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FAQ: Oregon Auto Collisions

Below are a few of the frequent questions we hear after our clients are injured in an auto collision.  Our team is always available to answer any questions you may have if you or someone you know is injured in an automobile collision.

1)   I just got in an auto collision—what do I do?

Exchange information with the other driver. Take a picture of their license and insurance card, their license plate, and take photos of both vehicles. Get the name and phone number of any witnesses. If you feel any pain or stiffness, or know you are injured, go see a doctor. If you can’t get into your primary care doctor, go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care. Report the claim to your insurance company (this is called “opening up a PIP claim”). You will also need to fill out the Oregon DMV Traffic Accident & Insurance Report within seventy-two hours. Call and consult an attorney.

Do not give any statements to the other driver’s insurance company and do not attempt to call them directly.  You are not required to sign a medical release from the other driver’s insurance company.  This is a frequently used tactic and can hurt your claim.  Do not sign any documents the other driver’s insurer sends you.

 

2)    How much does it cost to hire an attorney for an auto collision case?

Our firm takes these cases on a contingency basis, meaning we only get paid if we win the case. If we don’t win the case, you don’t owe any attorney fees.

3)    I don’t have health insurance, how do I pay for my medical bills after getting injured in an auto collision?

All Oregon auto insurance policies are required to provide Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP), which provides a minimum of $15,000 in medical coverage. This is a no-fault benefit, meaning whether you cause or are the victim in a collision, your auto insurance company will pay for your medical bills.  Even pedestrians are covered under PIP coverage in certain situations.

4)    What if I an uninsured driver hit me?

All Oregon auto insurance policies are required to provide Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM), which provides a minimum of $25,000 in coverage.  In the event an uninsured driver hits and injures you, your own UM policy steps into the shoes of the at-fault person and will compensate you the same way an at-fault driver’s insurance carrier would.

5)    Due to my injuries from the auto crash, my doctor told me I can’t work for more than two weeks. I can’t afford this much time off. What do I do?

If you are off of work for two weeks or more, your PIP policy will cover 70% of your lost wages (with a maximum of $3,000 a month).  These benefits are even retroactively available—meaning that if you are off of work because of your injuries and after two weeks your doctor then writes you a disability note, you can get benefits for the time you were off of work.  This wage loss benefits runs for up to fifty-two weeks, as long as your doctor states that you need to be off work. The remaining 30% of your lost wages can be collected from the at-fault driver’s insurance company once you are done treating.

6)    What if a car hits me while I’m walking, riding my bike, or skateboarding?

If the driver of the car was at fault, you have a claim against their insurance policy. If you have an Oregon automobile policy or live with a family member who has an Oregon automobile policy, you can get medical coverage under that PIP policy.  If you don’t have health insurance (or a PIP policy to access), the at-fault driver’s policy will provide you with PIP medical benefits.

7)    I got in an auto collision while driving for work. Can I still bring a claim for damages or am I stuck with worker’s comp?

If you were in a collision with a third-party who does not work for your employer, you can bring a claim against them. Workman’s Compensation will provide the primary coverage for your medical bills and lost wages (as opposed to PIP), but you will still have a claim against the other driver’s liability policy for pain, suffering, and interference with your life.

8)    A car hit me while I was riding my motorcycle. Do I still have a case?

Yes, as long as the other driver was at fault. Insurance companies are not required to provide PIP benefits for motorcycles, so you may not have immediate coverage for medical bills & lost wages.  But, you will have a claim against the other driver for those expenses, as well as pain and suffering damages. Your health insurance can cover the bills up front, and they will be reimbursed out of the settlement with the at-fault driver.

9)    If I was a passenger in a single car crash do I have a claim?

Yes, if the driver was negligent you have a claim against their auto insurance.

10) How do I get my car fixed?

If another driver is at fault their insurance will pay for your property damage. Some people prefer to go through their own insurance. The only downside is that most policies have a deductible. This amount will be deducted from the repair estimate, or total loss settlement if you use your own insurance. If the other party admits fault right away, your insurance can waive the deductible, or you can get the deductible reimbursed from the at-fault carrier.

Our firm specializes in auto collision and personal injury cases.  If you feel you are in need of legal assistance, it is critical that you seek legal advice as soon after the crash as possible. Call our office today for a free consultation: (503) 288-8000.

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