Thursday, March 12, 2015
The Oregon Legislature just passed a very important update to Oregon's motor vehicle insurance laws providing Oregonians with protection much more like the protection Washington drivers have enjoyed for years. Every Oregon driver pays for both under-insured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection coverage. Until the new law takes effect, there are loopholes in the Oregon statutes that, under certain circumstances, render these coverages worthless.
On January 1, 2016 the new law will require that under-insured motorist coverage be made available to Oregon drivers if their total damages are more than the at fault driver was insured for. That is, if another driver does not have enough insurance to cover your loss, they are now defined as "under-insured." While this may seem self-evident, many people are surprised to learn that this has not been, and, indeed, is not currently the law.
Currently, another driver is only considered "under-insured" if he has less insurance coverage than you do. Not if he has less insurance coverage than your total damages. Thus, if you have a minimum policy providing $25,000 in coverage, and the other driver had the same minimum policy, he could not be defined as "under-insured" even if your total damages far exceeded $25,000. Thus, under the current law, you could not collect a dime of your own $25,000 "under-insured" motorist coverage.
This important change frees up your under-insured motorist coverage and makes it available to you whenever you are injured by a driver who has not purchased enough insurance to cover your damages.
In addition, every insured Oregon driver has also paid for Personal Injury Protection coverage that will pay for their medical expenses and wage loss after a car crash. However, even though you have paid premiums for this coverage, currently, and until the new law takes effect, your own insurance company could assert a lien against the at fault driver's insurance, and drain his liability insurance policy. This lien is first in line before the injured party. Your insurance company can get paid back in full before you receive any damages. If the other driver had not bought enough insurance to cover both your own insurance company's claims and your own damages, you were the one left out. This, again, despite the fact that you have been paying premiums for years.
Now, under the new law, your own personal injury protection carrier does not get paid back until all of your damages have been paid. Thus, the insurance that you have paid premiums for, does not get to take away the liability proceeds from the at fault driver. You are placed first in line, not your insurance company.
However, these amendment do not apply to existing insurance policies. It only applies to those policies that are issued or renewed AFTER January 1, 2016. Insurance policies often renew every 6 to 12 months. Therefore, to avoid any delay in the implementation of this coverage, it is important to have your policy re-issued, or renewed as soon after January 1, 2016 as possible.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Noon - Saturday, December 7, 2013
Stop by and say hi, and pick up some free coffee, cocoa, and cookies! Bring a chair or sit on the curb right in front of our building at Riverside (Franklin) and Broadway - across from Drake Park. Hope to see you then!
Thursday, November 14, 2013
It’s Winter Driving Season Again!
Driving in Oregon in the winter can be challenging both to drivers and their vehicles.
During the winter driving season, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges motorists to take precautionary measures to ensure that all vehicles are in optimal driving condition and properly equipped, especially in inclement weather.
NHTSA safety recommendations include the following:
Visit your mechanic for a periodic safety inspection and to address routine vehicle maintenance. Have your vehicle checked thoroughly for fluid leaks and any other needed parts, repairs, or replacements.
Have your starting system battery checked for sufficient voltage. When the temperature drops, so does battery power. Be aware that it takes more cranking power to start your vehicle in cold weather. Also, be sure the connections are properly tightened and free of corrosion. If necessary, clean them with a solution of baking soda and water.
Make sure you have enough coolant in your vehicle and that it's designed to withstand the winter temperatures you might experience in your area. A 50/50 mix of coolant to water is sufficient for most regions of the country.
If your engine cooling system hasn't been flushed (draining the system and replacing the coolant) for several years, have it done now. Over time, the rust inhibitors in antifreeze break down and become ineffective. Coolant also needs to be refreshed periodically to remove dirt and rust particles that can clog the cooling system and cause it to fail.
Make sure your windshield wipers and defrosters are working properly. Refill the windshield washer reservoir as needed with high-quality, "no-freeze" washer fluid.
Check tire pressure and make sure each tire is filled to the vehicle manufacturer's recommended inflation pressure, which is listed in your owner's manual and on a placard located on the driver's side doorjamb (called the "B-pillar"). Tire pressure drops as the temperature drops. Properly inflated tires ensure optimum tire performance and optimum vehicle driving range.
Keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle at all times and check pressure when tires are "cold" – meaning they haven't been driven on for at least three hours.
Check your tire tread depth and make sure you are using a tire appropriate for the winter driving conditions you may encounter. If the winter season means sleet, slush and snow-covered roads in your area or where you're traveling to, consider replacing tires when they reach approximately 5/32" of remaining tread depth. If you regularly encounter severe winter driving conditions, you may consider a dedicated winter/snow tire for optimum traction.
Stock your vehicle with essentials in the event of an emergency including a snow shovel, broom, ice scraper, jumper cables, flashlight, warning devices (flares, reflective markers, etc.) and blankets for protection from the cold. A mobile phone, water, food, and any necessary medicines may prove useful if you become stranded.
If road conditions are hazardous, wait until road and weather conditions improve before venturing out in your vehicle.
If you do become stranded, don't run your car for long periods with the windows up or in an enclosed space to avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow and run it only sporadically – just long enough to stay warm.
In the unfortunate event you are involved in a collision, please see the information provided at Practice-Areas Car-Accidents.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
ORS 31.710 limits the amount of non-economic damages to $500,000 in wrongful death cases. In other words, any damages for non-economic things such as loss of care, comfort, companionship and society, pain, mental suffering or loss of consortium, are limited to $500,000.
This does not “cap” the amount of economic damages that are recoverable. Economic damages are verifiable monetary losses such as medical expenses, burial and memorial expenses, and loss of income.
The “cap” also does not apply to punitive damages, if punitive damages are found to be appropriate.Under ORS 31.710, a jury is not allowed to know about this cap on damages, so even if a jury awards a personal representative of a decedent over $500,000, the Judge will reduce the award to this amount.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Brothers, Hawn & Coughlin in the middle of a construction zone
while the City of Bend is adding a bike lane to Riverside Blvd.!
To learn more about Brothers, Hawn & Coughlin, please visit our website at
Enjoy the summer in sunny Central Oregon!