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
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.
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 Cases
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 owner’s 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.
Choosing 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 28 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.
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.