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.
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 cover 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 two years 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 cover 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 experienced 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. Your lawyer should be able to walk you carefully through the entire claim and settlement process to ensure you are properly compensated.
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
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.
Being distracted while driving is a leading cause of accidents. If the accident involves a motorcycle, it can easily become serious or even fatal; many motorcyclists and their families each year are entitled to compensation for motorcycle accidents caused by distracted drivers. If you’ve recently been in a motorcycle accident, you should contact a motorcycle accident attorney immediately to find out if you are eligible for compensation.
What Are Distracted Drivers?
Drivers can become distracted in several ways while driving. It’s common for drivers to be looking at their phones instead of at the road, which is why many states have banned texting or talking on the phone while driving. Drivers can also become distracted by their radios, by interesting scenery on the side of the road, or even by road accidents. Finally, drivers can get distracted by their own impatience or by things they are thinking about while they are driving.
Many Oregon motorcycle accidents each year are caused by driver distraction. If you believe the driver was distracted during your accident, you should contact a motorcycle accident attorney. Some types of distraction are easier to prove than others; if the driver was on the phone or texting, your motorcycle accident attorney will have an easier time proving that you are entitled to compensation for the accident.
How Distracted Driving Causes Motorcycle Accidents
Distracted driving is especially dangerous to motorcyclists because motorcycles are generally smaller and harder to see than cars. Even if a driver is distracted, he or she will often become aware of a stopped car at the last moment because the car’s large size attracts the driver’s focus. Unfortunately, this is often not the case with motorcycles, and drivers may not stop in time to avoid hitting them. Many Oregon motorcycle accidents also occur when distracted drivers swerve to avoid hitting a stopped car. If a distracted driver hits another car, the car can then be forced into the motorcycle’s path. These common Oregon motorcycle accidents can lead to serious injury.
Seriousness of Distracted Driving Accidents
Many Oregon motorcycle accidents are serious or fatal. Motorcyclists are less protected during an impact than people driving cars because motorcycles are not enclosed like cars are. In addition, cars are usually bigger than motorcycles, so the impact is likely to send the motorcyclist flying into the air.
Legal Fault and Distracted Driving
If a distracted driver gets involved in an Oregon motorcycle accident, the motorcyclist is only entitled to compensation for his or her injuries if the distracted driver was at fault for the accident. In many cases, the distracted driver is at fault–if he or she had been paying attention to the road, the accident would not have occurred. However, in some cases the distracted driver might not be completely at fault. For example, if the motorcyclist made a turn directly into the driver’s path of motion and the distracted driver didn’t see the motorcyclist in time to stop, the driver might not be completely at fault. Your motorcycle accident attorney can tell you whether you are likely to be considered at fault for the accident and how that may affect your case.
Each year there are over a million accidents involving bicycles. If the accident involves an automobile, bicycle accidents can sometimes result in very serious or fatal injuries. Lawsuits filed to recover damages for injuries often involve the same issues as auto accidents. A bicycle accident attorney can help to define who has been negligent in the accident. Conversely, automobile drivers are sometimes the victim of the negligence of a cyclist. A car accident attorney can help to define negligence for drivers who are either injured or sued because of an accident involving a cyclist. It is imperative to seek legal representation in Portland Oregon for these serious legal issues.
Bicyclists and drivers should obey traffic laws. These laws include the duty to exercise reasonable care with regards to the safety of others. Lawsuits involving bicycles are governed by Oregon state law, and are often informed by both state and local traffic laws.
Automobile Driver Negligence
Driver negligence or recklessness can take several forms. Speeding, failing to observe a stop sign and drifting into bike lanes all constitute negligence or recklessness of a driver. Lawsuits that allege negligence by others must prove that the accused acted in a way that violated state and/or local roadway laws.
Accident lawsuits filed to recover damages in Portland Oregon often come down to the specific facts of each individual case. A car accident attorney will be needed to represent drivers in discovery of the facts surrounding the accident. If a driver was cited for violations, it becomes even more imperative to seek legal counsel in the matter.
If a cyclist is at fault for causing injuries in an accident, the outcome of the case will be determined by the ability to prove negligence by the cyclist. Some examples of cyclist negligence are riding the bicycle the wrong way or on a one-way street, disregarding a stop sign and turning into oncoming traffic.
The negligence of a cyclist is called contributory negligence. This means that the cyclist is either wholly or partly responsible for the accident. It is advisable for cyclists to hire a bicycle accident attorney because cyclists can and will be held liable for damages to the driver.
When accidents involve child cyclists, courts will generally hold drivers to much higher standards.
The High Stakes
Since accidents involving both automobiles and bicycles most often involve very serious injuries, the financial stakes can be high. These accidents boil down to the issue of proving negligence in a court of law by either the driver or the cyclist. Contrary to popular belief, cyclists who are not wearing a helmet during an accident does not count as negligence. Under Oregon law, bicycle riders deserve the same protection as drivers have.
In essence, both drivers and bicyclists can be held negligent in an accident and sued for costly damages in court. If either are sued or wish to file suit against another, they must seek legal representation from either a car accident attorney or a bicycle accident attorney in Portland Oregon. Some issues involving accidents can be settled out of court, and a good accident attorney can help to negotiate the highest compensation possible for accident victims.