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Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Oregon?

If you have been in a Portland car accident, you may be wondering what steps you have to take next. Are you legally required to report your car accident? Yes, under Oregon law, you must report your car accident when your car accident meets specific requirements. If you have been injured in an Oregon car accident, consulting with a Portland accident lawyer is one of the best steps you can take. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you understand your legal obligations and rights. At DuBois Law Group, we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. 

When Do You Have to Report an Oregon Car Accident?

Drivers are not under a legal obligation to report all Oregon car accidents. Drivers must file an accident report with the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 72 hours of a car accident when:

  • It results in injury, death, or property damage over $2,500 (including vehicle damage, even if your vehicle was the only vehicle damaged in the accident), or
  • If any vehicle is towed from the car accident scene 

Failure to report a car accident in Oregon will result in your driver’s license being suspended. When one of the conditions mentioned above occurs, you must file an accident report or an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report with the Oregon DMV within 72 hours of the car accident. If you are not sure whether the damage is over $2,500, it is wise to err on the side of caution and complete a car accident report.

Why File a Car Accident Report?

First, you need to file a car accident report because Oregon state law requires you to do so within 72 hours of the car accident. If you fail to report a qualifying car accident to the Oregon DMV, you could lose your driver’s license for one year, making it difficult, if not impossible, for you to get to work and run errands. 

Additionally, filing a car accident report will help you lay the foundation for any insurance claim you make for compensation. If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, filing an accident report can also help your claim. When you begin submitting an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, you or your injury attorney in Portland will need to obtain the official police report and the report you made to the DMV.

What If Both Drivers Agree Not to File a Report?

In some cases, both drivers involved in a car accident decide that it is not worth the hassle to pursue Insurance compensation. The at-fault driver may agree to write a check for the damages, so they do not have to inform their insurance company. If this happens, you may think you do not have to report the accident to the DMV. 

After all, both parties agreed that they would not report the accident. However, you still need to protect yourself and fill out an appropriate DMV accident report and make sure you turn it in on time. Doing so will protect your ability to recover compensation, and you will not open the door for the other driver to file a report, leaving you in serious trouble.

How to File a Report After an Oregon Car Accident

When you file a report after an Oregon car accident, your report will need to include all of the following information:

  • The driver’s license number of all drivers involved
  • The name, telephone number, and address of all drivers and passengers involved in the car accident
  • The model, make, year, and color of all of the vehicles involved
  • The license plate numbers and registration information for all of the vehicles involved in the accident and the state in which the vehicles are registered
  • An estimate of the monetary damages to the vehicle or vehicles, including a visual diagram showing where the vehicle was damaged
  • The insurance information, including the contact information for each driver’s insurance company
  • Any road, weather, or traffic conditions that could have played a role in the accident
  • The time, date, and location of the accident
  • Whether a pedestrian or bicyclist was involved in the car accident and their name, age, sex, injury, and the direction which they were going when the accident occurred 

Police Reports are Not the Same as Accident Reports

Sometimes people confuse police reports with filing a car accident report. Many Oregonians assume that as long as the police filed a report, they do not need to report the car accident. However, filing a police report is not the same thing as filing a mandatory car accident report. Under Oregon law, a police report does not count as filing a car accident report through the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles. To meet Oregon’s mandatory reporting laws, you will still need to file a specific car accident report with the DMV, even after a police report has been filed for the accident.

When Do I Not Have to Report a Car Accident?

You do not have to report every car accident in Oregon. If your accident did not involve any damage to one or more vehicles, or the total damage is under $2,500, you do not have to report the accident. Keep in mind that non-vehicle property damage counts toward the $2,500 limit. Suppose you ran over someone else’s property, such as their expensive racing bicycle, and your truck was barely damaged. The bicycle was destroyed, and it was worth over $2,500. In that case, you will need to file a report. You will need to specify that your car accident does not meet Oregon’s mandatory reporting criteria in the accident report.