The Ultimate Guide to Handling a Car Accident: Steps to Take and Mistakes to Avoid

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Filed under Automotive, Editorial

You probably drive by accidents daily on Portland roadways. You likely don’t give them a second thought, until you find yourself in the same situation. If you don’t know what to do, once you’re in a car accident, things can get confusing fast. 

Most people in Portland car accidents don’t realize they have legal responsibilities to uphold as well. This guide will help you get through the aftermath more smoothly.

Call 911

Whether anyone is injured or not, you should call the police. They will come out to the scene and fill out a police report. This report will be useful later on for insurance purposes as well as for recovering compensation from your losses. Emergency services will also be notified to respond to the scene to help the injured. 

Exchange Information

Even though your police report will contain the contact information and insurance information of all drivers involved, you should exchange it with one another. This serves a deeper purpose to show that you stopped for the accident as required.

File a Report

You are required to submit an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report with DMV within 72 hours of your accident. Failure to do so could result in suspension of your driver’s license. 

Notify Your Insurance

As soon as you are able to do so, you have an obligation to notify your auto insurance company. Most policies include this in the fine print, and even if the accident wasn’t your fault or only resulted in minor damages, they still require notification.

Don’t Speak with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company

While you must speak to your own insurance company, you are not obligated to speak to the other driver’s insurer. When you have a car accident attorney on your side, you can direct any of these calls to them and avoid the stress. 

Never Refuse Medical Treatment

You may not think you’re hurt after a car accident, but many injuries could be beneath the surface. Refusing treatment could make the impacts worse, or even be fatal. Plus, if you don’t claim any injuries initially and then claim you’re injured, you’re less likely to be compensated for them.

Take Photos

Snap photos and record videos of the scene. You’ll want to have evidence to support your car accident claim. You should also take photos of any physical injuries.

Never Admit Fault or Post on Social Media

Simply saying, “I’m so sorry this happened,” could be construed as an admission of fault. You don’t want the at-fault driver turning the tables on you. Additionally, keep quiet about your accident. If you file a lawsuit, the other driver’s attorney will be looking for evidence online that could negate your case.

Hire a Lawyer

If your vehicle has been destroyed and you have injuries, having a car accident attorney to help you is the smartest move to make. You will have an advocate looking out for your legal rights and best interests. They will also ensure you get the compensation you deserve for all the damages you’ve lost as a result of the accident.


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