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From Klamath Falls to Tillamook, Eugene to Coos Bay, Oregon has hundreds of miles of roadways. These roads are used by an average of 2.5 million people on a yearly basis. While it's safe to assume that most are focused on being responsible drivers, that does not mean that accidents do not happen, with many of these accidents resulting in injury or death. The Beaver state is a "fault" car accident state, with very unique laws pertaining to car insurance.

As a "fault" car accident state, injuries, loss of income, and car damage are the responsibility of the person who caused the accident. It's a traditional system, where the insurance company of the person who caused the accident will absorb losses, up to the policy limit. The person who suffers from injury or damages to their personal property can file a claim with their insurance company, file a third-party claim via the at-fault's insurance, or file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver to ensure that they are made whole.

In the state of Oregon, you are required to show proof of insurance in an officer inquires. If you do not have car insurance, then there are some penalties involved. For example, if you do not have insurance, the driver can be convicted for a first offense. This offense will have a fine of up to $427, and your license can be suspended for up to 12 months, barring you from the legal operation of your vehicle. You are exempt from this 12-month penalty if you carry a SR-22 insurance coverage and have it on file for 3 years. SR-22 insurance is a type of certification issued by your insurance company. It shows proof that you are carrying minimum liability coverage required by Oregon. To avoid a violation, keep proof of viable auto insurance in your car at all times.

Oregon's minimum liability coverage

You can fulfill your responsibilities by obtaining coverage that includes bodily injury, property damage, uninsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection. Oregon has set forth several minimum requirements.

For bodily injury coverage, the insurance coverage will typically pay out $25,000 for a person injured, up to $50,000 for two people. Medical expenses are also taken cared of by the insurance company. Property damage coverage maxes out at $20,000 per accident for the person who is at fault, and the personal injury protection coverage settles medical expenses if you are injured, regardless of fault. Personal injury protection maxes out at $15,000 per accident. This type of coverage will protect the no-fault person from income loss via a stipend.

How Oregon car insurance laws are changing

In early 2019, Senate Bill 421 was introduced. This bill will match the auto insurance laws in many other states, where the injured person in a car accident can be made whole for all damages, including emotional distress, from the at-fault party's insurance before the person's medical insurer gets paid. This bill is to ensure that victims of car accidents receive what they are owed first, as soon as possible. While health insurers are most likely to oppose the bill, victim right's advocates and trial lawyers see it as a step forward for accident victims.

For additional and up to date information regarding Oregon's car insurance laws, you can contact Oregon's Department of Insurance at 888-877-4894, or send an inquiry via their contact page.