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How Is Fault Determined in an Oregon Car Accident?

Posted on June 21, 2021 in

Oregon is a fault car accident state, meaning that drivers who are responsible for collisions must pay for the damages of their victims. If you are injured in a collision with a negligent driver, you could file an insurance claim or lawsuit against him or her to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. However, proving fault in an Oregon car accident claim can be a highly complex process—and you may need an attorney to guide you through the process.

How Is Fault Determined in an Oregon Car Accident?

Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Claim

Since Oregon is a fault car accident state, you have two options to recover compensation after a collision: an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. You will need to follow two similar but distinct processes to prove liability in each of these claims.

During the insurance process, a representative will be assigned to your case and conduct an investigation. The representative will review all available pieces of evidence, such as witness testimony and medical records, and determine whether or not the policyholder caused the accident.

Proving negligence in a lawsuit is a more complex process. You and your attorney will need to provide evidence to establish the following four elements.

  • The at-fault driver owed you a duty of care. All drivers have a duty to follow the law and drive safely.
  • The at-fault driver breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act.
  • The at-fault driver’s breach of duty caused your accident.
  • You sustained damages in the accident that you can collect in your lawsuit.

Evidence such as surveillance footage, witness testimony, police reports, and medical records can help you prove these elements and establish your right to compensation.

 

What to Do After an Oregon Car Accident

To establish the other driver’s negligence, you will need to present sufficient evidence to the court or insurance representative. This evidence is often freshest in the moments after the crash. If you are injured in an Oregon car accident, take steps to protect yourself and preserve as much evidence as possible.

  • Call 911 and report the accident to law enforcement. Speak to the responding officer and ask for his or her information so you can find your police report on a later date.
  • Seek medical attention, even if you do not feel injured. Your medical records will serve as valuable evidence in your future claim. You may have internal or underlying injuries that you are unaware of at the time of the collision, so it is important to receive treatment as soon as you can.
  • Document as much evidence at the scene as you are able. Photograph your injuries, damage to your vehicle, and any broken possessions that you may have sustained. You should also photograph any debris, traffic signs or signals, and damage to the other vehicle.
  • Exchange contact information with the at-fault driver and any witnesses in the area. You should also collect license and insurance details from the other driver. Keep your interaction with the at-fault party brief and do not make any statements about the accident or your injuries.

After the accident, a representative from the other driver’s insurance company may contact you and ask you to provide a statement. You should decline this request and speak to an attorney as soon as possible. While a lawyer advocates for your rights during the claims process, the insurance company often wants to protect its bottom line—and does not always have your best interests in mind.

As soon as possible following the collision, contact a Portland car accident attorney to discuss your legal options.