A previous post on this blog warned Portland, Oregon, residents involved in a car accident not to ever agree with the other driver to settle the matter informally or accept the other driver’s money, even if the payment seems generous.
There are a couple of reasons why this advice is important. For one, calling the police and getting a police report gives everyone, including the insurance companies involved, a reasonably reliable track record of what exactly happened and why.
On the other hand, not getting a police report can turn an accident in to a matter where it is one’s person’s word against the other’s, meaning it can be hard to convince an insurance company or even a jury to aware compensation.
Furthermore, taking a person’s money implies to some extent that the victim considers the matter resolved. This may be a relatively minor issue if it is true the victim has not been injured, but it can become a huge legal problem if it turns out that the victim did have an injury that only became apparent later.
It is not uncommon for a victim not to notice how badly he or she has been hurt until well after an accident. This is due to a number of factors, including the body’s natural response system to a stressful situation. This is why a victim should always go to the doctor immediately after an accident.
There are other things a Portland, Oregon, resident should do, and avoid doing, after they are involved in car accidents, no matter how minor the accident might seem at first blush. For instance, a person should never sign a settlement or other document, or, for that matter, agree to talk to the other driver’s insurance company, without first speaking with his or her personal injury attorney.