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 Claim
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.
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.
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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?
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 ensure 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.
Should you let your friend pay for your injuries out of pocket?
No. Anyone who has been around for a while 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 person’s 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 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 the 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 are 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?
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 28 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.
Injury settlements can be complicated by various factors. As a result of an 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 represents 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 experienced 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 experienced 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.
Insurance 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 you 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 28 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.
Using your cell phone to document the scene of a car accident
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
The 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.
How an Experienced Automobile Accident Attorney helps fight the insurance company
A person who has been injured in an automobile accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence may be frustrated from dealing with the insurance companies. The insurance carrier for the driver at fault may deny their insured’s liability for the automobile accident. This makes it harder to obtain a fair insurance settlement, and often can drag the process of a car accident settlement out for months and even years. An experienced automobile accident attorney can help solve these and more issues stemming from an accident that was caused by another person.
An injured person who hires an attorney after an automobile accident receives immediate assistance. Often the attorney will refer the injured client to a qualified physician who will direct all of that person’s medical care. Instead of battling with the insurance companies for medical coverage or paying out of pocket, the injured person’s medical bills are held until after either a favorable insurance settlement is reached or until a winning trial verdict.
No fees unless your Car Accident claim is settled
Most automobile accident attorney’s don’t charge up-front attorney’s fees, either. These fees are paid if, and only if, the case settles prior to trial or after receiving a winning verdict at trial. So, just as with the medical costs, the client doesn’t have to worry about paying for his or her attorney out of pocket. The only thing that the injured person needs to do is attend all medical appointments and focus on healing from the injuries caused by the collision.
While the client is healing, the lawyer is collecting all of the information and investigating the accident. The injured person no longer has to deal with the insurance companies and their attorneys. This is the job of the automobile accident attorney. When the client is physically stable again, the attorney begins negotiating with the insurance company or their attorneys for an equitable settlement for the injuries caused by the automobile accident. This settlement will include monetary compensation for all medical care, pain and suffering, time lost from work and any other expenses resulting from the accident.
A qualified auto accident attorney will negotiate with the insurance company attorneys to reach a fair and equitable settlement figure. If a settlement is not reached prior to the date of trial, the injured person’s attorney will try the case in front of a jury. Then it is up to the jury to determine what the appropriate amount of compensation is for the injured person. If the plaintiff’s attorney proves the case to the satisfaction of the jury, then the plaintiff will be awarded the amount determined by the jury to be fair compensation for the injured person’s injuries and other damages.
Experience counts in Car Accident settlements
When involved in an automobile accident, it is extremely important to hire a qualified and experienced attorney who specializes in injury related cases, and more importantly has extensive experience and a proven track record in reaching favorable settlements with insurance companies.