crime vctim

Victims of Assault Can Fight Back With Civil Lawsuits

It seems like every couple of weeks a new wealthy celebrity is caught assaulting someone. Last month NFL Running back Mark Walton was arrested for getting into a scuffle with a woman in Miami Florida. In January 2019 NFL Linebacker Trevor Bates punched a cop in the face and refused to pay for a $32.00 cab fare. In November 2018, NFL Running back Reuben Foster was arrested for pushing and slapping a woman in Tampa Florida. In July 2018 NFL Defensive Tackle Vernon Butler was cited for pushing a woman and throwing a drink in her face in Dallas Texas. That same month, NFL Tight End Ricky Seals Jones was arrested for pushing a hotel staffer so he could use the bathroom. These assaults and arrest are so prevalent there is actually a website dedicated to tracking NFL arrests.

NFL players are not alone. San Francisco Giants’ CEO Larry Baer recently brazenly assaulted his wife in public while on video. Comedian Katt Williams recently punched a Portland chauffeur for refusing to allow William’s dog to ride in the front seat. These assaults seem to be getting more and more prevalent in our society. Most victims of assault rely solely on the criminal justice system to punish the offenders. However, assault victims can fight back with a Civil Lawsuit.




Civil Lawsuits allow the victim to take the power back and be compensated for the hell the assailant put them through. Civil lawsuits also punish the assailant by forcing the assailant to pay punitive damages. The civil justice system is a very powerful tool to use against wealthy powerful people, such as professional athletes, celebrities, and wealthy individuals. This is due to the fact that most of these assailants have the financial resources to hire people to keep them out of jail and keep their jobs. In a sense they are “above the law” because they do not suffer real consequences for their actions. A small court fine and misdemeanor probation with no jail time is a common sentence for these individuals even if they have a history or pattern of assaults. That is not likely to change their abusive behavior.

On the other hand, if the assailant is forced to pay the victim a substantial amount of money then they will likely learn from their mistake. The assailant will also have to explain why they assaulted the defendant. In Oregon, in most cases defendants in a civil lawsuit can be deposed and can be forced to explain their actions. This can help the victim’s healing process and provide closure.

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Here at Ross Law we strongly believe in holding assailants accountable. We have used the legal process to force assailants to pay victims of assault, sexual assault, and domestic violence significant amounts of money. We have also helped victims receive closure by using the civil justice systems to get answers from the assailants regarding why they did what they did.

If you or someone you know is a victim of assault, domestic violence, or sexual assault call Ross Law PDX for your free case evaluation. Call Portland Personal Injury Attorney Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 to discuss your case and your options. Please note that every case is different and results may vary. Ross Law PDX cannot represent victims in every case, and there are various factors that may play into whether or not a civil lawsuit can be used to hold a perpetrator accountable. Click (HERE) for more information regarding the differences between a civil court and criminal court.

Domestic Violence Survivors Can Fight Back By Suing the Abuser

Most people think that involving the police and the district attorney’s office are the only way to deal with domestic violence incidents. That is typically the case, but in some instances the civil justice system can assist the domestic violence survivor in obtaining compensation for the physical and emotional abuse caused by the defendant, while also punishing the defendant by obtaining punitive damages. Punitive damages are damages to punish the defendant.

The civil justice process can be an important tool to truly punish an abuser who receives a lenient sentence in criminal court. Unlike a criminal trial, the Jury in a civil trial decides if they are going to punish the offender by awarding the domestic violence survivor punitive damages. The Jury gets to speak for the community in deciding the reprehensibility of the defendant’s conduct and punishing the defendant by awarding the survivor punitive damages. This may result in the Jury punishing the defendant by awarding hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. The civil justice system may also hold others accountable for the abuse if they enabled it or permitted it to happen. (Click Here to Read New York Times Article Regarding Wealthy Lake Oswego Abuser and Morgan Stanely’s knowledge of it)

These are very nuanced cases with many obstacles. However, at times they are appropriate and should be brought. If you are a domestic violence survivor and you would like to bring a civil case against your abuser call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658. We are happy to provide crime victims and survivors a free case evaluation to discuss their options and the viability of bringing a civil lawsuit to seek compensation and punish the defendant.

PLEASE CALL THE POLICE IF YOU ARE IN DANGER! Please note as a civil law firm Ross Law cannot prosecute domestic violence abusers in criminal court. If you want to “press charges” or “send the abuser to jail” you need to call law enforcement or the District Attorney’s office. If you have questions regarding difference between a civil case and a criminal case, please read here. Please note that results may vary and this post may be considered attorney advertising.

Portland Uber Driver Assaults Female Passenger

As previously noted, I have grave concerns about ride-share drivers not being properly vetted by Uber or Lyft. Over the past few years numerous people throughout the United States have been assaulted or sexually assaulted by a ride-share driver. It was not a matter of if this was going to occur in Portland, but it was a matter of when. Unfortunately, it did happen last week. Last week an Uber driver climbed in the back seat of his vehicle and then began to kiss and thrust his body against the lone female passenger. Thankfully the passenger was able to fight off the driver and push him off of her. This terrifying encounter should not have happened.

This type of encounter can be prevented with proper background investigations, training, and supervision of drivers. However, the ride-share industry pushes back on these requirements. They claim to perform back-ground checks, but the nature and extent of them is not entirely known. As a result, litigation often will arise out of these incidents in an effort to hold the ride-share companies accountable in hopes that they will be forced to use a more robust system to protect riders.

If you or someone you know has been assaulted, sexually assaulted, or raped by a ride-share driver (Uber or Lyft) please call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658 for your free case evaluation. Jeremiah Ross proudly represents crime victims and fights to hold all persons and entities accountable, and providing compensation to the victim.

Oregon Court Decision Helps Crime Victims Recover Losses

Many crime victims do not realize they have a right to recover restitution for their out of pocket losses.   Oregon Law allows crime victims to recover "economic damages" that were a result of the criminal's activity.  ORS 137.106(1).  This typically means that crime victims and survivors can recover out of pocket losses that were a result of the criminal's behavior.  Economic damages are typically hospital bills, surgery bills, mental health bills, property damage bills, and past lost wages.  Economic damages are not things like embarrassment,  pain, suffering, and humiliation.

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There are different avenues for victims and survivors to recover damages for pain, suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, etc.  However these types of damages are not part of criminal restitution, and most victims and survivors will have to use the civil court to obtain full compensation for their harms and losses.  

However, the term "economic damages" is often disputed by defendants that do not want to pay victims for all of the harms and losses they cause.   Recently Oregon's Supreme Court clarified victim restitution issues with their ruling of State v. Ramos.  The Court noted that a defendant is responsible for all economic damages that are a result of the criminal activity.    The court addressed whether or not 1) that damages are limited to harms that result from reasonably foreseeable risks and 2) whether or not attorney fees and litigation costs are generally not recoverable as restitution unless authorized by statute or contract.  

The Ramos Court concluded,   "reasonable foreseeability is a limiting concept that applies to an award of economic damages under ORS 137.106."  What this means in layman's terms is that the economic damages must "result from" a defendant's criminal activity in the "but for" sense and must be a reasonably foreseeable result of the defendant's criminal activities.  The court also determined that in some cases that a victim or survivor's attorney fees and litigation costs may be recovered as part of criminal restitution.   This case is a good tool for prosecutors to assist victims and survivors obtaining restitution. 

If you or someone you know have are a crime victim and have medical bills, mental health bills, property bills, or have suffered harms, losses, embarrassment, humiliation, pain, or suffering as a result of another's conduct, please call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658.  Please remember the law is constantly changing.  Call a lawyer or ROSS LAW instead of relying solely on this post or the law cited in this post.

 

Litigating Cases in Far Away Places-Ross Law Takes Cases outside of Portland

People regularly ask if I take cases outside of Portland.  The answer is, sometimes.   For example, yesterday I appeared in Jackson County court in Medford, Oregon.   It is always nice to get outside of Portland for the right type of case.  I currently have cases pending in Eastern Oregon and on the Oregon Coast.   I typically will take Personal Injury cases and crime victim cases from all over the state of Oregon.  If you have any questions about the types of out of the area cases I take, call Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658 and ask for Jeremiah Ross.

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UBER SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE MOVES FORWARD

Many people like myself use Uber and Lyft to get home from a Holiday party or a night on the town.   However, Uber and Lyft passengers should remain vigilant.  Especially women traveling by themselves.  Another incident of a Uber driver sexually assaulting a passenger is in the news.  

In this recent case a Houston, Texas Uber driver picked up a woman who ended up falling asleep in the Uber driver's vehicle.  The  Uber driver then parked his car in a parking lot.  The woman awoke to the terrifying experience of the Uber driver fondling her as she was asleep.  The case is ongoing, so the details are scant.  The driver is contesting the allegations in court.  

Ride share programs are a great idea, but people must remain vigilant.  If you want some tips on protecting yourself when riding with Uber or Lyft then click HERE.   If you, or someone you know, have been assaulted, sexually assaulted, or raped by an Uber or Lyft driver, call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 for your free consultation.       

Help Support the National Crime Victim's Law Institute!

Being a Crime Victim can be overwhelming at times.  Dealing with the psychological issues, the criminal investigation, medical issues or the loss of property, and the district attorney's office can quickly become too much for any one person to handle.   Thankfully there are organizations out there like the National Crime Victim Law Institute in Portland, Oregon.  The National Crime Victim Law Institute is an organization solely dedicated to assisting crime victims in asserting their rights.  These folks focus on ensuring the victim's rights are honored throughout the process. They do fantastic work and they need your financial help.

The National Crime Victim Law Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit legal education and advocacy organization. As a result, they need donations to operate.  Ross Law LLC donated this year to support their efforts and asks that you do the same.  To donate click HERE.

If you are a crime victim feel free to call me at 503.224.1658. Ross Law is always happy to provide a free consultation to crime victims to help them through the process.  If you  do not want to contact an attorney and have any questions regarding the criminal justice process, crime victim's rights, or any other issues regarding crime victims the NCVLI has more resources HERE.

Please be advised Ross Law LLC is not affiliated with the National Crime Victim Law Institute in anyway aside from providing a monetary donation.   I just think it is a great organization that we need to support.   Please contact the NCVLI directly if you have any questions regarding their organization.  This web-site, blog, or article can be considered Attorney Advertising.  

Ten Things You Should Know About Attorney Fees In Oregon:

As a Portland Oregon attorney, people often call me to ask how much it will cost for my firm to represent them.  This is a pretty good question and I am surprised that everyone doesn't ask it right away.  This is because attorney fees and costs in Oregon can vary dramatically from lawyer to lawyer.  Some large firms charge substantial hourly rates, while other firms can charge half that to perform the same task.  Legal Consumers should educate themselves before meeting with an attorney.   The list below should provide you with helpful information to educate yourself before hiring an attorney:

1:What Is The Difference Between a "Fixed Fee," "Hourly Fees", and a "Contingency Fee?"  

Fixed fees are fees that are paid to the lawyer to perform a specific task to represent you for a certain amount of time.  Many criminal lawyers charge a fixed fee.   For example, a lawyer that charges $1,500.00 to take DUII case up to trial would be charging a Fixed Fee.  The lawyer then may charge an additional fixed trial fee to represent the DUII client in the trial.  These fees are "earned upon receipt" and you would pay $1,500.00 for the lawyer to represent you and nothing more.   

An Hourly Rate is very common.  Many lawyers that represent business clients or persons with family law matters will often charge an hourly fee.  For example, the lawyer may spend three hours drafting a letter for you and charges $200.00 an hour.  You would pay the lawyer $600.00 for the service.  Most hourly rate attorneys will require a retainer.

A Contingency Fee is very common in Personal Injury cases.  With a contingency fee, the lawyer will not receive a payment unless the client collects money from the other side.    I represent people on a contingency fee in Personal  Injury cases and Crime Victim cases.   I also typically represent people who get ripped off by car dealers on a contingency basis.   Usually the attorney will get a percentage of the amount received by the other side. For example, if you received $100,000.00 from the other side before we filed a lawsuit I might receive a fee of 33% ($33,000.00) out of that $100,000.  I have a different model with the auto fraud cases.  

2:  Why is The Contingency Fee In Oregon Usually 33%?  There is not a specific reason for this.  However, the attorney is engaging in a risky en-devour.  The attorney in a contingency case is fronting their time and usually their money with the hopes they win and collect from the other side.  If the attorney loses your case the attorney will lose all the time and effort they put into the case.  The attorney or their law firm may also lose the thousands of dollars in costs that were paid on your behalf.  Also, the fee percentage may increase, because the risk of losing the case may increase.  

3:  What are "Costs" and Who Pays Them?  Costs are in addition to the attorney fee.   Costs are amounts that are paid to others to prosecute your case.  For example, if the attorney has to take depositions and have the depositions transcribed someone must pay the court reporter to do this.   Many attorneys have their clients pay costs, and demand a "retainer" (see below) to draw from.  In Personal Injury cases and Crime Victim cases my firm usually will front costs.  What this means is that I hope we win and then my firm will be reimbursed the costs out of any settlement or award.   In other words, the client does not have to pay anything for representation until after the trial in a personal injury or crime victim case unless we win.

4:  What is a Retainer?  A retainer is a lump sum the lawyer requires to draw funds out of.  Think of it as setting up a bank account with the lawyer.  Most hourly lawyers want a retainer, and some contingent fee attorneys want a retainer to pay costs.   They will bill a certain amount of hours and then send you an accounting at the end of the month.   For example, an attorney is representing you in a business dispute.  The attorney requests a $3,500.00 retainer.  The attorney charges $300.00 an hour and spent 10 hours on the case.  The attorney will be paid $3,000.00 out of the retainer.   The attorney also paid the court $500.00 to file the lawsuit.  As a result, the $3,500.00 retainer is gone.  Most likely the attorney will ask you to replenish the retainer and deposit another $3,500.00.  

5:  What Percentage Do Oregon Attorneys Typically Charge for a Contingency Fee?   Typically in personal injury cases and crime victim cases attorneys will charge 33% of the amount recovered.  However, most attorneys will increase the percentage charged as the case progresses.  For example, the attorney may charge 33% of any amount recovered before a lawsuit is filed.  The fee might jump up to 40% after a lawsuit is filed.  This is due to the fact a lot more work needs to be done after a lawsuit is filed.   

6:  I Don't Have Money To Pay An Attorney, Can I Still Get an Oregon Attorney?  That is a difficult question to answer, because it depends on the type of case you have.   If you have a personal injury case or a crime victim, then you probably can get an attorney even if you can't afford it.  This is because those cases are taken on a contingency.  Also, in Oregon a criminal defendant that does not have money for a lawyer may have the Judge appoint a lawyer for them.  However, if you have a family law case then you may not be able to obtain free representation.   Some organizations provide representation to people that cannot afford a lawyer.  Call me  at 503.224.1658 if you have an Oregon personal injury case, or you are a crime victim, or have an auto dealership fraud case. If you have another type of case you may want to call the Oregon State Bar Lawyer Referral Service at 800-452-7636. 

7: Do Attorneys Negotiate Attorney Fees? Some people try and negotiate the attorney fee with the attorney.  For example, they may want an attorney to represent them in a personal injury case, but will not agree to pay a contingency of more than 25% of the amount recovered.  Most attorneys do not typically negotiate their attorney fee, but there are always exceptions.  

8:  How Will I Know if the Attorney is Charging a Contingency Fee?  The attorney must disclose what type of fee they are charging in a written fee agreement in Oregon.  In fact there is a law regarding what an attorney must do when entering in a contingency fee agreement.  (See ORS 20.340)  You should read the agreement carefully, it should be easy to read, the attorney should also explain it,  and you should ask questions.  

9:  Can I Back Out of An Attorney Fee Agreement After I Signed It?  Typically yes.  In fact, if you signed a personal injury contingency fee agreement you have the legal right to rescind the agreement within 24 hours after signing it. (see ORS 20.340) If you back out of a personal injury contingency fee it is important to remember to notify the lawyer in writing.  However, in other cases the attorney may still charge you for any work performed even if you back out.

10:  Will I Recover My Attorney Fees If I Win?  It depends.  Typically in Oregon the loser will have to reimburse you for your allowable costs.  However, unless their is a right to collect attorney fees under a law, a contract, or some other agreement you  will  usually not be able to recover your attorney fees from the other side.  Call me at 503.224.1658 to discuss what types of cases typically allow for recovery of attorney fees.   

 If you or someone you know has needs an Oregon Lawyer please contact attorney Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658.  If Ross Law cannot assist you they will do their best to finds someone that can assist you or try and point you in the right direction.  

Please Read This Disclaimer!  Please remember that this information is not to be considered "legal advice" and you should always check with an attorney or the Oregon State Bar regarding the issues brought up in this post.  The law is always changing, so some things in this post may be out-dated.  Also, this post is intended for people who are seeking Oregon Attorneys.  Lastly this post, rosslawpdx.com, and this blog may be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.