Personal Injury Settlements: What You Need to Know

Settling a personal injury claim is a process that is final once you sign the agreement. The at-fault party will encourage you to settle for the smallest amount possible, and once you accept you cannot pursue additional compensation. Before you accept a settlement offer, take time to consult an experienced personal injury attorney in the Hillsboro, Beaverton, or Portland Oregon areas to ensure you are getting the settlement that you lawfully deserve.

Negotiating a Personal Injury Settlement without a Lawyer

Some choose to try and negotiate their personal injury claims and settlements without the help of a seasoned personal injury attorney. At-fault insurance companies prefer that you do not have a lawyer, as often times this means they will offer you less because of your lack of expertise in personal injury law. Having a credible lawyer on your side could increase your personal injury settlement exponentially as insurance adjusters know that any reputable lawyer will know exactly how much your claim is worth making it increasingly difficult for them to offer low-ball settlements.

If you still decide to pursue your settlement alone here are a few tips for you:

  • Keep meticulous documentation of all bills, injuries, witness interactions and a diary of how you are feeling and how the injury has impacted your life.
  • Consult an attorney even if you know you won’t hire one. Often times a quick consultation can set you on the right path to getting the settlement you are rightfully entitled to
  • Be confident and assertive with insurance adjusters let them know you mean business.
  • Don’t rush to settle your claim. Insurance adjusters will try to pressure you into settling right away, it is your right to take time to decide whether or not you will agree to a settlement. If things get too tough, hire an experienced attorney to fight for you.

Having an Attorney Negotiate Your Settlement

There are many benefits when you hire an attorney to settle your personal injury claim. You will not have to communicate with insurance adjusters, insurance lawyers, or medical bill collectors as your lawyer will take care of this for you. Your lawyer will provide a thorough evaluation of your case, and demand the at-fault party to pay a fair settlement. Be prepared to provide meticulous documentation to your lawyer enabling the development of the best claim possible. Your lawyer will also be able to identify other potential damages you could seek related to your case resulting in a comprehensive claim that will compensate you accordingly.

What to expect when Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you are unable to reach a settlement with an adjuster alone or with the help of a lawyer, your case will likely go to court. When your attorney files the lawsuit, the court will determine the worth of your claim based on the evidence provided, which is why meticulous documentation is invaluable. It is possible that during court proceedings the at-fault party will again offer a settlement. Based on how the case is going it may be in your best interest to accept or wait it out. With the help of a competent personal injury lawyer, you are sure to get the compensation you are rightfully owed.

Serving Hillsboro and Portland Oregon

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Can I Sue For Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Claim?

Recovering Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Case

If you have suffered a serious injury and are unable to work, this can be extremely stressful, especially if you have a family or loved ones to care for. Being injured does not mean that your bills cease or wait for you to get better. Courts recognize that those who are dealing with a personal injury are lawfully entitled to recover lost wages. If you live in the Hillsboro, Beaverton, and Portland metropolitan areas and have suffered lost wages, you should talk to an experienced attorney about that before trying to settle any claim. The amount of lost wages you can seek is dependent on several factors and may require negotiations before an agreement is made. Read more

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Passenger Injury – Car Accident Insurance Claims

Passenger Injury Car Accident Claims

Car Accident Injury Attorneys – Hillsboro, Beaverton, and Portland OR

Passenger injury car accident claims are known as “third party” claims because they are filed against an insurance policy/company not owned by the plaintiff. If you were a passenger, it can make the claim a bit smoother since the issue of liability is not usually in play since you were not the driver. Liability will always be put on one of the drivers. If you were a passenger of an auto accident in which the driver was at fault and hit some other car and you were hurt, then the driver would likely be found liable.

Generally, as a passenger injured in a car accident, you are rightfully entitled to compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering. Read further for more information on passenger auto injury claims.

Filing a Passenger Injury Claimpassenger in car accident insurance claim to pay bills oregon

When filing a passenger injury claim, and liability is not obvious, the plaintiff will make the claim against both drivers in a two vehicle accident. However, if liability for the accident is evident then the passenger would only file a claim against the negligent party. If liability is determined to fall on both of the drivers, then the injured passenger would try to recover compensation from both insurance policies.

The amount of compensation awarded depends on many factors, including the extent of the injury, who is determined to be liable, and the size of the insurance policy of the at fault party. Even if your claim is worth more than the at fault party’s insurance policy, you will only get as much as the policy itself is worth if the at fault driver has no other assets to pursue.

Passenger Injury Claim Considerations

In the case that multiple passengers are injured in an accident, all of those injured will be filing against the same at fault policy. This means that with more people injured, there may be less money available to compensate everyone fairly. If you are involved in a car accident in which multiple passengers were injured, chances are you may get less than you deserve.

No matter what your situation, you should always consult an experienced car accident attorney to assist you in getting what you deserve.

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PIP Insurance vs. Pain and Suffering Claims

PIP versus Pain and Suffering ClaimsPIP claims and pain and suffering injury attorney hillsboro beaverton oregon portland

Personal Injury Attorney – Hillsboro – Beaverton – Portland Oregon

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal Injury Protection better known as PIP, is no fault medical coverage on auto policies that covers medical bills and often lost wages. Regardless of whether or not the accident was your fault, you are entitled to your PIP benefits. In the state of Oregon, all personal insurance policies are required to have one year or $15,000 of PIP coverage with the exception of motorcycle insurance policies which may or may not offer pip. For lost wages you can receive up to 70% of your monthly income, but no more than $3,000 per month. This is good for a total of 52 weeks at any time during the two year period following the accident. PIP wage loss payments are not taxable. However, for pip to start paying wage loss, you must be off work for 14 consecutive days.

PIP is extended to all persons in the vehicle at the time of the accident. PIP can also include pedestrians that you injure with a car who have no health insurance or car insurance of their own. For example, if you are in a car with your mom and dad when an accident occurs, all three of you are entitled to the one year or $15,000 of PIP to cover your injuries and wage loss benefits. Even better PIP coverage is instant. Your medical bills and wage loss claims will be paid directly by the insurance company and there is typically no waiting period.

To use your PIP coverage, you must see a licensed health care provider such as a general care physician, chiropractor or physical therapist. If you are interested in seeing an alternative health care provider, call your insurance company to make sure it will be covered through your PIP. For example, to see a licensed massage therapist, you will want to have a referral to ensure that PIP pays that person’s bills.

Personal injury protection is different than pain and suffering compensation. PIP is no fault coverage. Pain and suffering is another matter and is what you go after once you are medically stationary. You usually pursue that through the at fault person’s insurance, but it can also be something you pursue through your own insurance if the at fault party had no insurance. Pain and suffering covers emotional and physical pain and suffering as a result of the auto accident.

Pain and Suffering Compensation

If you have been injured in a car accident, and you are not liable, you can file a pain and suffering claim against the at-fault party’s insurance policy. This can be a difficult endeavor because the at-fault insurance company will not make it easy for you to get the compensation that you deserve. When filing a pain and suffering claim, you should choose an experience car accident attorney to fight for your right for a fair settlement.

To ensure you get the best settlement possible, be sure you choose a credible auto accident attorney with a proven record of success. You lawyer should be able to walk you carefully through the entire claim and settlement process to ensure you are properly compensated.

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Highway 217 Flyover Ramp Tort Claims

HWY 217 Accidents – Flyover Ramp & Tort Claims

Over the last 6 months, there have been dozens of car accidents on the Highway 217 flyover ramp where I-5 meets Highway 217 in Tigard, Oregon. The flyover ramp was constructed in 2001 and since then the expansion joint on the ramp has developed a gap that is approximately one inch wide. The gap in the expansion joint has caused numerous drivers to spinout and crash on the ramp. Experts speculate that the soil beneath the ramp could be partially to blame for the growing gap; however, this has yet to be proven. Officials from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) maintain that the Highway 217 expansion joint is within safety regulations and the high number of car accidents are due to drivers exceeding the designated speed limit. Motorists counter that the car accidents are instead a result of rain, which makes the flyover ramp increasingly slick and dangerous, and not irresponsible driving.

Tort claims filed against State of Oregon and Oregon Department of Transportation

Multiple car accident victims have filed tort claims against the State of Oregon and ODOT claiming negligence as they are seeking restitution for damages associated with the accidents, including for medical bills and car repair bills. If you have been a victim of the flyover ramp on Highway 217, it may be in your best interest to file a tort claim. Torts are essentially civil wrong doings and tort claims must be filed against the governmental entity within 180 days of the incident in order to preserve the right to file suit within the two year statute of limitations if you are unable to resolve your claim. These are negligence claims alleging that ODOT and the State have been negligent in the design, construction and maintenance of the 217 ramp.

Car accidents on HWY 217

There have been recent reports in the news of an ODOT official who expressed concern over the quality and stability of the ramp’s structure shortly after its completion. Furthermore, the company responsible for the construction of the flyover bridge has also been accused of finishing the bridge before the scheduled completion date, implying corners were cut, to receive a payment incentive from ODOT.

As a result of the dozens of car accidents on the Highway 217 flyover ramp, ODOT has installed large electronic warning signs to warn drivers to slow down as they go over the flyover ramp. This, however, does not compensate or address the victims of the car accidents; nor does it recognize the extreme damage and problems that result from the car accidents caused by the bad flyover joints. Automobile accidents are known to result in death, physical and emotional trauma, as well as expensive medical bills, missed work, stress and multiple other negative consequences. Victims of the Highway 217 flyover ramp are encouraged to consult a qualified Personal Injury Lawyer to discuss a possible tort claim and their legal options.

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What to do in the event of a car accident in Oregon

BE PREPARED BEFORE AN CAR ACCIDENT EVER HAPPENScar accident oregon attorney hillsboro beaverton

No one can predict when an accident might occur, so it’s important to plan ahead. Always carry your insurance card, drivers license and vehicle registration form. The scene of an accident or a traffic stop can be chaotic and very stressful.  Keep required documents readily accessible and check them on a regular basis to make sure nothing has expired. Read more

Pedestrian and Vehicle Related Accidents

The Dangers of Being a Pedestrianpedestrian and vehicle related accident sin portland oregon hillsboro or beaverton oregon

Vehicle & Pedestrian Accidents – Hit and Run Accidents

In a 2010 report published by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, 4,280 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States. On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes. Read more

Car Accidents & Oregon Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

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How Does PIP Insurance Work?

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, in 2012 there were 49,798 car accidents. Approximately half of the reported car accidents in 2012 resulted in non-fatal injury crashes with 39,085 persons injured as a result. The consequences from car accidents are many and they can result in physical injury, emotional distress, stress, pain, suffering, lost wages, medical bills and much more. Read more

Auto Insurance Independent Medical Exams

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Those who think our system is out of control should really look no further than the insurance company efforts to shaft their own insureds. It is common practice now for certain auto insurance companies to send their own insureds for “independent medical exams” after they have been hurt in auto crashes in order to cut off their treatment. Read more

The McDonalds Coffee story

The McDonalds Coffee personal injury storyhot coffee spill personal injury story

In February 1992, Stella Liebeck ordered an 8-ounce cup of McDonald’s coffee that spilled and gave her 3rd degree burns on the private areas of her body.

Everyone thinks that Ms. Liebeck ended up a millionaire. Well, that’s not true. She suffered third degree burns, skin grafts and horrible pain. After the appeals by McDonalds and all was said and done, she probably ended up with less than 500,000 dollars for her injuries. Who wants to burn themselves in the groin and then have skin grafts to fix it? I would suggest that McDonalds knew what the cost was to litigate these claims and elected to keep their coffee at an unreasonably hot temperature. McDonalds served its coffee at about 190 degrees which was about 30 degrees hotter than other coffee sellers and they had numerous other burn cases so they knew this was a problem. They paid a small price for the personal injury and suffering endured by Ms. Liebeck who was 79 years old at the time.

The real cost associated with a personal injury trial

Needless to say, the McDonald’s coffee case stands as the example people cling to when they want to make claims about the jury system being out of control. Quite to the contrary, the system is not out of control. Most of the cases that pass through the jury system are motor vehicle collision cases that result in modest verdicts from people who are unaware of what it costs to bring a case to trial. It’s not cheap. To try a case to a jury today can cost the plaintiff 5,000 to 10,000 dollars to bring in the doctors who testify for a fee as they have to be away from their practice, the witnesses who need to be served subpoenas and then the trial court charges 250 dollars a day to have a jury trial. You can bet that trying the McDonald’s coffee case to a jury and the subsequent appeals cost a lot of money. A valiant plaintiff’s lawyer took up that cause since you know that Ms. Liebeck didn’t have the 100,000 dollars to bring that case to trial and then fight McDonalds on appeal.