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Can You Sue After a Car Accident in Portland if You Are Not Hurt?

Posted on July 24, 2023 in

Yes, you can sue for a car accident in Portland, even if you are not hurt – at least under certain circumstances. The accident must have been at least partly the defendant’s fault, and you must have a viable property damage claim. Oregon car accident law will govern any claim you file. 

If circumstances permit, consider filing an insurance claim instead of filing a lawsuit. After all, you can always file a lawsuit later.

How Much Can I Receive Through My Portland Car Accident Lawsuit?

You will face some limitations on how much you can sue for after a car accident that doesn’t injure you. One limitation is the fact that if you were not injured, your losses are limited to property damage. Another limitation is the amount of insurance coverage and other financial resources the other driver is likely to possess. The amount you can win is unlikely to be much more than the market value of your car at the time of the accident.

Oregon requires all drivers with cars registered in Oregon to purchase the following mandatory minimum auto insurance:

  • $15,000 in personal injury protection (for your own injuries);
  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury liability;
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury liability;
  • $20,000 per accident for property damage liability.
  • Uninsured motorist protection ($25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury.)

If you sustain more than $20,000 in property damage, the defendant’s insurance policy might not be enough to fully cover your claim. Additionally, some Oregon vehicles aren’t even required to carry insurance. If you are lucky, however, the defendant will have purchased more than the mandatory minimum insurance.

Incidental Expenses

You might suffer expenses other than damage to your vehicle. You might incur out-of-pocket expenses, for example, such as renting a car to replace your damaged car. You might suffer lost earnings if the unavailability of transportation causes you to miss work. If you retain a lawyer, they might be able to identify other incidental losses that you suffered.  

“Someone Totaled My Car. Can I Sue?”

You can sue if you have a viable claim that the accident was someone else’s fault. Prepare your claim in the following manner:

  • Collect repair estimates, receipts, and other documentation of your losses
  • Send a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s liability insurance provider. A lawyer can help you with this.
  • Work with the insurance company’s adjuster to provide them with appropriate evidence of your losses.
  • Provide the insurance adjuster with contact details for the auto repair shop that generated your estimates.
  • Take other actions as your lawyer advises.

If you file an effective insurance claim, the insurance company might respond with a generous settlement offer. In that case, you won’t even need to go to court. On the other hand, they might be stingy. If they are, you can file a lawsuit using the evidence you gathered for your insurance claim. 

Even then, you won’t necessarily go to trial. Instead, you might gather evidence proving the other driver’s fault using the pretrial discovery process and then return to the negotiating table armed with (hopefully) persuasive new evidence.

What You Need To Prove To Win

You need to prove the following four elements to win a negligence claim for damage to your vehicle:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care. All drivers have a duty to drive safely.
  • The defendant failed to meet the demands of their duty of care.
  • You suffered property damage.
  • The defendant’s failure to meet the demands of their duty of care caused your property damage.

You must prove each one of these elements on a “more likely than not” basis.

Do You Need an Auto Accident Lawyer?

“No injury” is the last thing many personal injury lawyers want to hear. Many lawyers will refuse to take a no-injury car accident case unless property damage is extensive. That’s okay if your loss is limited to a small amount of vehicle damage – in that case, you might not need a lawyer. 

However, if your car was totaled or if it suffered extensive damage, it might be a good idea to schedule a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer. Insurance companies know many negotiation and claim settlement tricks. It is the job of a car accident lawyer not to fall for any of them.

A final word of caution: select your lawyer with care. Researching the reputation of Portland car accident lawyers will pay off in the long run.

Contact Our Portland Car Accident Attorneys at Tillmann Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you were injured in an accident in Portland, OR, please contact our Portland car accident lawyers at Tillmann Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer to schedule a free consultation today.

Tillmann Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer
101 SW Main St. #1905
Portland, OR, 97204
(503) 773-3333

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