Herron Law LLC, a top personal injury attorney in Portland, Oregon, pointed out this week that anyone injured in a car accident in the state has certain rights to be aware of:
- You have the right to compensation for your personal injuries and property damage caused by another party. You can pursue a legal claim against that person or group of people who caused the accident. You may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost earnings, and more.
- You have the right to contact the police after the accident to make them aware of what happened. This step is critical so you can file a police report about the accident, which can be critical if you decide to file a lawsuit later. The police officer may have noted on the report that the other driver was at fault.
- You have the right to speak to witnesses of the crash. It is wise to look for any eyewitnesses to the car accident and get their contact information. Also, ask the witnesses to tell their version of events to the police so that it is in the police report.
- You have the right to take photographs. Almost every smart phone today has a good camera, so be sure you take pictures of the crash scene. Pictures should include damage to your car and other vehicles, as well as the positions of all vehicles in the crash. Take pictures of your injuries, too.
- You have the right to get prompt medical attention, and you should do so. Having your injuries documented by a doctor right after the accident will strengthen your legal case later.
- You have the right to remain silent; this is usually associated with people who may have committed a crime, but it applies after a car crash, too. No law forces you to talk to the other driver or their insurance company. In fact, the more you say after the accident to the other driver and insurance company, the more likely you will damage your case. It is smart to keep your comments to a minimum and contact a personal injury attorney in Portland, Oregon.
There also are things that you should not do after the accident:
- Do not admit anything. It is common for a third party that caused the accident to try to get you to say something that will damage your claim later. Many personal injury lawsuits are damaged by what the plaintiff said immediately after the accident.
- Do not leave the crash scene unless you are seriously hurt and require immediate medical attention.
- Do not agree to a private settlement with the other driver. The other party responsible for the accident may want to keep insurance companies out of it and offer you a small amount of cash. This is usually a mistake and is ALWAYS a mistake if you have injuries. You are probably entitled to more compensation in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
If you get into a situation where the other driver’s insurance company is being difficult about settling with you, you have a couple of options. First, consider hiring the best car accident attorney to represent you. Many insurance companies will start to ‘see the light’ and will be more willing to pay a settlement when they see an aggressive personal injury attorney in your corner.
The other option is to file a claim with your own policy even if the accident was not your fault. You need to have collision coverage on your vehicle to do this, but your insurer will cover your damages. You may have to pay your deductible, but you can get that money back if your insurer can settle the claim later with the other insurance company.
Herron Law LLC wants all Oregonians to be aware of their legal rights if they are ever injured in a car accident caused by another party. If you have any questions about an accident you were in, please contact a car accident personal injury lawyer in Portland, Oregon at The Herron Law Firm at (503) 699-6496.