Auto accidents are a very common occurrence in Oregon, which makes familiarity with Oregon car accident compensation laws an unfortunate necessity for many drivers. This article discusses what you need to know about Oregon car accidents, including what to do after an accident, types of damages and their limitations, and how to get appropriate compensation for your injuries and losses.
What Should You Do After an Accident in Oregon?
Here is a list of what to do if you are in an accident:
- Don't leave the scene; leaving the scene of the accident, even if it's minor, could be considered an illegal hit-and-run
- Get to safety out of traffic and check everyone for injuries (and consider providing first aid to any car accident victims)
- Call the Oregon highway patrol or the police department for help and medical assistance; you will want to make sure you get a copy of the police report or accident report
- Collect contact information and driver's insurance information from the people who were driving any vehicles involved in the accident
- Take pictures of the scene and get contact information of any witnesses; also, check with nearby businesses or homeowners for a copy of their security camera footage, if applicable
- Call your insurance adjuster and notify them of a possible car accident claim
- Get checked out by a doctor
You can and should consider doing all of this before bringing a personal injury lawsuit.
Oregon Car Accident Compensation Laws: At a Glance
Below, you'll find a table outlining key sections of Oregon's car accident compensation laws, including limits on damages and the statute of limitations.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Types of Damages Allowed in Oregon
If you've been in a car accident, there are typically two types of damages to consider: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are the concrete monetary losses you've incurred as a result of your injury or damage to property, while non-economic damages, on the other hand, are the more subjective, nonmonetary costs of an accident, like emotional distress and the loss of spousal companionship.
Economic damages can include:
- Car repairs or replacement
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
Non-economic damages can include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Loss of affection or companionship
"Modified Comparative Negligence" Rules Apply
In Oregon, you may recover damages even if you were partly to blame for causing the accident, but you must not be more than 50% at fault to do so. According to the modified comparative negligence standard, any damages that are awarded will be reduced in proportion to the degree that you were at fault. For example, if you were 10% to blame for the accident and the other driver was 90% at fault, you may file a lawsuit, but an award of $1000 will be reduced by $100.
Limits on Damages in Oregon
In Oregon, there is no cap on economic damages like medical expenses and lost future earnings. However, the state does limit some non-economic damages to $500,000. Additionally, the failure to use your seatbelt could reduce your award by up to 5%. Lastly, there is a timing issue with filing your lawsuit in court, known as the statute of limitations. For personal injury cases, you have two years, and for property damage cases, you have six years. Finally, if your claim is against the state government, you must file within 180 days or within one year for a wrongful death claim against the state.
Learn More About Oregon Car Accident Compensation Laws: Talk to a Lawyer
The modified comparative negligence rules can significantly affect your ability to recover damages after a car accident. Fortunately, you can speak with an experienced car accident attorney. That way, you'll know more about the strength of your claim and potential compensation amounts moving forward.