Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience, and dealing with the aftermath can be both stressful and complicated. Not only must you take the necessary steps to ensure that you receive just compensation for your losses (including your vehicle damage, medical bills, and lost wages), but you must also ensure that you do everything that is required under Oregon law.
Did you know that Oregon residents have a legal obligation to report most car accidents to the Department of Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (DMV)? Did you know that failing to report an accident to the DMV as required can result in your driver’s license being suspended? Here is an overview of what you need to know if you have recently been involved in a car accident in Oregon:
1. Oregon DMV Accident Reporting Requirements
By law, most car accidents in Oregon must be reported to the DMV. The Oregon DMV’s accident reporting requirements apply to any crash that involves:
- More than $2,500 in damage to any vehicle involved in the accident;
- Any vehicle being towed from the scene of the accident;
- More than $2,500 in damage to personal property other than a vehicle; and/or
- Personal injury or death.
If any of these criteria apply (or if you think any of these criteria might apply), then you must report your accident to the Oregon DMV within 72 hours using the Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report form. If you do not file the form within 72 hours of the accident, the DMV can suspend your driver’s license.
If you do not have a way to print the form, you can visit your local DMV office or contact us to obtain a copy. You can either drop off the completed form at your local DMV office or mail it to: DMV – Accident Reporting Unit, 1905 Lana Ave. NE, Salem, OR 97314.
Before you drop off or mail in the Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report form, you should be sure to make a copy for your records. As explained on the Oregon DMV’s website, “Under Oregon law ORS 802.220(5); DMV cannot give you a copy of your accident report.”
2. Law Enforcement Accident Reporting Requirements
If you are involved in a car accident that meets any of the above criteria for reporting the accident to the Oregon DMV, then you must also report the accident to local law enforcement. You can call 911 from the scene of the accident if you need emergency assistance. Or, if you are at home after the accident, you can call one of the Oregon State Police Department’s non-emergency phone numbers.
Reporting the accident to the police does not automatically result in a report being sent to the Oregon DMV. Even if you contact the police as required by law, you must still separately notify the DMV of the accident in order to protect your driving privileges.
3. Drivers’ “Full Responsibilities” According to the Oregon DMV
In addition to the Oregon DMV and police reporting requirements, the DMV also states that drivers should take the following steps after an accident:
- Stop at the Scene of the Accident – “Stop at the accident scene or as close as possible without blocking or endangering other traffic. ‘Hit and run’ is a serious crime.”
- Render Aid (Call 911) – “Give aid to injured people. Remember, injured people should never be moved carelessly. In many cases, they should not be moved at all except by emergency staff or someone trained in first aid. If someone is killed or unconscious, the driver must remain at the scene until a police officer arrives.”
- Exchange Contact and Insurance Information – “Give the other driver, passengers in the vehicle, or any injured pedestrian your: Name; Address; Driver license number; License plate number; and Your insurance information.” Be sure to collect this information from the other driver(s) involved in the accident as well.
4. Protecting Your Legal Rights after a Car Accident
In addition to taking the steps that are required by law, there are a number of other steps you should try to take in order to protect your right to just compensation. Car accidents can cause substantial injuries and property damage. To ensure that you remain eligible to recover full financial compensation for your losses, you need to make smart decisions about protecting your legal rights.
Additional steps you should try to take as soon as possible include:
- Seek Medical Attention – If there is a chance that you have been injured, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Explain what happened to the best of your ability, and make sure you have a clear understanding of your diagnosis and treatment needs.
- Report the Accident to Your Insurer – Along with reporting the accident to the Oregon DMV and the police, you should also report the accident directly to your auto insurance company.
- Notify Your Employer If You Were Injured – If your doctor recommends that you stay home from work or limit your physical activity, you should notify your employer promptly.
- Preserve Evidence and Information – If you took photos at the scene of the accident, be sure to keep all of them. Also keep your clothes and any other personal items that were damaged in the crash, and try to write down as many details as you can remember.
- Speak with an Attorney – The best way to protect your rights is to speak with an attorney, promptly. At D’Amore Law Group, we can deal with the Oregon DMV, the police, and the insurance companies on your behalf, and we can help you collect maximum compensation for your accident-related losses.
Contact the Accident Lawyers at D’Amore Law Group
Were you recently involved in a car accident in Oregon? If so, we encourage you to contact us immediately for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with one of our highly-experienced car accident lawyers in confidence, call us at 503-222-6333 or request to speak with an attorney online now.