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How To Handle An Accident On Private Property

Despite the number of years you have been driving or your defensive driving skills, you may still find yourself involved in a crash or collision, either with another motorist or with stationary objects, such as guardrails or lampposts. One wrong turn on the road, and you could end up in a ditch, and crashed against a neighbor’s fence. Even if the injuries you sustain are slight, you could still end up facing serious costs in terms of property damages.

When any type of car accident or injury occurs, knowing your requirements and duties as a driver is an important part of protecting your rights and financial interests. The following provides important tips and information on what to do if you are involved in an accident on someone’s private property.

Property Damage Only Accidents

Car accidents are a common occurrence, both in and around Portland as well as throughout the U.S. The latest statistics from the Insurance Information Institute (III) reveal that more than six million car crashes and collisions happen each year throughout the country, averaging to more than 16,000 accidents a day. While nearly two million drivers and passengers suffer serious and potentially life threatening injuries as the result of these accidents, more than two third involve property damages alone.

Property damage-only accidents may involve multiple drivers, or a single driver colliding directly with an object. They can occur in the following places:

  • On public streets, doing damage to privately owned commercial buildings, signs posts, and parked cars;
  • In residential settings, knocking over fences, damaging landscaping and patio furnishings, and hitting other vehicles or structures located on the property;
  • In rural areas, damaging telephone poles or other utilities and impacting livestock and crops.

The reasons these accidents occur are often the same as with other types of motor vehicle collisions, and include poor road, traffic, and weather conditions, as well as reckless and dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding, driving under the influence, and texting while driving. The III reports that costs associated with property damage only accidents is estimated at more than $75 billion a year.

What To Do In the Event Of Damaged Property

Under the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS 811.700), drivers involved in accidents resulting in damage to private property are required to do the following:

  • Pull over immediately at the scene;
  • Take reasonable steps to notify the property owner that damage has occurred;
  • Provide their contact information, including name and address, driver’s license and vehicle registration numbers, and proof of insurance.

In addition to the legal requirements, it is also a good idea to notify law enforcement so that an accident report can be filed, and report the incident to your insurance company. Even if the impact of your accident is minor and you do not appear to have suffered any injuries, you should get medical attention as soon as possible. Many potentially serious injuries have symptoms which may take several hours or days to appear.

Contact Our Portland Car Accident Attorney Today

If you are involved in any type of car accident, even one that resulted only in property damages, contact our experienced Portland car accident attorney right away. At the Johnston Law Firm, we can advise you on any legal liability you may have for the damages your accident caused, while ensuring your rights are protected. We serve Portland and the surrounding areas; call or contact our office online today for a free consultation.  


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.