Case Value

5 Things People In Car Crashes Should Know About Dealing with the Bad Driver's Insurer:

It seems each time I meet with a new potential personal injury client they express extreme frustration and anger with the insurance companies involved in their case. Most of this anger is directed towards the other driver’s insurance company. I usually refer to the other driver that caused the motor vehicle crash as the “bad driver.”

Much of the frustration and anxiety comes from the misinformation from the insurance adjusters and the insurance industry. Insurance companies have worked hard to soften their images and gain the public’s trust with cute ad campaigns and by sponsoring events. Then when it comes time for the insurance company to do the right thing and honor the terms of the policy, they quickly switch to militant penny pinchers and will use a number of well-calculated strategies necessary to save the insurance company money. Below are some tips to assist people in dealing with the “bad driver’s” insurance company that may help alleviate frustration, anger, and anxiety from dealing with the insurance industry.


1)  The Bad Driver’s Insurance Company is Usually Not Represented by a Lawyer Until a Lawsuit is Filed:  It is rare that an injured person would be contacted by the bad driver’s insurance company’s’ lawyer. Most likely the person calling on behalf of the bad driver’s insurance company is an insurance adjuster.  These adjusters sometimes like to think they are lawyers or even doctors and often try and act like lawyers. In reality, many adjusters have little formal relevant education and rely on internal policies and spoonfed information generated by computers to assist them with their job of paying the bare minimum on every claim. They will refer to injuries as if they are highly knowledgeable about specific injuries. However, most adjusters do not have any formal medical education and are parroting what was learned in insurance industry seminars.  This is important to remember, so you are not intimidated by them.

2) There is NO requirement that an injured person speaks to the bad driver’s insurance company adjuster or lawyer. For more information on insurance company phone calls read my blog article.  

3) You Do NOT Need to Fill Out Forms or Provide Your Social Security Number to the Bad Driver’s Insurer: The bad driver’s insurer’s goal is to get away with paying the minimum amount of money to compensate you for your injuries. That is how they stay in business. To do this they are going to look for all sorts of dirt and information that they can use to diminish the value of your claim. For example, they are going to request that you sign a “medical release” to allow them to get your medical records. They may claim they need these records to evaluate the claim. This is true, but you can get them fromi the medical provider, review them for relevant records, and then provide them directly to the bad driver’s adjuster.

By signing the “medical release” you give the adjuster the authority to get all of your medical records and sometimes your mental health counseling records. Adjusters will use these records to attempt to find other plausible explanations for your injuries or symptoms. For example, if you went to the chiropractor 2 years before the crash, the bad driver’s insurance adjuster may obtain those records to claim that the current crash is not the cause of your injured back because the records from two years ago say you had a “sore back.” They may also obtain records to make you feel uncomfortable with being involved in the claim. For example, if your medical records describe an incident from a night you wish you forgot, then that inference that other people might learn about that night may be enough for you to accept less to settle your claim. They may want a release to obtain your employment information and claim they need it to evaluate a “wage loss claim.” However, that release will allow them to have access to your entire file and the sensitive information contained therein. The Bad Driver’s Insurance company will also claim that they need your social security number to process the claim or they will get in trouble with Medicare. The medicare issue is only partially true. The SSN is key for the bad driver’s insurer to run you through their computer databases to determine if you have prior insurance claims or crashes. This is more information they can use to devalue your claim. If you may be medicare eligible then you will likely need to either fill out a medicare form regarding your identity or provide the ssn when the case resolves. I usually tell the bad driver’s insurer that they can have my client’s information when I get the settlement check. If you have questions about this call a personal injury lawyer at 503.224.1658.

4) YOU Control Your Case Against the Bad Driver, NOT the Bad Driver’s Insurer:   I regularly hear people complain that the bad driver’s insurance company is going to “close their case” if they do not communicate with the adjuster or accept an offer to settle the case against the bad driver. People get concerned that if the bad driver’s insurance company closes their file then they will not be able to be compensated for their injuries. This could not be further from the truth. Insurance adjusters speak as if many internal insurance policies are the law and will affect the claim against the bad driver. For example, they may claim you have to return their call. However, as previously mentioned that is not the law. They may also claim that if you don’t accept an offer they are going to close their file. That may be true, but you have the option of filing a lawsuit as long as it is within the statute of limitations. That will force them to reopen the file (or whatever they call that in insurance land.) The bottom line is that you control the amount of the offer you will accept, when you communicate with the bad driver’s insurance company, and if you are going to sue the bad driver if the bad driver’s insurance company won’t make a fair offer.

5) They Are Going to Play Good Cop Bad Cop and Re-Assign Adjusters: Many people get extremely frustrated because their claim with the bad driver gets bounced around from adjuster to adjuster. Usually, the bad driver’s adjusters will be nice at first and kill you with kindness. They will try and gain your trust in an effort to convince you that you should settle for pennies on the dollar. If that does not happen, they may start to ignore your calls and their tone will usually become more adversarial. Then the adjuster may try and bully you into settling. If that does not occur, the insurance company may transfer the case to a new adjuster who will try and start over with the same routine above. The new adjuster may even tell you the former adjuster was “new” or was terrible at their job. This again is an attempt to gain your trust with the new adjuster. The new adjuster may offer a little more money in an effort to resolve the claim. If the claim doesn’t resolve then they will continue the cycle and get grumpier and grumpier until they transfer the file. This is a good tactic the bad driver’s insurers use to grind you down. They want to wear you down and have you tired of telling the same thing over and over. They want to frustrate you and find that weak moment when you finally say, “OK, I’ll settle?”

PRO-TIP: HAVING A LAWYER CAN REDUCE YOUR STRESS IN DEALING WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES: As a personal injury lawyer I look at it as my job to alleviate my client’s stress related to their bodily injury claim. In doing so, I communicate with the bad driver’s insurance company and there is no need for the client to fill out their silly forms or be bounced around on the phone for hours. If you have more questions about your car crash case call Ross Law at 503.224.1658. Jeremiah Ross is a Personal Injury Lawyer that represents clients throughout Oregon, including the Portland Metro Region, Eugene, Pendleton, Hermiston, Astoria, Cannon Beach, Scappoose, Medford and places in between.

Please remember to call a lawyer and not rely solely on this article. Please also remember that rules in states may be different than Oregon. Also, please remember that this article is based on the experience of a personal injury lawyer, and not an insurance company insider or employee. This post could be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

3 Things Auto Insurers Don't Want You to Know About Your Whiplash Injury!

Most people in car crashes suffer some type of soft tissue injury.  Soft tissue injuries are injuries to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the body.  Whiplash is a type of soft tissue or bony injury to the neck or brainstem caused by the sudden back and forth movement of the neck. These injure typically occur in rear end or side impact car crashes.  That movement rips, tears, and stretches the soft tissue in the neck, and can cause more severe injuries.  Some soft tissue injuries are minor and don't warrant medical treatment, while others can take months or years to heal.  Some soft tissue and whiplash injuries are permanent and may require surgical interventions.  Although these injuries are serious injuries, insurers regularly discount them.   Here are some things you should know about whiplash injuries that insurance companies don't want you to know:

1) Whiplash Injuries Are The Most Common Injury Associated with Motor Vehicle Crashes:  Insurers often discount claims of whiplash as malingering (making an injury up with the purpose of obtaining an award) or somatoform disorder (psychological issues causing physical symptoms).  They attempt to convince the injured person that they couldn't have suffered an injury that lasted for as long as it did.  Insurers for the bad driver often make the injured person feel as if they are the only person to have whiplash symptoms last as long as they did or were as severe as they were.  This is an effort to attempt to convince the injured person that the crash could not have injured them. However, the insurer is wrong.  Whiplash injuries are not unique.  In fact, up to 83% of people involved in a car crash suffer from whiplash injuries.   Medical studies have shown these are real injuries that can dramatically impact a person's life and health.

MRI and Whiplash Injury

2) Whiplash Injuries Do Not Typically Show Up on an X-Ray:  Insurance adjusters will often note that the Emergency Room X-Rays of the neck are unremarkable and do not show any evidence of injury.  Adjusters may attempt to convince the injured person that the crash didn't cause a whiplash injury because there is not any "objective" evidence of it (think X-Ray, or broken bone, misalignment of bones, etc.).  However, studies show  X-Rays do not typically show soft tissue injuries to the neck and whiplash type injuries.  However, MRI studies may show the soft tissue and whiplash type injuries.  However, MRI's may come with their own problems of high false positive results, and cannot see all pain associated lesions.  CT scans may be able to show some, but not all whiplash injuries.  However, they are costly and are not always readily available.  Other tests may not show injury.  This information is important because adjusters know that the injuries are real, but technology may not show these injuries.   A medical provider (Doctor, Osteopath, or Chiropractor) can diagnose whiplash injuries based on other objective findings without the need for imaging.   Insurers know this, but may try and convince you otherwise. 

3) Whiplash Injuries Can Be Permanent:  Insurance adjusters commonly say that the crash caused whiplash injury should have healed within 12 to 16 weeks.  They explain the lingering pain on "pre-existing" or age-related conditions. However, this ignores the science and studies that have shown that there is no scientific basis to assert whiplash injuries do not lead to chronic pain or permanent injuries.  These are real injuries that can be permanent

Hopefully, this information will assist you in combating an insurance agent to assist you in obtaining maximum compensation for your injuries.  However, if you are unsuccessful efforts or have questions for a personal injury lawyer, call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 for your free personal injury consultations. Ross Law PDX represents personal injury clients throughout Portland and Oregon.  PLEASE ASK A DOCTOR ABOUT YOUR WHIPLASH INJURY.  This post is meant for information purposes only and SHOULD NOT be RELIED UPON as or construed as medical advice, or legal advice.   Please remember that every injury is different and all legal cases are different.   

Seven Things That May Increase the Value of Your Personal Injury Case

You have just been in a crash and your friend tells you they had the same injury and the insurance company offered $50,000.00.  The bad driver's insurance company has only offered you $25,000.00.  How can that be?   It is simple, insurance Companies and Personal Injury Lawyers all look at the specific facts of the case to put a value on the case.   In some cases, the injured person can increase the value of their case by taking action.  In other cases, the value of the case is increased due to the facts and circumstances that are outside the control of anyone.  The list below is a brief run down of things that may increase the value of your case:

1) You Have Well Documented Regular Medical Treatment:  Insurance companies and personal injury lawyers rely heavily on the medical records as one factor to put a value on a personal injury case.  If you receive regular well documented medical treatment from a reputable treatment provider you will likely increase the value of your case.  This is due to the fact the medical treatment provider can usually articulate the negligence caused injuries and how they are affecting the injured person.  People that do not seek medical treatment or have long gaps in treatment will usually have a reduced case value. 

2) How Your Injury Occurred:  The facts of how the injury occurred can often increase the value of your case.  If you were injured in a high-speed crash the case will usually be more valuable than a low-speed parking lot crash, even if the injuries are similar.   In dangerous premises cases, the facts can substantially increase the value of a case.  If you were hit in the head by merchandise falling off of a shelf your case will typically be more valuable than a case involving a person that slips on a wet floor. These are things you have little or no control over, but they can add value to the case. 


3) The Person or Entity that Injured You:  If a mean, grumpy, angry person crashes into you, your case is probably worth more than if a nice, pleasant, calm person crashes into you.  If you are injured by corporate negligence your case may be worth more than if you were injured by the negligence of a real person. 

4)  You Were Injured by Someone Being Reckless or Breaking the Law:  If you were injured by a person or corporations acting recklessly or breaking the law your case will be worth more than a person that makes an honest mistake and injures you.  For example, if you were injured by a DUII driver your case will be more valuable than if you were injured by a sober driver.  If you were injured by a corporation that consistently has broken the law, then your case will likely be worth more.  If this occurs, you may also be entitled to punitive damages that will likely increase the value of your case. 


5)  How You Present: If you are honest, friendly, and reasonable your case will likely be more valuable than a person that has negative attributes. Personal Injury cases are about the people involved.  Juries and insurance companies are likely to put more value on a case where they like you and believe in you and your case.   If they think you are lying, over-exaggerating your injury, or you are not likable they will likely reduce the value of your case.  I will not take a case if I suspect you are lying or malingering, and most Oregon personal injury attorneys have the same policy.

6) Having a Lawyer Represent You:  In many cases having a personal injury lawyer representing you will increase the value of your case.  There are many reasons for this and it usually makes sense to hire a personal injury lawyer.   However, you should always speak with a personal injury lawyer if you were in a crash. It usually is free. You can call Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658 for your Free Case Evaluation.  Click here for answers to attorney fee questions.

7) The Insurance Company Representing the Person or Company that Injured You:  Certain Insurance Companies are more willing to pay fair compensation for injuries than others.  Some insurance companies in Oregon are terrible and consistently make "low ball" settlement offers.  Other insurance companies are more reasonable are willing to negotiate.  

 If you still have questions call Portland Personal Injury Attorney Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658. You can also click here for more information about the value of your personal injury case.   Ross Law LLC is happy to give you a free personal injury consultation.   Please remember there are numerous variables affecting the value of your case.  The list above are some things that may increase the value of your case, but everyone's case is different.  Call a personal injury attorney if you have questions rather than relying solely on this post.  Also, this post may be considered Attorney Advertising.  

What is Your Car Crash Case Worth?

One of the most common questions I receive in a personal injury intake is, "How much is my case worth?"  That is not an easy question to answer and people should be leery of lawyers that automatically spit out a number without reviewing medical records, bills, and other information.  That is because there are various variables that we examine to assign a value to a personal injury car crash case.   More importantly that is the value we assign the case.  The insurance company also assigns a value to the case.  That number is usually lower than the injured person's lawyer's number.  At the end of the day only a Jury truly knows how much a particular case is worth, but most cases settle prior to trial.  

With that said, I have listed a few of  variables that lawyers use to put a value on the case below.   The list is not exhaustive, and it is in no particular order.  However, it should provide you with a general understanding of how a personal injury lawyer and an insurance company assign a value to a car crash personal injury case.  

 1) The Type of Car Crash injuries:  Broken bones are typically worth more than soft tissue (whiplash) injuries.  However that is not always the case.  For example, a herniated disc injury will likely be worth more than a fractured pinkie toe.  Injuries that cause scars or disfigurement are typically worth more than an internal injury.     

2)The permanency of the injury:  The longer the person suffers crash related physical impairments that effect their life, the more their case is worth.  Insurance companies know this and that is why they will often offer a paltry amount of money very early to settle the case.   If you settle the case before you know if the injury is permanent you will likely be leaving money on the table. People wonder how do you know if your injury is permanent?  Medical providers will typically tell a person and provide that evidence in a medical chart note.

Typically, the more time a person suffers from an injury, the more their case is worth.

Typically, the more time a person suffers from an injury, the more their case is worth.

3) The Medical Treatment Sought:  Personal injury cases rely heavily on medical evidence.   Medical providers provide the necessary diagnosis, treatment, and documentation to prove to a jury (and the bad driver's insurance adjuster) that you are injured and the types of injury you sustained.  Clients who seek medical treatment and follow their treatment providers' directives will often increase the value of the case.  However, it should be noted just because you see a doctor, doesn't mean you will increase the value of the case.  A chart note can also lower the value of the case if you claim an injury and the medical evidence does not support your injury claim.   Moreover, a hundred trips to an acupuncturist may not increase the value of your case if you never saw a medical doctor.

4) Medical bills incurred:   The urban legend that a case is worth three times the medical bills is just wrong.  Some cases end up that way, but many don't.  For example a person that quickly heals 100% after having a costly surgery may not recover as much as a person that doesn't have surgery for the same injury but suffers from well documented permanent injuries.  Additionally, some serious injuries don't have a lot of medical bills.  An amputated thumb may not have many medical bills. However, that is a potentially debilitating injury that will likely effect virtually everything the person does for the rest of their life.  The medical bills in that case are not an important variable, but they are still a variable.

5) Crash Damage:  Typically the more crash damage there is, the more a person's case is worth.  Minor impact cases with little visible vehicle damage can result in severe soft tissue (whiplash) type injuries, but typically jurors need to be convinced of that. On the other hand, jurors will usually infer from the beginning that a person had to have been injured in a high speed crash that totals the vehicles involved.    

6) The Client:   An honest client's case is worth more than a person who exaggerates their pain and injuries.  A tough client's case is usually worth more than a whiner's case.  An organized client that attends medical appointments and follows their medical providers's directives' case is usually worth more than the know it all client that tells everyone they are injured but doesn't seek treatment or follow up with medical providers.  Clients and the way they present themselves can dramatically increase or decrease the value of their case.   

7) The Bad Driving Defendant:  In almost all of my personal injury cases the defendant is insured.  The defendant's insurance company is the entity that will decide if they will make a fair offer or force us to seek an award from a Jury.   However, in Oregon jurors are not informed that it is the billion dollar insurance company that is refusing to make a fair settlement offer.  The Juror sees the little old lady that ran the red light that is the named defendant and may feel sympathy for her.  They may not want to award you any money to compensate you for your injury, because that may put the elderly lady on the street.   On the other hand a corporate defendant that has a bad safety record will likely increase the value of the injured person's case because jurors have little sympathy for a large corporation and they know the corporation has money to pay the judgment.

8) Comparative Fault and Other Defenses:  The value of the case can be reduced if the defendant has a good defense.  If the defense can show you caused the crash then your case value may go down or your case may not have any value at all.   If the defense can interject uncertainty and other legal issues to the case then that will bring down the value of your case.

9) Pre-Existing Conditions:  Pre-existing conditions are the most litigated issues in personal injury cases.  As we age our bodies deteriorate.  Insurance company defense lawyers capitalize on this medical fact and attempt to assert that the crash didn't injure you, and the pain is caused by a pre-existing medical condition.  If a person has sought treatment prior to the crash for a medical condition that they are claiming was caused by the crash that can reduce the value of the case. 

10)  Lawyers Involved:  Many people settle their cases with the insurance company without a lawyer.  This is largely because they don't want to get a lawyer involved or they don't want to have a lawyer take a percentage of any money they are awarded.   However, this is typically a big mistake.  Most of the time people that resolve their own cases are leaving money on the table.  Lawyers know how to get insurance companies to increase the value of the case and if not, then we take the case to trial or arbitration.  Insurance companies know that, so they usually will increase the value of the case if a lawyer is involved.   If you think your case is too small for a lawyer to handle, you should read this blog article.  

The list above is not exhaustive, and if you have any questions call me for your free personal injury case evaluation.  Call Ross Law at 503.224.1658 and ask for Jeremiah Ross.  Please remember that there are numerous variables that go into the case and do not rely solely on the list above.     

Is Your Case Too Small For A Lawyer To Handle?-ORS 20.080

I was having lunch with a chiropractor yesterday and somehow we began to speak about the viability of representation for people with soft tissue injuries and only a couple of months of chiropractic treatment.   Most people that have soft tissue injuries and a few months of treatment think that their case is too small for a lawyer.  As a result, they are left without representation.  This leaves them at the mercy of the insurance adjuster.

Insurance companies prey on these unrepresented people.  The adjusters do their best to convince them that soft tissue damages don't merit compensation. The insurance adjuster will repeat the fact that there isn't any major damage to the vehicles.   The adjuster will diminish the impact by claiming it is a mere fender bender with only $1,000.00 in property damage.   These are the obvious tactics the adjuster uses to convince people they have no case.  The adjuster has been trained to try and convince people that if the vehicles involved in the crash are not damaged then a person couldn't be injured.

 The bad driver's insurance company will often offer a few hundred dollars and say what ever it takes to get you to resolve the case.  Many times the insurance adjuster on a small case will be very friendly at first.  However, the insurance adjuster's mood will quickly sour once you don't accept their first couple of offers.   People injured in car crashes shouldn't have to deal with that.  That is where a lawyer can help.


The question then becomes, How does a lawyer get paid in a small soft tissue case? Luckily Oregon law has the answer.  Oregon Law (ORS 20.080) is often referred to as the "small case statute."  This is a fantastic law that has assisted many Oregonians obtain maximum compensation for their injuries.  The law was enacted, because many insurance companies take advantage of unrepresented injured people with cases that are not worth more than a few thousand dollars.   Prior to the law, insurance companies knew that a lawyer couldn't make money on a small case, so the insurance company didn't have to make a fair offer.  Basically the insurance company could do whatever they wanted with the offer without fear of being held accountable by facing a lawsuit.   Then ORS 20.080 was enacted and it all changed.

ORS 20.080 basically states that people that have been injured by another person can make a written demand to the at fault party and the at fault party's insurance company.  The demand will be sent with any medical records, bills, or other records to assist the insurance company in evaluating the claim.  The injured person will also let the at fault party and their insurance company know they have 30 days to meet the injured person's demand of no more than $10,000.00.

The ball is then in the at fault party's insurance company's hands.  It then becomes an issue with what offer, if any, the insurance company will make within the 30 days.  ORS 20.080 was drafted with the intent to force insurance companies to make their top offer in the thirty days, so there usually is not much negotiating that should occur.  

If the insurance company makes an offer then you have some choices. If you like the offer, then you can accept it.  If not, then you can do nothing or counter-offer.  If you do nothing and file a lawsuit then you must beat the insurance company's last offer.  If you beat the last pre-filing offer then then the insurance company has to pay your costs and attorney fees in addition to any award or judgment you receive from the court or arbitrator.

For example, say a person is in a car crash.  The person suffers soft tissue injuries and treats with a chiropractor for 2 months..  The person sends out a written demand letter and medical records and bills to the at fault party and the at fault party's insurance company.   The insurance company makes an offer of $900.00 to the injured party and claims it is their "top offer."  If the injured person accepts that offer, then the attorney might be entitled to a third of it ($300.00) to pay the attorney fees.  This would mean the injured person obtains $600.00.

However, if the injured person then files a lawsuit against the bad driver the injured person can obtain much more.   If, the case proceeds to arbitration and the arbitrator awards the injured person a penny more than $900.00 then the injured person should receive $900.01.  The insurance company then has to pay the injured person's costs and attorney fees separately.  Usually the insurance company has to pay thousands of dollars in attorney fees and costs.

ORS 20.080's power is derived from insurance companies fear it will be forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees for a small case valued at less than $10,000.  That provides the incentive for the insurance adjuster to make a good offer prior to litigation.  This also provides an incentive for people like myself to represent people with small cases under $10,000.00.  

 Unfortunately, many insurance companies still try and take advantage of unrepresented people.  Insurance companies also try and low-ball pre-lawsuit offers even when a person is represented.  An attorney in these situations can help you navigate the system and do their best to assert your rights to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries.  Even if you think your case is too small, I strongly suggest you contact a lawyer. 

If you have more questions about a small case where you were injured or your property was damaged by the negligence of another, please call Portland Personal Injury Attorney Jeremiah Ross.  I am always happy to chat with people to discuss whether or not a lawyer may be of assistance to them, and what their rights are.  Ross Law LLC is happy to provide a free personal injury consultation.  Please call Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658.   Please note that different attorneys have different fee agreements with their clients.   The above example is based on the typical arrangement I have with my personal injury clients.  However another Oregon Attorney may do it differently.  



A recent Consumer Reports article highlights the need for Insurers to become more transparent as to how they arrive at insurance quotes. 

According to the article, insurance companies judge you based on your socio-economic factors more than your driving  habits.    Insurance companies are very secretive on how they arrive at insurance quotes.  Their quotes come from very complex formulas.  This results in a large price disparity between companies for the same coverage.

The article then rates how the big five insurance companies stack up for male and female drivers.

The results are as follows:

Allstate charges an average of $1570.00 for coverage.

Progressive charges an average of $1,414.00 for the same coverage.

GEICO charges an average of $1,177.00 for the same coverage.

State Farm charges an average of $1,147 for the same insurance coverage.

USAA charges the least amount, $817, for the same  insurance coverage.

There is no logic or rational for the large disparity in quotes for the same coverage.   Consumers should demand transparency in Insurance pricing formulas, so they can make educated decisions when choosing an Auto Insurer.

If you have questions about insurance coverage issues or you were injured and have a dispute with an insurance company, call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658.  As a Portland Oregon Personal Injury Attorney and Consumer Attorney, he can assist you in your battle against the Insurance Companies.

Please remember this post is for informational purposes only .  It does  not constitute legal advice or create an Attorney Client relationship.


Everyone knows Drinking and Driving (DUI) is illegal in Oregon. However, people need to understand that the fear of getting arrested should not be the only concern when a DUII driver gets behind the wheel.  Statistics for the State of Oregon note hundreds of injuries and fatalities that result from DUI crashes each year.  Alcohol, controlled substances, marijuana, and prescription drugs are all contributing factors to these crashes.   Below is a terrifying video of a DUII driver that is lucky to be alive.

As a result, the law allows injured people in certain circumstances to collect additional compensation from the DUI driver that injured them.  An injured party can obtain punitive damages from a DUII driver.  An injured party may also be able to collect money from a bar that over-served the DUII driver.

The question then becomes what should you do if you are hit by a DUII driver.  The following list should assist you in obtaining compensation when you are involved in a crash with a suspected DUII Driver:

  1. Report the Crash to the Police Immediately if you suspect you were injured by a DUII driver.  Many police departments do not respond to minor crashes, but will respond to a crash involving a DUII driver.  It is imperative to call 911 if you suspect you were in a crash with a DUII driver.
  2. Gather information from the DUII driver regarding where the DUII driver was consuming alcohol or the controlled substances.  This may give rise to an additional dram shop claim.
  3. Gather Witness information and contact information.   If someone saw any part of the crash or spoke with the DUI driver  get the witnesses address, phone number, or email.  Also it may help to take a photo of a witness’s license plate so you can look them up in the future if necessary.
  4. Take Photos.  Pictures are worth a thousand words.  Cell phone photos of the crash scene, and maybe an empty beer bottle is powerful evidence to assist in the prosecution of the DUI driver and to assist you in your personal injury case.
  5. Contact your Auto Insurance company immediately and inform them you think you were hit by a DUII driver.  Provide them the police officer’s name and report information.
  6.  If you, or a loved one, are seriously injured, call a personal injury attorney immediately and cooperate with law enforcement.  Many times the DUI Driver’s minimal insurance policy of $25,000.00 will be expended by a two day hospital stay.   This leaves the injured party with nothing, and only reduces the medical bills they will be forced to pay if they don’t have other insurance sources.   It is important to contact a personal injury attorney so the attorney can investigate all potentially liable parties.  An investigation may reveal additional sources of insurance that will provide the injured person compensation in the future.
  7. Cooperate with the District Attorney if you are asked to come to court or send documents to the District Attorney.

The above list is not exhaustive, and your situation will likely vary.  However, these are things to keep in mind if you are hit by a DUII driver in Oregon.  If you are injured by a DUII driver in Oregon call Portland Oregon Personal Injury Attorney Jeremiah Ross for yourfree  personal injury consultation.  Cal 503.224.1658.  This post is not to be considered legal advice, so please call a lawyer.


The Superbowl is here again.  People are stocking up on junk food, beer, and liquor.  This festive time of year can become disastrous if a person gets struck by a DUII driver.   This is why people hosting Superbowl Parties must be careful to not over-serve a person alcohol and allow them to drive home.  In Oregon, homeowner’s can be held responsible for injuries suffered by a person that were caused by a visitor to the homeowner’s party.  This is important in serious injury cases when the bad driver’s insurance policy may only be $25,000.00.  The $25,000.00 can be evaporated by an ER visit, surgery, and a short hospital stay.  The injured person may be stuck with tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid medical expenses that can drive them into bankruptcy.

Oregon has a way to obtain compensation from additional insurance policies. Homeowner’s can be held responsible for serving alcohol to a person that is visibly intoxicated and later injures another in a DUII crash. (ORS 471.565). Oregon courts have determined a person who receives guests in a social l setting, in which the host serves or directs the serving of booze or beer to guests can be held accountable if the overly intoxicated person later injures another in a DUII crash. See Solberg v. Johnson, 306 Or 484, 490 (1988). This type of liability is referred to as “Dram Shop” liability. Dram Shop liability is important because home owner’s and renter’s insurance policies may cover DUII crash injuries and provide tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars, in additional insurance coverage. This money can be used to pay medical bills, physical therapy, vocational rehabilitation, and to compensate the injured person or their family for their harms and losses.

It is important to keep in mind if you intend on making a dram shop claim there are time limitations that notice must be given in. Specifically, if it is a wrongful death claim then notice must be given within one year of the date of death, or within a year after the date plaintiff discovered, or should have discovered, the claim, whichever is later. (ORS 471.565) In a personal injury matter, notice must be given within 180 days of the injury, or 180 days after the injured person discovered or reasonably should have discovered, the existence of a dram shop claim which ever is later. (ORS 471.565) However, these notice requirements may not always apply and there are exceptions. Please refer to a current version of ORS 471.565 for notice requirements and time limitations.

Dram shop cases can be complicated and there are other theories an attorney can use to attempt to obtain maximum recovery for a person’s injury or loss. Please contact Portland Personal Injury Attorney, Jeremiah Ross, at 503.224.1658. for a free personal injury consultation. Please remember this post is for informational purposes only and you should rely on the current statute and case law when considering a dram shop claim. Please consult with an attorney if you believe you have a dram shop claim or have been injured by a DUII Driver.