Liability coverage covers medical expenses, property damage, and other damages to third parties. The insurance company will pay damages up to the coverage limits. Many drivers buy policies with higher coverage limits. This shields them from personal liability for serious car accidents.
Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays medical and other out-of-pocket losses. PIP usually covers the policyholder and passengers.
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage protects from drivers with inadequate insurance. It also covers you if you suffer an injury in a hit and run accident.
Liability coverage does not apply to any damages that you incur. If you are at-fault you will have to rely on PIP or collision coverage, for example.
Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Oregon
Driving without insurance in Oregon can result in stiff penalties, including:
- A fine of up to $1,000;
- Registration and driver’s license suspension;
- Vehicle impoundment;
- Reinstatement fees; and/or
- An obligation to file proof of compliance every month.
You may also have to carry SR-22 insurance. SR-22 is a form that your insurance company must file with the Oregon DMV. This form verifies that you have car insurance. Many insurance companies consider SR-22 to be high-risk. This could cause your insurance premiums to increase.
If you cause a car accident and do not have insurance, you may be personally liable for damages.
Reporting a Car Accident in Oregon
Oregon auto accident laws requires drivers to report car accidents. Drivers must file an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report with the DMV within 24 hours if:
- The car accident resulted in more than $2,500 in damage to your vehicle;
- The car accident resulted in more than $2,500 in damage to property other than a vehicle;
- A vehicle is towed from the scene; or
- The car accident resulted in the injury or death of any person.
Recovering Damages in an Oregon Car Accident Case
There are several different ways injured drivers can recover damages. The first step is usually to contact your insurance company to report the accident. Your insurance company will work with the other driver’s insurance company to determine fault.
If the other driver is at-fault his insurance company will pay for your damages. If you are at-fault, then you must turn to your own insurance company for compensation. This could include collision coverage or PIP coverage.
When the other driver is at-fault his insurance company will often try to settle. The insurance company will often send you a written offer. This initial offer is often a lowball figure. Insurance companies attempt to settle cases fast to limit their liability.
You can also be proactive and send the insurance company a formal demand letter. A demand letter details your damages and requests a specific amount to settle your case. Parties that do not have the benefit of an experienced Oregon auto accident lawyer often undervalue their claims. A lawyer can help you determine what your case is worth.
Another option to recover damages is to file a lawsuit. Accident victims usually list the other driver and his insurance company as defendants. Some cases may also involve third-party defendants. There are two main reasons why car accident victims file a lawsuit. First, the insurance company is unwilling to offer more money to settle. In this case, you can go to trial to attempt to get more compensation from a jury.
Second, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations has expired. Even if you are confident of settling, filing preserves your right to go to trial. After you file, you can continue to negotiate with the insurance company. If you reach a settlement, you can withdraw the lawsuit.
To recover damages at trial, you must prove that the other driver was negligent. This means that the other driver failed to exercise a reasonable standard of care. And his failure must have caused the accident. If you contributed to the accident the comparative negligence rule will come into play.
Get Help With Oregon Auto Accident Laws
Did you or someone that you know suffer an injury in a car accident in Oregon? Use our free online Injury Settlement Calculator to see what your case might be worth. If you need help with your auto accident case, Lawsuit Info Center is here for you. Reach out for a risk free consultation. We can help you get in touch with a lawyer in your area.