wrongful death

6 Fatal Traffic Crashes In 4 Days in Portland! WTH Portland Drivers?

SIX fatal traffic crashes have occurred in the past FOUR DAYS in Portland Oregon! As an Oregon wrongful death and personal injury lawyer this is extraordinarily alarming. Each and every one of these heartbreaking deaths were likely preventable if people used common sense and simply followed the law while they were driving. Portland Police Bureau Chief Outlaw is warning, “Drivers [to] slow down, don’t drive impaired/distracted. Bikes and peds use caution-don’t assume drivers see you.”

Chief Outlaw also warned that the PPB is going to stepping up traffic enforcement. Portland drivers take note that you may be ticketed for what you perceive as a minor traffic violation (driving 10 miles over the speed limit, rolling through a stop sign, failing to stop while a pedestrian is waiting at a cross walk.) Hopefully increased enforcement will work to change Portland driving behavior.

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Law enforcement are not the only folks out there trying to change Portland’s driver’s behavior. Here at Ross Law, we believe that it is our duty to use the civil justice system make our community a safer place by holding wrongdoers accountable and hopefully deterring people from driving negligently, carelessly, or recklessly. We do this by filing lawsuits against the bad drivers that injure our clients. This will hopefully force the bad driver, their family, and their friends to change their driving behavior. We know that it is not easy to be sued and explain your actions that injured or killed someone. We use the civil justice process to attempt to force bad drivers that injure our clients to own up to what they did, and be held responsible by having to explain their actions, and admit they were at fault. Additionally, their insurer will have to pay to compensate the person they injured. We wholeheartedly agree with Chief Outlaw that drivers need to slow down, don’t drive impaired or distracted, and cyclist and pedestrians should be cautious on the roads.

If you or someone you know have been injured or killed in a Oregon motor vehicle crash, call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658. Call Ross Law for your free personal injury case evaluation. We proudly represent people injured in car crashes, bicycle crashes, and pedestrians that were struck by a vehicle.

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.

Can You Be Sued for Over-serving Alcohol to A Person that Causes a Car Crash?

‘Tis the season for holiday parties, which means it is also the season for DUII crashes. Many of these crashes cause catastrophic injuries or deaths. When that occurs it is likely that the injured person’s family will want to hold all negligent persons responsible for causing the injuries or death. Most people think that simply the impaired driver is solely responsible for causing the crash. However, that may not be the case if the DUII driver is leaving a residence or bar where he was over-served alcohol. In Oregon you can be sued if you are a social host and over-serve a visibly intoxicated person who causes a car crash. This means that you may be responsible for the injured person’s losses which can be millions of dollars in some cases.

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To put it another way, homeowner’s can be held responsible for serving alcohol to a person that is visibly intoxicated and later injures another in a DUII crash. (See ORS 471.565). Oregon courts have determined a person who receives guests in a social 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. Don’t believe me? Check out the Court’s opinion in Deckard v. Bunch, 358 Or 754 (2016).

Social Host 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. More importantly, social host liability will hopefully act as a deterrent to over-serving intoxicated people who may get behind the wheel.

Social Host cases can be complicated and there are other theories an attorney can use to attempt to obtain maximum recovery for a person’s wrongful death, 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. These laws constantly change and the theories of liability are not as clear as they were in the past. Please consult with an attorney if you believe you have a dram shop claim, social host claim, or have been injured by a DUII Driver.

Another Avoidable Tragic Death In Portland-Pedestrian Killed by Driver

Yesterday a Portland man was killed by a DUII Driver as he was on the side of the road. His death was the 33 traffic fatality in Portland this year. State wide more than 400 people have been killed in car crashes. All of these deaths could be prevented if people simply followed the laws, avoided distracted driving, kept their vehicles properly maintained, and roads were properly maintained and designed.

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The driver who killed the pedestrian yesterday now faces criminal charges, and will likely face a civil wrongful death lawsuit brought on behalf of the family of the victim. The family may seek millions of dollars to compensate them for their losses and punitive damages to punish the driver who killed their loved one. These cases are difficult for everyone involved, but are necessary to ensure the DUII driver is held accountable and the victim’s family is compensated for the loss of their loved one.

If you or someone you know were a pedestrian that was hit by a motor vehicle call Oregon Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Lawyer Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658. Ross Law is happy to provide free case evaluations for personal injury clients and has represented 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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Where Does Oregon Rank on "The States with the Worst Drivers"

As a personal injury lawyer, I often hear about Oregon's worst drivers.  Oregon's drivers can do some incredibly dumb things that often result in injuring others.  A recent survey from SmartAsset (a tech/finance company) has ranked the States' drivers from best to worst.  Oregon ranks number 26 on the list. The optimist in me says that we are lucky to live in Oregon, because there are 24 States that have more terrible driving habits than Oregonians. However, the reality isn't so rosy.  Oregonians have serious room for improvement, to drive safer and reduce traffic caused fatalities and injuries.  The survey also noted some interesting facts about Oregon Drivers: 

1) Only 83.3% of Oregon drivers have insurance.  All vehicles are required by law to be covered by insurance, so this is a troubling statistic.   This is why it is imperative to have sufficient uninsured ("UM") motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy. The State minimum $25,000.00 is likely not enough to cover you if you are in a crash.  Click here to learn three things you should know about Oregon's Auto insurance. 

2) For every 1,000 drivers in Oregon 3.16 of them will be arrested for DUII (Driving While Under the Influence of Intoxicants).  This is also a troubling statistic because this is for DUI arrest, not the actual number of DUII drivers.  This statistic is not surprising to me because I regularly represent people that were injured by DUII Drivers.  In case you were curious, North and South Dakota both top the charts for DUII arrest with over 11 DUII arrests for every 1,000 drivers.  

CAUTION THE LANGUAGE IN THE VIDEO MAY BE OFFENSIVE and IS NOT ENDORSED BY ROSS LAW

3) 1.3 people will die in Oregon Roads for every million vehicle miles traveled.  To put it another way, 2 people will die on Oregon Roads after all of the vehicles in Oregon travel a combined 3 million miles.  These wrongful deaths become more frequent as more people move to Oregon and more people drive in Oregon.  As of May 2018, 17 people had died in traffic crashes.  Things are not looking better for the remainder of the year. For example, last week a motorcyclist was killed near the St. Johns Bridge. Almost all of these wrongful deaths are completely preventable if drivers simply obey the rules of the road.  or the 

If you were wondering where the worst drivers are, well here it is.  According to Smartasset the states with the worst drivers are:

1) Mississippi

2) Tennessee

3) California

3) Missouri (Tied with California)

5) New Mexico

5) Texas (Tied with New Mexico)

7) Alabama

8) Florida

9) Alaska

10) Arizona (Tied with Alaska)

Click here to read more about the survey and the methodology they used. Remember if you or someone you know where in an Oregon car crash call Portland Personal Injury Attorney Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658.  Ross Law PDX provides free case evaluations for wrongful death and personal injury matters.   Jeremiah Ross also represents people in disputes with their insurance company in uninsured motorist claims, underinsured motorist claims, and personal injury protection benefits claims.  Please note that Jeremiah Ross, and Ross Law PDX, do not have any affiliation with Smartasset, nor have they confirmed any of the statements or statistics are accurate. 

 

 

Wrongful Death Suicide Case Featured in Newspaper Article

The Daily Astorian Newspaper recently featured a case where Jeremiah Ross and Ross Law represented the family of a woman who had committed suicide in Astoria, Oregon in a wrongful death action. The article Notes: 

"The family of a woman who jumped off the Astoria Bridge in 2015 has settled a wrongful death claim against Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare over her mental health treatment. The lawsuit alleged the mental health agency was negligent in caring for Carrie Barnhart, 54, who had a history of schizophrenia and depression.  The amount of the settlement is confidential.  Jeremiah Ross, a Portland attorney who represented Barnhart’s family, declined to comment."