injury

5 Things To Know if You Were In a Crash with a DUII Driver

Ross Law PDX recently resolved a case where our client was hit by a DUII driver. The driver was out drinking and decided to drive home. While he was driving his blood alcohol concentration was well over the legal limit. The speeding drunk driver ran a stop sign and T-Boned my client’s car. The crash totaled my client’s vehicle. The DUII driver then attempted to flee, but pulled over minutes later. The DUII driver was then arrested and charged with DUII and Reckless Driving. While the DUII driver was spending the night in jail, our client was at Urgent Care getting treatment for his injuries. The crash caused ourclient to suffer soft tissue injuries (neck and back strain) which thankfully healed in a short amount of time. Our client brought Ross Law on board and we were able to obtain the DUII Driver’s $25,000.00 policy limits very shortly after letting them know of our representation. This is not an unusual scenario in DUII crash cases. However, these cases are unique and many victims of DUII drivers are often getting less than they are entitled to simply because of confusion about their rights and obligations. The following five things should assist DUII victims in ensuring they receive maximum compensation for their losses:

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1) You Have a Right to Receive A Police Report & Other Information: One of the first things that victims want to know is what happened to cause their injuries. Clients often say, “I don’t understand how he/she could have been so drunk and still driving.” Getting a police report helps victims learn what happened. It also helps them evaluate a civil case against the DUII Driver. The vast majority of the time the District Attorney will not release a police report while the case is pending under any circumstances. This is one exception to that rule. The law mandates that the District Attorney’’s Office must provide a report to victims or their lawyers if it is requested. See ORS 135.857.

2) The District Attorney Does Not “Represent” The Victim: The District Attorney’s job is to prosecute the DUII driver. This means that they will ensure that the DUII driver is either convicted of DUII or brought to trial for DUII. If the DUII driver is convicted of DUII, then the District Attorney may ask all victims involved if they are seeking restitution. This does not mean that the District Attorney is the victim’s lawyer. It simply means that the District Attorney (“DA”) is doing their job to ensure that the victims receive criminal restitution they are entitled to. This distinction is important to remember, because many people believe that the DA is also helping them with an “insurance claim” or getting compensation. Simply put, that is not he District Attorney’s job. That is what personal injury lawyers and crime victim lawyers such as Ross Law PDX do. This must be clear because the victims may limit their compensation if they do not exercise all of their rights. Click here to learn more about the difference between the district attorney and a civil attorney.

3) Criminal Restitution is Not the Same as Compensation in a Civil Case: Many times the District Attorney will send DUII victims a letter requesting if they are seeking “restitution.” Many people are confused about these letters and notices. Additionally, some DUII victims believe that seeking restitution is the same as pursuing a civil claim against the DUII driver. These are very different things. Criminal restitution is very limited. Criminal Restitution only covers “economic damages” caused by the defendant. Economic damages are defined as “objectively verifiable monetary losses.” These are often referred to as “out of pocket expenses.” Things like medical bills, burial expenses, lost income, costs to repair property, and insurance deductibles are routinely covered. See ORS 137.106(1) and ORS 31.710(2)(a). However, things like pain, suffering, frustration, anxiety, interference with activities of daily living are not recoverable as criminal restitution. These are non-economic damages. The DA has to make a claim for restitution within 90 days of sentencing, so it is important to communicate with the DA promptly if you are seeking restitution.

4) Insurance Companies Will Still Cover A DUII Crash: There are many instances when an insurance company refuses to provide coverage for an incident due to the insured’s conduct. However, the vast majority of the time an insurance company will still provide insurance coverage for a DUII crash. This is important because it allows the injured victims to receive compensation for pain and suffering in addition to their economic losses.

5) A DUII Crash Case is Worth More than a Regular Case: Insurance companies evaluate make their money by evaluating risk. They do their best to attempt to figure out what a Jury may award the victim of a DUII driver. This can be difficult because of the risk of punitive damages and the fact that the Jury may simply award the victim a substantial amount of money because the driver was impaired at the time of the crash. As a result, insurance companies will usually pay more to a victim of a DUII driver.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a crash with an Oregon DUII driver or impaired driver you should call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658 for your free personal injury consultation. Oregon Personal Injury and Wrongful Death attorney Jeremiah Ross is happy to discuss your options. Please remember that case results vary and the law is constantly changing. Please contact a personal injury lawyer rather than relying on this post. Also this post could be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

Jeremiah Ross Mentioned In August Portland Monthly Magazine

As previously mentioned, Jeremiah Ross was selected as a Superlawyer in the Personal Injury Category. Jeremiah Ross was mentioned as a personal injury superlawyer in the August 2018 edition of Portland Monthly Magazine.

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If you or someone you know need an Oregon Personal Injury lawyer, call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658. Ross Law PDX is always happy to provide free case evaluations for personal injury clients throughout the state of Oregon.

Portland Riders Take Note-Two Shared E-Scooter Riders Die This Month

I had previously expressed concerns the dangers the shared E-Scooters pose to riders and others. As predicted as ridership has increased, so have the injuries and deaths. Last month two shared e-scooter riders died. One shared e-scooter rider was killed in Washington DC after being hit and dragged by an SUV. Another rider was killed after being found with a major head injury and hundreds of yards away from the scooter. That rider died of blunt force trauma to the head.

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These catastrophic injuries are exactly the types of injuries we expect to see in the personal injury world. Earlier this year a teen was seriously injured while riding an e-scooter in or around Gresham Oregon. It is not a matter if, it is a matter of when, another Portland e-scooter rider suffers from a concussion, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), broken arm, or leg. Unfortunately, it is also only a matter of time before a shared e-scooter rider is killed in or around Portland. There are simply too many inexperienced riders without helmets riding vehicles that travel at speeds dangerous to cause serious injuries or deaths.

If that occurs the rider should contact immediately contact a personal injury lawyer. As a Portland Personal Injury Lawyer, I am happy to provide free case evaluations for personal injury clients. Call my office, Ross Law PDX, at 503.224.1658 if you or someone you know have been injured by or on a shared e-scooter. Please note that this post is for Advertising Purposes.

E-Scooter Injuries Are a Significant Concern for Portland

E-scooters have taken Portland by storm. It is only a matter of time before Ross Law PDX represents an individual injured on an e-scooter operated by Bird, Lime, or Skip. Recent articles have noted the frequent and alarming number of injuries on e-scooters. Some of these injuries are caused by operator error, some are caused by driver’s failing to pay attention to the riders, some are caused by the e-scooters failing to operate as they should. Some of these injuries can be catastrophic and one person has already been seriously injured on an e-scooter in Portland. This should concern all of us in Portland, as the nuisance of e-scooters is one thing, but injuries and fatalities are unacceptable.

As you may imagine, the courts and regulators are going to have to sort out the mess created when a person is injured or killed in an adverse incident involving an e-scooter.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a crash or accident with an e-scooter, please call Portland Personal Injury Lawyer Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658. Ross Law PDX is happy to provide a free case evaluation for personal injury clients.

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Man Injured on E-Scooter in PDX-A Predictable Crash That Shouldn't Have Happened

On July 27, 2018 I wrote about Portland's Electric Scooters and the dangers they pose.  I wrote "I have no doubt that someone in Portland, Oregon will eventually suffer a serious injury due to an electric scooter incident." As predicted, it happened.  On Friday night, an E-scooter was hit by a car in NE Portland.   This tragic incident did not have to occur, and I am sure litigation will ensue as a result due to the e-scooter companies are enablers of negligent conduct.

Oregonlive reports that the male rider was hit by a car that was turning right.  I have previously written about the dangers of the "right hook" with cyclists, but this appears to be the first publicized incident in Portland with an electric scooter.  As predicted, the rider was also not wearing a helmet.  The e-scooter companies are accomplices to the rider's negligent behavior by providing a vehicle that can travel up to 15 MPH, is hard to see, and is required to ride on the street.  The e-scooter companies do not require any formal training, but instead are most likely relying on their "disclaimers" and "waivers" on their app when riders sign up.   To compound the issue helmets are legally required, but there is not easy access to helmets. (Bird does say they have a free helmet program that will ship a helmet to a rider)  The Companies know this and make them available without helmets.  I fear that this unfortunate incident is just the beginning. Hopefully regulators, policy makers, and industry will be able to collaborate to make a safer riding experience.  Until them it will be left to the lawyers and courts to sort out the liability issues.   

If you or someone you know has been injured on an e-scooter read my blog what to do if injured in a crash with a shared scooter.  Then call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658 for your free case evaluation.  Jeremiah Ross is a Portland Personal Injury attorney with experience litigating motor vehicle cases, bicycle cases, and other vulnerable road use cases.  Please note that this blog can be 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. 

PUT THE PHONE DOWN! NATIONAL DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS MONTH

It is a no-brainer that people need to put their cell phones down while driving.  However, despite the legal consequences of driving with a mobile device in your hand while driving, people continue to do so.   People also apparently have no issues with the fact that they are putting other drivers, cyclist, and pedestrians in danger if they are texting or using their mobile device while driving. This may explain why the number of traffic injuries and fatalities are on the rise.  In an effort to bring MORE awareness to this issue various agencies have declared April "National Distracted Driving Awareness Month."  Hence, this blog post.

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Put the Phone Down and focus on Driving. As a personal injury lawyer, I have to represent too many people injured in an Oregon crash caused by a distracted driver.  There is no excuse for messing with the phone while you are driving.  It puts other lives in danger, and technology has made it absolutely unnecessary.  That is why I have no qualms about seeking punitive damages from a cell phone using defendant that has injured one of my clients. 

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car crash then call Ross Law PDX and Jeremiah Ross.  Oregon Personal Injury Lawyer Jeremiah Ross will provide a free case evaluation.  Call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658 to discuss your crash injury case, cyclist injury case, pedestrian injury case, or wrongful death case.  Please remember that this post is for information purposes only.  It is not to be considered legal advice. 

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.