Portland Car Accident Lawyer
Our Portland car accident lawyers understand that a car accident can be traumatizing experience with long-term consequences. Car accidents can happen to anyone, and they usually occur when we least expect them. Distracted driving, drunk driving, and dangerous road conditions are all common causes of car accidents in Portland. Accident victims often suffer devastating injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries that require expensive long-term medical treatment and time off of work. If you or somebody you love was injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, contact our Portland car accident lawyers today for a free consultation.
Why Hire DuBois Law Group for Your Car Accident Claim?
- For years, our Portland personal injury attorneys have helped Portland residents secure the compensation they deserve. We have collected millions of dollars in settlements and jury verdicts for our clients.
- Our attorneys value open, honest, and direct communication from consultation to settlement. You will always be able to contact your attorney throughout your claim to ask questions and receive case updates.
- Our firm understands that financial hardship often accompanies a car accident. That’s why we operate on a contingency fee basis—if we do not secure compensation in your claim, you will not be charged legal fees.
How Can Our Portland Car Accident Attorneys Help?
If you or your loved one has been injured in a Portland car accident, you need an experienced Portland accident attorney on your side. Under Oregon law, when one driver’s negligence causes another person’s injuries, the negligent driver can be held financially liable for the victim’s injuries. Our car accident lawyers have a proven track record of obtaining the full amount of compensation that our clients deserve. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation to learn how we can help you.
If you were a pedestrian and struck by a vehicle, on the other hand, don’t hesitate to visit our Portland pedestrian accident lawyers page.
What Are The Common Causes of Portland Car Accidents?
Thousands of Oregon residents become injured in car accidents every year. Unfortunately, many of these car accidents are entirely preventable. Human error is one of the leading causes of car accidents. Some of the most common causes of Portland car accidents are:
- Distracted drivers: Drivers are more distracted than ever. It only takes five seconds of looking down to check a text message to travel the length of a football field. Drivers today are tempted continuously by smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other technological devices. In addition to technology, eating, drinking, small children, pets, and talking to friends while driving can also cause car accidents.
- Intoxicated drivers: Despite the efforts of the state of Oregon and nonprofit groups, drunk driving continues to cause car accidents. When a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and causes a car accident, he or she is liable for the resulting damages. Proving that the outside driver was intoxicated is not always easy, but our experienced Portland car accident lawyers can help.
- Manufacturing defects: Defective products such as faulty airbags, auto glass, or seat belts can also cause car accidents. While most car accidents are the result of negligent drivers, some occur due to defective auto parts. Defective or improperly maintained tires are another common cause of car accidents. Defective tires are particularly dangerous when semi-trucks are involved. One semi-truck tire blowout can lead to a dangerous multi-vehicle car accident. If this applies to you, please reach out to one of our skilled Portland product liability lawyers.
- Dangerous road conditions: Cities and states must maintain their roads in a reasonably safe manner. When they fail to keep their roads safe, victims have the opportunity to bring a claim against the liable municipality. Bringing claims against government entities requires a different set of procedural rules with strict deadlines. The sooner you speak to a car accident attorney in Portland about your case, the better.
- Speeding and reckless drivers: When drivers speed, the likelihood of causing a car accident increases dramatically. Speeding and reckless drivers cannot correct their driving to avoid collisions or slow down to avoid crashing into another vehicle.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accident injuries can range from relatively minor, superficial injuries to severe and debilitating harm. Some of the most common types of injuries include the following.
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain damage
- Sprains and strains in the back
- Soft tissue injuries, like whiplash
- Broken bones, especially in the arms and legs
- Amputated or mangled limbs
- Cuts and bruises
- Chest injuries
What Are Some Oregon Car Insurance Laws?
Like many states, Oregon follows a fault-based system when it comes to car accidents. Drivers who are responsible for collisions must use their insurance policies to pay for their victims’ damages. To uphold these financial obligations, Oregon law requires all drivers to hold the following minimum amounts of liability coverage.
- $25,000 in bodily injury or death liability per person per accident
- $50,000 in total bodily injury or death liability per accident
- $20,000 for property damage per accident
You can choose to purchase higher amounts of insurance if you wish. Oregon also requires all drivers to hold $15,000 in personal injury protection coverage per person, as well as uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
Under Oregon’s fault-based system, you have three options to pursue compensation after a car accident: filing an insurance claim against the at-fault party, filing an insurance claim under your own policy, or filing a personal injury lawsuit in Oregon civil court.
Most car accident claims begin in the insurance stage and progress to a lawsuit if necessary. However, you may want to pursue a lawsuit from the beginning if your damages exceed the at-fault party’s policy limits. Speak to a Portland auto accident attorney at DuBois Law Group to identify your optimal path to maximum recovery.
How Do You Determine Liability In Your Car Accident?
The first step in bringing a car accident lawsuit or filing a claim for insurance compensation involves determining who is liable for the accident. Multiple parties can be liable or at fault for the car accident. Drivers have a duty to drive reasonably under the circumstances. When they breach that duty by driving while intoxicated or driving negligently, they are liable for the injuries that result.
Oregon follows a legal doctrine called modified comparative negligence. If you have been injured in a car accident, the amount of compensation you can obtain will be reduced by your percentage of fault in the accident. If your share of fault for the accident is higher than the other parties involved, you will not be able to obtain compensation.
The experienced car accident lawyers at DuBois Law Group, will conduct a thorough investigation into your car accident case and help you determine who is liable. In some cases, the negligent driver is liable, and his or her employer is also liable for negligent hiring practices. In other cases, two negligent drivers may have caused the car accident that resulted in your injuries. In that case, you would be able to bring a lawsuit against both at-fault drivers.
How to Prove Negligence in a Portland Car Accident Claim?
Since Oregon is a fault car accident state, you will need to provide enough evidence to prove the at-fault driver’s liability to secure compensation in your case. During the insurance process, a representative will conduct an investigation into the accident and determine how it occurred. You will need to provide enough evidence to the representative to establish the other driver’s fault, including police reports, medical records, photographs, and witness testimony.
In a lawsuit, the requirements for proving liability are more rigid. You and your Portland auto accident lawyer will need to gather enough evidence to prove four crucial elements.
- Duty: The at-fault driver owed you a duty of care at the time of the collision. This element is relatively easy to prove because all drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and follow Oregon traffic laws.
- Breach of duty: The at-fault driver breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act. For example, speeding, running a red light, changing lanes without checking for other vehicles, and distracted driving are all breaches of a driver’s duty to follow the law and drive safely. Pieces of evidence that you can use to establish the breach may include surveillance footage, witness testimony, and police reports.
- Causation: The at-fault driver’s breach of duty caused your accident and resulting injuries. For example, a driver who is under the influence of alcohol may speed through a red light, colliding into your vehicle as it travels through the intersection. The accident would not have occurred but for the at-fault driver’s actions.
- Damages: You sustained damages in the accident that you can collect in your lawsuit. These may include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Many pieces of evidence can help prove your right to damages, including bills, invoices, pay stubs, and journal entries.
How Can You Recover Compensation After Your Car Accident?
Successful personal injury plaintiffs are entitled to economic and non-economic damages resulting from their injuries. The Portland car accident attorneys at DuBois Law Group advocate assertively for our clients so they can obtain the full amount of compensation they deserve. Whether you are filing a claim with the out all driver’s insurance company or plan to file a personal injury lawsuit, we can help you negotiate for the most compensation possible. Car accident victims are entitled to compensation for the following damages:
- Loss of earnings and loss of expected future earnings
- All medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Any other costs associated with your injuries
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Involving Car Accidents
If you have lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a negligent or reckless driver, your family may be entitled to compensation through a lawsuit with the help of one of our Portland wrongful death lawyers. Nothing can bring your loved one back. However, succeeding in a wrongful death lawsuit can help your family recover compensation that can help you move forward as you grieve, including money for your late loved one’s medical expenses, funeral, and loss of future income.
Recovering Financially When the At-Fault Party Has No Insurance
In some cases, drivers do not carry liability insurance as required by Oregon law. As a result, you cannot file a claim against his or her coverage. This situation can make it very difficult to recover compensation.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, there are a couple of potential avenues to compensation that you could explore. You could file an uninsured motorist claim, or you could pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver in Oregon civil court.
Filing an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claim
Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage can pay for your losses if you are injured by a driver who does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance for your needs. This coverage also kicks in if you are injured in a hit and run.
Like liability insurance, Oregon requires all drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 total per accident. If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver in Portland, you likely already have this coverage.
You could pursue a claim against your own insurance coverage and secure compensation for medical care and lost wages, but not vehicle damage. You may need additional coverage to pay for these losses.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against an Uninsured Driver
Sometimes, UM coverage is not enough to pay for the losses that you suffered. To collect the difference, you may want to escalate your claim into a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Through this civil claim, you can recover compensation for all of the losses that you suffered in the collision.
Because the at-fault driver does not have insurance, however, he or she would be solely liable for your settlement. This means that he or she will likely need to pay for your damages out of pocket.
Many people do not purchase insurance because they cannot afford it. In these situations, the driver could struggle to pay for your losses, and you may not recover the compensation that you need. It is important to consult with a lawyer who can identify your optimal path to recovery.
How Is an Uninsured Motorist Claim Different from Other Claims?
Uninsured motorist claims are very different from traditional types of car insurance claims. The first major difference is that UM/UIM insurance does not pay for vehicle damage; you will need to pursue a claim under your collision coverage to pay for these losses.
Another major difference is that you are filing a claim under your own insurance policy instead of with the at-fault driver’s carrier. While the insurance company may interview the other driver to determine who was at fault, the terms of the coverage do not depend on the policyholder’s actions. You are the policyholder in this situation, and the purpose of the investigation is to find out who caused the collision.
Should You Speak to the Insurance Company After a Car Accident?
After your collision, a representative from the at-fault driver’s insurance company may reach out to you and ask you to provide a statement. He or she may claim that your statement will help settle your case faster, putting money in your pocket sooner than entering the entire claims process. While these benefits may seem valuable, it is important to deny the representative’s request and refuse to speak to him or her before you consult with an auto accident lawyer in Portland, OR.
It is important to remember that your goals for maximum compensation differ from the goals of the insurance company. The representative likely wants to protect the company’s bottom line, and it is not in the company’s best interest to pay a very high award. Immediately after the accident, you may not have a comprehensive picture of your damages and long-term care requirements. As a result, the first settlement offer you receive may be insufficient to meet your needs, leading to financial hardship later on.
Additionally, if you provide a statement to the insurance company early on in your case, the company may use it against you later on. You may not know certain facts about your accident at this point in your claim. If you find out new information down the line, the company could point to inconsistencies in your statements as a way to question your credibility and potentially reduce or deny your award. While not all insurance representatives may use these tactics, it is important to be cautious and seek the help of a car accident attorney.
A Portland car accident lawyer from DuBois Law Group can act as an advocate for your rights during each stage of the process. He or she can conduct a full investigation into your accident and identify key pieces of information to support your claim. Your lawyer will handle all negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf and evaluate each settlement offer to ensure that it is sufficient to meet your needs. If you do need to speak to the insurance company, your attorney can provide you with important tips to help protect your future claim.
How Long Do You Have to File an Oregon Car Accident Lawsuit?
If you are involved in a Portland car accident, it is important to act quickly. Under Oregon law, all civil lawsuits are subject to a rule known as the statute of limitations, which sets a filing deadline for certain claims. If you do not file your case within the appropriate time period, the court will dismiss your case.
For Oregon car accident lawsuits, you will need to file your claim within two years of the accident. There are certain exceptions to the statute of limitations, but they are not common in car accident claims. To protect your right to compensation, it is important to speak with an attorney and take the first steps toward filing your claim as soon as possible following the collision.
What to Do After a Portland Car Accident?
The moments after a car accident can feel overwhelming. You may be seriously injured, concerned about the health and safety of your passengers, or feeling disoriented. In these situations, it is important to act quickly and get the help you need.
- First, call 911 as soon as possible and request that police and emergency medical services come to the scene. Speak to the responding officer if possible and collect his or her name and badge number. The officer will create a report that you can use to establish your claim.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible and save all records related to your injuries. Your medical records will serve as key pieces of evidence in your future case. You should always seek medical care after an accident, even if you do not feel hurt. You may have internal or underlying injuries you are not aware of, and it is important to receive prompt treatment to avoid future complications.
- If possible, document as much evidence at the scene as possible. Take photographs of your injuries, vehicle damage, and the other driver’s car. You should also photograph the area around the scene, including any debris, skid marks, and traffic signs or signals.
- Exchange information with the at-fault driver, including contact, license, and insurance details. Keep your interactions brief and do not make any statements about your injuries or how the accident occurred. Anything you say could be used against you in your future case, even if you discover new information later on.
- If there are any witnesses in the area, ask for their names and contact information as well. These individuals could provide valuable testimony in your future case.
Once you receive medical treatment, contact a Portland car accident attorney at DuBois Law Group as soon as possible. Your attorney can begin investigating your accident and explain your optimal pathway to maximum compensation.
Contact Our Portland Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you have become injured in a Portland car accident, DuBois Law Group is here to help. Personal injury lawsuits can become complicated, and it is best to start the process of gathering evidence as soon as possible. You only have two years from the date of your car accident to file a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Speak to a car accident attorney as soon as possible. Whether you plan to file a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit, we can help. Contact DuBois Law Group today to schedule your initial consultation. You can reach us online or by calling our local law office at (503) 222-4411.
Check Out Our Learning Resources!
For more information on Oregon traffic laws and how they relate to your case, please take advantage of the following resources right here on our site: