Personal Injury

I was just in a car crash, what should I do?

  1. At the Scene:   Once the area is safe, USE YOUR CELL PHONE to gather evidence: Take pictures of the car damage, the scene, the bad driver, witnesses, and the bad driver' driver's license, the bad driver's license plate, and the bad driver's insurance card.  Call 911 if there is an injury and relay what the injuries are. Have witnesses text or email you their contact information from their phones. This way you can locate them later if needed. 
  2. Seek Medical Care:  Immediately seek treatment if you are injured. Your Oregon issued auto insurance should pay $15,000.00 for up to two years of crash related medical treatment. This does not mean you need to go to the Emergency Room, but you should schedule an appointment with a Doctor or Chiropractor to ensure you have not suffered serious injuries.
  3. Contact Insurance and the DMV: Call your insurance company to set up a claim. Cooperate with them, but be cautious of their motives. If there was an injury or more than $1500.00 in property damage submit the proper Accident Report to the DMV ASAP.  Here is a link to the form:  DMV Accident Form.
  4. Call A Lawyer at 503.224.1658:   It won't cost you anything to chat, and you can learn about what you need to do next. 

Getting Compensation from a Bad Driver

How much money can I get for the hell the crash has put me through?

There is not a magic formula to determine how much compensation an injured person should be awarded. Each case has unique variables, such as the nature of the injury, the extent of the injury, the amount of medical treatment that is needed, etc. These factors all determine how much an injury is worth.

Do I need a lawyer if I suffered soft tissue injuries for a couple of months?

Many insurance companies will offer persons that suffer neck strains and other whiplash type injuries a very small amount of money if the person is not represented. However, Oregon has a law that was drafted to encourage insurance companies to make their best offer before a lawsuit is filed in cases that are worth less than $10,000.00. Jeremiah will take these small cases on in hopes the defendant’s insurance company will have to pay his hourly rate.  Many times the attorney hourly rate will exceed the amount of the claim. 

I don’t want to sue the person that hit me because they were nice to me?

Oregon does not allow injured people to sue the bad driver’s insurance company directly.  As a result, injured people have to name the bad driver in a lawsuit even though the bad driver’s insurance company will pay for the bad driver’s attorney and any amount you receive. Usually the bad driver doesn’t have much involvement in the case except to provide a statement about what happened and sit through a trial.

How long will it take for me to be compensated for my injuries?

There are not any easy answers to this question. A person may have a clear cut case and is able to obtain full compensation for their injuries in a matter of weeks. However, a person may be injured and the bad driver refuses to accept responsibility. This may result in a trial where the injured person loses the case and never receives compensation. Usually a trial will occur within one year of filing a lawsuit. Settlement may occur any time before that, but there are not any guarantees the case will settle. 

Do I have to pay a lawyer to represent me in my car accident case?

Lawyers working on injury cases are typically paid on a contingency fee basis. What this means is they will receive a percentage of any amount you receive from the bad driver. If you do not collect anything, then you will not need to pay the lawyer for the lawyer’s time.


Injured on Another's Property

I was injured on someone else’s property, what should I do?

  1. At the Scene: Once the area is safe, USE YOUR CELL PHONE to gather evidence: Take pictures of the area of the property where you were injured, the address of the property, witnesses, and any employees that assist you. Call 911 if there is an injury and relay what the injuries are. Have witnesses text or email you their contact information from their phones. This way you can locate them later if needed. If you are not able do this because of your injuries, send someone to the property to gather information and photographs.
  2. Seek Medical Care: Immediately seek treatment if you are injured. Some businesses have no fault insurance that may pay $5,000.00 of medical bills. This does not mean you need to go to the Emergency Room, but you should schedule an appointment with a Doctor or Chiropractor to ensure you have not suffered serious injuries.
  3. Call A Lawyer at 503.224.1658: It won't cost you anything to chat, and you can learn about what you need to do next.

How much money can I get for the hell the incident has put me through? 

There is not a magic formula to determine how much compensation an injured person should be awarded. Each case has unique variables, such as the nature of the injury, the extent of the injury, the amount of medical treatment that is needed, etc. These factors all determine how much an injury is worth.

How long will it take for me to be compensated for my injuries?

A person may have a clear cut case and is able to obtain full compensation for their injuries in a matter of weeks.  However, a person may be injured and the bad driver refuses to accept responsibility. This may result in a trial where the injured person loses the case and never receives compensation. Usually a trial will occur within one year of filing a lawsuit. Settlement may occur any-time before that, but there are not any guarantees the case will settle.

Do I have to pay a lawyer to represent me in my trip and fall case?

Lawyers working on injury cases are typically paid on a contingency fee basis.  What this means is they will receive a percentage of any amount you receive from the property owner.   If you do not collect anything then you will not need to pay the lawyer for the lawyer’s time. 


Personal Injury Protection(PIP) Issues

How can I pay for crash-related Medical Bills?

All Oregon auto insurance policies are required to have Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) benefits. This is “no fault” insurance that will pay up to $15,000.00 for reasonable and necessary crash related medical treatment for people involved in a motor vehicle crash. PIP insurance will pay crash related medical bills for two years or until the $15,000.00 is exhausted, whichever comes first. Some insurance policies offer more than the $15,000.00, but the $15,000.00 is the minimum.

I have health insurance with a high deductible, do I have to pay it before I use PIP benefits?

Typically PIP will pay your medical bills first and then the health insurance will be obligated to pay.  However, this is not always the case.  It is best to check with a lawyer regarding this issue. 

The crash caused me to miss work, can I get my wages paid by my own insurance company?

Yes, all Oregon Auto Insurance Policies are required to have a “wage loss” provision in their Personal Injury Protection benefits. This allows people injured in an Oregon Vehicle crash to collect 70% of their pay if they miss more than 14 consecutive days of work. However, PIP will only pay a maximum of $3,000.00 per month for an aggregate time period of 52 weeks.

I am self-employed, can I still get PIP wage loss?

Yes, but remember you will need to provide some proof of the wage loss.

I was hospitalized and had to put my children in daycare can I get any reimbursement from my insurance company?

Yes, typically PIP benefits will pay a very limited amount, $25.00 per day that an injured person is in the hospital.

My auto insurance company is sending me to an examination by a doctor. Is this normal?

Many auto insurers paying PIP medical benefits use these Defense Medical Examinations as an excuse to refuse to pay injured people’s medical bills.  Usually these medical examinations will result in a refusal to pay any future medical expenses. If this occurs, you should consult with a lawyer. 

What do I do if my auto insurance company was paying my medical bills, but they have stopped claiming they are not necessary anymore?

Auto insurance companies will often refuse to pay people’s crash-related medical bills claiming they are not related to the crash. As a result, injured people stop treating with medical providers and are stuck paying thousands of dollars in medical expenses. If this occurs, you should speak to a lawyer. Oregon has laws that allow attorneys to represent injured people in this situation to sue their insurance company to get the bills paid. 


Crime Victim

What should I do if I was sexually assaulted?

Call the police immediately! If you do not feel comfortable calling the police, then tell someone you trust immediately and go to the hospital. Also you should preserve all the evidence that you can.  it is very important to save any clothing you were wearing during the assault. Also although it is difficult to do, do not bath or shower until after you go to the hospital?

What is the difference between the district attorney and a civil attorney? 

The district attorney prosecutes the suspect criminally. Essentially, it is the district attorney’s job to ensure the suspect is held accountable in criminal court and is punished by either being sent to prison, jail, or put on probation. The district attorney represents all Oregonians, and not just the victim. As a result, the focus of the district attorney may not always be in line with the victim’s wishes.   

An attorney acting on the victim’s behalf is only representing the victim. The main difference is that a civil attorney can file a lawsuit against not only the criminal suspect but other corporations or organizations that may be responsible for the suspect. For example, if a security guard rapes a person while on duty. The district attorney would prosecute the security guard and would have a difficult time prosecuting the security guard’s employer. However, a civil attorney may hold the security guard and the guard’s employer accountable. Additionally, civil attorneys seek compensation for the victim and are unable to send a person to jail or prison for what they have done.

Do I need a lawyer if I am a crime victim or sexual assault survivor? 

It depends. Oregon law grants crime victims and sexual assault survivors certain rights. Sometimes it is beneficial to the crime victim to have a representative to ensure these rights are honored and the crime victim’s voice is heard in the proceedings. Having a representative also is beneficial when addressing issues of restitution and compensation.

I was raped or assaulted by an employee on duty can I hold the employer accountable?

It depends. Sometimes an employer is responsible in civil court for their employee’s actions. For example, a bar may be responsible for a bouncer that beats a person up. Additionally, a school may be responsible for a teacher sexually assaulting children. If you are considering making a claim against the suspect’s employer it is strongly recommended that you speak with a lawyer immediately.

I want to hold all parties responsible for my injuries, but I don’t want my name in the paper. Can you file a lawsuit anonymously? 

Typically a person that has a good reason to protect their identity is able to file the lawsuit under a fictitious name such as “Jane Doe” or by their first and last initials.  For example, “J.R.” 

I was sexually abused or assaulted years ago, can I still pursue a lawsuit against the people I believe are responsible?

It depends. The statute of limitations for civil lawsuits in Oregon in sex abuse cases are complicated. It is best to consult with an attorney if you were sexually abused or assaulted by another. 


Auto Dealership Fraud

I think I was ripped off by a dealership, what should I do?

  1. Figure out what you want, and why you think you need an Attorney.  (i.e. Do you want to unwind the deal?  Do you want to keep the car and have the dealer repair the car? Do you want to keep the car and have the dealer pay for repairs? etc.)  Once you figure out what you want then you can figure out how to get it. 
  2. If you suspect you were sold a car with a “material defect” the dealer should have known about, you should have evidence of the material defect. Simply saying the car runs funny, or pulls to the left, does not convince me there is a “material defect.” I usually ask people to take their car to a reputable mechanic and get the mechanic to write down any material defects and whether or not the defects render the car unsafe to drive. Photographs are also helpful.
  3. If you suspect you were ripped off by an on-line advertisement, you should immediately take a screen shot of the advertisement. Dealers will often times remove these from their web-site shortly after the sale. It is tough to make a claim for false advertising (UTPA violations) if you do not have any evidence of the false advertisement. Ensure to store the electronic information in a safe accessible file.
  4. Save all communications with the business. Most people have smart phones and there is an app for everything now days. You should save all voicemails, text messages, and missed call logs showing dealer contacts. You should export that information to somewhere to preserve it in case your cell phone is damaged or lost. Communicate with the business in writing. Always communicate with the dealer in writing to memorialize any conversation that occurred. The business may lie in the future regarding what transpired during the sale and after the sale. If you had written communications that were either faxed, texted, emailed, or mailed to the dealer then the dealer cannot deny the communication occurred.This is very important if you ask for your money back. You should have proof that you informed the dealer of the material defect and you want your money back.

I think I was ripped off by a car dealer can I take the car back? 

Contrary to popular belief, there is not typically a three day right to take the car back. Some dealerships allow people to return the vehicle within a certain period of time, but this is not the law. 

I think I was ripped off by a car dealer should I call a lawyer immediately?

Typically you should not call a lawyer until you have evidence that you were ripped off by a car dealer. I often get calls from people that think they paid too much for a car or think there is something wrong with a recently purchased car. However, they have no evidence to support their speculation. I typically want people to take their car to a mechanic if they are claiming that the car has mechanical issues before I will consider talking to them about their case.

I bought a car a couple of days ago and the dealer just said my financing fell through. The dealers says I have to go back to the dealership to sign more paperwork. Is this legal?

Typically, this is legal in Oregon. However, the dealership only has 14 days from the date you took possession of the vehicle to find financing for the vehicle. Additionally, if financing falls through the dealer must have your trade-in and all items of value (down payment) available for immediate pick up if you don’t want to sign under the new financing terms.    The dealer also must typically inform you that you have a right to walk away from the deal.