A Review of Oregon Car Accident Law, Lawyers and Lawsuits
Oregon is home to mountains, forests, and the unique community of Portland. Nestled between California to the south and Washington to the north in the U.S.’s Pacific Northwest region, Oregon is certainly one-of-a-kind. Nearly four million people live, work, and play in Oregon, making it the 27th most populated state in the United States. Its proximity to California and the Pacific Ocean means that some Oregon roads can see heavy use by both residents and visitors as well as by both commercial and personal traffic.
With so many people using Oregon’s limited roadways, car accidents are certain to occur. In fact, some federal government estimates claim that 4.4 million car accident-related injuries occur each and every year, and a fair proportion of these occur in Oregon. Oregon also sees a significant number of traffic-related deaths. While a car crash injury attorney cannot bring a decedent back to life or undo a permanent disability resulting from a spinal cord injury or head trauma, such an attorney can help in obtaining monetary damages to help the injury victim and/or his or her family pay for these expenses.
Oregon Car Accident Causes and Statistics
Approximately 447 people died on Oregon highways and roads in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This means that about one person died in a traffic-related accident every day, and on average 40 people died per month. Many more suffered injuries ranging from minor cuts and scrapes to serious back and neck injuries and traumatic brain injuries. Because of the vast woodlands that dot the Oregon landscape, it should be no surprise that many of these fatal accidents occurred in rural settings. Lane, Multnomah, and Douglas Counties had the greatest number of fatalities in 2015.
Many Oregon car crashes occur because one or more individuals are behaving in a negligent or careless way while on the road. In other words, few Oregon car crashes are truly “accidents”. Examples of careless behavior on the road can include:
- Speeding, disregarding traffic laws, and/or drag racing;
- Drinking alcohol and then driving or consuming drugs (it does not matter if the drugs are illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs) before driving. Some drugs even include specific warnings telling users not to operate motor vehicles while taking the drug;
- Texting while driving or engaging in other behavior that takes the driver’s eyes and/or attention off of the roadway.
Car accident lawsuits filed in Oregon are premised on the idea that those who cause injury to others through careless behavior should be held responsible for the consequences of that careless behavior. Monetary damages are seen as an adequate way to compensate an injury victim because the injury victim is able to pay for his or her reasonable expenses and obtain medical care and treatment without having to obtain the funds him- or herself.
Oregon Is a “Fault Based” Insurance State
Oregon motorists (like drivers in other states) must have adequate insurance policies in place to pay compensation to injured drivers or passengers if the motorist is determined to be at fault in causing an accident. Oregon follows a “fault based” system, which means that the person who causes a crash and/or his or her insurance company are responsible for paying the valid injury claims submitted by other injury victims involved in the crash.
Oregon’s laws will allow an injury victim who is 50 percent or less at fault in causing the crash and/or his or her injuries to recover compensation from the other at-fault party or parties (with the understanding that any compensation award will be lessened by the proportion of fault attributable to the injury victim). Thus, even where the injury victim may be partly to blame for his or her injuries, he or she may not be completely precluded from obtaining a fair compensation award.
Oregon’s Car Accident Statute of Limitations
Oregon Revised Statute Section 12.110 contains the state’s personal injury statute of limitations. This statute tells injury victims how long they have to file a case in the State of Oregon. Under this statute, a car crash injury case must be filed within two years of the accident’s occurrence. (There are exceptions to this deadline, but they are very limited in application). While two years may seem like a long time, it is actually a very short time for the injury victim to investigate his or her case, determine his or her legal rights, and prepare and file a lawsuit. The injury victim may be able to make better use of his or her time by employing the services of an experienced car accident lawyer.
How an Experienced Car Crash Lawyer Can Assist You
Contact Stern Law, PLLC at (844) 808-7529 if you or a loved one were involved in a car accident. We can help ascertain if you have a viable claim for compensation and, if so, in pursuing that claim against the person or entity responsible for your injuries and losses.