As any Oregon injury lawyer can tell you, car accidents happen fast and they happen often. And no person is exempt from a car crash. In fact, it’s believed that one in four motorists will be involved in a car crash at some point while driving during their lifetimes. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new driver or a seasoned driver. It doesn’t matter whether you’re young or whether you’re old. It doesn’t even matter whether you’re a mother of two driving your children home from soccer or an ambulance driver on the way back to the hospital after a call.
On December 20, 2012, two Metro West emergency medical technicians (EMTs) find out just how true that was when they found themselves smack in the middle of a major accident at the intersection of South Barlow Road and Knights Bridge Road in Barlow, Oregon. According to reports, all parties involved sustained minor to serious injuries, including the two EMTs as well as the driver of the vehicle, Jeanine Harris, who struck the ambulance after pulling away from a stop sign.
This example of a very recent crash may remind us all that truly no one knows the time or the place when they will be involved in an accident. The big reason for this is that we cannot predict what other drivers on the road are going to do. The only thing that we can do as motorists is to take every precaution that we can while driving, utilizing appropriate safety measures and ensuring that we pay attention to the actions and behaviors as much as we can of other motorists.
After an accident, it is also important to take the right steps to ensure that all those involved are safe, that they receive the medical attention that is needed, and that the accident is adequately reported if necessary.
When an accident meets certain qualifications, the State of Oregon requires that the accident be properly reported via an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report (Form 735-32). In very specific instances, drivers involved in accidents are required to file this form within 72 hours. If any of these are true for your accident, you will need to file a report with the DMV:
- The damage to the car you were driving exceeded $1,500.
- The damage to any car involved in the accident exceeded $1,500 and any of the cars were towed away from the accident scene because of the damage sustained.
- There was an injury or a fatality as a result of the accident.
- The damage to any individual’s property (other than a vehicle) caused by the accident exceeds $1,500.
In addition, in examples such as the instance of the ambulance drivers above, any accidents that happen in areas that are open to the public such as public streets need to be reported. It is important to remember that accident reporting in the State of Oregon is not optional in these cases. You have to file a report, even if your car or vehicle was the only one involved in the accident.