Car accidents can cause serious damage, from thousands of dollars in repair costs to severe injuries that require intense and lengthy medical care. If you are the victim of a car crash, you may wonder what your options are for collecting compensation after a collision.
Your legal options depend on whether the state where the crash occurred follows a fault or no-fault insurance system. Oregon is a “fault” car accident state. It follows a traditional fault-based system, which requires the driver responsible for the crash to pay for the victims’ damages.
Under a no-fault insurance system, the person responsible for a car accident does not have to pay for the damages the victims sustain. Instead, each party files a claim with their own insurance company to receive compensation. No-fault states require drivers to purchase certain amounts of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to uphold this financial responsibility.
Only 12 states operate using a no-fault insurance system, including Florida, New York, Utah, and Hawaii. Each state has variations on the no-fault rules, including differing insurance requirements, options for progressing to a lawsuit, or a choice between fault and no-fault systems.
The vast majority of states, including Oregon, follow a traditional fault-based system. The drivers responsible for causing a car accident must pay for the damages of their victims. To uphold this financial responsibility, Oregon requires all drivers to carry minimum amounts of liability insurance.
You can purchase higher amounts of the required coverage if you choose. Failure to drive without the proper insurance can lead to severe penalties, such as fines, loss of driving privileges, and the annual filing of proof of insurance with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The fault system gives Oregon residents three options for pursuing compensation after a car accident.
Usually, Oregon residents begin their claims by filing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and progress to the lawsuit stage if the insurance process is unsuccessful. However, you may want to begin in the lawsuit stage if your attorney advises you to. For best results, speak to a Portland car accident attorney before pursuing a car crash claim.
For example, if you suffer excessive amounts of damages that exceed the insurance company’s policy limits, the company will likely deny your claim. In this situation, it may be best to pursue a lawsuit from the beginning to increase your chances of claiming maximum possible compensation.
Are you suffering from the aftermath of an Oregon car accident? Do not wait to seek help — contact our Portland, Oregon office as soon as possible, we are available to take your call 24/7 (503) 272-8986.
Our car accident attorneys fight aggressively in the courtroom and at the negotiating table to help you secure the compensation you need to recover. We will handle all paperwork, guide you through discussions with the insurance company, and represent your best interests during trial and mediation.