If you have been injured in an Oregon auto collision, you have a claim against the responsible driver for your losses. Before you can discuss your losses (medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering) you need to establish that the other driver was at fault.
In some cases, this is obvious. We have handled cases where people have been seriously injured at the hands of reckless drivers, road rage incidents, and drunk drivers. However, there are many cases where the negligent driver has a different version of the collision. To convince the adjuster that the other driver was at fault, we often refer to Oregon’s jury instructions, which provide an excellent summary of a person’s responsibility when behind the wheel and Oregon.
The most common mistakes negligent driver’s make are:
Driving Too Fast
Driving too fast in the State of Oregon is a violation of the “Basic Rule.” A person can violate this rule even if they are driving within the posted speed limit. A violation of the basic rule occurs when somebody is driving faster than reasonable considering the traffic, the road surface, the road with, hazard at intersections, whether, visibility, and any other existing conditions. A careful motorist is not going to drive 65 miles an hour over Highway 26 to the Oregon Coast on icy roads in February.
No Oregon statute requires a driver to keep their car under control. However, case law has established that drivers need to keep their vehicles under control when driving on the highway. When a jury is instructed on a driver’s duty to maintain control, they are asked to determine whether not a “reasonably prudent person” in the same situation would be able to keep their car under control.
Although it seems obvious, a jury may be instructed that a driver needs to look where there going. Again, there is no statute requiring drivers to look where there going. It depends on the circumstances. When instructed on this legal responsibility, juries are asked to look at the circumstances of each situation. Also, a person does not keep a proper lookout by looking and not seeing the stopped car or the pedestrian in the cross walk when it was clearly visible. This instruction allows a jury to consider the particular situation, i.e., whether the defendant was driving through a busy neighborhood with heavy pedestrian traffic, or on a rural highway with limited visibility.
If you have a serious auto injury claim in Oregon, and have questions about how to hold the careless driver responsible, call us at 503-325-8600. We can help you explore your options.