This week snow blanketed the Portland Metro area down into Eugene and Springfield. The snowstorm also covered roads from Newport to Astoria. Many people have become casualties of the storm due to other drivers driving too fast, following too closely, or failing to brake in time. As a result, there are a lot of people who were in low-speed collisions that are now just starting to suffer the full effects of their injuries. Below are a few things to remember about these crashes.
See A Medical Provider if You Suspect You Are Injured: Many low-speed collisions cause what are known as "soft tissue" injuries in the medical field. Some lay-people and even some medical providers refer to these injuries as "whiplash." Whiplash is usually a type of soft tissue injury that is synonymous with a neck strain. These soft tissue injuries occur when the force of the crash tears and stretches muscles and ligaments. These tears and stretches are commonly referred to as strains and sprains.
Many times people do not immediately feel the effects of these injuries. There are various reasons for this because each person is different. However, after a few days, the pain and discomfort usually set in. Many people do not see a medical provider because they hope that the pain is going to go away. In some people it does, but in many people, the pain and symptoms persist. It is best to get examined as soon as possible. Medical Doctors, Osteopaths, and Chiropractors can assess you and monitor your injuries.
You Should Have $15,000.00 of No-Fault Insurance to Pay Medical Expenses: If you have an automobile insurance policy issued in Oregon then you have $15,000.00 in no-fault insurance benefits. This no-fault insurance has certain limitations, but it will typically cover up to $15,000.00 of crash-related medical expenses. However, it only covers treatment for two years from the date of the crash. These benefits are called personal injury protection benefits, or "PIP." Read here for more PIP information. If you have insurance questions call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658 to speak with personal injury lawyer Jeremiah Ross.
You Don't Have to Talk to the Bad Driver's Insurance Company: The bad driver's insurance adjuster is going to be calling to attempt to take recording statements. The insurance lawyer will later attempt to use this statement to justify offering you a low dollar amount. The day after the crash the adjuster will ask you if you are injured, where you hurt, and if you are going to the doctor. If you say you are a "little sore" and later need back surgery as a result of the crash, the insurance company will to try and use this statement against you. The insurance company will try and show that after the crash you had a minor injury that healed. They claim something else is the cause of your injury that necessitated surgery. Click here to learn more about whether or not you need to speak to an insurance adjuster. Bottom line, if you are unsure if you need to talk to an insurance company call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658 for your free case evaluation.
Insurance Companies WIll Make a Low-Ball Offer Right After a Crash: Insurance companies usually attempt to capitalize on these early days after the crash. If they fear that you may have suffered an injury they will likely try and get you to settle your case as quickly as possible before you realize the full extent of your injuries. That means that in the next few days insurance adjusters will be hitting the phones, knocking on doors, and emailing injured Oregonians trying to lean on people to take their low-ball offers.
Lawyers Will Represent People in Smaller Value Cases: Many people do not call a personal injury lawyer because of two main reasons. First, injured folks are unsure about how much a lawyer will cost. This is not a valid concern because the overwhelming majority of personal injury lawyers will give a free case evaluation. Most personal injury lawyers also work on a contingency fee.
The other reason people often do not call a personal injury lawyer is that they do not think their case is large enough to warrant representation. However, Oregon has a small case law that provides economic incentives for attorneys to represent folks in these small cases. Without these economic incentives, insurance companies would be able to offer little, if anything, because they would be aware that the cost to pursue the case would subsume any award the client would receive. Click here to read more about Oregon's Small Case Law (ORS 20.080)
There are too many topics to cover in one blog post. If you have any questions or are in need of help please call Ross Law at 503.224.1658 for your free case evaluation. Please remember that this post is for informational purposes only and you should consult with medical professionals and attorneys. Do not solely rely on this post.