punitive damages

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.

Don't Drive While Holding Your Phone! New Stiff Penalties Are Soon To Be In Effect.

We all know that using your phone while driving is a dangerous activity.  However, despite the data, the education, and the advancements in technology, people still continue to use their mobile phones while driving. This increases the dangers of getting in a crash, and you can get ticketed and fined.  Using a cellular phone or other hand held device while driving may also make you vulnerable to a claim for punitive damages if you injure someone as a result of distracted driving.  

You or your insurance company may have to pay tens of thousands of dollars more for injuring someone because you chose to break the law and drive with your cell phone.   Despite these deterrents it wasn't enough.  Oregon Law Makers decided to get tough on drivers using their smartphones and enacted new laws increasing the penalties.  Below is what you need to know:

When do stiffer penalties and the new law come into effect?  October 1, 2017. 

What did the old law prohibit?  The old law prohibited talking on your phone without a hands free device or texting while driving. However, their was a gaping loophole that allowed people to use their phones to access the internet, driving directions, checking and responding to emails or entertainment.  

What can I legally do on my phone while driving?   You can talk on your phone with a hands free device.  However you cannot touch or hold your phone while driving.   The new law prohibits drivers from using any feature or app on their phone that require holding or touching the phone.

Can I use GPS or a Tablet and Drive?  No, the law applies to all electronic devices including GPS, tablets, laptops, smartphones, and cellular phones. 

Do I have to turn my car off to hold my phone and use its features?  No, you just need to have the vehicle lawfully parked and off the road. Stopping in a traffic jam, at a stop sign, or a traffic light does not count as being parked. 

How Do I Use Navigation Features While Driving?   You can still rely on your phone or other devices for navigation.  However, you need to input the data (address, location, etc) prior to driving.  Also, you tap the screen once, you simply cannot hold the phone.  The apps you rely on must be able to be operated hands-free.  This means that you can't be holding the phone. The same goes for other devices.  

How much is the fine for unlawfully using a device while driving?  The first presumptive fine is $260.00.  If you cause a crash while breaking the no driving and using your electronic device law you will face a presumptive fine of $435.00.  If you are stubborn enough to continue to use your electronic device/phone while driving and are convicted three times in ten years you will be facing a misdemeanor charge.  You would then be facing 6 months in jail and a $2500.00 fine. 

Can I still get sued if I get a ticket for using my phone while driving and I caused a crash?  Yes, you will likely have to deal with a personal injury attorney like myself that represents the injured driver if you injure someone while driving and using your phone.  

Where can I locate the new law?  Look at ORS 811.507 (2017) and any appellate decisions addressing that law for guidance.   

If you have additional questions regarding using your hand-held device and driving please call Portland Oregon personal injury lawyer Jeremiah Ross. Ross Law LLC is dedicated to helping change Oregonian's behavior by holding negligent driver's accountable.  If you or someone you know has been injured by a person that may have been using their phone call Ross Law at 503.224.1658 for your free personal injury consultation.  Please do not rely solely on this post.  This post is not intended to be legal advice and you should look at the text of the law (ORS 811.507) (2017) and any appellate decisions interpreting the law.