances to give a good idea of the overall scene. Take one at 5 feet away, then 15 feet, then 20 feet or further. Get photographs of the same thing from differing angles. All of these photographs will help claims adjusters or work as evidence in a personal injury lawsuit.
If you are injured and unable to take photos, ask someone else to do so for you. If you had a passenger in the vehicle that is unharmed, ask them to photograph the scene. In many cases, a witness to the crash may stop and offer assistance. You can ask them to take photographs and send them to your phone through text message or an email.
Will witnesses be helpful for my claim?
Witnesses can be helpful to your case. While you may be able to speak to witnesses at the scene, you will be better off getting the contact information of anyone present so you or your attorney can reach them about the crash. Do not rely on law enforcement to properly interview everyone and obtain their contact information. These witnesses will be helpful in a case, as they can share:
- The setting of the crash: the intersection or roadway, signs, construction if it was present, the direction of traffic, etc.
- The condition of the roadway and weather conditions at the time
- Estimates of each vehicle’s speed, evidence of reckless driving, failing to obey traffic laws
- Accounts of what happened right before, during, and immediately after the crash
The most helpful thing a witness can do if you were struck by a negligent driver is give their straightforward account of what they saw happen. We want facts from witnesses, not what they heard about an incident or think may have happened.
What if I was partially at fault in my accident?
Oregon is what is called a modified comparative negligence state. This means that you can still recover damages from a car accident personal injury lawsuit, but your damages will be reduced depending on your share of the negligence.
As long as your share of the negligence is deemed to be less than the other party’s share, you will be able to recover damages. If your level of fault is greater than the other party’s, you will not be able to recover any damages. Oregon law is binding on judges and juries and guides insurance settlement decisions as well.
Proving fault is often difficult and involves looking at the totality of the crash. That is why it is so vital to secure help from a qualified and experienced Bend car accident lawyer to help with your case. You can be sure the other side will do everything they can to lower their liability in the case.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Car accidents can cause serious injuries with long-term consequences for the victim, including extensive medical bills and time away from work. If you have been involved in a serious wreck that was someone else’s fault, your best course of action is to consult with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Our Bend, Oregon personal injury lawyers can:
- Thoroughly investigate your accident to determine fault and liability
- Obtain and preserve evidence
- Tailor a compelling case based on the facts
- Negotiate skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf
- Fight aggressively in court for the compensation you deserve
Connect with Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC
At Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC, we are dedicated to pursuing justice and compensation for our clients. Our attorneys have a high success rate, both in and out of the courtroom. Contact us today if you have been hurt in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence.