In most firms, it is the staff that handles the bulk of your case. You end up dealing with paralegals, assistants, or clerks instead of the lawyer you signed up with. At Pacific Injury, assistants may handle the paperwork and occasional informational calls, but most of the time, you will be working with your actual trial attorney.
Our office and injury attorneys have built the firm from the ground up with efficiency in mind. Paperless, custom-built data centers for instant access to all file information, and flexible communication by phone, email, and even secure instant messaging. We want you to be able to participate as part of the team in your case.
Far too many personal injury "mills" are out to settle your case as fast as possible so they can move on the next. Pacific Injury was founded by lawyers who are used to the courtroom and don't run from it. If getting you top-dollar for your injury means taking the matter to a jury, we will do it. If you are ready for a trial, we won't back down either.
It only takes one instant of distraction or poor judgment for lives to be changed forever. Sleepy, impaired, careless, distracted, or merely negligent drivers are responsible for tens of thousands of motor vehicle-related injuries and deaths across Oregon every year. For victims and their families, the emotional, physical, and financial consequences can be devastating. Some wounds never heal, and sometimes loved ones never return.
The Oregon motor vehicle accident lawyers at Pacific Injury Law Firm continue to build a reputation on providing aggressive, fair, and comprehensive representation to accident victims who are injured by the negligence of others.
There are no two ways about it: personal injury lawsuits can be complicated. Car and truck accidents in many parts of Oregon can be especially devastating because wide open spaces create high speeds and highly elevated fatality rates. However, even a seemingly simple motor vehicle accident with very low speeds and non-life-threatening injuries can result in complicated legal battles with the insurance companies and their defense lawyers. You need the best injury lawyer available on your side to get the best possible outcome for your future.
We have the legal knowledge necessary to negotiate your claim with the insurance companies effectively. We also rely on the latest technologies and case-management to effectively build your case to be compelling. Our goal is the same as yours: to maximize your compensation award. Whether you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, car accident, bicycle accident, motorcycle accident, commercial truck accident or other road accident, contact our lawyers today so we can put our expertise to work for you.
A car accident occurs in an instant, but the physical, psychological, and financial impact of the car crash can take years to recover from, if ever. In 2017, the most recent year for which data from the Oregon Department of Transportation has full statistics Oregon had 439 fatalities from car accidents or other vehicle accidents, which does not include the 41,893 car crash injuries. Helping the client recover physically and emotionally is a job that the best Oregon car accident lawyers should take as seriously as helping you recover financially. The car accident attorneys at Pacific Injury Law Firm believe that top legal representation means encouraging clients to follow their doctors' orders first while building the financial recovery around that healing.
Getting you access to help to address your physical and emotional injuries after a car accident is a top priority for our Oregon personal injury attorneys.
The length of time it will take to conclude and resolve your Oregon Car Accident case is dependent on a number of factors, only some of which are within your control. These include:
All consultations with the lawyers at our firm about your Oregon Car Accident case are free. If we accept your case, unless otherwise agreed, we also take on the expenses associated with recovering on your behalf. You pay nothing, and we don't get paid until we recover on your behalf. At that time, we will pay expenses from the recovered amount. Then our firm is paid a percentage of the recovery at the end of the case that is consistent with rules of professional responsibility and local ethics rules (depending on the specific situation and fee agreement, typically about 33%, or 40% if the matter goes to trial or arbitration). The client takes the rest of the recovered amount. This arrangement is known as a "contingent fee" - we don't get paid unless you do as well.
Valuing any personal injury case requires consideration of many factors, and Car Accident cases are no exception. The first step in valuing a Car Accident accident claim is determining fault. Who is at fault for the accident? Sometimes the answer is not entirely clear. Even though there may be shared fault by the victim (comparative negligence), you still may be entitled to compensation.
Second, the scope, severity, medical expenses, and permanency of the injuries must be evaluated. After an accident, treating doctors will try to make predictions about how long injuries will take to heal and how they will impact your life in the future, but there is no certainty until actual healing takes place. For example, an injury to a joint might heal but result in loss of motion. In other instances, physical therapy will improve healing and you will regain a full range of motion. In still other situations, surgery may be necessary, or a limitation to the range of motion may never fully recover.
The severity and degree of permanency of your injuries, along with any loss of wages, earning capacity, "pain and suffering," and general loss of life enjoyment of life will impact the value of the case. For instance, if you lose the ability to pursue a loved hobby, like a leg injury that prevents cycling, it could also affect the claim’s value.
Finally, the amount of financial recovery from a Car Accident case may be limited by the amount of insurance available by the parties, or the partial responsibility of the victim of the injury.
PIP provides a source of payment for YOUR medical bills and some of YOUR wage loss following an auto accident. Further, PIP is no-fault, meaning that it will begin paying on your injuries immediately, rather than waiting for liability to be determined. Similarly, Med Pay provides some coverage for YOUR medical bills. These are called "no-fault" coverages because they pay even if the accident is your fault.
By law, every auto insurance policy sold in Oregon must include personal injury protection (PIP), which is called "no-fault," providing coverage if you’re injured while either operating or maintaining a vehicle. PIP can also provide coverage if you are injured by a vehicle on a bicycle or as a pedestrian. Because it is "no-fault," no matter the at-fault party for an accident, personal injury protection will pay for your injuries. PIP insurance provides coverage for:
The minimum coverage under Oregon law for PIP coverage is $15,000. However, buyers may always buy a policy with higher limits if desired. PIP policies vary depending on carrier and cost, sometimes having a deductible (which can reduce your premium). However, the maximum deductible allowed in Oregon is $250, so it is unlikely to substantially reduce your premiums.
The short answer to this common question is “yes.” You should talk to a lawyer to represent you on these claims because of how insurance companies handle smaller claims. In addition to large claims, insurance companies process a huge number of smaller claims valued at less than $10,000. To do this, they commonly offer injured parties very small amounts of money or no money at all. The insurance companies are betting that small claims will just go away without the injured person seeking legal help.
However, Oregon has created a law (ORS 20.080) which is intended to level the playing field for injured parties with smaller claims and to promote these injured parties’ ability to get legal counsel. Generally, the law accomplishes this by awarding attorney fees to a party who successfully uses a lawyer to represent them in recovering their damages (medical costs, property losses, and other expenses including as lost wages). These fees for your lawyer are awarded if you make a demand for payment under $10,000.00, and the defendant (or their insurance company) declines the offer or offers less than you demand. If you subsequently are awarded more, you are also entitled to attorney fees under the law. Here is an example:
As soon as possible you should document the facts of the accident. Begin a folder to keep all the information together. Be sure you have the information you need about any witnesses. You might want to take photographs of the cars involved, the location of the accident, and your injuries. Draw a diagram of the accident scene with sufficient detail as to locations of landmarks and vehicles to assist your recollection later on.
The insurance company for the driver at fault may want you to give them a statement, either in person or on the phone. We recommend that you not give such a statement, at least without first consulting with an attorney. You do want to talk with your own insurance company, however, so that you can receive any medical payment or personal injury protection benefits that may be available.
People either forget or repress many of the problems they suffer after a serious injury. You should begin keeping your diary up-to-date immediately. This information can be invaluable at the time of settlement negotiations or trial. You should record the following information in your diary:
The most important matter to keep in mind is that you recover fully, or as much as possible, from all your injuries. You should faithfully follow any instructions from your doctor, and be sure to keep any appointments with specialists, physical therapists, etc. In our view, legal issues should be secondary to your full recovery.
Please be aware and assume that everything stated and/or observed by your doctor may be taken down in detailed notes. These notes, or a report made from them, are later read by the insurance company when it is time to negotiate the value of your personal injury claim. The value of your claim largely depends on your doctors' reports. If your doctor is not aware of your limitations, pain, etc., he/she will not provide that information in the report. If your doctor feels an injury is exaggerated, it may be put in a report.
Remember to tell your doctor about all your pains, discomforts, and limitations. Your doctor will determine whether the complaints are related to the accident. Some problems may seem minor but relate to another injury in another part of your body. Your doctor will need this information in order to properly treat you. Try to be as accurate and objective as possible; under no circumstances should you fabricate or exaggerate any problems. Include the following information:
If you lost any income because of your car accident, either through employment or odd jobs, those losses must be documented. You may also have wage benefits available under your auto policy, or another auto policy, such as the driver or owner of the car. In addition, if you were employed there might be wage loss benefits available through your employer or union. If you are going to be off work for any length of time, it is important to explore every avenue.
Be certain to contact all your own insurance carriers immediately regard payment of bills. You may have Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments coverage available through an auto policy. You might also have health insurance that can help.
Keep receipts from any prescriptions or medications that you have had to purchase from your car accident and any other out-of-pocket expenses. Also keep track of mileage to see medical providers, particularly if you are required to travel significant distances to get treatment for your injuries. Some of these expenses may be reimbursable at the time of settlement with the insurance company.
Injuries in any kind of vehicle crash, including injuries from a Car Accident, occur because of recurring driver errors. Each year, the Oregon Department of Transportation compiles statistics for the most common reasons for vehicle injuries. As of 2017, according to the most recent data available, the following are the 10 most common driver errors that cause injury:
In Oregon, every driver must carry insurance to operate a vehicle, whether a motorcycle, car or commercial truck. Those insurance policies carry different parts some mandatory, some as add-ons. These components include uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist, personal injury protection (“PIP”), liability coverage, comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, and medical payments coverage.
In Oregon, every policy carried by a driver is required to carry Uninsured Motorist (or "UM") coverage by Oregon law as part of their policy. By law at ORS 742.502, the minimum amount of coverage under an Oregon UM policy is $25,000. (Note that while the law does not put a specific number on the amount at ORS 742.502, it must be at least the amount of bodily injury coverage, for which the minimum is $25,000). In the event of a car accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident that causes you injury because of the negligence or other fault of an uninsured driver, this uninsured motorist policy will provide coverage up to the limits of the UM policy terms. In fact, your auto policy for uninsured motorist coverage will even cover you in you are injured as a pedestrian or are in a bicycle accident caused by an uninsured driver. Essentially, uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage provides insurance coverage when the negligent, at-fault driver fails to follow the law and carry minimum insurance. The best Oregon personal injury lawyers will make sure that you access all sources of coverage, including UM policies.
When uninsured motorist policies come in to play after a car crash, bicycle injury, or even pedestrian injury, it functions just like the insurance that the other driver should have carried. You can recover economic damages and non-economic damages just like you would receive from the negligent driver, all the way up to the limits of your uninsured motorist policy. Economic damages are the types of injuries that cost money, including wage loss and medical bills. Noneconomic damages include things like loss of enjoyment of life because of physical pain and suffering, permanent injury, and interference with the ability to go about normal daily routines.
Uninsured motorist (“UM”) insurance is helpful in other circumstances. This includes hit-and-run accidents, where the identity of the other vehicle causing injury is unknown. UM insurance might be available when an accident is caused by an unknown driver, or “phantom vehicle” that is not involved in a physical car crash but is still the cause of the injury. In both of these cases, UM coverage may also be available when a "phantom vehicle" causes an accident, even though no actual contact was made between the vehicles. In the case of a "hit-and-run" or "phantom vehicle," the injured party must report the accident to the police or Motor Vehicles Division within 72 hours after the accident. The injured party then has 30 days to notify their own insurance company of the injury to put them on notice of the uninsured motorist claim. Note that in the event of a “phantom vehicle” claim, insurers are likely to require evidence that supports the claim beyond a mere allegation. Oregon's top injury attorneys will help you properly demonstrate this so coverage is triggered.
Note that although by default your uninsured motorist policy will be the same as your liability limits (minimum $25,000 in Oregon), you can choose to purchase less, so long as you maintain the minimum. To do this, you must elect in writing with your insurance company when you create the policy. By way of example, if your liability policy covers $150,000 to other drivers, your UM policy must also be $150,000 unless you elect in writing to lower the limits (with the lower limit still being $25,000). Like everything else in purchasing insurance, this is a risk. While your premiums may be less, a lower UM policy limit may leave you with insufficient coverage if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.
Finally, insurance companies offer optional add-on uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage that provides for damage to your own property (your damaged car, for example). While this coverage is not mandatory under Oregon law, it can help pay for the full spectrum of your damages if injured by an uninsured motorist.
Insurance can be confusing because there are many components to any policy. Some are mandatory; some are not. You may have heard the term “underinsured motorist” coverage or “UIM coverage.” Though close in name, it’s different from uninsured motorist coverage, or UM coverage. Underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage will exist as part of your policy if your uninsured motorist (“UM”) policy is higher than the minimum amounts covered by Oregon law. In Oregon, the statutory limits are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
With UIM insurance coverage, should it be available, you would get coverage equal to the difference between the policy limits on your UM policy and the policy limits carried by the insurance policy of a negligent driver who caused an injury (the at-fault driver) in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or bicycle accident. Stated differently, you can calculate the amount of UIM benefits you have available by subtracting the amount of the at-fault driver’s liability limits from the amount of UM coverage you have on your policy. For example, if an at-fault driver carries the legal minimum amount of liability insurance of $25,000, and your policy has $75,000 of UM coverage. Your policy would provide you with up to $50,000 in UIM insurance. See ORS 742.504 - Required provisions of uninsured motorist coverage, for the full statutory details.
Every situation is unique, and calculating Oregon auto insurance can be tricky. Despite the generalities, there are times when the full amount of the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy does not have to be used entirely before UIM coverage will take effect. Oregon's best personal injury lawyers will help you access the most coverage in these circumstances. This includes obtaining consent from your UIM carrier's before settling with the adverse driver’s liability policy carrier. Simple mistakes like this can result in a waiver and loss of your UIM benefits. To complicate matters further, time limits for making a UIM claim exist, which should be discussed with an experienced Oregon car accident lawyer to ensure that you get all coverage from your policy that you paid for.
Pacific Injury Law Firm represents people across Oregon and the Pacific Northwest in injury-related law. Whether your injury was from a car accident, motorcycle accident, a wrongful death, a bicycle accident, or even a pedestrian injury, our top Oregon personal injury attorneys will help you recover. Speak with a skilled Oregon injury lawyer today about your case for no cost.
Pacific Injury Law Firm represents people across Oregon and the Pacific Northwest in injury-related law. Whether your injury was from a car accident, motorcycle accident, a wrongful death, a bicycle accident, or even a pedestrian injury, our top Oregon personal injury attorneys will help you recover. Speak with a skilled Oregon injury lawyer today about your case for no cost.
Your day has just been upended. You’ve been in a car or truck accident. Your vehicle is damaged, and maybe you are injured. Occupants might be injured. Other drivers may have injuries. Most people have a flood of worries and questions at the time of a car accident. Am I ok? Are others ok? How much will it cost to repair or replace my car? Do I need a personal injury lawyer? How will I pay for this?
Chances are, after a car accident you aren’t thinking about filing paperwork. Still, Oregon law has reporting requirements after a car crash or truck crash that can impact your ability to recover for your injuries and property damage later.
The first is the requirement to report the Oregon car accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Transportation. Generally speaking, an accident occurring on a public road resulting in damage to the property of any person in excess of $2,500 is must be reported to the Oregon Department of Transportation. The general that trigger the need to report are: - The cost to repair damage to any motor vehicle is over $2,500, even if your vehicle was the only one damaged; - The car crash results in a vehicle being towed from the scene; - Injury or death is caused by the motor vehicle accident; or - Damage to any person’s property other than the vehicle involved in the accident is more than $2,500. Generally, this car accident report to the DMV must be reported within 72 hours of the accident. A reporting form from the DMV is available here. The failure to report an accident. Failing to report an accident can result in a traffic citation, and can also be used as evidence against you when trying to recover for injuries in the accident.
In addition to reporting to the Department of Transportation, the same requirements for reporting an accident to the DMV apply to report the accident to law enforcement (damage over $2,500, injury or death, etc.).
In addition to the reporting requirements, Oregon law requires drivers to perform specific duties when the driver knows or has reason to believe that the driver has been involved in an accident. Such requirements include, but are not limited to: - Immediately stopping the vehicle at the scene of the collision or as close as safely possible to the scene of the collision and reasonably investigating what the driver’s vehicle struck. - Exchanging (or providing such information to an unattended vehicle): - The driver’s name and address, - The name and address of the owner of the driver’s vehicle - The name and address of any other occupants of the driver’s vehicle; and - If the driver’s vehicle is a motor vehicle, the registration number of the motor vehicle, - The name of the insurance carrier covering the motor vehicle, - The insurance policy number of the insurance policy insuring the motor vehicle - The phone number of the insurance carrier. When a person is convicted for failing to perform duties of a driver when property is damaged failing to perform duties of a driver to injured persons, a violator may be required to pay damages caused by the person as a result of the incident or accident.
Reporting your accident, although probably low on your priorities after a car accident, is still a fast and necessary part of building a recovery after being injured in a motor vehicle accident. If you need help with this process, the Oregon car and truck accident lawyers at Pacific Injury Law Firm can not only complete the report for you if you (assuming you call quickly enough), but can also help you build your case towards financial recovery. Call or use your online scheduler to set up a free consultation today.
Common Law Negligence
Every contested auto accident involves two major issues - "liability" and "damages." Liability simply means that the other party must be legally liable before he or she has any obligation to pay compensation for injuries. (Damages are discussed elsewhere on our blog. Search our blog for damages issues discussed.)
Legal liability in a motor vehicle accident is most frequently based upon the law of negligence. Negligence is a concept that goes back hundreds of years to the English "common law," and it refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances.
The fact that an accident occurred does not necessarily mean anyone was at fault; some accidents are legally considered unavoidable, meaning no one is legally liable. There are four elements of negligence which must be present in every case before the negligent person (sometimes referred to as a "tortfeasor") has an obligation to pay damages:
When you are operating a motor vehicle, you have a duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety of others on the road. That usually means that you must drive at speeds that are reasonable under the circumstances, keep your vehicle under control, keep a lookout for what is going on around you, obey traffic laws, etc.
If you do not live up to your obligations, you have breached the duty. For example, imagine a straight stretch of road where normally it is safe and legal to travel 45 MPH. However, on a particular night, the fog is so thick that you can't see ten feet. If you travel 45 MPH that night and run into another vehicle, you have breached your duty to drive reasonably under the circumstances.
However, in order to be held legally liable under the law of negligence, your breach of duty must be the cause of injury or damage to another. Continuing with the same example, if you travel 45 MPH down this foggy road at night but do not strike another vehicle, hit a person, or in any way cause any damage or injury, then you are not negligent. You may have violated the law and could receive a traffic citation, but you are not negligent.
Similarly, you might cause some type of incident but no damage to another person, in which case you still would not be negligent. Let us imagine that in your race through the fog you strike a wall, damaging your car but causing no damage to the wall. You are not legally liable to anyone, since your breach of duty has not caused any damage.
Negligence law can be fairly simple, as when one driver is inattentive and rear-ends another vehicle lawfully stopped at a red light. However, it can also be maddeningly complex, as when several people are involved, eyewitnesses differ in their accounts, and no one can agree on the facts, let alone what the legal obligations were.
If the operator of a vehicle violates one of the rules of the road and the violation causes an accident, that is referred to as statutory negligence. So for example, if the law prohibits passing over a solid line, and you pass over a solid line anyway and hit an oncoming car, the operator of that car would claim that you were negligent for violating the statute.
Not every statutory violation makes you legally liable for an auto accident, however. For example, in most states, the fact that a driver does not have a legal driver's license, or is not insured as required by state law, does not create legal liability for an accident. It may, however, subject the driver to other sanctions, depending upon state law.
Contributory Negligence and Comparative Negligence
Sometimes there is more than one person who is at fault in causing an accident. Whether an injured person can recover damages from a third party depends upon how their particular state applies the law of contributory and comparative negligence.
Let's take a simple example. John and Betty are each driving a car and collide in an intersection where there are no stop signs, traffic lights, or other markings. Each claims the other was going too fast for the circumstances and not maintaining a proper lookout entering the intersection.
Betty was injured in the accident and sues John, alleging that John was negligent. For his defense, John argues that Betty herself was negligent. The case is tried and goes to the jury. Let's assume the jury would award Betty damages for her injuries in the amount of $10,000.
In a contributory negligence jurisdiction, if the jury finds Betty was the least bit negligent and contributed to the accident, then Betty would recover nothing. Therefore, even if Betty is only 5% at fault and John is 95% at fault, Betty recovers $0.
In a comparative negligence jurisdiction, if a jury finds that Betty is 5% at fault and John is 95% at fault, Betty would still be able to recover, but her $10,000 in damages would be reduced by her 5% of the fault, so that Betty would recover only $9,500.
Comparative negligence differs among states. For example, if Betty is found to be 50% at fault, and John 50% at fault, some comparative negligence states would still allow Betty to recover $5,000 (50% of her damages), while other states would prevent her from recovering at all because she is equally at fault with the other driver.
Still, other states draw the line at 51%, following the principle that a plaintiff who is MORE negligent than a defendant should not be able to recover anything. For example, in Oregon, Betty would recover $5,000 if she is 50% negligent, but if she is 51% negligent, she would recover nothing.
Finally, there are about 13 states which have "pure comparative negligence" law. This means that a jury could conclude that Betty is 90% at fault for the accident, and John was only 10% at fault, but Betty would still be able to recover $1,000 (her damages reduced by 90%).
Personal injury cases don’t resolve overnight. Depending on the scope of the injuries, a client may treat for weeks, months, or even years before they can obtain compensation for their injuries. During this time of treatment, insurance may or may not be paying the bills, but medical providers still need to get paid. To protect their interests, these medical providers may request a “Letter of Protection” from the personal injury attorney.
The Letter of Protection is essentially an agreement between the attorney and the medical provider to withhold further billing of the client until the conclusion of the personal injury case. This allows the client to recover money to pay to the provider from whoever caused the injury. The Letter of Protection does not make the lawyer liable for the medical provider’s bills, but it does give the client some financial breathing room to obtain treatment while their case is pending and until they have the resources to make payment.
Attorneys should only issue an Oregon Letter of Protection when the client has approved it ahead of time. If you have a circumstance in your case where you think it might help, you can discuss the facts with your lawyer and see whether they will issue a Letter of Protection on your behalf. Your attorney should not do this without consulting you, because ultimately it is the client (or patient/recipient of medical treatment) that will be liable for paying the bills, either from their pocket or from financial recovery.
The only person who can issue an Oregon Letter of Protection is an attorney for the injured party. While the implementation is generally less formal, it is nonetheless the equivalent of a contract between the medical provider and the lawyer. This contract acts as a lien against the funds recovered by the lawyer on behalf of the injured party. That is, if the lawyer recovers money either by settlement or at trial for the injured party, the medical provider will have a right to be paid from those funds. Without an attorney representing them, the injured party cannot issue a Letter of Protection (or enter into this contract) alone. That’s not to say that an individual can’t make a privately negotiated agreement, but it will not be in the form of a more formalized Letter of Protection.
After an injury, a party may not be able to work, and may have lots of non-medical bills that need paying in addition to medical bills. While some billers may seek to have a Letter of Protection to get paid later, most lawyers only enter into these agreements with medical providers who are directly related to the injuries from the accident. For example, just because you are expecting compensation from a personal injury case down the road, it doesn’t mean that a Letter of Protection would be used by an attorney to pay your mortgage.
Let’s say that James is in a car accident where he was rear-ended by a speeding and negligent driver. James suffers injuries requiring $30,000 in medical treatment. Unfortunately, James just left his employer and doesn’t currently have private health insurance for his hospital bills. While it seems clear that the other insured driver will ultimately have to pay some costs, that driver’s insurance is still investigating and has not paid out any money yet to cover his costs. In this case, James’ lawyer may use a Letter of Protection that provided James’ treatment, indicating that they will get paid when the insurance claim settles. This gives the hospital some security that they are not getting left with an unpaid bill and allows James the time to receive the treatment he needs while his case is pending.
For many in Oregon, bicycling is a way of life. It appeals equally to families out for slow rides and serious athletes alike. It's great exercise, easy on the environment, and has a reasonably inexpensive bar to entry once you acquire the basic equipment.
Unfortunately, bicycle accident injuries are all-to-common as well. Many bicycle accidents are caused by the negligence of other cyclists or motorists. However, bicycle injuries are all-to-often the result of an inexperienced rider, who is either insufficiently skilled at maintaining control of the bicycle, or does not wear the appropriate safety equipment.
Because of the high level of physical exposure on a bicycle versus when driving a car, failing to take appropriate safety measures when riding a bike can easily result in severe injury or even death when an accident occurs. Failure to wear the correct safety gear is a common cause of injury. The National Highway and Safety Administration has an excellent resource to help newer and younger cyclists avoid Oregon bicycle injuries.
According to statistics, most fatal bicycle accidents are children riding a bicycle without wearing proper protective equipment. To avoid the chances of getting injured in a bicycle accident, all riders, but especially children, should follow some basic safety guidelines. The most critical piece of safety equipment any rider has is a helmet. When riding a bicycle, a helmet should be worn every single time. A correctly fitting and adjusted helmet can greatly lessen the chances of a child sustaining a traumatic brain or another head injury, which is the most common cause of death in bicycle accidents.
Second, a child’s bicycle needs to be correctly adjusted for size and re-adjusted as the child grows. A bike that is adjusted as being either too large or too small may prove difficult to control, leading to a bicycle accident or injury.
Finally, children should only ride during daylight hours, even with appropriate safety equipment, unless accompanied by an adult rider with appropriate lights. Even with lights, cyclists are just not as visible, and small riders are even less-so. The chance of an impact with a vehicle or encountering unseen obstacles in the road increase dramatically at night. Following these safety precautions can dramatically reduce the number of Oregon bicycle injuries or deaths.
Children should not generally be riding unattended in traffic. However, when adults ride in traffic, those riders need to be constantly aware of their surroundings and follow all traffic rules to avoid bicycle accidents. Watching the road carefully at all times, being aware of surroundings, and maintaining an active lookout for parked cars in important for every rider to avoid becoming a bicycle accident injury or death statistic.
Bicycling doesn’t have to be overly dangerous and following common-sense guidelines can greatly reduce the chance of a bicycle injury, or even prevent an injury if an accident does occur. As many riders like to say, “keep the shiny side up!”
Q: Will my insurance pay my bills if I am hit by a car and injured while riding my bicycle or walking?
A: It depends on what kind of insurance you carry. IIf you have your own car insurance, an Oregon bicycle accident injury lawyer can help you use your automobile's PIP ("personal injury protection") insurance to immediately provide coverage even if you injured while riding a bicycle or walking. Additionally, assuming you have health insurance, that coverage will begin to pay medical bills after PIP is exhausted, or to the extent that any procedure is not accepted by PIP for some reason.
After that, unpaid claims or co-pays can be submitted to the insurance of the driver who injured you. Your insurance may then try to seek reimbursement from the driver's insurer behind the scenes, assuming the car involved in the accident was at fault in the accident. This recovery of funds between insurance companies is called "subrogation."
Anybody who has been injured in an accident likely needs the assistance of a lawyer who practices in injury law. If the accident occurred in Oregon, you’ll no doubt want the best Oregon personal injury attorney you can find working on your side, helping you through the process. But what traits are common in the lawyers that qualify as truly “excellent,” versus those who are just average. After having worked with hundreds of clients and thousands of client consultations, we’ve distilled the most common traits that clients are seeking when they mean they go looking for the best Oregon personal injury attorney for their case.
There’s no substitute for plain old experience when it comes to litigations and client satisfaction. Experience can only occur through the handling of large numbers of cases, working with opposing attorneys, and lots of time in the courtroom. You wouldn’t want a doctor who was about to perform their first surgery on you even if they had read and memorized every book on the subject. Sometimes there’s no substitute for just having done it many times before. The lawyers at Pacific Injury Law Firm have handled hundreds of cases over the years, and been in court countless times. From motion hearings, jury trials, bench (judge only, no jury) trials, and even successfully arguing before the Oregon Court of Appeals and Oregon Supreme Court, our injury attorneys aren’t new to litigation and the fight for clients.
This might sound obvious, but anybody who has worked with attorneys for any length of time is certain to have encountered the complaint that “I can never reach them” or they “are way too busy to talk to me.” It’s an unfortunate fact that many personal injury attorneys actively avoid their clients, or even pride themselves as being “too important” or “too busy” to actually meet with their own clients. Clients end up speaking with assistants or paralegals most of the time. This is not the case at Pacific Injury Law Firm. We know that your case is one of the most important things in your life, and we make every effort to make sure we take care of you and show you the respect that you deserve. While we are no doubt busy, the vast majority of the interaction with our firm will be with the lawyer actually handling your case. We believe that we can’t fully get behind you until we work directly with you. We also always remember that we work for the client, not the other way around. When you hire Pacific Injury Law Firm, you become part of our team.
Not every case is settled in the courtroom by a jury. Statistically, most are not, by a huge margin. The ability to negotiate on behalf of your client is every bit as critical - if not more oftentimes - than being an effective courtroom advocate. The truth is, juries are unpredictable and a trial is uncertain even with the strongest cases. When you go into a courtroom, you are handing over the final decision maker to people to whom you have no real insight or background. Because of this, both plaintiffs and defendants are incentivized to negotiate to a known settlement. To do this, the best injury lawyers are skilled at recognizing the weaknesses of their clients’ cases, as well as the strengths that can be leveraged into great settlements. With backgrounds in several areas of law - from criminal to family law to personal injury - our Oregon injury attorneys have experience negotiating and obtaining great results for hundreds if not thousands of clients.
Not all Oregon personal injury cases are obvious on the face who is at fault or how an accident occurred. Sometimes seemingly straight forward cases become muddied or confused as to legal causation once discovery starts coming in and we start evaluating the evidence in the case. There might be multiple parties at fault which require investigation, or the cause of a car or truck accident (for example) might require expert witnesses to reconstruct the scened. Medical conditions or injuries almost always require testimony or other evidence by expert medical personnel. The best Oregon injury lawyers need assistance from experts in an array of fields to build their case effectively. To do this, they first need to thoroughly investigate the case themselves and familiarize themselves with the evidence. Then, if necessary, they will need to use other expert investigators to gather more information to put the case together. Building a personal injury case takes time. At Pacific Injury Law Firm, building that successful case starts with a thorough investigation.
Personal injury cases are paper and information-intensive. Between medical records, client and opposing counsel letters, notes, email and text communications, photographs, videos, and the massive amount of other information that becomes part of the file, modern personal injury cases are a virtual firehose of data and potential evidence. Sometimes a key piece of evidence might be a single page of chart notes buried among thousands of pages of medical records? The best personal injury lawyers need to find a way to consistently organize and parse this information, and keep it organized so that it is useable. The lawyers at Pacific Injury Law Firm are fastidious about maintaining organization of client files. In fact, founder Adam J. Brittle, as a former electrical engineer, has a penchant for seeking out new and innovative ways to stay at the forefront of legal technology. To this end, he is constantly leveraging and building new tools to make use of emerging technologies like Amazon’s machine learning tools, AWS pattern matching, and document processing offerings. Our office seeks to stay at the forefront of all law offices, ensuring that every text, email, document, message, legal research, or piece of medical discovery is automatically associated with your file to be put to best use in your case. At Pacific Injury Law Firm, we believe that organization is key to providing you a formidable platform from which to advocate your case.
Sometimes the goal that a lawyer thinks is the best for a client is not actually what the client themselves wants. Clients sometimes want to settle a case earlier than their attorney would like to. Sometimes a client feels it is necessary to “have their day in court” to be heard by a judge or jury, to tell somebody about how an accident has impacted their lives. The top Oregon personal injury attorneys are the ones that will actually listen to their client’s goal and remember that they work for the client. As lawyers, our job is to try and achieve those outcomes that work best for our clients and their families, not the outcome that is best for our public image or ego. At Pacific Injury Law Firm we treat this duty seriously. We will give you candid advice about your case. If a client has unrealistic expectations, we will try to listen to their goals and explain to them why it might not be feasible. If a client has goals that are realistic but different than our own, our job is to educate about the client's options and then follow their instructions. It goes without saying that this is all done with strict adherence to Oregon’s Rules of Professional Ethics.
There’s no avoiding it, cases involving injury are hard. Clients come to see us in terrible circumstances. Whether it is a car or truck accident, death from the negligence of another driver, motorcycle accident, or other injuries, our clients come to us when they have been hurt and need help. Recognizing the pain, fear, and even anger that our clients often are experiencing having had their life disrupted - often dramatically - is normal and expected. Compassion and empathy for this circumstance is a trait that often can’t be taught, and is found in all of the very best personal injury attorneys. At Pacific Injury Law Firm, we know that injuries are frustrating, and we feel for your loss. One of the joys of working with injured people is that we know we get to help people who generally have done nothing wrong. Our injury lawyers are respectful and honored to be hired to help individuals in their time of need, and remain cognizant of our duty to help.
A "wrongful death” lawsuit primarily occurs when an accident causes the death of another person because of negligence. Under Oregon law, ORS 30.020 defines "wrongful death" as a ”death caused by the wrongful act or omission of another." This usually is because of the reckless, negligent, or intentional act of someone else. Mainly, if it weren’t for the actions of another person, the deceased would still be alive.
When this kind of tragic loss occurs, it is most often the family of the person killed who would file a lawsuit against the negligent party. In an Oregon wrongful death case is typically submitted by a child, a surviving spouse, or a parent of the deceased person. However, a [skilled Oregon wrongful death lawyer] may also be able to find other family members who are qualified to bring wrongful death claims on behalf of the deceased. These might include surviving stepchildren, stepparents, or even grandparents.
In a word: no. There are two different sides of US law: criminal and civil. Criminal claims are those brought by the government, whether state, federal, or municipal. Criminal claims are brought by a prosecutor and can result in jail upon conviction of a crime. By comparison, a civil lawsuit is a claim brought by an individual (not a government entity) against another. The result of a civil suit is almost always money.
A [wrongful death claim] is a type of civil lawsuit. The practical result is that the wrongful death lawsuit must be initiated by a member of the surviving family. A criminal claim, if any arises from the case, would be filed by a prosecuting attorney in the jurisdiction where the accident and death occurred. Additionally, liability in a wrongful death case is money damages against the party who caused the death. In contrast, a criminal case might result in a criminal conviction for homicide or other crimes. Those penalties can involve restitution, prison, or other sanctions.
Damages awarded in wrongful death cases in Oregon are dependent on the specifics of each case, but can include each of the following: * Loss of companionship, comfort, care, and loss of parental or other guidance experienced by surviving family members arising from the loss of a family member; * Burial and funeral expenses; * Medical and hospital bill and other expenses arising from the deceased’s injury or resultant illness; * Lost income, wages, and benefits, including the value of total wages or compensation the deceased would have earned, had they survived; and * Damages for the pain the decedent consciously suffered after the accident until death.
Where the case involves intentional acts or extreme negligence by the defendant, punitive damages may also be awarded. Punitive damages are money damages that are meant to punish the defendant for their behavior. They are also generally awarded as a public message indicating that that certain types of egregious wrongdoing will are not socially tolerable and are more severely punishable. Punitive damages can be in addition to criminal convictions and sanctions arising from the same facts.
Like all other civil claims, Oregon has a finite amount of time within which to bring a claim, called a "statute of limitations.” This time limit is the window within which an injured party (the survivor) must file a wrongful death case into court. An Oregon wrongful death suit must be initiated with the court within three years of the date of the injury resulting in death.
This means that the date of death is not used for purposes of calculating the statute of limitations under Oregon law. If there is a substantial time lapse between the date of the injury that caused the death and the decedent's passing, it may result in an unexpectedly short time within which to file the wrongful death claim. You should [consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney] as soon as possible to ensure that you don’t miss your opportunity to recover.
Wrongful death cases can occur from all types of accidents. These include: - Oregon Car Crash Injuries that cause death and Oregon Motor Vehicle Crash Death - Oregon Motorcycle Injuries and Motorcycle Crash Deaths - Oregon Bike Crash Deaths - Oregon Trucking Deaths and Oregon Truck Crash Cases - Death to Pedestrians or Pedestrian Death Caused By Negligence
Increasingly, Oregon sees an increased number of pedestrian injuries or even deaths from being struck by motor vehicles. Every 88 minutes, a pedestrian dies in a car-related accident. Every year, roughly 6,000 pedestrians lose their lives or are injured in accidents where they are hit by motor vehicles. Additionally, an estimated 137,000 pedestrians across the US were treated for nonfatal crash-related injuries in emergency rooms in 2017. The most common location for these accidents is at intersections or crosswalks when motorists don't yield the right-of-way or stop for traffic devices like stoplights or stop signs. Because of the massive difference in size and weights, pedestrian-on-vehicle accidents nearly always result in the pedestrian's significant personal injury or death. It will surprise nobody that a large, fast-moving vehicle is no match for a comparatively fragile and exposed. Injuries to pedestrians anywhere, including Portland and other cities around Oregon, are most typically the result of:
Without a doubt, distracted drivers - whether from fatigue, cell phones, radio, intoxication, or other distractions - are the primary cause of pedestrians' injuries. Poor weather and visibility, often in low-light or nighttime conditions, exacerbate this problem and reduce drivers' ability to both see and avoid pedestrians. Every driver must maintain a proper lookout and maintain control of their vehicles under all conditions. These conditions place a further duty on drivers to maintain speeds and distances that allow them to account for others' safety in their surroundings.
Pedestrian accidents result in several injuries that include broken bones, brain injuries, skull fractures, burns, skin lesions, spinal cord injuries, burns, sprains, lost limbs, or other catastrophic injuries, including death. A pedestrian accident victim may require costly and extensive medical care, rehabilitation, treatment, and physical therapy. All of these expenses may be collectible in the form of damage compensation from the wrongdoer and their insurance company.
If you or a loved one has been hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian in Portland or anywhere else in the state of Oregon and have suffered an injury, Pacific Injury Law Firm can help you recover financially from your pedestrian injury. Our firm is committed to helping people who have been injured from accidents of all types, including pedestrian injuries. The attorneys at Pacific Injury Law Firm are experienced Portland, Oregon pedestrian injury lawyers you can trust for dependable legal representation and to guide you through the process of financial recovery.
Contact us for a free consultation and an evaluation of your pedestrian injury claim or other personal injury cases.
An action for assault, battery, false imprisonment, or for any injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract, and not especially enumerated in this chapter, shall be commenced within two years; provided, that in an action at law based upon fraud or deceit, the limitation shall be deemed to commence only from the discovery of the fraud or deceit. -ORS 12.110(1)
(1) In any action for damages for an injury or wrong to the person or property, or both, of another where the amount pleaded is $10,000 or less, and the plaintiff prevails in the action, there shall be taxed and allowed to the plaintiff, at trial and on appeal, a reasonable amount to be fixed by the court as attorney fees for the prosecution of the action, if the court finds that written demand for the payment of such claim was made on the defendant, and on the defendant’s insurer, if known to the plaintiff, not less than 30 days before the commencement of the action or the filing of a formal complaint...
(1) The limitations imposed by this section apply to claims that:
(a) Are subject to ORS 30.260 (Definitions for ORS 30.260 to 30.300) to 30.300 (ORS 30.260 to 30.300 exclusive);
(b) Are made against the state, or against an officer, employee or agent of the state acting within the person’s scope of employment or duties;
(c) Arise out of a single accident or occurrence; and
(d) Are not claims for damage to or destruction of property.
(1) Contributory negligence shall not bar recovery in an action by any person or the legal representative of the person to recover damages for death or injury to person or property if the fault attributable to the claimant was not greater than the combined fault of all persons specified in subsection (2) of this section, but any damages allowed shall be diminished in the proportion to the percentage of fault attributable to the claimant. This section is not intended to create or abolish any defense.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, in any civil action arising out of bodily injury, death or property damage, including claims for emotional injury or distress, loss of care, comfort, companionship and society, and loss of consortium, the liability of each defendant for damages awarded to plaintiff shall be several only and shall not be joint.
(1) Except as provided in this section, a plaintiff may not recover noneconomic damages, as defined in ORS 31.710 (Noneconomic damages), in any action for injury or death arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle if the plaintiff was in violation of ORS 806.010 (Driving uninsured prohibited) or 813.010 (Driving under the influence of intoxicants) at the time the act or omission causing the death or injury occurred. A claim for noneconomic damages shall not be considered by the jury if the jury determines that the limitation on liability established by this section applies to the claim for noneconomic damages.
(1) Every motor vehicle liability policy issued for delivery in this state that covers any private passenger motor vehicle shall provide personal injury protection benefits to the person insured thereunder, members of that person’s family residing in the same household, children not related to the insured by blood, marriage or adoption who are residing in the same household as the insured and being reared as the insured’s own, passengers occupying the insured motor vehicle and pedestrians struck by the insured motor vehicle.
(1) Personal injury protection benefits required by ORS 742.520 (Personal injury protection benefits for motor vehicle liability policies) consist of the following payments for the injury or death of each person:
(a) All reasonable and necessary expenses of medical, hospital, dental, surgical, ambulance and prosthetic services incurred within two years after the date of the person’s injury, but not more than $15,000 in the aggregate for all such expenses of the person. Expenses of medical, hospital, dental, surgical, ambulance and prosthetic services are presumed to be reasonable and necessary [...]
(b) If the injured person is usually engaged in a remunerative occupation and if disability continues for at least 14 days, 70 percent of the loss of income from work during the period of the injured person’s disability until the date the person is able to return to the person’s usual occupation. [...]
(c) If the injured person is not usually engaged in a remunerative occupation and if disability continues for at least 14 days, the expenses reasonably incurred by the injured person for essential services that were performed by a person who is not related to the injured person or residing in the injured person’s household ...
(d) All reasonable and necessary funeral expenses incurred within one year after the date of the person’s injury, but not more than $5,000.
(e) If the injured person is a parent of a minor child and is required to be hospitalized for a minimum of 24 hours, $25 per day for child care, with payments to begin after the initial 24 hours of hospitalization [...]
Oregon has created a law (ORS 20.080) which is intended to level the playing field for injured parties with smaller claims and to promote these injured parties’ ability to get legal counsel. Generally, the law accomplishes this by awarding attorney fees to a party who successfully uses a lawyer to represent them in recovering their damages (medical costs, property losses, and other expenses including as lost wages). These fees for your Attorney are awarded if you make a demand for payment under $10,000.00, and the defendant (or their insurance company) declines the offer or offers less than you demand. If you subsequently are awarded more, you are also entitled to attorney fees under the law.Read More
You’ve been in a car or truck accident. Your vehicle is damaged, and maybe you are injured. Occupants might be injured. Other drivers may have injuries. Chances are, after a car accident you aren’t thinking about filing paperwork. Still, Oregon law has reporting requirements after a car crash or truck crash that can impact your ability to recover for your injuries and property damage later.Read More
During the time of treatment, insurance may or may not be paying the bills, but medical providers still need to get paid. To protect their interests, these medical providers may request a “Letter of Protection” from the personal injury attorney to ensure that their bills get paid at the time of settlement.Read More