Elderly Driver Risks in Portland

Portland auto accidents attorneysFor many older adults, driving is a way to maintain independence and mobility. In 2015, there were over 40 million drivers aged 65 and older, which is more than a 50% increase since 1999. While these older adults enjoy retaining their mobility through driving, the risk of injury or death increases as they get older. It is important for these drivers to understand the risks they face on the road that affect their age group, especially as Oregon is a state that is aging faster than much of the nation. Nationwide, 1 in 6 drivers are over 65, are twice as likely to have a medical condition that affects their driving, and 4 in 5 take medications that may further affect their ability to drive.

The Risks

In 2015, 6,800 senior drivers were killed while more than 260,000 were treated in the emergency room for injuries due to an auto accident. That amounts to an average of 19 deaths and 712 injuries over that year. For older drivers, the risk of being involved in an auto accident starts to substantially increase in the 70 to 74 age range, reaching its highest levels for drivers 85 and older. These increased risks can be attributed to an increased susceptibility to injuries and medical complications that accompany the demographic. In particular, declining vision and cognitive function are prominent risk factors as they affect a driver’s ability to react to situations on the road.

Improving Safety for Older Drivers

With increasing amounts of older drivers on the road, these numbers can increase if the right precautions are not taken. Elderly drivers already are reported to drive impaired at significantly lower rates than other age groups, 6 percent for drivers aged 75 and over compared to 28 percent for drivers aged 20-24. It is reported that they tend to drive less when conditions on the road are not ideal, such as during inclement weather.

There are further steps that these drivers can take to minimize their risk of being involved in an auto accident and being injured as a result, as suggested by the CDC:

  • Discuss your medical problems with your doctor to determine if they might affect your driving.
  • Discuss stopping or changing your medications with your pharmacist or doctor if you experience any side effects that could interfere with safe driving such as blurry vision, dizziness, sleepiness, confusion, fatigue, and/or loss of consciousness.
  • Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Wear glasses and corrective lenses as directed.
  • Plan your route before you drive.
  • Consider potential alternatives to driving, such as riding with a friend, using public transit or ride share services.

If you’re an older driver or have an older loved one who has been injured in a car accident in Oregon or Washington, contact Zbinden & Curtis today. An experienced car accident lawyer can analyze your case, determine how best to proceed, and ensure your rights are upheld.

Trendy Apps Can Make Portland Drivers More Susceptible to Distracted Driving

Portland car accident attorneysDistracted driving has become a leading cause of Portland car accidents in recent years. Now, drivers must not only contend with smart phones, in-vehicle entertainment systems, and navigation systems, but also trendy apps which increase the temptation to divert a driver’s attention from the road ahead.Victims who are injured in car accidents caused by distracted drivers have legal rights. A Portland car accident attorney can help injury victims understand and protect these legal rights.

Oregon Cracks Down on Distracted Driving

On October 1, 2017, a Oregon’s distracted driving law became a lot more strict. Oregon Live reports that the previous version of the law, passed in 2009, required drivers to use a hands-free device to make phone calls and banned texting altogether. But this left open the possibility that drivers could use other functions – such as programming navigation systems or playing games – without violating the law. After the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled in favor of this interpretation, state lawmakers passed a new version of the law that prohibits drivers from using any function on a mobile device which requires touching or holding. The Oregon Department of Transportation reports that any activation or deactivation of a mobile function to be limited to a single touch or swipe.

Inattention behind the wheel continues to be a serious public safety risk on the roads of Oregon, even after the implementation of a new, tougher state ban on distracted driving. According to KTVL, inattentiveness caused a chain of accidents to occur on the Interstate 5 near Medford. A total of four collisions occurred within a four-mile radius in just over an hour during the morning commute. Oregon State Police stated that the accidents were caused strictly by a lack of attention to the road, and not because of road conditions. More than two months after the ban took effect, drivers still struggled to pay attention and respond to traffic conditions around them.

Trendy Apps: The Silent Killer

As technology changes and adapts to consumer needs, new problems present themselves, and exacerbate the distracted driving problem. One such major problem occurred with the release of Pokémon GO in July 2016. The game became a worldwide sensation, and demanded users’ attention while out and about in public. This caused many drivers to engage with the application when they should have been paying attention to the road. A study reported by the Social Science Research Network estimated that the cost of traffic injuries related to the game was $2 to $7.3 billion within the first 148 days following the game’s release. And while no fatality statistic was reported nationwide, the researchers did attribute traffic fatalities to the game.

Distracted driving takes lives. It is important that distracted drivers be held accountable for their highly dangerous behavior. While enforcement of the new distracted driving law is an important step, it is also up to injury victims to hold distracted drivers accountable for their negligence. Contact a Portland car accident attorney as soon as possible after any accident in order to best protect your legal rights.

Nationwide Increase in Traffic Fatalities Affects Portland Drivers

car accident attorneys

Traffic fatality rates across the United States have been on the rise for several years now. Oregon, too, has seen increases, and all road users at put in danger by this concerning trend. Luckily, the use of simple safety measures can dramatically reduce one’s chances of being involved in an accident, as well as the severity of injuries which are sustained in an accident. Be sure to contact an experienced Portland car accident attorney as soon as possible after any accident. You have legal rights which must be protected.

How Oregon Fatality Trends Compare to the Nation

According to The Washington Post , 2011 saw the lowest number of traffic fatalities ever recorded in the United States. This was a result of fewer vehicles being on the road after the economic crash of 2008. As drivers returned to the road again, traffic accident rates began to rise again. Unfortunately, traffic fatalities have been steadily climbing ever since. 2016 traffic data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed a continuation of the trend of increased traffic fatalities. A 5.4% increase placed the total number of fatality victims over thirty-seven thousand.  Now, in 2017, more than eighteen thousand people died on the roads of America between January 1 and June 31. Another 2.1 million people were seriously injured in car accidents during that same time period.

Oregon, too, has seen recent rises in fatal traffic accidents. The Oregon Department of Transportation reports that 2015 saw a nearly 30% in fatalities from the previous year. And before the DOT released its official 2016 data, The Northwest News Network had already declared it the deadliest year since 2003.

What Oregon Drivers Can Do to Protect Themselves

Despite these concerning statistics, there are simple things Oregon drivers can do to dramatically reduce their odds of being fatally injured in a car accident. Speeding is a significant predictor of fatal injuries. The World Health Organization reports that an injury victim is twenty times more likely to die in an impact at 80 kilometers per hour than impact at 30 kilometers per hour. Reducing speed is more than a simple safety precaution – it is also a legal obligation under Oregon state law. Section 811.100 of the Oregon Revised Statutes prohibits drivers from traveling at a speed that is greater than reasonable and prudent, having due regard to: traffic; surface conditions of the roadway; hazards at intersections; weather; visibility; or any other conditions then existing.

Seat belt use is also highly effective at reducing the severity of injuries sustained in a traffic accident. Dozens of studies over many decades have proven that failure to use a seat belt increases the likelihood that traffic accident injuries will be fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that seat belt use saved an estimated 64,000 lives between 2011 and 2015. This, too, is a requirement of Oregon law. (See Oregon Revised Statutes §811.210.)

If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of auto accident, seek the counsel of an experienced Portland auto accident attorney. He or she will ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries and losses.  

Marijuana and Auto Accidents

As recreational marijuana laws are considered across the country, many opponents voice concerns about the increase in auto accidents which might be attributable to impaired driving.

There is some evidence to suggest there is a connection between legalized recreational marijuana use and an increase in accident rates, but it’s not conclusive. What is certain is that injury victims have the legal right to be compensated for losses they sustain as the result of Oregon car accidents caused by the negligence of others – including marijuana impairment. Just because a substance is legal does not absolve a person of the duty to operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner. When someone has been injured, it is imperative that they have an attorney on their side who has their best interests in mind. At Zbinden & Curtis, all accident victims deserve representation, and compensation for the injuries and suffering they have endured.

The Statistics

The American Journal of Public Health reports on a study of auto accident rates in Washington, Colorado, and eight control states between 2009 and 2015. The study found that all 10 states had similar accident rates in 2009. This trend continued after the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Washington and Colorado – indicating that no reportable increase in accident rates occurred as a result of the change in law. This is merely one study, and longer periods of analysis must be obtained to determine the accuracy of this trend. It is nonetheless important to note that the preliminary data has found no increase in auto accident rates as a result of legalized recreational marijuana use.

Opiods Are A More Immediate Threat To Safety

There are many types of drugs by which a driver may become impaired. The accident statistics on these classes of drugs are very different. The Washington Post reports that 2015 was the first year in which drugged driving with substances other than marijuana caused more traffic fatalities than drunk driving. Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health reports that the number of opioid-impaired drivers who caused fatal traffic accidents increased seven times between 1995 and 2015. In contrast, the impairments caused by marijuana involve reduced cognitive ability and reaction time, there is no data that confirms smoking and driving causes more traffic accidents. Other drugs and substances, including alcohol, pose much more of a risk.

However, it is always safest to choose to not smoke and drive.

The problem has received much media attention nationwide, and Business Insider reports that the governors of Arizona, Florida and Maryland have all declared states of emergency in order to grant them access to federal grant money through the Department of Health and Human Services. Opioids continue to be a highly dangerous problem for drivers across America.

Oregon’s Impaired Driving Statutes

It is a criminal violation of Oregon law (Oregon Revised Statutes 813.010) to drive while under the influence of a controlled substance. This includes recreational marijuana. Unfortunately, Oregon – like other states – has not been able to set a specific blood level at which intoxication may be inferred. This is because scientists have not been able to definitively identify a uniform amount of marijuana at which most humans are intoxicated, the way they have been able to with alcohol. The lack of a set blood level makes it difficult for prosecutors to prove that a defendant was under the influence of marijuana while driving. Additionally, a defendant’s tolerance level to THC may prevent notable signs from appearing. However, any social media activity encompassing the time of the accident can reveal whether or not the defendant was driving under the influence of a controlled substance. This could include bragging, live streaming, or photos providing live evidence- as discussed in a recent USA Today article.

Nonetheless, injury victims have the right to be compensated by impaired drivers who cause auto accidents. This compensation is usually available regardless of whether the defendant is ultimately convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision, contact an experienced Portland auto accident attorney as soon as possible. Oregon law protects your right to be compensated for injuries and losses.

How Marijuana Laws in Oregon Have Affected Auto Accident Rates

As recreational marijuana laws are considered across the country, many opponents voice concerns about the increase in auto accidents which might be attributable to impaired driving.

There is some evidence to suggest there is a connection between legalized recreational marijuana use and an increase in accident rates, but it’s not conclusive. What is certain is that injury victims have the legal right to be compensated for losses they sustain as the result of Oregon car accidents caused by the negligence of others – including marijuana impairment. Just because a substance is legal does not absolve a person of the duty to operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner. When someone has been injured, it is imperative that they have an attorney on their side who has their best interests in mind. At Zbinden & Curtis, all accident victims deserve representation, and compensation for the injuries and suffering they have endured.

The Statistics

The American Journal of Public Health reports on a study of auto accident rates in Washington, Colorado, and eight control states between 2009 and 2015. The study found that all 10 states had similar accident rates in 2009. This trend continued after the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Washington and Colorado – indicating that no reportable increase in accident rates occurred as a result of the change in law. This is merely one study, and longer periods of analysis must be obtained to determine the accuracy of this trend. It is nonetheless important to note that the preliminary data has found no increase in auto accident rates as a result of legalized recreational marijuana use.

Opiods Are A More Immediate Threat To Safety

There are many types of drugs by which a driver may become impaired. The accident statistics on these classes of drugs are very different. The Washington Post reports that 2015 was the first year in which drugged driving with substances other than marijuana caused more traffic fatalities than drunk driving. Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health reports that the number of opioid-impaired drivers who caused fatal traffic accidents increased seven times between 1995 and 2015. In contrast, the impairments caused by marijuana involve reduced cognitive ability and reaction time, there is no data that confirms smoking and driving causes more traffic accidents. Other drugs and substances, including alcohol, pose much more of a risk.

However, it is always safest to choose to not smoke and drive.

The problem has received much media attention nationwide, and Business Insider reports that the governors of Arizona, Florida and Maryland have all declared states of emergency in order to grant them access to federal grant money through the Department of Health and Human Services. Opioids continue to be a highly dangerous problem for drivers across America.

Oregon’s Impaired Driving Statutes

It is a criminal violation of Oregon law (Oregon Revised Statutes 813.010) to drive while under the influence of a controlled substance. This includes recreational marijuana. Unfortunately, Oregon – like other states – has not been able to set a specific blood level at which intoxication may be inferred. This is because scientists have not been able to definitively identify a uniform amount of marijuana at which most humans are intoxicated, the way they have been able to with alcohol. The lack of a set blood level makes it difficult for prosecutors to prove that a defendant was under the influence of marijuana while driving. Additionally, a defendant’s tolerance level to THC may prevent notable signs from appearing. However, any social media activity encompassing the time of the accident can reveal whether or not the defendant was driving under the influence of a controlled substance. This could include bragging, live streaming, or photos providing live evidence- as discussed in a recent USA Today article.

Nonetheless, injury victims have the right to be compensated by impaired drivers who cause auto accidents. This compensation is usually available regardless of whether the defendant is ultimately convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision, contact an experienced Portland auto accident attorney as soon as possible. Oregon law protects your right to be compensated for injuries and losses.

New Safety Features and Automated Technologies Can Save Lives on the Roads of Portland

New car buyers have more options than ever when it comes to staying safe

New car buyers now have more options than ever when it comes to selecting and customizing a vehicle. Amongst the many flashy entertainment systems are important new safety technologies that could prove lifesaving in a time when U.S. road fatalities are dramatically on the rise. automated safety features and safety

Despite experiencing a decline in injuries after the economic crash of 2008, Americans have since returned to the road en masse. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) projected that 2016 traffic fatalities would be at least eight percent higher than 2015 fatalities (which were, in turn, 7 percent higher than 2014 fatalities).

The Oregon Department of Transportation reports there were more than 55,000 crashes in the state in 2015, with 410 of those being fatal – a 27 percent increase compared to the year before.

When crashes do occur, injury victims have important legal rights which must be protected after any Portland car accident.

The New Safety Features

There are many new safety features available, including (but not limited to):

  • automatic emergency braking
  • forward collision warning
  • blind spot warning
  • rear cross traffic warning
  • rear automatic emergency braking
  • lane keeping assist
  • lane centering assist and
  • adaptive cruise control.

Unfortunately, it takes years of data and a robust body of research to accurately determine the effectiveness of such features. The example of lane departure system research shows the difficulty in analyzing the available research.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently published a study which found that lane departure systems decreased the risk of single vehicle, sideswipe, and head-on collisions by eleven percent. Injury rates in these collisions was reduced by twenty-one percent with the presence of lane departure technology. Conversely, Jalopnik reported on one study that found crashes to increase in vehicles with lane departure warning systems. This does not mean there was fault with either study. Like all statistical data, it requires a vast body of consistent results to draw accurate conclusions. Until there is a more extensive body of data, consumers are advised to carefully research and identify safety features which are best suited to their personal driving habits.

Automated Safety Features For Your Smartphone

In recent years, distracted driving has become one of the most common factors in auto accident fatalities. Mobile phone manufacturers are attempting to address this problem by improving and enhancing “do not disturb” features on smartphones.

As usual, Apple has been leading the pack with regard to this trend. Business Insider reports that the iOS 11 operating system for iPhone – due for release in late 2017 – will include a comprehensive “do not disturb while driving” function. This function will automatically detect when a user is driving and engage itself. The user receives no notifications and cannot access the home screen until he or she stops driving. The user can override this setting by following a series of prompts. While this override feature is necessary in the event a user is the passenger (not driver) of a vehicle, it leaves open the concerning possibility that users can override the feature and use a fully accessible smartphone while driving.

The fact remains that no vehicle or mobile device safety feature can prevent all car accidents. Drivers must accept personal responsibility for safe driving habits. Automated technologies also raise complicated legal questions of liability. Now, more than ever, it is important for injury victims to consult an experienced Portland auto accident attorney to protect their legal rights.

Deadly Crash in Portland Triple for Teen Drivers Compared to Adults

Most teen drivers eagerly await their chance to venture out in a vehicle on their own. With that, of course, comes enormous responsibility, given the grave potential for serious injury and death. A new study by AAA further underscores that point, revealing 16-and-17-year-old motorists were three times more likely to be involved in a deadly auto accident than older drivers. Teen driving risks

As the school season begins, parents must remain ever-vigilant in keeping a watchful eye on teen drivers, doing all they can to discuss the dangers and monitor problematic or risky driving habits, such as distraction, carelessness and impairment.

Victims of negligent teen drivers will likely seek damages from the bodily injury liability policy purchased by the young motorist’s parents. If that is inadequate, they may pursue coverage from their own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage insurance carrier.

The Oregon Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program

Like many states, Oregon has implemented a graduated program for teen drivers to obtain driving privileges. According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, this occurs in three phases:

  • Teens may first obtain a provisional instruction permit at the age of fifteen. Permit holders may only drive when accompanied by a licensed driver over the age of twenty-one who is sitting beside the permit holder. Mobile devices may not be used by permit holders while driving.
  • After a permit holder has completed one hundred hours of supervised driving (or fifty hours plus a driver’s education course), he or she may take a driving test to apply for a provisional driver license. This test may be scheduled up to thirty days before a permit holder’s sixteenth birthday. Provisional license holders may not operate mobile devices while driving until they are eighteen years old. For the first six months of holding a provisional license, a driver may not drive with a passenger under the age of twenty who is not a member of his or her immediate family. For the next six months, the provisional license holder is prohibited from carrying more than three passengers under the age of twenty who are not members of the driver’s immediate family. Provisional license holders are also prohibited from driving between midnight and five a.m. with limited exceptions.
  • At the age of eighteen, a driver may apply for full driving privileges.

Keeping Your Teen Driver Safe

  • Ensure your teen has practical driving experience before driving in areas of heavy traffic. Practice driving in open, low-stress environments such as empty parking lots.
  • Enact and enforce clear rules about distractions in the vehicle. Most teens have smartphones, and these devices distract even the most experienced drivers from conditions in the roadway. Teens should only be allowed to use smartphones while driving in the event of an emergency. Apps such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter should be entirely banned while driving.
  • Smartphones are not the only driving distractions faced by teens: passengers pose a serious risk to driving safety. Consider the rules which will best protect your teen driver when passengers are in the vehicle. These rules may exceed those laws enacted by the state in the graduated driver’s licensing program.
  • Teach your teen driver to be particularly cautious in and around their high school. High schools have high concentrations of young, inexperienced drivers. Teen drivers should be prepared to respond to erratic movements, pedestrians, heavy traffic, and other hazards they will face at their school.

If your teen has been injured in an auto accident, he or she has legal rights which must be protected. Contact a Portland auto accident attorney as soon as possible.

Do Not Disturb Features Do Not Protect Portland Drivers from Injury

Drivers across Oregon are succumbing to a national trend of driving while distracted. Eating, drinking, attending to pets or children—there are some many things that can divert a driver’s attention from the road. Lately, technology has become an increasingly widespread problem for drivers. Navigation and entertainment systems in vehicles contribute to this problem, but the most obvious culprit is the ubiquitous smart phone.Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

Mobile phone manufacturers are attempting to address this problem by improving and enhancing “do not disturb” features on smart phones. Apple has been at the head of this trend. Business Insider reports that the iOS 11 operating system for iPhone—due for release in late 2017—will include a comprehensive “do not disturb while driving” function. This function will detect when a user is driving and automatically engage itself. The user receives no notifications and cannot access the home screen until he or she stops driving. The user can override this setting by following a series of prompts. While this override feature is necessary in the event that a user is the passenger in a vehicle, it leaves open the possibility that drivers can override the feature and still be able to use their smart phones while driving.

Who is Responsible for Distracted Driving?

Do Not Disturb features raise a broader discussion into the issue of distracted driving. Distracted driving is responsible for thousands of deaths and injuries every year. In fact, Apple’s move to introduce the comprehensive function for iOS 11 comes after it was sued for failing to include such features in earlier versions. According to the Guardian, Bethany and James Modisette sued Apple for the wrongful death of their five-year-old daughter, who was killed in a car accident by a driver using FaceTime while driving. The Modisettes alleged that Apple held patents on technology to lock out iPhone functions while driving, but had failed to implement them in their products, thus contributing to their daughter’s death.

While the implementation of Do Not Disturb features can certainly help target the problem, each individual driver must accept personal responsibility for practicing safe driving habits. No technology can completely eradicate the dangers of distracted driving. No Do Not Disturb feature can be forcefully implemented in every driving situation. Only a personal commitment to avoiding distractions can prevent someone from becoming distracted. Passengers should speak up when they notice their driver is becoming distracted. Parents should enforce specific guidelines for their teen drivers, whose inexperience makes distracted driving particularly dangerous.

Just a few weeks ago, lawmakers in Oregon passed a strict new hands-free law that prohibits all drivers from touching their phones—or any electronic mobile device—while operating a motor vehicle. House Bill 2597 was approved by both the House and Senate and is expected to be signed by the governor. Language in the new statute will make it easier to cite and convict drivers of distraction. Historically, many such cases have been dismissed because the law requires police officers to actually see your fingers moving or your mouth talking into the phone in order to issue a citation. A one-time citation can be erased from your record by taking a safe driving course. However, if you are cited twice in 10 years, you face a maximum fine of $2,000. A third time citation will be accompanied by that same maximum fine, but also possible jail time.

Car accident victims throughout Oregon and Washington trust the attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis to secure full and fair compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident due to distracted driving or any other form of negligence. Zbinden & Curtis protects victims and holds negligent drivers responsible so that the roads of Portland are safer for everyone.

Oregon Summer Travel Raises Risk Of Portland Car Accidents

Portland has become a destination for travelers from around the country – and even across the world. Visitors spend an estimated $10.8 billion annually – up 66 percent since 2003. And while this has been fantastic for our economy, it’s been taxing on our roads. The state reports that fatal crashes rose 28 percent just from 2014 to 2015, and non-fatal injury crashes have increased more than 18 percent.

Visitors are not necessarily to blame for this, but the fact is, more cars on the road means more risk of a car accident. AAA reports more than one-third of Americans are planning to take a family vacation this year, and most of those are taking place in the summer.

Summer Travel Dangers

For those preparing to head out on summer road trips, common risk factors on the road include:

  • Distracted driving.
  • Commercial trucks.
  • Fatigued driving.
  • Congested highways.
  • Speeding drivers.
  • Impaired drivers.
  • Unfamiliar roads/ conditions.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that summer has a disproportionate number of traffic fatalities as compared to other months. This is especially true for children.

For example, while the average number of traffic accident deaths in June, July and August is 3,198, the average for the rest of the year is 2,833. This number is nearly 13 percent higher.

When we look just at deaths involving children under 13 (who are more likely to be traveling or on vacation during the summer months, when school is out), the difference is even more stark. While the summer months have an average of 100 traffic deaths, the other months have an average of 71. That’s a difference of 41 percent.

Portland car accident lawyers recognize that when out-of-town visitors are involved in crashes, there are complications local claimants may not face. In general, your insurance should extend coverage to you no matter where the crash occurs. However, there are sometimes logistical challenges that can make the process more challenging. That can include everything from where you will stay the night of a crash (if your car isn’t drivable) to returning to town for depositions, independent medical exams and court hearings.

Beyond that, the auto insurance laws in your own state could differ from the provisions in Oregon, leaving you potentially unprotected – or not as protected as you may have anticipated.

Oregon Auto Insurance Laws

Oregon is a “fault” state when it comes to liability for crashes, which means the driver who caused the crash is liable (legally responsible) to cover the damages. However, Oregon is also somewhat unique in that all car insurance policies sold in the state must also include personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which covers the policyholder and other insureds regardless of who was at-fault.

PIP requirements are standard in no-fault states, but Oregon is unique as a “fault” state that requires this no-fault provision. Still, unlike many “no-fault” states, the PIP requirement doesn’t prevent injured victims from suing the at-fault driver for compensation of losses such as medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. There is no threshold of injury or expenses the victim must incur or suffer before filing a claim against the responsible party.

PIP covers all necessary medical, hospital, dental, ambulance or prosthetic services within one year of the date of the person’s injury – up to $15,000 total.

If you have questions about your car accident claim, our dedicated car accident attorneys in Portland can help.

Portland Car Accidents Spurred by Aggressive Drivers

Most of us are guilty at some point of aggressive driving, sometimes without even realizing it. But some drivers allow their anger to get the best of them and take driving aggressively to a whole new level, described colloquially as “road rage”. Road rage can result in shocking levels of violence that sometimes end up splashed across news headlines.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports more than half of all fatal car accidents are the result of aggressive driving, which may include:

  • Driving too close to another vehicle to compel them to speed up or move over (tailgating);Car Accident Lawyers Portland
  • Making an angry gesture at another driver;
  • Yelling at another driver;
  • Blocking other drivers from changing lanes;
  • Purposely cutting off other vehicles;
  • Honking horn to show anger or annoyance;
  • Bumping or ramming another vehicle on purpose;
  • Speeding;
  • Failure to yield or stop for a traffic sign or signal.

Our Portland car accident attorneys are committed to fighting for the rights of those who are injured by aggressive drivers, as well as those who take their inappropriate rage out on other innocent motorists.

A recent analysis by non-profit journalism outlet The Trace revealed the number of road rage incidents involving a firearm more than doubled in the last three years, totaling 620 incidents in 2016. Over the course of the study period, 354 people were injured and 136 people died in these road rage incidents. Most of these cases appear to be disputes among strangers.

It can be difficult to obtain damages in these types of cases, because most auto insurance policies contain exclusions for injuries inflicted by an intentional act of violence, as opposed to an accident. One could still potentially seek damages from the individual, but recovering those damages will depend on the extent of his or her personal assets.

Those kinds of incidents are still in the minority in terms of car accidents. Most crashes will be the result of some form of aggressive driving.

The AAA Foundation reported that more than 78 percent of drivers admitted to having engaged in at least one of the aggressive driving behaviors examined in the last year. Half had tailgated another driver. Forty-six percent had yelled at another driver, a quarter intentionally blocked another vehicle from changing lanes, and 12 percent intentionally cut off another vehicle. Only about 4 percent exited their vehicle to confront another driver.

A significant percentage of drivers say they engaged in these behaviors fairly regularly.

In order to prove negligence, our injury lawyers will need to show:

  • At-fault driver owed a duty of care (to operate vehicle in a safe manner);
  • That duty of care was breached;
  • This breach of duty proximately caused the accident;
  • The accident caused our client injuries.

Oregon is considered a “fault plus PIP” insurance system. It’s a hybrid between the “fault” and “no-fault” auto insurance system. Personal Injury Protection insurance covers a portion of one’s own injuries — up to a certain limit — in the first year after the crash. However, unlike most no-fault states, the law in Oregon doesn’t prevent injured motorists or passengers from filing a lawsuit against another driver before exhausting PIP limits.

To get a better understanding of your legal rights after a Portland traffic accident, contact our experienced injury attorneys.