- Be calm, cool, and collected (easier said than done)
- Activate hazard lights, display warning triangles or road flares if your vehicle is close to live traffic
- If someone has life threatening injuries, call 911—every second counts in that situation
- If the vehicles can move out of traffic, do it. Move to the closest safe location. If they can’t move, call 911
Check For Injuries
- Are you or anyone in your vehicle hurt?
- Call 911 if anyone has serious injuries. If there is any question, error on the side of caution and call
Get The Facts
- Be polite with the other driver. Being upset after an accident is natural. It is always best to keep cool and not let your temper get the better of you.
- Exchange information with the other driver as required by law. ORS 811.700 (https://oregon.public.law/statutes/ors_811.700) requires that every driver exchange the following after an accident:
- Their name
- Their address
- Their insurance information
- PRO TIP: Take photos of each of the above
- Pictures—Take pictures of the:
- Other driver’s information (see above)
- License plate of the other vehicle
- Damage to the other vehicle
- Damage to your vehicle
- Accident location. Often a video is good for this. Start the video and pan around
Call Your Insurance Company
- Make a claim
- Write down your claim number.
- Get the contact information for the claims department.
Seek Medical Attention
- If you are hurt you should get checked out. Immediately following the accident you may feel fine and that you don’t have any injuries. It is common for people to feel more pain a day or two after the accident. If that starts to happen it is usually wise to be examined by a medical professional.
- When you seek medical attention, you should use the claim number from your insurance company—not the other driver’s. That might not make sense, but in Oregon every policy has Personal Injury Protection (or PIP) benefits. PIP provides 5 different insurance benefits, but the one most people use medical protection. By law PIP is the primary insurance. ORS 742.526 (https://oregon.public.law/statutes/ors_742.526). Generally speaking, if you give the other person’s claim number, that company will not pay the bills. If that happens, there is a very good chance the provider will send you a bill later-on down the road. I have seen instances where a bill was sent to collections and the person did not know that had happened.
- It is always a good idea to get checked out.
The Day After The Accident You Should:
- Notify the DMV of the accident, if you are required to do so. You must notify the DMV if any of the following
- There are injuries or death
- If the damage to the vehicle you were driving (or own if you were not driving) is more than $2,500.00
- If either of the vehicles need to be towed from the scene.
- If there is damage to property other than a vehicle involved in the accident. For example, damage to a person’s fence or yard.
- Start working on the property damage portion of your claim.
- Work to get your vehicle out of a tow yard if it was taken there after an accident.
- Should you go through your insurance company or the other persons to fix your car?
- If you have questions
Don’t Do These Things:
- Get mad, angry, or yell at the scene.
- Give a recorded statement to the OTHER DRIVER’S insurance company. They want to record it so they can use it later. If they want to use it, it’s not going to be help you. You might want to speak with the insurance company for the other driver, but many choose to do so only after consulting with an attorney.
- Don’t sign anything from the other driver’s insurance company. They may ask you to sign an authorization to get your medical records. Giving them such an authorization is like giving them the keys to your medical history. You should retain control of that. If you make a claim for injuries with that company, they will need your medical records and bills at some point. There are ways you can get those records an bills.
- Post things to social media about the accident or your injuries.
- Do not let your vehicle sit at a tow yard
With the guidance of a skilled Personal Injury attorney, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we have the expertise and acumen to protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve. For more information on Auto Accidents in Oregon, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (503) 877-3416 today.