Car accidents occur every day in Oregon. Unfortunately, even the safest driver can become seriously injured by another negligent or reckless driver. It is best to be prepared when a car accident occurs and understand Oregon’s laws regarding who is liable to pay for car accident injuries. States are either at-fault or no-fault states when it comes to car accidents. Oregon is one of many at-fault states.
What Does it Mean to be a “No-Fault” State?
There are 12 no-fault States, including New York, Florida, and New Jersey. In a no-fault state, every driver must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage. Every state sets a minimum coverage amount, but many states require at least $50,000 of PIP coverage. PIP coverage will pay up to a certain amount of injured drivers’ and passenger’s medical bills. It will also pay a portion of their lost wages due to being unable to work because of their injuries.
PIP works well when someone suffers a mild or even a moderate injury in a car accident. However, when someone becomes seriously injured or becomes permanently disabled in a car accident, the PIP insurance will not cover their medical bills and lost income. Instead, the injured driver may need to bring a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident and the vehicle owner’s insurer.
What Does it Mean to be an “At-Fault” State?
Oregon is an at-fault state when it comes to car accidents, also called a tort state. The driver who is deemed liable for the car accident has the financial responsibility to pay for the resulting damages. The at-fault driver’s insurance company must cover the injured victim’s medical costs, vehicle repairs, and all of their damages caused by the car accident.
In a no-fault state, if you become injured in a car accident caused by someone else, you will first file a claim with your own car insurance company’s PIP policy. Conversely, when you become injured in a car accident in Oregon, you must file the claim through the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy. Determining fault immediately after a car accident becomes a crucial part of claiming compensation. As a result, it is vital to call 911 and request emergency medical services, when necessary, and that a police officer come to the car accident scene. The police officer will conduct a brief investigation and write a police report that can be helpful in determining fault.
The Pros and Cons of At-Fault Insurance Laws
Policymakers have debated whether at-fault insurance laws or no-fault insurance laws are preferable. There are pros and cons to each type of insurance policy. The most significant advantage of at-fault insurance laws, including Oregon’s laws, is that the at-fault driver is ultimately responsible for providing compensation to injured victims. Why should an innocent victim’s car insurance premium increase because they have to file a claim with their own insurance company when they are not at fault? At-fault insurance laws hold negligent drivers accountable.
The downside of at-fault insurance laws is that it can take longer for claims to be processed. Insurance adjusters will attempt to prove that their policyholder was not at fault for the accident to avoid paying out a claim to the victim. When an insurance company is acting in bad faith, or when the insurance policy does not cover all of the expenses the victim incurred, lawsuits can result. Lawsuits are costly, stressful, and time-consuming, especially for a car accident victim who did not cause the accident.
The Pros and Cons of No-Fault Insurance
No-fault insurance laws allow victims to recover compensation quickly after an accident. Instead of each driver having to prove that the other driver’s insurance company should cover medical expenses, each driver pursues a claim with their own insurance company. If you have a passenger in your vehicle, they can go to their own insurance company to receive compensation for medical bills and loss of income.
The process of seeking compensation through your insurance policy speeds up the time it takes for you to recover damages after an accident. It can also save victims the time and expense of bringing a lawsuit to recoup the compensation to which they are entitled. Additionally, under no-fault insurance laws, you are not at the mercy of another driver’s insurance policy and insurance limits. We have represented many clients who were the victims in car accidents caused by drivers without car insurance.
When a driver does not have car insurance, the victim must file an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is optional and typically costs more money. Not all drivers carry it. In no-fault states, every driver must carry a minimum amount of PIP insurance coverage. You can decide the maximum amount of your PIP insurance coverage. When you are injured in a car accident, you can rest assured that your policy will cover the damages because you are the person who took out the policy in the first place.
Contact a Portland Car Accident Lawyer Today
Have you been injured in a Portland car accident? If so, you may be wondering how you should go about recovering compensation for your injuries. One of the most important things you can do is contact a Portland car accident lawyer.
The experienced personal injury lawyers at DuBois Law Group, LLC Have a proven track record of recovering millions of compensation from at-fault drivers. We will advocate for you to hold the negligent driver who caused your injuries accountable and obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact our Portland car accident firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.