Oregon auto accidents, How to prepare for the unexpected
You’re driving. Your day shatters. Time slows and the world blurs. You realize you’ve just been in a car accident. You experience an eerie stillness before the chaos of a shattered world and tangled senses comes crashing in, changing the course of your day, and perhaps your life. Fortunately, you’ve prepared yourself for the possibility of this misfortune by having a preplanned course of action to ensure your safety and to prepare for the next steps in this ordeal. You’ll also want to consider, especially if you think you may have been injured, talking to a qualified Oregon personal injury lawyer, even before talking to your insurance company.
First, take the immediate steps below ensure your Oregon personal injury claim will be settled fairly, and second, contact a qualified Oregon personal injury attorney.
At the scene of the accident your first responsibility is:
• Aid the injured
• Call for emergency help
• Avoid moving cars or changing the accident scene until the police get there
• Light flares and alert oncoming traffic in order to protect the accident victims and prevent any further accidents
• Get the name and address of the driver(s) of the other vehicle(s).
• Get the name and address of each vehicle’s owner, as well as the license plate number of all vehicles, a description of each vehicle: the make, model, year, and color.
• Exchange the names of the automobile insurance company for each car.
• Find out if there were passengers and get their names, addresses, and phone numbers. If there were any witnesses that you noticed, get their information.
• Take pictures of the accident scene using a cell phone, a disposable camera etc., of car damages, the scene of the accident, rubble from the accident, skid marks on the street, even if you do this the next day.
• Get a police report even if you are not injured in the accident, especially if the property damages exceed $500 which for most modern cars, motorcycle and even bicycles, is most likely the case for any accident.
• Exchange names with anyone who offers to help you, including the names and badge numbers of police officers and emergency responders to the accident scene.
• Draw a sketch of the accident scene as soon as possible. Note direction vehicles were traveling, where impact occurred, street names, railroad tracks or other landmarks, and write down your memories of how the accident happened as soon as possible. Make note of details like rain, visibility, time of day, traffic congestion, etc.
• Make sure you get the name of the tow truck company, the driver and license plate of tow truck before moving your damaged auto. Ask where your car is going, or your car may be towed to an impound lot.
You must file an Accident and Insurance Report form with Oregon DMV within 72 hours if your car is damaged in excess of $1,500 from the accident, or when the any car involved in the accident is damaged in excess of $1500 and is towed from the accident scene, or injury or death resulted from the car accident, or damages to any one person’s property other than an automobile involved in the accident is over $1,500.
• Oregon DMV page which explains the accident insurance report
• PDF of Oregon Accident and Insurance Report form for accidents occurring after January 1, 2004
• You can also pick up these Oregon Accident and Insurance Report forms at a Police station or Oregon DMV office.
• Here, on the Oregon DMV site, you can order the Police Crash Report and the Oregon Accident and Insurance Report
AUTO INSURANCE: YOURS AND THEIRS
You may want to consult an Oregon personal injury lawyer before making any statements about the accident, verbally or in writing, to the negligent driver’s insurance company adjusters or insurance representatives, and even your own insurance company. This is especially important if you are injured.
You will eventually be contacted by insurance companies.
Make sure you:
• Ask for names of insurance company representatives that may want to talk to you,
• Identify what insurance agency they are with.
• Remember you are under no obligation to talk with them.
• Contact your own motor vehicle insurance company in a timely manner to report to them any property damage or personal injury. If you don’t report an accident to your insurance company in a timely manner, your insurance company may try to deny coverage for the accident.
• Ask the insurance representative how to file your insurance claim with your company. Specifically ask them what forms are needed, and if they require any other documents to support your claim.
• Ask your insurance company representative about their policy concerning any time limits for filing a claim, or any other specifics about your policy, such as contact frequency, procedures, or even rental car options.
• If there are any claims being made against you, make sure you refer them and all correspondence and official documents to your insurance company representative. If you don’t have enough insurance coverage to cover the liability claims against you, consult a qualified Oregon personal injury attorney immediately.
• If you are injured, consult with an Oregon personal injury attorney even before talking to your own insurance company.
KEEP RECORDS OF YOUR AUTO ACCIDENT
Save all of the evidence and notes about the accident in one location, as well as any records of hospital/doctor visits and their notes and conclusions, because you may need to prove your injury, and to support your story of how the accident occurred.
Personal injury is generally measured by your medical expenses and lost wages caused by the accident, the extent of the permanency of your injuries, and an amount for pain and suffering under special circumstances, and other types of damages may be recoverable.
• Log your post car accident injury healing experience.
• Keep copies all your medical bills related to your accident.
• Get some type of receipt from all hospitals or medical clinics which you visit. Keep records of information like: the day of the week, the date, the time, the traveling distance, parking fees, if you have to eat meals or sleep in a hotel in order to make the trip to a doctor, hospital or therapist.
• Log your healing process. Keep a log of this daily pain you experience resulting from your injuries. (You may forget important details about how your injuries greatly changed your life because they are painful to remember and re-experience.)
Auto Damages and Diminished Value
If your vehicle is damaged in the accident, you may need to get an official appraisal by an auto appraiser and consult with an Oregon auto accident attorney about a diminished value claim.
• Ask your mechanic for a list of car parts that may have diminished life expectancies, due to the accident, and estimate their value.
• Make sure you get photographs of car or bicycle damage before having it repaired, or photos of your totaled car before you no longer have access to it.
DAMAGES TO PROPERTY
• Photograph and make an inventory list of any damaged property
• Keep a log of the date and make sure you get the name of a person you talk to and who they are with, and record the purpose of the contact.
• Save all written correspondences and make copies of anything you send.