Auto accident Salem Oregon – What you need to know

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in Salem Oregon, you probably have all kinds of questions and confusion about claims, medical bills, personal property damage and many other things. Here is a list of the most important things you should know about recovering damages.

Personal Injury claim defined

In order to have a valid personal injury claim, there has to be BOTH damages and proof the at-fault party was negligent in causing the accident. In other words, you can only have a settlement if someone else responsible for your injuries and they were negligent. The value of the case depends on the degree of fault and the amount of your damages. Those damages can be many things but most commonly are medical bills, lost wages, personal property damage and pain and suffering

Personal Injury Protection – PIP

Oregon law requires drivers to carry personal injury protection coverage. If you’ve been injured in an accident and need immediate help paying medical bills or covering lost wages, you can file a PIP claim with your own insurance carrier. This could cover your medical bills incurred and your lost wages. A PIP claim against your own insurance carrier does not depend on fault. PIP benefits are paid if the accident is your fault or the fault of the other driver.

Uninsured Motorists

If you were involved in a hit and run accident or the at-fault driver did not have valid insurance coverage at the time of the accident, you can again file a claim with your own insurance carrier. The law in Oregon requires you to carry uninsured motorist coverage. With this type of claim, your insurance company effectively “steps into the shoes” of providing insurance for the other driver – and pay your claim just like the at fault driver was insured.

Auto Accident Salem Oregon Claim Value – What can I recover

The value of your claim is depends on the extent of the damages and how much of the accident was your fault. Some damages have known values. Others are more subjective.  Damages with known values are often your medical bills, lost wages, personal property damage and things of that nature.

Damages that are a bit more difficult to calculate are damages for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering can be either physical or emotional or both. Ongoing emotional trauma like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, broken bones, soft tissue injuries like whiplash, are all forms of these types of damages.


Most cases in Oregon need to be settled or suit filed within 2 years from the date of the accident. Some have time limits for notice of the claim within 6 months or less. Settlement of your case depends on lots of factors. But, the main factor is the length of your recovery or, how long it takes to finish the medical treatment. No one can know the value of your case until we know whether you’re going to recover 100% or if you have a permanent injury. We can’t know the value of your case until we have all the medical bills. So each case has its own timeline bases on the type and length of medical care, the recovery and the result of that recovery.

Other considerations

Having a lawyer on your side from the beginning of the case can alleviate a lot of the stress that accompanies an automobile accident. It can also help ensure you maximize the value of your claim.

You can recover damages from an accident even if you’re partially at fault. If you are 50% or less responsible you can recover that percentage of damages for which you are not responsible.

Your main responsibility after being injured in a car accident is to get better. Follow up with all health care requirements, physical therapy, and medications. If you can go back to work, go back to work. Let a good lawyer like the Law Offices of Brian Whitehead in Salem take on the insurance companies and other law firms to secure you a settlement or jury verdict.

fossilgraphicsAuto accident Salem Oregon – What you need to know

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