Oregon Pedestrian Accident FAQs
I was injured in a pedestrian accident in Oregon and I want to file a claim for my injuries — what should I do?
Answer: There are many things you should do, and not do, if you have been injured in an Oregon pedestrian accident and need to file a claim for your injuries.
First, because you were injured in an accident Oregon law requires you to file an Oregon Accident and Insurance Report directly with the Oregon DMV within 72 hours (three days) of the accident.
Second, take time to record (written notes) what you remember about the accident details: what happened, who was involved, details of the accident location, names of involved parties and witnesses, and comments made by anyone involved in or witnessed the accident.
Third, preserve any documents or information you have such as pictures, recordings, information exchanged, etc.
Forth, seek the help and assistance of an experienced Portland Pedestrian Accident Attorney to evaluate the merits of your case and guide you on what to do next. We always recommend having your attorney deal with insurance company adjusters and their attorneys and be sure not to provide a recorded statement to any insurance company without first discussing the statement with your attorney. Having an experienced Oregon pedestrian accident attorney on your team will change how the insurance company addresses any potential settlement and the degree to which they take your claims seriously.
As a pedestrian, what responsibilities and duties do I have to avoid accidents?
Answer: Pedestrians have a duty of care to obey traffic laws and observe and avoid traffic conditions which might cause accidents. In specific, Oregon’s Revised Statutes [link to ORS 814] require pedestrians to:
- Execute appropriate responses (Walk, Wait, or Don’t Walk) to traffic control devices;
- Obey bridge or railroad signals;
- Yield the right-of-way to an approaching vehicle when a pedestrian suddenly moves into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard, or when a pedestrian crosses a roadway at any point other than a marked crosswalk, or when a pedestrian fails to yield the right-of-way to vehicles on a roadway;
- Yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles;
- Use pedestrian tunnels or overhead crossings to cross roadways (if provided);
- Properly position upon or proceed along a highway (i.e. use sidewalks, the shoulder of the roadway, or outside edge of roadway depending on the roadway circumstances).
If you fail to provide this duty of care you can be held liable for injuries sustained by others in an Oregon pedestrian accident, or you may be assessed a portion of the responsibility for the accident, called contributory negligence, and have any settlement amount you might receive reduced by your percentage of contributory negligence.
How much time do I have to file a claim/lawsuit after an Oregon pedestrian accident?
Answer: The simple answer is two years from the date you were injured; however, there are numerous exceptions which can shorten or increase the time frame. These exceptions have to do with filing various notices such as a Dram Shop Notice (if you are suing a party that served liquor to the defendant), or Tort Claim Notice (if you are suing a public entity such as TriMet) which must be filed within 180 days of the incident. On the other hand, there are increased limits for cases involving a fatality, or minors under the age of 18. These are a few of the complications that may affect the statute-of-limitations. From a practical point-of-view, it is difficult to take any case where you are backed up against the statute-of-limitations because of the effort required to prepare and file a lawsuit. So even though the time frame may not have expired it is in your best interests to contact an experienced Portland Pedestrian Accident Attorney sooner rather than later to evaluate your case to determine an appropriate course of action based on all of the case facts.
Should I seek the advice of a Pedestrian Accident Attorney to help guide me?
Answer: Yes, personal injury cases involving Oregon pedestrian accidents can be quite complicated and involve issues such as determining who was at fault, contributory negligence, and presenting effective arguments to establish damages, all of which may involve expert witnesses and accident reconstruction. In these instances, it is smart to review your case with an experienced Oregon Pedestrian Accident Attorney and determine if the case complexities warrant the help of an experienced attorney. Initial case evaluations are free and can assist you in determining the merits of your case and potential settlement strategies.
I was hit by a bicyclist while in a crosswalk – doesn’t that mean the cyclist is at-fault?
Answer: Not necessarily. It would depend on the specific circumstances of the accident. If you were attempting to cross at an intersection against a red light, you would be deemed to be at fault. On the other hand, if the cyclist ran a red light or failed to stop at a stop sign, and subsequently struck you, then the cyclist would be at-fault. All pedestrians must exercise reasonable care for their own safety such as, obeying the “walk” signal at an intersection or using marked crosswalks. If a pedestrian fails to exercise such care, they may be assessed a portion of the responsibility for the accident, called contributory negligence. In these circumstances, damages you receive would be offset by the percentage of your contributory negligence. Determining who was at fault can require a significant amount of investigation. For example, a pedestrian who attempts to cross an intersection, within the crosswalk, and with a green traffic light, but against a flashing red do-not-walk indicator, may find themselves between 50-100% at fault for causing an accident, if they are subsequently hit. It is always a good idea to retain an attorney in a pedestrian accident case where significant damages have been incurred, or questions related to a fault and comparative negligence arise. In these instances, an experienced Oregon Pedestrian Accident Attorney can hire expert witnesses to reconstruct the accident, develop graphics to communicate the accident events, address legal questions of liability, and help determine at-fault responsibility.
Where do most Oregon pedestrian accidents occur? What factors increase the probability of being involved in an Oregon pedestrian accident?
Answer: More than 2/3 of Oregon pedestrian accidents take place in urban locations, with most serious accidents occurring at non-intersections or on urban roadways. More than any other day of the week, pedestrians have the highest probability of being involved in an accident on Saturday and Sunday, and more than 2/3 pedestrians killed are male.
For pedestrians, the riskiest actions and behaviors, linked to pedestrian accidents, include the following:
- Improper crossing of the roadway or intersection (27%)
- Walking against traffic (25.4%)
- Failure to yield right-of-way (13.9%)
- Darting or running into traffic or a roadway (12.1%)
- Not visible to driver (9.8%)
- Failure to obey traffic control (1.5%)
- Other (10.0%)
For drivers, the riskiest actions and behaviors, linked to pedestrian accidents, include the following:
- Speeding – driving over the posted speed limit (9.9%)
- Failure to yield right-of-way (9.3%)
- Drugs (9.0%)
- Distracted or inattentive (7.3%)
- Failure to keep improper lane (4.6%)
- Operating the vehicle in a reckless manner (3.6%)
- Hit-and-run driver (19.8%)
- Other (37.5%)