Car accidents are an unfortunate reality for many people. Even careful and cautious drivers may find themselves involved in an auto collision at some point. Sometimes, inattentive drivers may fail to notice cyclists or pedestrians, leading to severe or even fatal injuries. Many cities across the country have experienced an uptick in the number of traffic deaths, including Portland, Oregon. According to a report recently released by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), 63 people died in traffic crashes in 2022—the same number of people killed in 2021 and the highest number of traffic fatalities in three decades. As you travel along roadways in Portland and Vancouver, pay special attention to pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles to avoid an accident. However, should you find yourself involved in an accident, enlist the guidance of a caring and knowledgeable personal injury attorney to help you secure the compensation you need to support your recovery.
A Concerning Uptick in Traffic Fatalities
According to the PBOT report, more than half of the fatal crashes took place along the busiest roads in Portland. The report states, “while High Crash Network streets account for only 8 percent of Portland streets, in 2022 they accounted for 70 percent of deadly crashes.” Some of the High Crash Network streets include Burnside, Hawthorne, Killingsworth, Columbia, 82nd, and Capitol Highway. Even though Portland has reduced speed limits along many roadways, 46 to 75 percent of fatal crashes in 2022 occurred on roads with a posted speed limit of 35 or above. Additionally, pedestrians made up 44 percent of traffic deaths in 2022, compared to 38 percent in 2021.
Possible Factors Driving This Increase
Although there is no single root cause behind this continuing rise in traffic fatalities, several factors appear to play a role. For instance, the majority of pedestrian deaths occurred in darker conditions or along poorly-lit roadways where visibility was significantly reduced. Additionally, deaths from vehicles running off the road increased from an average of 20 percent in 2018-2021 to 24 percent in 2022, which may be associated with a rise in impaired driving and speeding. The number of deaths from hit-and-run crashes rose as well. Overall, Oregon saw the number of traffic deaths in 2021 rise by 15 percent, reaching the highest number since 1989. However, the state saw a slight decrease in traffic fatalities in 2022, even though Portland experienced the same number of traffic-related deaths as in 2021.
Strategies to Prevent an Auto Accident
Even though we cannot control the driving behavior of others, we can take certain steps to remain as safe as possible when traveling along city roadways. As drivers, we must follow best practices, such as obeying posted speed limits, remaining alert and attentive behind the wheel, and checking mirrors for other vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists. If you are traveling along poorly-lit roadways, pay extra attention to your surroundings, as a pedestrian may attempt to cross the road outside a designated crosswalk. As a pedestrian or cyclist, it’s best to wear bright colors or even a safety light when visibility is reduced. Do not assume that other vehicles will see you—use designated crosswalks and bike paths whenever possible.
What to Do in the Event of a Traffic Collision in Portland
Despite our best efforts, we may find ourselves involved in a car accident at some point. The aftermath of a collision can be overwhelming and chaotic, especially if you suffer an injury. Below are a few steps you can take to ensure you obtain the medical treatment you need and maximize your settlement offer later on.
Seek Medical Attention
First, assess yourself and others at the scene for injuries. Call for an ambulance if necessary. However, even if you do not believe your injuries are severe enough to warrant a trip to the hospital, be sure to visit your doctor within the next few days to have your injuries evaluated. Your doctor can look for harder-to-detect injuries, such as internal bleeding or traumatic brain injuries, that may not exhibit obvious symptoms. What’s more, the medical records created by your visit will help to demonstrate the nature, severity, and prognosis of your injuries. You can use these documents to prepare a strong personal injury claim.
Report the Accident to Local Law Enforcement
It’s best to report the accident to local law enforcement. The responding officer will arrive at the scene and compile a police report, which serves as an objective account of the factors surrounding the accident. Additionally, the police report can help to establish fault—perhaps witnesses at the scene can explain how the driver was not looking at the road when they struck the pedestrian in the crosswalk. You can request a copy of the police report to include with your personal injury claim.
Enlist the Support of a Caring Personal Injury Lawyer
The days, weeks, and months after sustaining an accident-related injury can be isolating and overwhelming. However, it’s essential to recognize that you do not have to go through the claims process alone. Working with a compassionate and trusted personal injury attorney can help you maximize your settlement offer and feel hopeful about the future once more. Let your attorney advocate passionately on your behalf while you continue focusing on what matters most—your recovery.
If you need help collecting compensation after suffering an auto accident injury in Portland or Vancouver, call Henderson Taylor Law Firm at (360) 737-1478 to speak with a caring and dedicated personal injury lawyer.
EXCERPT: Like many cities across the country, Portland saw a continued rise in traffic fatalities in 2022. Drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists should exercise additional caution on the road, particularly in poorly-lit areas and during evening hours.