Bike Crashes

6 Fatal Traffic Crashes In 4 Days in Portland! WTH Portland Drivers?

SIX fatal traffic crashes have occurred in the past FOUR DAYS in Portland Oregon! As an Oregon wrongful death and personal injury lawyer this is extraordinarily alarming. Each and every one of these heartbreaking deaths were likely preventable if people used common sense and simply followed the law while they were driving. Portland Police Bureau Chief Outlaw is warning, “Drivers [to] slow down, don’t drive impaired/distracted. Bikes and peds use caution-don’t assume drivers see you.”

Chief Outlaw also warned that the PPB is going to stepping up traffic enforcement. Portland drivers take note that you may be ticketed for what you perceive as a minor traffic violation (driving 10 miles over the speed limit, rolling through a stop sign, failing to stop while a pedestrian is waiting at a cross walk.) Hopefully increased enforcement will work to change Portland driving behavior.

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Law enforcement are not the only folks out there trying to change Portland’s driver’s behavior. Here at Ross Law, we believe that it is our duty to use the civil justice system make our community a safer place by holding wrongdoers accountable and hopefully deterring people from driving negligently, carelessly, or recklessly. We do this by filing lawsuits against the bad drivers that injure our clients. This will hopefully force the bad driver, their family, and their friends to change their driving behavior. We know that it is not easy to be sued and explain your actions that injured or killed someone. We use the civil justice process to attempt to force bad drivers that injure our clients to own up to what they did, and be held responsible by having to explain their actions, and admit they were at fault. Additionally, their insurer will have to pay to compensate the person they injured. We wholeheartedly agree with Chief Outlaw that drivers need to slow down, don’t drive impaired or distracted, and cyclist and pedestrians should be cautious on the roads.

If you or someone you know have been injured or killed in a Oregon motor vehicle crash, call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658. Call Ross Law for your free personal injury case evaluation. We proudly represent people injured in car crashes, bicycle crashes, and pedestrians that were struck by a vehicle.

Electric Scooters are In Portland-What You Need to Know..

This morning on my walk to work I saw a shared "Bird" electric scooter (aka e-scooter) being ridden.   The rider was cruising on the sidewalk at a good pace on the sidewalk in downtown Portland with her helmetless hair blowing in the wind.  She stopped at a crosswalk and zipped across while the light was still red.  I have previously heard about the e-scooter phenomenon that is blanketing west coast cities, but this was the first time I had witnessed a person riding one of these scooters.  As suspected, if everyone rides like this woman, these e-scooters are going to be a safety nightmare.  Here are some things everyone needs to know if they are going to use these e-scooters.

Info Graphic Prepared by Portland Bureau of Transportation-no affiliation with Ross Law PDX

Info Graphic Prepared by Portland Bureau of Transportation-no affiliation with Ross Law PDX

  1. You are required to wear a helmet:  Yes, these are motor-vehicles so you have to wear a helmet when you are riding them.  These scooters cruise at around 15 MPH, so it makes sense that you should be required to protect your most precious organ. ORS 814.534
  2. It is UNLAWFUL to ride on the Sidewalk:  Yes, I know this seems odd, but it is the law.  There are limited exceptions.  This may seem odd, because you feel vulnerable riding in traffic.  However, these things cruise at 15 MPH.  That is too fast to be riding on a busy sidewalk.   Bikes aren't allowed on Downtown Portland's sidewalks, so it makes sense that scooters wouldn't be allowed either. The bottom line is that you need to ride in the street.  It's the law. See ORS 814.524
  3. You Cannot Ride in the Middle of the Lane: You must ride as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the road.   However there are exceptions to this rule that permit you to ride towards the middle of the lane if you need to make a left turn, it is dangerous next to the curb, or you are passing someone in the same direction, on certain one-way streets.  ORS 814.520
  4. If there is a Bike Lane You Must Ride in the Bike Lane:  Oregon Law mandates that if there is a bike lane or bike path then you must ride in the bike lane.  There are limited exceptions to this rule.  ORS 814.514
  5. You Must Be at Least 16 Years Old to Ride Them:  Oregon Law mandates that you are 16 years old to ride a motor-assisted scooter. ORS 814.512
  6. You Cannot Carry a Passenger on the Scooter: Scooters are limited to one rider per person.  No kids with their parents. See ORS 814.530
  7. You Can Get a DUII on an Electric Scooter:  Yes it is true,  vehicle laws apply to motorized scooters. This includes DUII Laws.  So stay off the scooter if you have been drinking.  

The police can cite you for many of the above violations.  More importantly, you are a safety hazard if you ignore the rules.  These shared electric scooters are going to create various issues because many of these rules are counter-intuitive.  They also are going to create a new segment of vulnerable road users that are inexperienced.  As a result, I have no doubt that someone in Portland Oregon will eventually suffer a serious injury due to an electric scooter incident.  It has already happened in San Francisco.  (Man broke his arm riding a shared e-scooter on the sidewalk)

If you or someone you know has been injured in a collision involving a shared e-scooter, call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658.  Jeremiah Ross is a personal injury attorney that provides free case evaluations.  Please remember that the laws are constantly changing and to rely on the law and NOT this post.  This post is not to be considered legal advice but is intended to educate the public regarding safe riding. 

Be Safe in These Dark Days. Tips to Remain Visible on the Road

Daylight savings has arrived. This is the time of year where most people's afternoon commute is done in the dark.  Pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers are all on the wet dark roads doing their best to get home.  This combination can lead to deadly consequences because pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycles, and other vehicles can be difficult to see.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has provided some helpful tips for drivers.  PBOT recommends for drivers to: 

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  • Use your headlights even if it is not "night time"
  • Leave more space between you and the car in front of you
  • Remember to practice patience and slow down
  • Stay in your lane and beware of drivers who dart from lane to lane
  • Even though the route may be familiar, don't go on autopilot; stay alert and ALWAYS watch for vulnerable road users such as people walking, biking and rolling
  • Don't touch your phone, eat, drink or do other things that are distracting. Remember, as of October 1, 2017, it is illegal to drive while holding or using an electronic device (i.e. a cell phone or tablet).
  • Slow down at crosswalks and take care when making turns – even at a signal.

Cyclists, Runners, and Pedestrians should increase their visibility by:

Did you know that you’re first visible to people driving from 500 feet away when you’re wearing reflective clothing? Compare this to just 55 feet away when wearing dark colors with no reflective gear or lights.
— Portland Bureau of Transportation
  • wearing reflective clothing or gear
  • using safety lights. 
  • When walking, keeping a small flashlight or using the feature on your phone is another helpful way to make sure you can see at night.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a crash involving a vehicle, call Portland personal injury lawyer Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 for your free case evaluation.  Also, Ross Law LLC is not affiliated with the City of Portland and this post is for informational purposes only.  This post may be percieved as Attorney Advertising.

Victim of a Crime? Know Your Rights...

The Criminal Justice system can be a confusing, intimidating, and scary place for crime victims. Many victims do not know what is expected from them, who the lawyers are that are involved, and more importantly they don't know their rights.  Many times the District Attorney's office does their best to keep victims involved in the case, but DA's and victim advocates are often overworked and simply do not have the time or resources to ensure every victim's rights are understood and honored. This post is meant to provide you some information to assist you in asserting your rights.   Below is a list of things you should know if you were a crime victim:

Who Is The District Attorney:  The District Attorney is an attorney that represents the State of Oregon in criminal matters.  They are also called prosecutors, DAs, or DDAs.  Basically each county has a District Attorney (DA).  That person has an office that employs deputy DA's to hold people responsible that have been accused of breaking the law.  

Is the DA the Victim's Attorney:  No, the DA represents the State of Oregon.  The victim is a citizen of the State and has unique rights under the law, but the DA is not the victim's lawyer.  If you believe you the defendant should be responsible for paying for your harms and losses you should seek a "civil lawyer" such as myself to represent you.  The criminal justice system and the Civil Justice System are not the same.  For example, the District Attorney cannot obtain damages for emotional harm, but a civil lawyer can. For more information click here.

Who are "Victim Advocates:"   District Attorneys offices have persons that are victims and advocates that do their best to ensure victims rights are honored.  In Multnomah County the DA has a Victim Assistance Program or VAP.  To learn more click here.

What are Oregon Crime Victim's Rights:  Oregon Victims have numerous rights.  I have posted some, but not all, of the rights below.   Please remember the law is constantly changing and it is best to consult with an attorney or the District Attorney to ensure the law has not changed.  Do not rely solely on this post.  With that said, see the rights below:

  1. Crime Victims Must Be Informed of Their Rights:  A “law enforcement agency” shall notify a crime victim about his or her rights as soon as reasonably practicable. Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(g); ORS 147.417(1). 
  2. If You Request, Then You Must Be Informed of All Critical Stages of the Proceedings: A crime victim has, upon specific request, the right to be informed in advance of any critical stage of the proceedings held in open court when the defendant or alleged youth offender will be present and to be present at any such stage of the proceedings. Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(a) 
  3. The DA Must Account for Your Schedule when Setting a Trial Date: “When resetting any trial date or setting any court hearing requiring the presence of the victim, the court shall take the victim into consideration. The court shall inquire of the district attorney as to whether the victim has been informed of the prospective date and whether that date is convenient for the victim.” ORS 136.145
  4. If Requested, You Have a Right to Be informed if The Defendant's Probation May be Revoked: Right to Notice of Probation Violation/Revocation Hearings Upon request, a crime victim has the right “to be notified of any hearing before the court that may result in the revocation of the defendant’s probation for a felony or person Class A misdemeanor.” ORS 137.545(11). 
  5. You Have a Right to Be Present at Critical-Stage Proceedings if Requested: A crime victim has, upon specific request, the right to be present at any critical stage of the proceedings held in open court when the defendant or alleged youth offender will be present and to be present at any such stage of the proceedings. Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(a).
  6. You Right to Have a Person with you (with some exceptions): The victim of a person crime who was at least 15 years old when the crime is committed, may select a personal representative to accompany the victim to phases of the investigation and prosecution of the crime except for grand jury proceedings and certain child-abuse assessments. ORS 147.425. 
  7. If English is Your Second Language You Have a Right to Court Appointed Interpreter “In any criminal proceeding, the court shall appoint a qualified interpreter and make available appropriate assistive communication devices whenever it is necessary to interpret the proceedings to a victim who is a person with a disability and who seeks to exercise in open court a right that is granted by Article I, section 42 or 43, of the Oregon Constitution, including the right to be present at a critical stage of the proceeding.” 
  8. You Have a Right to Be Heard at a Pretrial Release Hearings if Requested: Under the Oregon Constitution a crime victim has, upon specific request, the right to “be heard at the pretrial release hearing.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(a). 
  9. You Have a Right to Be Heard at Sentencing A crime victim has the constitutional right to be heard “at the sentencing or juvenile court delinquency disposition.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(a). Under statute, a crime victim has the right at sentencing “to reasonably
    express any views concerning the crime, the person responsible, the impact of the
    crime on the victim, and the need for restitution and compensatory fine.” ORS
    137.013. A trial court must inquire whether the victim wishes to be heard before
    imposing sentence. ORS 147.512(3). 
  10. You Have a Right to Be Heard at DUII Diversion Hearing: If a DUII offense involves damage to property of a person other than the defendant, the victim of the property damage has a right to be present and to be heard at any hearing on a petition for a diversion agreement. ORS 813.222(1). 
  11. You Have a Right to Consult with the DA in any Plea Negotiation involving a Violent Felony: A crime victim has the constitutional right “to be consulted, upon request, regarding plea negotiations involving any violent felony.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(f). In prosecutions involving violent felonies, a prosecutor must—if requested by the victim—make “reasonable efforts to consult the victim before making a plea offer and before entering into a final plea agreement.” ORS 147.512(2)(a).
  12. You Have a Right to a Speedy Disposition: By law, crime victims have the rights to “have the trial or adjudication, including the imposition and execution of the sentence or disposition, conducted with all practicable speed” and “to the prompt and final conclusion of the criminal or juvenile delinquency proceeding in any related appellate or post-judgment proceeding.” ORS 147.430(a)-(b); see also ORS 138.627(1)(a) (victims have the right to have their “schedule taken into account [by the trial court] in scheduling . . . post-conviction proceedings”).  T
  13. You Have a Right to Records of Proceedings: A crime victim has a statutory and constitutional right to a copy of the record of a criminal proceeding. See Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(e) (a crime victim has “[t]he right to have a copy of a transcript of any court proceeding in open court, if one is otherwise prepared”); ORS 147.419 (a crime victim may obtain a copy of a transcript or audio or videotape of criminal proceeding held in open court at the victim’s expense).
  14. You Have a Right to Information about the Defendant: Under the Oregon Constitution, a crime victim has “[t]he right, upon request, to obtain information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, criminal history and future release from physical custody of the criminal defendant or convicted criminal and equivalent information regarding the alleged youth offender or youth offender[.]” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(b).
  15. You Have Right to Information about HIV or Other Communicable Diseases: A victim of a crime involving “the transmission of bodily fluids from one person to another” can request that defendant submit to “a test for HIV and any other communicable disease.” ORS 135.139(1).
  16. You Have a Right to Information about Emergency Contraception: A sexual assault victim has the right to “unbiased, medically and factually accurate written and oral information about emergency contraception” from the hospital providing the victim care. ORS 435.254(1). 
  17. Right to Information in DUII Proceedings Where You Were in a Crash with a DUII Driver:  In any prosecution arising from an automobile collision in which the defendant is alleged to have been DUII, the prosecuting attorney shall make available to a victim, upon request, reports and information disclosed to the defendant. ORS 135.857. That requirement applies to juvenile proceedings. ORS 419C.270 
  18. You Have a Right to Refuse to Speak or Communicate with Anyone Representing the Defendant: Under the Oregon Constitution, crime victims have “[t]he right to refuse an interview, deposition or other discovery request by the criminal defendant or other person acting on behalf of the criminal defendant provided, however, that nothing in this paragraph shall restrict any other constitutional right of the defendant to discovery against the state.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(c). Under statute, crime victims “may not be required to be interviewed or deposed by or give discovery to the defendant or the defendant’s attorney unless the victim consents.” ORS 135.970(3). A defense attorney must inform victims of the identity and capacity of persons contacting the victim on behalf of the defense and the victim’s right to have “a district attorney, assistant attorney general or other attorney or advocate present during any interview or other contact,” ORS 135.970(2). 
  19. If You Were Raped, You Have the Legal Protection to Prevent the Defense From Asking about Your Reputation or Opinion of Past Sexual Behavior. This is called the Rape-Shield Law. In a prosecution for rape, sodomy, unlawful sexual penetration, or sexual abuse, or in a prosecution for an attempt to commit one of these crimes, the following evidence is not admissible: Reputation or opinion evidence of the past sexual behavior of an alleged victim; or reputation or opinion evidence presented for the purpose of showing that the manner of dress of an alleged victim incited the crime or indicated consent. In a prosecution for these crimes or attempt to commit one of these crimes, evidence of a victim’s past sexual behavior other than reputation or opinion evidence is also inadmissible unless admitted in accordance with the Oregon Evidence Code and is evidence that relates to the motive or bias of the alleged victim, is necessary to rebut or explain scientific, medical or testimonial evidence offered by the state, is necessary to establish the identity of the victim or is otherwise constitutionally required to be admitted. ORS 40.210. Oregon Evidence Code (OEC) Rule 412
  20. You Have a Right to Be Safe and Protected from the Defendant: Under the Oregon Constitution, a crime victim has “[t]he right to be reasonably protected from the criminal defendant or the convicted criminal throughout the criminal justice process” and “[t]he right to have decisions by the court regarding the pretrial release of a criminal defendant based upon the principle of reasonable protection of the victim and the public, as well as the likelihood that the criminal defendant will appear for trial.” Or. Const. art I, § 43(1). 
  21. The Court Must Order No Contact with the Victim at Pre-Trial Release Hearing: When a defendant is released pretrial, the trial court or releasing authority must include a condition that defendant have no contact with the victim. See ORS 135.970 (4)(a) 
  22. You Have a Right to Restitution (Money), but it is limited to out of pocket expenses: Under the Oregon Constitution, a crime victim has “[t]he right to receive prompt restitution from the criminal convicted criminal who caused the victim’s loss or injury.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(d). Upon proof of “nature and amount of damages,” a victim is entitled to full restitution for “economic damages” caused by a defendant’s criminal conduct unless the victim consents to a lesser amount. ORS 137.106(1). Economic damages are: objectively verifiable monetary losses including but not limited to reasonable charges necessarily incurred for medical, hospital, nursing and rehabilitative services and other health care services, burial and memorial expenses, loss of income and past * * * impairment of earning capacity, reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for substitute domestic services, recurring loss to an estate, damage to reputation that is economically verifiable, reasonable and necessarily incurred costs due to loss of use of property and reasonable costs incurred for repair or for replacement of damaged property, whichever is less. ORS 137.103(2); ORS 31.710(2)(a). 
  23. You May Have a Right to a Compensatory Fine:  A court may order compensatory fines payable to a crime victim, which may be imposed in addition to statutory restitution, “as a penalty for the commission of a crime resulting in an injury for which the person injured by the act constituting the crime has a remedy by civil action[.]” ORS 137.101. This is a convoluted area of the law in which the statute arguably allows the judge to impose a fine and instead of the fine being paid to the State of Oregon the fine is paid directly to the Victim.  Their are nuances regarding how this is done, and a District Attorney or Civil Lawyer such as myself should be contacted.  Feel free to call me at 503.224.1658.
  24. The Crime Victim Compensation Fund May Pay for Medical Bills, Counseling, but it is limited: A crime victim may be eligible for compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Account administered by the Department of Justice. See ORS 147.035 (discussing compensable losses). An emergency award granted “pending a final decision in [a compensation] claim” may be available. ORS 147.055. Oregon law specifically provides for compensation for HIV testing and counseling when a crime involves the transmission of bodily fluids, ORS 135.139(8), and for a sexual-assault medical assessment. ORS 147.395. 

The bottom line is if you are a crime victim you have rights.  You should assert them.  Too often defendant's rights appear to trump victim's rights.   That should not occur if you assert your rights and the District Attorney and the Court honors your rights.  If you have any questions about your rights, call me for a free crime victim consultation at 503.224.1658.   PLEASE REMEMBER THE LAW IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING AND THESE RIGHTS ALSO CHANGE.   Please consult with a lawyer or District Attorney to learn your actual rights.   This post, this blog, and this web-site may be considered attorney advertising.  

 

Is It Legal To Ride A Bicycle On A Downtown Portland Oregon Sidewalk?

Riding a bike in Downtown Portland can be intimidating at times.  There are numerous cars, there are one way streets, bike lanes abruptly begin and end, drivers are constantly turning right in front of you (think of the "right hook"), and you have to be constantly aware of getting "doored" by a driver opening their door in front of you.  Some people decide to avoid these dangers by riding their bicycle on the Downtown sidewalks. However, these people are breaking the law by riding their bicycles on the sidewalk.   Yes, that is correct it is illegal to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk in downtown Portland Oregon.  

This is due to the fact that the sidewalks are heavily congested in Downtown.  Also, cyclist that leave the sidewalk to cross streets often will dart in front of traffic.  A bicycle colliding with a pediestrian or vehicle can result in serious injuries.   As a result, Portland has enacted Portland City Code 16.70.320.  

It Is Illegal to Operate a Bicycle Ride a bicycle on a sidewalk, unless avoiding a traffic hazard in the immediate area, within the area bounded by and including SW Jefferson, Front Avenue, NW Hoyt and 13th Avenue, except:

1. On sidewalks designated as bike lanes or paths;

2. On the ramps or approaches to any Willamette River Bridge; or

3. In the area bounded by the west property line of SW Ninth Avenue, the east property line of SW Park Avenue, the north property line of SW Jefferson and the south property line of SW Salmon Street.

4. For police or special officers operating a bicycle in the course and scope of their duties; or

5. For employees of the Association for Portland Progress and companies providing security services operating a bicycle in the course and scope of their duties. These employees must have in possession an identification card issued by the Chief of Police certifying the rider has completed a training course in the use of a bicycle for security patrol.
— 16.70.320

What does this mean?  Well a picture is worth a thousand words.  See the map below to see exactly where it is illegal to ride a bicycle on the Sidewalk. 

DO NOT RIDE YOUR BICYCLE ON THE SIDEWALK IN THE RED AREA!

DO NOT RIDE YOUR BICYCLE ON THE SIDEWALK IN THE RED AREA!

If you have any questions about where to ride your bicycle in Downtown Portland, please call 503.224.1658.   If you or someone you know is a cyclist who has been hit by a car, please call me at Ross Law LLC.   Please remember the law is constantly changing.  It is best to check the Portland City Code and DO NOT rely on this map or web-site as it may be OUTDATED.  Also this website, blog, and its contents are not to be considered legal advice but may be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.   Please ride safely!

Wrecked and Repaired Car Is Now Worth Less-10 Things to Know About Diminished Value in Oregon

As an Oregon Personal Injury Attorney I am often confronted with various issues that are caused by a car crash.   Dealing with insurance companies, trying to get medical bills paid, and trying to get lost wages paid are all pretty common.  However, there is also another claim that pops-up every so often.  This is the "diminished value claim."  

These claims are more and more common these days and should be pursued if the economics make sense.  There are numerous little nuances that should guide a person in considering filing a diminished value claim, but below are just a few things that should assist you:

What is a Diminished Value Claim?  Diminished Value claims arise after a vehicle has been damaged by the negligence of another (usually a bad driver.)  The claim arises from the fact that a vehicle that has been in a crash is now worth less than a vehicle that has not been in a crash.   The diminished value is the difference between what the vehicle was worth before the crash and what the vehicle is worth now.

How Much Can I Get On A Diminished Value Claim?  The amount varies.   To determine the amount of the claim an expert will look at how much the car is worth immediately after the crash compared to how much it was worth immediately before the crash.   For example, a 2 day Bentley that was in a crash may be worth $120,000.00 before the crash and now it is only worth $80,000.00 after it has been repaired.  The diminished value claim would be $40,000.00.  However, things change if you change the type and the age of the vehicle.  Now picture a 1999 Ford F-150 that is barely running before the crash.   The truck maybe worth $1500.00 on a good day.  The truck is in a crash and professionally repaired, now it probably is worth roughly the same because it did not have much value to diminish in the first place.  

What Variables Affect The Amount I can Get From A Diminished Value Claim?  Each claim is unique, but usually vehicle make, model, year are important.  Also, the damage to the vehicle is important.  Whether or not OEM (Factory) parts were used is a variable that can be taken into account.  

How Is The Diminished Value Determined?  Experts that are usually people that have worked in the automotive repair industry for years render an opinion regarding the diminished value.   They are usually paid a fee for their work and can provide you a report regarding their findings and the amount of the diminished value. Some Portland Oregon Body shops will offer to render a Diminished Value Opinion for a fee.

Who Do I Make A Diminished Value Claim To?    If you handle the claim yourself you should make the claim to the Insurer of bad driver that damaged your car.  

The Insurance Company Says They Don't Recognize Diminished Value Claims?  I have heard from clients that attempted to make a diminished value claim that the bad driver's insurance company claims they don't recognize Diminished Value Claims.  That may be the case, but Oregon Law recognizes these as valid legal claims.  What this means is if the insurance company claims they are not going to pay out because they have a policy of not honoring diminished value claims you can file a lawsuit seeking damages for the diminished value and may have a claim against the insurer that the Insurance Commissioner would be interested in investigating.

My Diminished Value Claim Is Not Worth Much, Should I Pursue It?  It depends.  Some claims for diminished value may only be a couple of thousand dollars.  Usually these small claims are not filed because people believe the case is too small for an attorney to take.  However, Oregon has laws that enable attorney's to get paid on small cases under $10,000.00.   I have written a blog article on ORS 20.080 and if you have a small Diminished Value Case you should read the article and call me at 503.224.1658 if needed.

 

Do Attorneys Represent People in Diminished Value Cases?  Yes, but it is not  always necessary.  Some claims may be viable small claims court actions.  However, the insurance company will likely attempt to remove the case from small claims.  I represent people with smaller diminished value claims.  See my  blog article  on small cases in Oregon for more information. 

How Do Attorneys Get Paid In Diminished Value Cases?    Most attorneys get paid on a contingency fee.  However it depends on the amount of the claim.   If there is a large amount of diminished value then it may make sense to pay an attorney hourly.  If their is a small diminished value claim that is risky the lawyer may want you to pay an hourly fee.   I take almost all diminished value cases on a contingency fee.  What that means is I do not get my attorney fees paid unless we win the case. 

Do Diminished Value Cases Apply To Bicycles? It may, but it depends.  A newer unique expensive bikes can be damaged in a small crash with a motor vehicle.  These often happen in minor crashes (For example if you were "doored" at a low speed.)     If the frame or other parts are  slightly bent, but the bike still functions there may be a viable diminished value claim.  However if the bike is a run of the mill off the shelf bike (think $1500.00 or less)  then most likely you are not going to have a viable diminished value claim.

Why Didn't You Answer My Question About Diminished Value Cases In Oregon?   As I said earlier, there are numerous issues that can arise in these cases.  Please Call me if you have a question.  Call Portland Personal Injury Law Firm Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658.

If you or someone you know has been in a car crash and is injured or their car was damaged feel free to call me, Jeremiah Ross, at 503.224.1658 for your free personal injury or diminished value consultation.  Please remember the law is constantly changing and this blog post should not be used as a basis for filing a diminished value claim.  Please look at the law or discuss your case with an attorney.   

 

The War on Words-Crash vs. Accident

As the father of a toddler, I constantly hear my son claim intentional acts were an "accident."   My wife and I work hard to explain that throwing sand at another kid is not an "accident" and there is not an excuse for that type of behavior.  I think most parents raise their kids the same way. 

However, at some point in our lives things change.   Employees constantly claim that a screw up was an "accident" or "wasn't on purpose"' so that should mitigate the damages they caused.  As a prosecutor I would hear defendants that injure a person in a DUII crash say "it was an accident."  On the show "Cheaters" (yes I watched it) people would be caught being unfaithful to their loved ones.  My favorite excuse was, you guessed it, "It was an accident, I never meant for it to  go this far."  You have to wonder why people are manipulating the word accident.

 It turns out that the word accident has been manipulated by corporation for over a Century.  Much like the brand "Kleenex" is synonymous with the word "tissue", "accident" has become synonymous with a preventable events, such as a "crash" or " human error".  

As a personal injury lawyer, this makes things a little more difficult for my clients in court.  This is due to the fact that the jurors have been pre-conditioned into thinking the bad driver that crashed into my client caused an "accident."  The defense lawyers/insurance lawyers imply because their client did not intend to run the red light they shouldn't have to pay the full amount of the damages they caused.  Many jurors agree, because that has been the way of thinking for decades.     

It turns out there has been a silent war to replace words involving a predictable event with the word "accident."  The New York Times recently wrote an article focusing on the debate between using the word "crash" vs. "accident."  According to the article, corporations used the word "accident" in their safety campaigns to attempt to absolve themselves of liability.   Car manufacturers used the word in the 1920's to absolve themselves of liability for manufacturing defects.  The word "accident" eventually was forced into our current lexicon by insurance companies and has become synonymous with the word "crash"

Here in Oregon, the word accident has replaced the word crash in our laws.  For example, ORS 811.720 notes "When an Accident must be reported to the department of transportation."   ORS 811.745, notes "When an Accident must be reported to  a police officer or law enforcement agency."  ORS 811.725 describes the penalty for "failing to report an accident." 

Is this a big deal?  I believe it is.  The word crash connotes what actually happens when a vehicle collides with something.  The word crash describes the noise, the twisted metal, the broken glass, and the twisted plastic.  It also better describes the crash was caused by human error.  We need to start taking accountability for our actions like we were taught to do.  Claiming things were an accident that were preventable events caused by human error contradicts everything we expect of our kids. 

If you have been involved in a car crash or if you prefer, car "accident," please call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658.  Ross Law LLC will provide a free personal injury consultation to discuss your Oregon car crash.   Please remember the law is constantly changing and the laws cited above may change in the future. 

Cyclists Must Be Careful in Tom McCall Park and the East Esplanade-Pedestrians can Get Hit

The eighty degree days have released a flood of bike commuters onto Portland's streets.   As a bike commuter myself, I have started to regularly bike commute with my toddler in a bike trailer.  My little guy and I do our best to stay on low traffic bike friendly streets.  However, once we are in downtown things can change depending on where we go.  

The bike path along Tom McCall park is our primary thoroughfare.  This long scenic pathway is a great place to duck away from vehicles.  However, it has its own unique dangers.   First, it is crowded by walkers, joggers, runners and kids.   These folks are enjoying a walk along the river and are often unaware of bikers passing by.   This problem gets compounded when cyclist are crossing the narrow sidewalk on the Hawthorne Bridge or the Steel Bridge and on certain areas of the East Bank Esplanade.    

Tips For Riding on Tom McCall Park and The East Esplanade
1) Slow Down
2) Give an audible warning when passing pedestrians from behind
3) Give pedestrians lots of room when passing
4) Look both ways when merging onto the path
5) Remember there is a bike lane on Naito Parkway if the pathway is too congested

To avoid a collision or near miss with a pedestrian cyclist should provide an audible signal when approaching people from behind.  I have personally witnessed a cyclist run into a pedestrian.  That incident could have been avoided if the cyclist simply would have provided an audible signal to warn the person.  This is not only a good idea, but it is also the law.  In this area of Portland  ORS 814.410 applies.  That law states:

(1) A person commits the offense of unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk if the person does any of the following: (b) Operates a bicycle upon a sidewalk and does not give an audible warning before overtaking and passing a pedestrian and does not yield the right of way to all pedestrians on the sidewalk.

However, many joggers have headphones in, so an audible warning may not be beneficial.  That is why you need to slow down.  Us Cyclist need to remember that we need to slow down when the area gets congested with pedestrians.  I often see folks on road-bikes darting in and out of pedestrians at a high rate of speed.  At those speeds it is impossible to avoid a collision if a small child runs in front of the cyclist.   This type of behavior could also be considered a violation of ORS 814.410(c) which prohibits riding carelessly. 

 

Cyclist should also give pedestrians a lot of room while passing them.  Many pedestrians are tourist that are unfamiliar with the cyclist and the speed they travel at.  I have seen pedestrians and children dart in front of cyclist.   Giving yourself a cushion to react in case someone darts in front of you is a must.  

Lastly, Cyclist should look both ways before merging onto the main path that parallels the river.  I have seen cyclist  turn onto the path without accounting for cyclist approaching from behind them.  Pulling out in front of another cyclist can cause a collision. 

If you have been hit by a cyclist you should get the cyclist information and witness information.  The easiest thing to do is to take a photo of their ID on your smart-phone.  Insurance may provide coverage for the incident, but you must get the name of the cyclist that hit you in order to do so.  Cyclist v. Pedestrian collisions can cause severe injuries.  Broken bones and severe strains and sprains can be common.  If you have been injured by a cyclist call Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658.  Jeremiah Ross is happy to discuss your case with you and provide you a free personal injury case evaluation. 

Please remember the law is constantly changing and to consult with an attorney if you have any legal issue or question.