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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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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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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

Auto Insurance Independent Medical Exams

Independent Medical Examsindependent medical exams auto insurance

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.

 

Oregon Dog Bite Attorney

Oregon Dog Bite Attorney

Dog attacks and bites often can cause extreme personal injury, disfigurement and mental anguish for the victims of these attacks.  A dog owner who knows that their dog is likely or has a history of attacking people, or knows the dog could cause injury to a person, has a responsibility to properly restrain the dog at all times.  However, all too often these dog owners fail to responsibly control their animals ending in devastating results.

Proving Liability in Dog Bite CasesOregon dog bite attorney

Oregon has outdated laws regarding dog bites, and is considered a “One Bite Rule” state.  In Oregon, the owner of a dog is strictly liable for injuries caused by a dog “only if” the dog’s owner knows or has reason to believe the dog is dangerous.  The problem with this outdated law is the wording “only if”.  What this means is if a dog bites someone visiting a home, and the dog had no previous history of biting anyone, the dog’s owner technically isn’t legally liable for the damages caused by the animal.  This makes it tough in many dog bite cases in Oregon, but an experienced Oregon dog bite attorney will explore exceptions to the “One Bite Rule”, a few of which are outlined below:

  • The dog’s owner was negligent in restraining or preventing the attack
  • The dog trespassed onto private property when the attack occurred
  • The owners actions caused the dog to bite and attack

In Oregon it can be difficult for an attorney to prove that a dog’s owner knew in advance that the dog was dangerous.  Oregon’s law is more severe for owners of dogs with a prior history of attacks, in these types of cases, a dog’s owner can be held liable even if they took precautions to prevent the dog from attacking someone.

Oregon Dog Bite AttorneyChoosing an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney in Oregon

Coming to a successful closure on a dog bite case in Oregon can be an uphill battle.  Unfortunately there is no specific precedent that an attorney can use to show that a dog’s owner had enough prior knowledge in advance of a dog bite or attack to hold the owner liable for injuries caused.  Typically these types of cases are handled as they occur and largely left to a jury to decide the outcome.

In dog bite cases, most people will need the help of an experienced dog bite attorney to recover full damages caused by the attack.  Understanding Oregon’s “One Bite Rule” and how to successfully argue the case even if the dog’s owner had no reason to believe was dangerous is paramount to proving liability and ultimately securing a favorable verdict.

Free Oregon Dog Bite Attorney Consultations

If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog in Oregon, The Law Offices of Matthew H. Kehoe offers free legal consultations to answer questions you may have regarding your injury.

For over 20 years, The Law Offices of Matthew H. Kehoe has successfully litigated many dog bite and attack cases.  Get expert help on your side, call and schedule your free consultation today.

Passenger Injury in Car Accidents – Oregon

Car Accident Injuries and Passenger Rights in Oregon

What if you’re a passenger in a vehicle, and your vehicle’s driver causes an accident with another driver?  Many people wonder who they can recoup damages from for injuries sustained during such an accident since you cannot legally sue the driver of the other vehicle since they were not at fault.  In instances such as this, the insurance company of the vehicle you were in may cover the costs of injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.

Passengers in Oregon have the right to be compensated for injuries and damages sustained in accidents where they were not at fault.  Whether the passenger was in a car, truck, boat, or motorcycle, injured passengers have the right to pursue compensation from the insurance company of the vehicle operator and/or the right to recover damages directly from the operator of the vehicle.

As a passenger, what if the driver is a friend or family member?is it right to sue as a passenger in a car accident

Often times people will avoid trying to recover compensation for damages out of some sense of loyalty to their friends or family. In reality, the fact of the matter is that the injured party is not suing the friend or family member, but the insurance company that has been paid to insure the vehicle and its occupants. People often overlook the fact that insurance has been purchased to protect the assets of their friends or family, just like people purchase home insurance to protect from events such as a home fire.

What to do if you have been injured as a passenger in a vehicle?

Obviously the most important concern if you have been injured as a passenger in another person’s vehicle is to seek medical attention to assess the severity and extent of your injuries. If another vehicle was involved in the accident, make sure that the other driver’s information is recorded, as well as their vehicle and insurance information.

Using a cell phone with a camera or video capabilities is an excellent way to document the scene of an accident; you can read an earlier article on how to document the scene of a car accident using a cell phone.

Should you let your friend pay for your injuries out of pocket?

No. Anyone who has been around for awhile has heard of stories of letting people pay for damages caused in an accident out of pocket, rather than reporting the claim to the liable persons insurance company. The idea with this line of thinking is to allow the liable party to pay out of pocket for damages, thus keeping their insurance rates low.  More often than not these stories end negatively.  You may have injuries that take a long time to heal or require expensive medical imaging studies to determine the cause and no one wants to pay these out of pocket.  They also do not want to have to rely on a friend’s word to pay something that could run into the thousands of dollars.  This is what PIP or personal injury protection benefits are for.  PIP is the “no fault” medical coverage that all Oregon auto insurance policies must provide.

Oregon Law and reporting a Car Accident to DMV

In Oregon it is law that car accidents must be reported to the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles if any of the following are true:

1)      Damage to the vehicle you were driving is over $1,500;

2)      Damage to any vehicle is over $1,500 and any vehicle is towed from the scene as a result of damages from this accident;

3)      Injury or death resulted from this accident; or

4)      Damages to any one person’s property other than a vehicle involved in this accident is over $1,500.

Taking a friend’s word that they will pay for your medical expenses, time lost from work and other damages is very risky. With the high costs of health care these days, lost wages stemming from the accident, time off work, and long term complications that may result from the accident, your friend may decide that they can’t pay in the future. Costs associated with even minor injuries can mount significantly over time, causing a great burden on all parties involved. Most times when you weigh the“perceived” rift of opening a claim with your friend’s insurance company versus the strain of asking them to cover your expenses over what could be months, or even years, the right decision is clear.

So, what should you do if you’ve been injured as a passenger?car accident settlement

If you or someone you know has been injured as a passenger in a vehicle, it is wise to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible, especially if the driver of the vehicle you were in was at fault. The other driver’s insurance company and/or law firm will want to document the details of the accident quickly for their client. Securing a free consultation with an experienced attorney will let you know your rights up front, as well as recommended actions that should be taken to protect your rights and ensure that your needs are taken care of.

If an insurance adjuster contacts you before you have had a chance to meet with a qualified and experienced injury attorney, postpone giving a statement regarding the accident until you have met with a Personal Injury Attorney. Insurance adjusters will try and persuade you to give a statement quickly as they are trained to ask questions and get responses that will favor the insurance company. It is advisable to never give a statement, or answer any line of questioning from an insurance company without the knowledge or presence of your attorney.

Experienced Oregon Personal Injury Attorney

The Law Offices of Matthew H. Kehoe is experienced in dealing with insurance companies when it comes to injury cases.  For over 20 years, our firm has helped injury victims throughout Portland and all of Oregon. Our firm has proven that we have the experience and tenacity to aggressively pursue and obtain full compensation for injuries sustained by the fault of another.

We offer Free Consultations for injury cases, and all cases we accept are on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless you win your case.

Call our office to set-up your Free Consultation today, and put our years of experience to work for you.

Personal Injury Attorneys: How to get a favorable settlement on your injury case

Personal Injury Claims and Settlementscar accident settlement

Injury settlements can be complicated by various factors.  As a result an of auto accident, it’s possible that you can receive money to pay for the medical expenditures, loss of income, pain and suffering and property damages by way of a personal injury settlement

The Personal Injury Attorneys at the Law Offices of Matthew H. Kehoe, LLC represent clients in Portland and throughout Oregon in lawsuits against insurance companies.  Personal injury law seeks to preserve the rights of people seriously injured, physically or otherwise, as a result of the fault of another.  Personal injury settlements are the funds paid to the injured party in a personal injury case.  Injury settlements are possible, but it helps to have an experience lawyer assist in obtaining the best possible result.

Personal Injury Compensation

Accidents happen for a reason.  Someone is texting or putting a new CD into the radio and they take their eyes off the road.  When a person behind the wheel of a 4,000 pound vehicle does this, they run the risk that their choice will harm someone.  And, if they harm someone through their negligence, then the injured party is entitled to compensation resulting from that personal injury.  If you’re in a car accident, most likely your car or truck won’t be the only thing injured.  You should not have to pay for the vehicle repairs if it’s not your fault.  If you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident a result of another motorist, you are entitled to have your car or truck repaired as well as your medical bills paid for by the other driver’s insurance company.  And, if that other driver does not have insurance, then you can make a claim against your own company under the “uninsured motorist” coverage.

Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney

In case you have been injured in an auto accident through no fault of your own, you will probably find yourself in a sea of personal injury attorneys with no idea who to hire to assist you. Choosing an attorney based on experience in personal injury related claims with a proven track record of obtaining maximum settlements for their clients means a lot.  You need someone who is experienced in fighting for their clients and standing up to the insurance companies.  You also want an attorney who has positive client testimonials backing up their claims in order to make the right decision and get the best assistance in your case.

When to retain a Personal Injury Attorney

There is nothing wrong with hiring an experience injury attorney shortly after a collision.  They can help you in making sure the medical bills are paid promptly, get the wage loss payments coming from your own insurance company if you are off for more than 14 consecutive days from work and relieve the stress of trying to fill our paperwork and navigate the process following a collision.  If you’ve been injured, contacting our Personal Injury Law Office can set the wheels in motion to getting your situation resolved, and getting the money you will need to cover your medical bills, lost wages and later, money for your pain and suffering.

distracted drivingInsurance Company Settlements in Personal Injury Cases

Insurance settlements that are paid to you are a way of resolving the claim without the need to go to the court. Insurance companies have formulas that they use to calculate the damages they are willing to pay for various injuries, including serious personal injuries sustained in automobile related accidents.  Insurance companies will never offer you what your claim is worth.  They will offer you what they think they can get your to take to close your claim.

As a general rule, insurance adjusters try to settle injury claims as soon as possible.  These adjusters will try to discount your case by saying you must not have been injured if you did not seek medical attention immediately.  A lot of people get injured and don’t feel really bad until the next day.  They wake up the morning after an accident and feel all the things that hurt whereas the day before when the adrenaline was rushing through them after the injury, they felt like it would be okay.  As experienced Personal Injury Attorneys, we know the ploys and games adjusters and insurance company attorneys use to discount the merits of your case, pressuring you as the victim to take a settlement that’s in their best interest and not yours.

Don’t play these games with the insurance company.  The Law Offices of Matthew H. Kehoe, LLC brings over 20 years’ of experience fighting for the rights of injured people against the insurance companies.  We have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and judgments for our clients, and have many client testimonials that speak to our professionalism, ethics and legal skills.

Call today for a Free Legal Review of your injury case.

Documenting the scene of a car accident

Using your cell phone to document the scene of a car accidentusing a cell phone to document a car accident scene

Using a cell phone to document the scene of a car accident can help a lot down the road when it comes to getting a car accident claim settled.

The first thing when involved in a car accident is to make sure everyone is okay.  If someone is injured, call 911 right away.  If you did not sustain an injury, most people start by asking questions like “How did this happen?” and “Who is at fault?”.  Car insurance companies will want to know the answers to these questions as well.  Using your smart phone to take pictures or video of the accident scene can help if one or both of the insurance companies claim that you are to blame for the car accident.  Documenting things like debris in the road, construction, bad weather, traffic signals and signs can help prove your case.

Even minor fender benders can become a real headache to resolve.  Damage claims can be compromised if the adjuster for the insurance company doesn’t take into account all damages or they don’t realize the full extent of the damage.  Taking pictures or video at the accident scene of your vehicle, as well as other vehicles involved, helps protect you during the claim process.

Exchanging information at a car accident scene

information exchange at the scene of a car accidentThe exchange of information at the collision scene is the first and most important step to getting your car accident claim off to the right start.  Taking a picture of the other driver(s) licenses ensures that valuable information is not forgotten or written down wrong at a stressful time.  Many of today’s smart phones have voice recorders.  Taking the time to record the facts of the accident, license plate numbers, location of accident, how the accident happened and what the end result was can assist in remembering valuable information that later may be forgotten.

Using your cell phone at the scene of a car accident can save you from troubles down the road.  Preserving the facts of the accident, those involved, witnesses and damages will help when talking to insurance companies, and ultimately getting your car accident claim resolved in a positive manner whether it’s by settlement or if you end up going to trial on your claim.

Our office provides free legal consultations to car accident injury victims.