Insurance

Portland's 10 Most Dangerous Intersections

Portland is known for its pedestrian and bike-friendly streets.  However, things are much different on the East side of town past 82nd Ave.   As a personal injury lawyer, I have represented people that have been injured at various Portland intersections.  A couple of years ago I represented a pedestrian that was struck by a vehicle crossing the street at SE 82nd Ave and Division St.  Thankfully my client was not injured too badly, relatively speaking. However, after some investigation, we determined there was an unusual number of "near misses" with pedestrians crossing the street in the late afternoon.  Recently, Oregonlive published its list of "Portland's 10 Most Dangerous Intersections" and noted all of them are East of 82nd Ave.  I was not surprised to learn that the intersection at 82nd and Division made the list. 

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Here is the rundown from the Oregonian: 

No. 10: Southeast 148th Ave. and Stark St.

No. 9: Southeast 92nd Ave. and Holgate Blvd.

No. 8: Southeast 136th Ave. and Powell Blvd.

No. 7: Southeast 122nd Ave. and Powell Blvd.

No. 6: Northeast 122nd Ave. and Glisan St.

No. 5: Southeast 82nd Ave. and Division St.

No. 4: Southeast 174th Ave. and Powell Blvd.

No. 3: Southeast 122nd Ave. and Division St.

No. 2: Southeast 82nd Ave. and Powell Blvd.

No. 1: Southeast 122nd Ave. and Stark St.

Please slow down, remain vigilant, and be extra cautious around these intersections.  Another person does not need to be injured due to the negligence of a driver.  If you or someone you know has been injured at a Portland Oregon intersection call Portland Oregon personal injury lawyer Jeremiah Ross for your free case evaluation.  Please remember Ross Law PDX represents pedestrians and cyclist throughout the state that have been injured by the negligence of others.  We are here to help. Call 503.224.1658.  Please note Oregonlive has done its own independent research, and Ross Law has not verified any of the information noted in this blog.   This blog article could be considered personal injury Attorney Advertising.  

What to Do if Injured in A Crash with a Shared E-Scooter (Bird, Lime, or Spin)

The invasion of E-Scooters has begun in Portland, Oregon. As a personal injury firm, we anticipate starting fielding calls from people that were injured by a shared e-scooter rider on the sidewalk.  Ross Law PDX  also anticipates we will field calls from e-scooter riders that were struck by a vehicle. People are also likely to get injured by tripping over an e-scooter that is laying on the sidewalk.  (The E-Scooters are called "litter bikes")  Any of these scenarios can result in serious injuries and I hope they do not occur.  When they do occur you should know what you need to do. If you are unable to do these task hopefully someone is there to do them for you. Here are a few tips:

  1. Call EMS if there is an Injury that warrants it.
  2. Take a Photo of the Driver's License of the Person that was Riding the E-Scooter:  This will ensure you have their information to contact them later.  The Rideshare E-Scooters Require riders to have a driver's license, so demand to see it.
  3. Get Witness Information:  Use your phone to have witnesses input their name and number. This will allow you to contact them later if you need to. 
  4. Take a Photo of the Electric Scooter Involved:  Ensure to get multiple pictures.  Include the control panel at the top of the scooter in between the handlebars. 
  5. Take a Photo or short video of the area Surrounding the Scooter:  This will help determine what caused the crash and the injury.

The goal is to document what occurred, when it occurred, and who was involved.  Cell phones and mobile devices are the best ways to do this.   This evidence will be needed to sort out the liability and insurance issues.

Liability and Insurance issues are going to be interesting.  The electric scooter companies (Bird, Spin, Lime, etc) are all going to deny any liability and attempt to blame the rider involved in the crash.  Their terms of service are drafted in an effort to shield themselves from any liability.  However, the analysis is more complicated than that. 

These companies flooded the streets with a dangerous product that is easily accessible to the public.  They do not provide helmets, there are no training requirements, and they permit the scooters to be left anywhere on the sidewalks. This creates a major tripping hazard.  It is anticipated that the courts will need to sort out who is liable in the various scenarios that occur.  

Insurance for shared e-scooters is also going to become interesting.  Who will pay the medical bills of a person injured in an incident with a shared e-scooter? Will the consumer's policies cover crashes under their auto policy? Will the companies step up and their insurance will cover them?   

Time will tell how this plays out.  In the meantime,  Call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658 if you have any legal issues involving an injury on a shared e-scooter in Portland Oregon.  Jeremiah Ross is a Portland Personal Injury lawyer happy to offer free case evaluations for persons injured by the negligence of others.  Please remember the tips above are not an exclusive list, and are not to be construed as legal advice. 

 

What People Injured in a Crash Should Know About Oregon's Minimum Auto Insurance Limits

I often represent people that have been injured by a bad driver that told them at the scene, "don't worry I have full coverage."  This term really doesn't mean much in the world of personal injury law.   Oregon has specific requirements regarding what should be in automobile insurance policies such as personal injury protection benefits (PIP), uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage. The law also imposes the minimum limits for each bodily injury insurance policy in Oregon.  The relevant law on minimum insurance limits provides:

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     ORS 806.070 Minimum payment schedule. (1) This section establishes a schedule of payments for the following purposes:

      (a) An insurance policy described under ORS 806.080 must provide for payment of at least amounts necessary to cover the minimum required payments under this section to qualify for use for financial responsibility under ORS 806.060.

      (b) A person who is self-insured under ORS 806.130 must agree to pay according to the payment schedule established by this section.

      (c) The payment schedule is the minimum required payment of a judgment for purposes of ORS 809.020, 809.130 and 809.415.

      (2) The schedule of payments is as follows:

      (a) $25,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident;

      (b) Subject to that limit for one person, $50,000 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident; and

      (c) $20,000 because of injury to or destruction of the property of others in any one accident. 

What this means for most injured people is that if they have a crash caused injury, the maximum they may be able to collect from the bad driver is a mere $25,000.00.  This sounds like a lot of money.  However, $25,000.00 can go quickly if you incur crash caused medical bills and are missing work. 

If you and two or three other people were injured in the same crash, the bad driver will only pay a combined total $50,000.00 to the injured people.  That will be divided up between them.   A lawyer should be involved if that is the case.  These are also important numbers when you are dealing with the bad driver's insurance company. 

If you or someone you know has been injured in an Oregon car crash, call Portland personal injury lawyer Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658.  Ross Law PDX provides free personal injury consultations. Please remember Oregon's personal injury laws and insurance laws are constantly changing.  DO NOT Solely rely on this post for information, look at the current law. Please consult with a lawyer.  This post is not intended to be legal advice and can be considered attorney advertising. 

Dealing with Insurance Companies After an Oregon Car Crash

I regularly get calls from people that are injured in a crash.  The basic scenario is that the person is injured in the crash by a bad driver.  The bad driver's insurance company calls the injured person and gets a recorded statement.  The bad driver's insurance company then convinces the injured person to sign documents to permit the bad driver's insurance company to obtain the injured person's medical records. Then the bad driver's insurance company makes a low-ball offer and tells the injured person that is the best they can do.   Usually, that is when the injured person gets suspicious and reaches out to a personal injury lawyer such as myself.

Some people take the offer and later regret it and then reach out to a personal injury lawyer.  People can save themselves a lot of headaches, anxiety, and stress if they simply call a personal injury lawyer beforehand.  However, some people don't want to deal with a lawyer.  If that is the case the three tips below may assist you in trying to settle the case with the insurance company:

1) You Do Not Have to Give a Recorded Statement to the Bad Driver's Insurance Company:   Many insurance companies hire pleasant sounding people to call you to get you to commit to a recorded statement.  There are numerous reasons insurance companies do this, but one of the main reasons is they are sizing you up and trying to figure out how to get their insured off the hook with paying as little as possible.  For example, insurers know that soft tissue damages may take a couple of days before the pain really intensifies.   If they get a recorded statement the day of the crash or morning after, the injured person may say they are not really hurt.  The insurance company will rely on that later when deciding what to offer the injured person.  Click Here for more information.  What do you do then?  Simple, don't give a recorded statement.  If you want to resolve your case you can use the Oregon Crash Report as the factual basis to inform the insurance company what occurred. You can forward the insurance the relevant crash-related medical records and bills as evidence of your crash-related injuries.  That should give the insurance company sufficient information to make an offer. 

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2) You do Not Have to Sign a Medical Release Allowing the Bad Driver's Insurer Access to Your Medical Records:  Insurance companies mine for dirt in medical records.  They are looking for pre-existing injuries to the same body part, something that may cause the injured person embarrassment or other medical complications that they can rely on to justify making a low-ball offer. Insurance companies do this by having people sign medical releases and general releases and asking for a list of medical providers.  Then they send out these releases to all of your medical records and scour them so they can justify their low-ball offer.  What do you do?  You can control the information the insurance company receives.  You can get your crash-related medical bills and records from your medical providers (doctors, chiropractors, licensed massage therapist, etc.) or through other sources.   Then you can forward them to the bad driver's insurance company.

3) The Insurance Company Can  Make a Lousy Offer, Your Remedy Is to Sue the Bad Driver:      I regularly get calls from people that are frustrated with dealing with the bad driver's insurer.  The bad driver's insurer has deployed all sorts of tactics to inject as much anxiety and frustration into the settlement process.  The bad driver's insurer often will switch adjusters, claim to have not received information, and claimed to not have received communications.  These tactics are usually deployed once the negotiations begin and the insurer realizes they can't get the injured person to take their terrible low-ball offer.  The insurer may also make outlandish claims or get grumpy and mean on the phone and refuse to engage in true settlement negotiations. What do you do?  You sue the bad driver.  You have that right.  A lawsuit is a powerful tool, that is why lawyers can typically receive better pre-filing offers.  Insurers know that the lawyer should have the knowledge and skill to file a lawsuit if negotiations break down.  Many lay-people do not have the knowledge and skills to do that, so they don't have any leverage in negotiations.

Hopefully, these tips will help people that have been injured in a crash on Oregon's roads. Please remember it is advised to speak with an Oregon personal injury lawyer immediately after a crash to ensure your rights and remedies are protected. Ross Law PDX and Jeremiah Ross are happy to provide a free personal injury case evaluation. Please call Ross Law at 503.224.1658.  Do NOT SIMPLY rely on this post in an effort to maximize the value of your case, there are many nuances, traps, and pitfalls that cannot be addressed in a blog post.  Please remember the statute of limitations may preclude you from filing a personal injury lawsuit. Also, your rights and obligations are different when dealing with your own insurer, especially on a PIP claim.  This post is not intended to be legal advice and is considered Attorney Advertising. 

 

5 Things To Know about Medical Debt and Bill Collectors

Many of my personal injury clients tell me they would have never sought the help of a lawyer if the at-fault person (bad driver, building owner, negligent business) would have simply paid their medical bills.  Medical bills can quickly spiral out of control and it seems that there is no way to ever pay them off.   Thankfully personal injury lawyers and consumer lawyers can often help people with getting their medical bills paid off.  Attorneys may be able to get insurance coverage for the bills, force the negligent party pay the medical bills, or work with the medical provider to accept a reduced amount.   However, sometimes that is not possible, and the debt must be paid.  In that case, there are things you should know.  The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has published a great article that has valuable information for anyone that is dealing with medical debt. 

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Below a few highlights from the article:

  1. Pay Medical Debt Last: Don't ignore it, but you may want to pay off your other debt before medical debt.  This is due to the fact that it is on the lowest priority of debt.  Also, do not take out a loan or credit card to pay medical debt.   This is due to the fact medical debt often has little or no interest in it.  Credit cards and loans have interest, so you will pay more to pay off the original debt.
  2. Debt Collectors Powers Are Limited:  Many medical providers will assign your debt to a debt collector.  These are the people that call to annoy and harass you into paying off the debt.  However, there bark is often bigger than their bite.   Medical Debt is unique in that credit reporting agencies will not include it in a credit report until it is over six months old. This is important because debt collectors will often tell people their credit will be trashed if they don't pay up immediately.   If debt collectors continue to call you or attempt to contact you, you also can send them a letter telling them to stop. Federal law prevents them from continuing to contact you after receiving that letter. 
  3. Medical Debt is Often Not Reported to Credit Agencies:  Often, many medical providers do not report medical debt to the three major credit reporting agencies. However, debt collectors may.
  4. You Can Still Go to the Emergency Room If You Owe the Hospital Money: Federal law (Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA)) prohibits hospitals from turning people away from the ER due to their inability to pay. 
  5. You Might Be Able to Correct the Bills:  Medical bills can contain errors.  You can work with the medical provider to correct the mistake or get the bills covered by insurance.   

The article contains a lot of helpful additional information that you should read to help you understand your rights and obligations with medical debt.  If you have incurred medical debt as a result of another person injuring you call Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658.  Jeremiah Ross represents people that have been injured by the negligence of another and consumers.  Please note the information in this article is for informational purposes only and the law is constantly changing.  DO NOT SOLELY RELY ON THIS POST.  SPEAK WITH A LAWYER to fully understand your rights and obligations on medical debt. This post could be considered attorney advertising. 

Jeremiah Ross Named Member of Oregon's Autonomous Vehicle Task Force

Jeremiah Ross was named by the Director of the Oregon Department of Transportation to serve on Oregon's Task Force of Autonomous Vehicles.  The Task Force is comprised of 31 members with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and interest.   Jeremiah and other task force members will work toward the goal of drafting legislative recommendations that address Autonomous Vehicles and issues of licensing and registration, insurance and liability, law enforcement and accident reporting, and cyber-security.     Click here for more information on Oregon's Autonomous Vehicle Taskforce.   

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If you or someone you know have been injured in an Oregon Car Crash please call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 for your free personal injury case evaluation. 

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help With Medical Providers

Roughly once a week someone takes the time to send a Thank You card to my office.  Many come from clients.  Some come from vendors.  Sometimes they come from medical providers.  This week I received a lovely card from a Chiropractor.  The Chiropractor had been the treatment provider for a car crash client in a case I was involved in.  The case went to trial and he testified on behalf of our client. A couple of weeks after the trial we had lunch to discuss the trial.  During the conversation, we also started to discuss how Oregon personal injury lawyers should be assisting their clients with medical providers.  Things like billing issues, referrals, and obtaining medical records were all topics of discussion.

Many of my Personal Injury clients already have a medical provider when they come to see me.  If that is the case then I do my best to help the provider with any insurance billing issues they may encounter.  This allows my client to focus on getting better and the provider can deal with my office that regularly interacts with insurance companies. 

My office can also work with a provider who is treating a client who had their personal injury protection benefits terminated by their insurance company.  There are various ways to do this, but often the medical provider is concerned about payment for future services, so it is my office's responsibility to assuage those concerns and do my best to force the insurance company to reinstate PIP medical benefits. 

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Occasionally my personal injury clients will ask for a referral to a medical provider.  I do not have a common referral list, but there are some providers that I have told my clients to steer clear of.  At the end of the day, the client needs to be with a provider that they feel comfortable with.  

If you, or someone you know, has been injured by another and need a free case evaluation call Portland Oregon Personal Injury Attorney Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658.  At Ross Law LLC we do our best to help people injured in Car Crashes, Bus Crashes, Trucking Accidents, Bicycle crashes, Bike Crashes, Motorcycle Crashes, and dangerous premises cases.  Please remember this post, this blog, and website can be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.