Oregon Requires Liability Insurance for Auto Injury Claims

Posted by Scott A. Staples | Feb 26, 2020

If you drive, you need to carry auto insurance, liability at a bare minimum.  It's the smart thing, the responsible thing, and it's the law.  But for any driver venturing into Oregon, there's an added incentive to carry insurance: if you're injured in an auto collision in Oregon due to someone else's negligence, and you're not insured, your personal injury claim will be limited to economic losses only (medical bills, wage loss, etc.), and there will be no non-economic (“pain and suffering”) damages.  ORS 31.715 is the statute that lays this out, and there are very few exceptions to it, which in many cases will likely not apply (other driver guilty of reckless driving- a very high legal hurdle to overcome, lapsed coverage in the last 180 days before and no prior uninsured-driving violations for a year before the lapse, to name a couple). 

Putting aside all the other reasons driving with insurance is imperative, non-economic or “general” damages often make up the larger part of a motor vehicle personal injury claim, and they are essential to fairly compensate someone for all they've been through, including any permanent impairment or disability.  It can lead to a huge financial setback.  I've never met a potential client who isn't greatly dismayed to find out this consequence of driving uninsured.  It's just one more reason to make sure you have auto insurance, and that it is kept up to date.    

About the Author

Scott A. Staples

Scott Staples came on board in 2006 as a clerk during law school, and joined the firm as an associate attorney in 2007. He was made a shareholder in the firm in 2010. Scott graduated, cum laude, from Washington State University Vancouver with a BA in English, and obtained his Juris Doctorate from Willamette University College of Law, with cum laude honors there as well. He has successfully represented clients in a variety of different types of injury cases, including auto collisions, premises liability, animal attacks, watercraft accidents, and construction site injuries. He has appeared, and won, before the Washington State Supreme Court (Weismann v. Safeco, 2012). Scott has volunteered time for the past several years at the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Housing Justice Project. He has previously served on the new member and membership committees for the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ), and has acted as chair and co-chair of the WSAJ Clark County Roundtable. He is a member of the Washington and Oregon State Bar Associations, WSAJ and OTLA (state trial lawyer organizations), and is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Washington and Oregon. Scott was born and raised in Vancouver, attending Vancouver public schools and graduating from Hudson's Bay High School. He enjoys playing recreational basketball and softball, skiing, and spending time with his wife and three children.

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