Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Oregon Car Accident Report Basics

It's a safe bet that nobody has "get into an auto accident" on their to-do list, but sometimes, it's unavoidable. Amid the broken and twisted metal, plastic, and glass, it can be difficult to know what to do next. As Oregon has specific laws pertaining to accidents, it's a good idea to know them ahead of time.

Understanding your legal obligations and what your insurance company will expect from you can help smooth your path to recovery. In this article, we'll discuss how Oregon's laws deal with auto accidents and insurance claims. You'll learn what to do after a motor vehicle crash and how to file an insurance claim.

Our attention will be on accident reports, an extremely important document that will determine who gets what and from whom. Two different accident report forms come into play in Oregon, so being informed is crucial.

Read on to learn about Oregon motor vehicle crashes and accident reports.

Oregon Driving Requirements

Oregon's driving laws are similar to those of most other states. To be a legal motorist, you must have a valid driver's license and register your vehicle with the state. Some other aspects are specific to Oregon.

Fault and Negligence Laws in Oregon

After an auto accident, a common question is who was responsible and who will pay for damages. Oregon is an at-fault state, which means that someone will be determined to have been most to blame for the accident. That person will be responsible for paying for property damages. This is usually done through their insurance company.

Oregon also requires all drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If you're injured in an auto accident, you'll be covered by your PIP, but you have the option of trying to gain recovery from the at-fault driver as well.

Oregon employs the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. This affects all drivers in a motor vehicle crash. Anyone deemed more than 50% responsible for the accident is barred from receiving damages. Those who were less than 50% at fault will have their award reduced by the percentage they were at fault.

For a deeper dive into Oregon's auto laws and what you can recover, look at FindLaw's Oregon Car Accident Compensation Laws article.

Required Auto Liability Insurance in Oregon

If you're behind the wheel in Oregon, you must have at least the mandatory minimum of auto liability insurance coverage. While the state recommends getting more coverage, these are the legal auto insurance minimums required:


  • Bodily injury and property damage liability

    • $25,000 per person

    • $50,000 per crash for bodily injury to others

    • $20,000 per crash for damage to others' property


  • Personal injury protection

    • $15,000 per person

  • Uninsured motorist

    • $25,000 per person

    • $50,000 per crash for bodily injury

You are required to provide proof of insurance on demand. Failure to do so can result in fines and impounding of your vehicle.

Oregon Car Crashes and Accident Reports

In the wake of an accident, there's a lot to do. It's tough to focus with your ears ringing and your head spinning. If you can, take a deep breath and try to gain a sense of calm before proceeding.

What To Do After an Auto Accident in Oregon

The first and most important thing to remember is not to leave the scene of the accident. Doing so may have you facing a hit-and-run charge, which is a Class A misdemeanor.

After checking yourself for an injury, check on the well-being of everyone else involved in the accident. If needed, provide whatever aid you can. Call 911 and describe any injuries to the operator.

You must call the police to the scene if:

  • There is an injury
  • There is a fatality
  • There is more than $2,500 of property damage
  • A vehicle needs to be towed from the scene of the accident

It's a good idea to have law enforcement come in any case, even if you think the accident is minor.

Take pictures of the accident scene from different angles before moving any vehicles. Whether or not the police are coming, you need to exchange information with the other driver(s). Make sure you get all of the following:

  • Contact information such as name, address, phone number, and date of birth
  • Driver's license number
  • License plate number
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Names of any passengers
  • Driver's insurance company name and policy number
  • Contact information and a statement from any witnesses

Let your insurance company know that you've been in an accident. They'll open a claim file, which can help speed things up. To further understand what to expect with the insurance process and how long it'll take, consult FindLaw's Oregon Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline article.

Oregon and Accident Reports

As mentioned earlier, if certain conditions are met, you'll have two different accident reports resulting from your car crash. Both are important, but one will require more work from you.

The first will be the police accident report filled out by the responding police officer. When giving your statement, try to be calm. Tell your side of the story without lies or embellishments. Even if you think you may have been at fault, don't offer that opinion.

The officer will take the statements from all present and combine them with observations to fill out the report. Some of the objective data they'll note will include:

  • The position of the vehicles and the point(s) of impact
  • A diagram of the scene of the accident
  • Weather conditions
  • Traffic signals/signs
  • Lighting/time of day
  • Location and type of roadway
  • Sobriety of drivers

This report will be used by the insurance companies to determine who was the at-fault driver. You'll need to get a copy from the police station of the jurisdiction that responded to your call.

In most states, that would be the end of it, but not in Oregon. Even if the police showed up and created a traffic report, you are still required to file an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report if there was an injury, a fatality, a vehicle towed, or at least $2,500 in property damage.

This is required by the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles and must be done within 72 hours of the accident. Failure to do so can result in the suspension of your license.

Form 735-32 requires a good deal of information, so it's a good idea to print out a copy and keep it in the glove box of your car in case of an accident. Once filled out, you can email a copy back to the Oregon DMV or drop it off at one of their branch offices. Make sure you keep a copy for yourself.

Oregon Car Accident Report Overview

The chart below offers a recap of Oregon car accident reports and other legal information about Oregon car accidents.

State Statutes

Oregon Revised Statutes, Oregon Vehicle Code § 811.720

When To Report:

You must file an accident report to the Oregon DMV if the accident results in any of the following:

  • Death
  • Injury
  • Property damage exceeding $2,500 (including vehicle damage, even if your vehicle is the only one involved in the crash)
  • Any vehicle is towed from the scene of the accident

How To File a Car Crash Report in Oregon:

If you are involved in an accident meeting the above conditions, you must file an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report with the Oregon DMV within 72 hours of the accident. The report must contain, at the very least:

  • Name, address, and telephone number of all drivers and passengers involved in the accident
  • Driver's license numbers of any drivers involved
  • Make, model, year, and color of all vehicles involved
  • License plate numbers and registration information for all vehicles involved, as well as the state where the vehicle is registered
  • Estimated monetary damages for any vehicle damage, including a diagram showing where the vehicle was damaged
  • Estimated monetary damages to non-vehicle property
  • Insurance information, including contact information for the insurance company that each driver or passenger has
  • Location, time, and date of the accident
  • Any weather, road, light, or traffic conditions during the accident
  • If a pedestrian or bicyclist was involved in the accident, their name, sex, age, injury, the direction they were going, and action they took

Note: State laws are subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts that include 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.

Additional Questions About Oregon Accident Reports

It's important to have all the information possible when dealing with state laws and the DMV. The following answers may prove helpful to you.

I drove up from California to visit my mom in Portland and got in an accident while in Oregon. Do I still have to file a report with the Oregon DMV even though I live out of state?

If the accident happened in Oregon and met the minimum conditions, you must file the Oregon Traffic Crash and Insurance Report. You can email it to the Oregon DMV.

My medical bills have exhausted my PIP coverage. The other driver in my accident was at fault. Can I try to make them pay?

Oregon is an at-fault state, also known as a tort, and you can pursue a personal injury claim to recover damages. Reach out to your insurance carrier first. They can try to make the other driver's insurance company cover the overage.

If you choose to move forward with an accident claim, consider speaking with a personal injury attorney for legal advice.

My accident was nothing. Just a couple of scratches. Do I still need to file with the Oregon DMV?

If you were involved in an accident where the damages (to vehicles and non-vehicle property) were less than $2,500, you can report to the Oregon DMV if the other party doesn't have insurance, but you are not required to do so. However, in the accident report, be sure to specify that the accident does not meet mandatory reporting criteria.

Research the Law

Have Questions About Filing a Car Accident Report in Oregon? Speak to an Attorney

Certain laws require drivers to file a report after a car accident, and failure to do so can result in the suspension of a driver's license. It's a good idea to contact a local car accident attorney to address any questions you may still have on how to file a car crash report in Oregon.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • A lawyer can help seek fair compensation on your behalf
  • Car accident claims are complex and insurance carriers have lawyers on their side

Get tailored legal advice and ask a lawyer questions about your accident. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options