Crime Victims

Ross Law Has Been Busy Getting Results For Clients....

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been very busy.   Two weeks ago we were in a Jury Trial on a motor vehicle crash case.  My client suffered soft tissue injuries. The insurance company made a low offer.  The Jury sided with my client.  The Jury's verdict was more than the defendant's insurance company's best offer by roughly 1/3.  This was a very good result. 


Later that week we resolved a consumer case involving a newer luxury automobile.  My client had taken his vehicle to an authorized dealership for an inspection because it wasn't running right.  The dealer missed a diagnosis and did not notice the oil needed to be changed.  The engine oil sludged up and the engine seized a couple of days after the vehicle was released from the dealer.  We later learned the vehicle's motor had a design issue and the manufacturer had changed the type of oil to put in the vehicle.    We began the process of arbitration.  Then the major local car dealership and a luxury auto manufacturer asked us to engage in mediation.  The dealer agreed to pay to have our dispute mediated.   Prior to mediation the dealership and manufacturer refused to make any offer.  However, the case settled even though we were prepared to arbitrate the case.  My client received money for the engine replacement plus an amount for costs and attorney fees. 

Last week, I was preparing for a trial at the end of the month for an animal bite case.   This case involved a cat bite.  Yes, that is correct, a domestic cat bit my client's hand.  The bite became infected and my client was hospitalized.  Prior to filing the case and preparing for trial, the insurance company refused to make an offer despite tens of thousands of dollars of medical bills.  However, after I worked the case up we were able to settle the case for a substantial sum of money.   My client was thrilled with the result. 

If you or someone you know have any legal issues, call Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658.  We are happy to discuss your personal injury case, consumer case, or crime victim case.  Please remember that results may vary. Also please note, this is attorney advertisement material.

How Do You Figure Out if Your Child's Day-Care or Pre-School is Safe?

Getting your kids in Daycare can be an overwhelming en-devour.  Site visits, phone calls, interviews, and the always popular, "wait lists" are all new experiences for almost every new parent.  During this process every parent is concerned with one thing, Safety.  However, it is not always easy to determine if a place is safe for your kids.  Daycare providers are like other businesses in that they put their best foot forward in an effort to get your child enrolled and the tuition money.   So how do you determine if your kid's daycare or preschool is safe? Here are some tips:

  • Is the Daycare or Preschool Licensed by the State?  You should determine if the provider is licensed by the State of Oregon.   If not, that is a big red flag, and the provider maybe breaking the law by operating a unlicensed daycare.  Calling Office of Child Care - Central Office
    503-947-1400, 1-800-556-6616 may help you determine if the daycare or childcare provider is licensed.  In the alternative, you can simply ask the provider to see the license. 
  • Does the Daycare or Preschool have prior complaints?    The State of Oregon has an office that is dedicated to licensing and overseeing daycare facilities.  This office keeps a data-base that allows the public to search for violations committed by Oregon preschools, daycare, and licensed child care providers.   The data base is not too user friendly, and doesn't provide details regarding the complaints but it provides the rules or laws that were violated and the date of the violations.   Click here to learn if the State of Oregon has a public record of a complaint against a childcare provider, daycare, or preschool.  Another place to look for prior complaints is the Better Business Bureau.  Click here for a link to the Better Business Bureau. 
  • What should you Look For When Visiting a Prospective DayCare or Preschool?  If you are a new parent it is overwhelming trying to figure out all of the potential dangerous surrounding your child.   However, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has authored checklists to assist parents in determining if their child's daycare is safe..  
    • If you are looking to determine if your INFANT's childcare provider is safe Click Here.
    • If you are looking to determine if your TODDLER's childcare provider is safe Click Here.
    • If you are looking to determine if your PRESCHOOLER's childcare provider is safe Click Here.

If your child, or someone you know, has been injured at a daycare or by a childcare provider call Portland Personal Injury Attorney Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658. Call Ross Law for your free case evaluation.  Ross Law takes most personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis.  LEGAL STUFF,  PLEASE READ:  Please note the tips above are not an exhaustive list and you must do your own due intelligence in trying to determine if a daycare provider is a good fit for your child. Also, Ross Law does not have a relationship or affiliation with the agencies or entities noted in this article.  Please contact them directly if you have any questions or concerns about their web-site(s) or, policies, or procedures. 

Victim of a Crime? Know Your Rights...

The Criminal Justice system can be a confusing, intimidating, and scary place for crime victims. Many victims do not know what is expected from them, who the lawyers are that are involved, and more importantly they don't know their rights.  Many times the District Attorney's office does their best to keep victims involved in the case, but DA's and victim advocates are often overworked and simply do not have the time or resources to ensure every victim's rights are understood and honored. This post is meant to provide you some information to assist you in asserting your rights.   Below is a list of things you should know if you were a crime victim:

Who Is The District Attorney:  The District Attorney is an attorney that represents the State of Oregon in criminal matters.  They are also called prosecutors, DAs, or DDAs.  Basically each county has a District Attorney (DA).  That person has an office that employs deputy DA's to hold people responsible that have been accused of breaking the law.  

Is the DA the Victim's Attorney:  No, the DA represents the State of Oregon.  The victim is a citizen of the State and has unique rights under the law, but the DA is not the victim's lawyer.  If you believe you the defendant should be responsible for paying for your harms and losses you should seek a "civil lawyer" such as myself to represent you.  The criminal justice system and the Civil Justice System are not the same.  For example, the District Attorney cannot obtain damages for emotional harm, but a civil lawyer can. For more information click here.

Who are "Victim Advocates:"   District Attorneys offices have persons that are victims and advocates that do their best to ensure victims rights are honored.  In Multnomah County the DA has a Victim Assistance Program or VAP.  To learn more click here.

What are Oregon Crime Victim's Rights:  Oregon Victims have numerous rights.  I have posted some, but not all, of the rights below.   Please remember the law is constantly changing and it is best to consult with an attorney or the District Attorney to ensure the law has not changed.  Do not rely solely on this post.  With that said, see the rights below:

  1. Crime Victims Must Be Informed of Their Rights:  A “law enforcement agency” shall notify a crime victim about his or her rights as soon as reasonably practicable. Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(g); ORS 147.417(1). 
  2. If You Request, Then You Must Be Informed of All Critical Stages of the Proceedings: A crime victim has, upon specific request, the right to be informed in advance of any critical stage of the proceedings held in open court when the defendant or alleged youth offender will be present and to be present at any such stage of the proceedings. Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(a) 
  3. The DA Must Account for Your Schedule when Setting a Trial Date: “When resetting any trial date or setting any court hearing requiring the presence of the victim, the court shall take the victim into consideration. The court shall inquire of the district attorney as to whether the victim has been informed of the prospective date and whether that date is convenient for the victim.” ORS 136.145
  4. If Requested, You Have a Right to Be informed if The Defendant's Probation May be Revoked: Right to Notice of Probation Violation/Revocation Hearings Upon request, a crime victim has the right “to be notified of any hearing before the court that may result in the revocation of the defendant’s probation for a felony or person Class A misdemeanor.” ORS 137.545(11). 
  5. You Have a Right to Be Present at Critical-Stage Proceedings if Requested: A crime victim has, upon specific request, the right to be present at any critical stage of the proceedings held in open court when the defendant or alleged youth offender will be present and to be present at any such stage of the proceedings. Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(a).
  6. You Right to Have a Person with you (with some exceptions): The victim of a person crime who was at least 15 years old when the crime is committed, may select a personal representative to accompany the victim to phases of the investigation and prosecution of the crime except for grand jury proceedings and certain child-abuse assessments. ORS 147.425. 
  7. If English is Your Second Language You Have a Right to Court Appointed Interpreter “In any criminal proceeding, the court shall appoint a qualified interpreter and make available appropriate assistive communication devices whenever it is necessary to interpret the proceedings to a victim who is a person with a disability and who seeks to exercise in open court a right that is granted by Article I, section 42 or 43, of the Oregon Constitution, including the right to be present at a critical stage of the proceeding.” 
  8. You Have a Right to Be Heard at a Pretrial Release Hearings if Requested: Under the Oregon Constitution a crime victim has, upon specific request, the right to “be heard at the pretrial release hearing.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(a). 
  9. You Have a Right to Be Heard at Sentencing A crime victim has the constitutional right to be heard “at the sentencing or juvenile court delinquency disposition.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(a). Under statute, a crime victim has the right at sentencing “to reasonably
    express any views concerning the crime, the person responsible, the impact of the
    crime on the victim, and the need for restitution and compensatory fine.” ORS
    137.013. A trial court must inquire whether the victim wishes to be heard before
    imposing sentence. ORS 147.512(3). 
  10. You Have a Right to Be Heard at DUII Diversion Hearing: If a DUII offense involves damage to property of a person other than the defendant, the victim of the property damage has a right to be present and to be heard at any hearing on a petition for a diversion agreement. ORS 813.222(1). 
  11. You Have a Right to Consult with the DA in any Plea Negotiation involving a Violent Felony: A crime victim has the constitutional right “to be consulted, upon request, regarding plea negotiations involving any violent felony.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(f). In prosecutions involving violent felonies, a prosecutor must—if requested by the victim—make “reasonable efforts to consult the victim before making a plea offer and before entering into a final plea agreement.” ORS 147.512(2)(a).
  12. You Have a Right to a Speedy Disposition: By law, crime victims have the rights to “have the trial or adjudication, including the imposition and execution of the sentence or disposition, conducted with all practicable speed” and “to the prompt and final conclusion of the criminal or juvenile delinquency proceeding in any related appellate or post-judgment proceeding.” ORS 147.430(a)-(b); see also ORS 138.627(1)(a) (victims have the right to have their “schedule taken into account [by the trial court] in scheduling . . . post-conviction proceedings”).  T
  13. You Have a Right to Records of Proceedings: A crime victim has a statutory and constitutional right to a copy of the record of a criminal proceeding. See Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(e) (a crime victim has “[t]he right to have a copy of a transcript of any court proceeding in open court, if one is otherwise prepared”); ORS 147.419 (a crime victim may obtain a copy of a transcript or audio or videotape of criminal proceeding held in open court at the victim’s expense).
  14. You Have a Right to Information about the Defendant: Under the Oregon Constitution, a crime victim has “[t]he right, upon request, to obtain information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, criminal history and future release from physical custody of the criminal defendant or convicted criminal and equivalent information regarding the alleged youth offender or youth offender[.]” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(b).
  15. You Have Right to Information about HIV or Other Communicable Diseases: A victim of a crime involving “the transmission of bodily fluids from one person to another” can request that defendant submit to “a test for HIV and any other communicable disease.” ORS 135.139(1).
  16. You Have a Right to Information about Emergency Contraception: A sexual assault victim has the right to “unbiased, medically and factually accurate written and oral information about emergency contraception” from the hospital providing the victim care. ORS 435.254(1). 
  17. Right to Information in DUII Proceedings Where You Were in a Crash with a DUII Driver:  In any prosecution arising from an automobile collision in which the defendant is alleged to have been DUII, the prosecuting attorney shall make available to a victim, upon request, reports and information disclosed to the defendant. ORS 135.857. That requirement applies to juvenile proceedings. ORS 419C.270 
  18. You Have a Right to Refuse to Speak or Communicate with Anyone Representing the Defendant: Under the Oregon Constitution, crime victims have “[t]he right to refuse an interview, deposition or other discovery request by the criminal defendant or other person acting on behalf of the criminal defendant provided, however, that nothing in this paragraph shall restrict any other constitutional right of the defendant to discovery against the state.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(c). Under statute, crime victims “may not be required to be interviewed or deposed by or give discovery to the defendant or the defendant’s attorney unless the victim consents.” ORS 135.970(3). A defense attorney must inform victims of the identity and capacity of persons contacting the victim on behalf of the defense and the victim’s right to have “a district attorney, assistant attorney general or other attorney or advocate present during any interview or other contact,” ORS 135.970(2). 
  19. If You Were Raped, You Have the Legal Protection to Prevent the Defense From Asking about Your Reputation or Opinion of Past Sexual Behavior. This is called the Rape-Shield Law. In a prosecution for rape, sodomy, unlawful sexual penetration, or sexual abuse, or in a prosecution for an attempt to commit one of these crimes, the following evidence is not admissible: Reputation or opinion evidence of the past sexual behavior of an alleged victim; or reputation or opinion evidence presented for the purpose of showing that the manner of dress of an alleged victim incited the crime or indicated consent. In a prosecution for these crimes or attempt to commit one of these crimes, evidence of a victim’s past sexual behavior other than reputation or opinion evidence is also inadmissible unless admitted in accordance with the Oregon Evidence Code and is evidence that relates to the motive or bias of the alleged victim, is necessary to rebut or explain scientific, medical or testimonial evidence offered by the state, is necessary to establish the identity of the victim or is otherwise constitutionally required to be admitted. ORS 40.210. Oregon Evidence Code (OEC) Rule 412
  20. You Have a Right to Be Safe and Protected from the Defendant: Under the Oregon Constitution, a crime victim has “[t]he right to be reasonably protected from the criminal defendant or the convicted criminal throughout the criminal justice process” and “[t]he right to have decisions by the court regarding the pretrial release of a criminal defendant based upon the principle of reasonable protection of the victim and the public, as well as the likelihood that the criminal defendant will appear for trial.” Or. Const. art I, § 43(1). 
  21. The Court Must Order No Contact with the Victim at Pre-Trial Release Hearing: When a defendant is released pretrial, the trial court or releasing authority must include a condition that defendant have no contact with the victim. See ORS 135.970 (4)(a) 
  22. You Have a Right to Restitution (Money), but it is limited to out of pocket expenses: Under the Oregon Constitution, a crime victim has “[t]he right to receive prompt restitution from the criminal convicted criminal who caused the victim’s loss or injury.” Or Const, Art I, § 42(1)(d). Upon proof of “nature and amount of damages,” a victim is entitled to full restitution for “economic damages” caused by a defendant’s criminal conduct unless the victim consents to a lesser amount. ORS 137.106(1). Economic damages are: objectively verifiable monetary losses including but not limited to reasonable charges necessarily incurred for medical, hospital, nursing and rehabilitative services and other health care services, burial and memorial expenses, loss of income and past * * * impairment of earning capacity, reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for substitute domestic services, recurring loss to an estate, damage to reputation that is economically verifiable, reasonable and necessarily incurred costs due to loss of use of property and reasonable costs incurred for repair or for replacement of damaged property, whichever is less. ORS 137.103(2); ORS 31.710(2)(a). 
  23. You May Have a Right to a Compensatory Fine:  A court may order compensatory fines payable to a crime victim, which may be imposed in addition to statutory restitution, “as a penalty for the commission of a crime resulting in an injury for which the person injured by the act constituting the crime has a remedy by civil action[.]” ORS 137.101. This is a convoluted area of the law in which the statute arguably allows the judge to impose a fine and instead of the fine being paid to the State of Oregon the fine is paid directly to the Victim.  Their are nuances regarding how this is done, and a District Attorney or Civil Lawyer such as myself should be contacted.  Feel free to call me at 503.224.1658.
  24. The Crime Victim Compensation Fund May Pay for Medical Bills, Counseling, but it is limited: A crime victim may be eligible for compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Account administered by the Department of Justice. See ORS 147.035 (discussing compensable losses). An emergency award granted “pending a final decision in [a compensation] claim” may be available. ORS 147.055. Oregon law specifically provides for compensation for HIV testing and counseling when a crime involves the transmission of bodily fluids, ORS 135.139(8), and for a sexual-assault medical assessment. ORS 147.395. 

The bottom line is if you are a crime victim you have rights.  You should assert them.  Too often defendant's rights appear to trump victim's rights.   That should not occur if you assert your rights and the District Attorney and the Court honors your rights.  If you have any questions about your rights, call me for a free crime victim consultation at 503.224.1658.   PLEASE REMEMBER THE LAW IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING AND THESE RIGHTS ALSO CHANGE.   Please consult with a lawyer or District Attorney to learn your actual rights.   This post, this blog, and this web-site may be considered attorney advertising.  



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.  

Ross Law wishes the Marine Corps a Happy 241st Birthday!

On November 10, 1775 the United States Marine Corps was born.  Marines have been fighting on behalf of others every day since.  Every November 10 United States Marines around the world take time to celebrate the Marine Corps and reflect on their service.  

I was fortunate to serve in the Marine Corps decades ago.  Each year on November 10, I take time out of my day to briefly reflect on my service in the Marine Corps. This is a time of the year to catch up with old Marine friends and reflect on the skills and knowledge I obtained in the Marine Corps.  I didn't have a desk job in the Marine Corps.  I was a basic infantryman, so I didn't learn any office skills or other skills you would think may help a lawyer.  

When the Continental Congress stood up two battalions of Marines in 1775, a culture of
discipline, vigilance, professionalism, and military excellence was born that has characterized
our Corps for nearly two and a half centuries. As Marines, we have a profound respect for our
traditions and heritage, and for taking care of each other.
— Robert B. Neller General, U.S. Marine Corps Commandant of the Marine Corps

However, I regularly draw from the skills and knowledge I obtained as a Marine to represent people injured by the negligence of others, crime victims, and consumers.  The Marine Corps taught me to adapt and overcome all odds.  I was constantly pushed to do more with less. Marines are not intimidated, even when the odds are heavily stacked against them.  Marines never quit.  Marines are expected to figure out a solution despite what many people perceive is an "impossible task." 


These lessons I learned in the Marine Corps are invaluable today.  As a plaintiff's personal injury lawyer, I am always out-gunned and out-numbered by  insurance companies and their high priced lawyers.   I don't have the hundreds of millions of dollars that an Insurance company has to finance a case, so I am constantly tasked with doing more with less and getting results.  I thrive on the fact that I am regularly an under-dog.  A fancy office building or a grumpy old lawyer that barks at me does little to assist their client. I am not intimidated by the prospect of a Jury trial, and have the discipline and drive to  continue litigating even when the case becomes difficult.   All of these lessons cannot be taught in law-school, in a seminar, or by working on the top-floor of a high rise Portland office building.  They were all learned while serving alongside my fellow Marines. 

If you served in the Marine Corps, then Happy Birthday. If you know a Marine then wish them a Happy Birthday.  It means a lot.  If you served in the Marine Corps or another branch of the military and have a legal issue then call me at 503.224.1658 for your free brief phone consultation. If I don't practice in an area I will do my best to find you someone that does.  


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,, and this blog may be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.  

What is the Difference Between a Civil Case and a Criminal Case?-15 Things Oregon Crime Victims Should Know

As a former prosecutor I rejected or "no complainted" various criminal cases.   Many of these cases lacked evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect had committed a a crime.   Sometimes these were big cases that involved sexual assault, rape, assault, battery, or wrongful death caused by a negligent or DUII driver.   Those cases were always difficult to reject, because there was a victim that had been harmed, but there just wasn't enough evidence to support pursuing a conviction.   That meant that the wrongdoer would never be punished for the harm that they caused.  However, many of those cases would have been great Civil Cases.  That means the injured person or their estate could have received compensation (money) for the harms that the wrongdoer inflicted, even if the wrongdoer was never charged with a crime. 


Civil cases are much different than criminal cases. It is very important for a person that has been the victim of a crime to understand the difference between the two, so they can know all of their legal rights. Below are some of the main differences between Civil Law and Criminal Law in Oregon: 

  1. What is The Main Difference Between a Civil Case and a Criminal Case In Oregon? Civil cases are about holding the wrongdoer(s) accountable by compensating the victim.  Basically the wrongdoer(s) are ordered to pay the victim for the harms and losses they caused the victim.  In Criminal Cases the case is about holding the wrongdoer accountable by punishing the wrongdoer.  Basically the wrongdoer goes to jail, is on probation, or is put in prison.  In a Civil Case the focus is on the harms and losses the wrongdoer caused the victim.  In a Criminal Case the focus is on the acts the defendant committed that violated the law. 
  2. Is There A Civil Case If The Person Is Being Charged With A Crime?  In a civil case an injured person files a lawsuit against the person(s) or entities (government organizations or corporations) that caused the harm.  Being charged with a crime does not trigger a civil lawsuit.   In a Criminal Case the DA files documents to attempt to convict the wrong doer of a crime.  That does not trigger a civil lawsuit.  To Trigger a Civil lawsuit a person, usually a civil lawyer, files a complaint on behalf of the victim who is called the Plaintiff.
  3. Is The DA My Lawyer If I Was A Crime Victim?  In a Civil Case the injured person has their own lawyer that represents only the injured person(s).  In a criminal case the State of Oregon has a "prosecutor" (sometimes called a DA) that represents the State.  The Prosecutor may take the victim's wishes into account regarding plea bargains and other issues, but at the end of the day the Prosecutor does not represent the victim.  In a civil case the civil lawyer only looks out for the crime victim's interest.
  4. Who Is the Victim's Advocate in a Criminal Case?  In Oregon the Victim's Witness Advocate is an employee of the District Attorney's office.  They do a great job of attempting to keep victims informed of what is going on in the Criminal Case, and trying to create a dialogue between the victim and the prosecutor handling the case.  Victim Witness Advocates often will advise victims of criminal court dates (bail hearings, trial dates, sentencing dates), and will often inform the victim of their rights in the criminal proceedings.  However, this does not always happen with every case.  
  5. Do I Get A Victim's Advocate in a Civil Case?  Yes.  In a civil case your lawyer is your advocate.   There is not an employee of the government that will advocate on your behalf.  You will have a lawyer that is pursuing your case for you and asserting your rights. 
  6. Can I Get A Civil Lawyer To Be My Victim's Advocate In A Criminal Case?  Yes, as the victim of a crime you have a right to have a civil lawyer as your representative.   This is strongly encouraged to ensure the victim's rights are honored.   However, 
  7. The DA "No Complainted" My Case, Will A Civil Lawyer Take The Case?  It depends, it maybe that there is not enough evidence to hold the wrong doer(s) accountable in a civil case.  It may also be that none of the wrongdoers has any money, so it would not be worth pursuing a lawsuit because at the end of the day no one would receive any compensation.  It is best to call a lawyer like myself at 503.224.1658 to discuss your civil case.
  8. The DA Said There Wasn't Enough Evidence To Prove My Criminal Case, So How Would We Win a Civil Case?  One of the main differences between a civil case and a criminal case is the burden of proof.  In a criminal case the state must prove the wrongdoer committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  That is the highest standard of proof.  In a civil case the standard is typically much lower.   To win your civil case you only have to prove your allegations by a preponderance of the evidence.   What this means is that you only have to show that more likely than not a person or entity caused your harm.  This is much easier, and you don't need the same amount of evidence to prove the case. 
  9. Can I Collect Money From The Criminal Defendant To Compensate Me For My Harm?  It Depends.  First, most DA's will only pursue out of pocket losses (think property damage, hospital bills, therapy bills) once their is a conviction.  What this means is that a crime victim typically cannot receive money for the hell the event has caused them (think: pain, anxiety, embarrassment, shame, humiliation, and interference with daily activities).  In a civil case you can be awarded money for all the hell the person put you through.   In limited circumstances the DA may be able to get an award of a "compensatory fine" that allows the victim to collect money for non-out of pocket losses.  However this is rarely done.  You should speak to a Civil Crime Victim's lawyer, such as myself, if you are interested in pursuing this.  Call 503.224.1658.
  10. Can I Have A Civil Case While the DA Is Prosecuting the Criminal Case, Or Do I have to Wait?   A crime victim in Oregon can have a civil case and a criminal case in the court at the same time.  However, that doesn't mean the cases will be on the same track.  Lawyers would be different, dates and hearings would be different, and judges may be different in the civil and criminal case.   There are numerous strategies that people consider regarding when to file a civil case, so you should consult with a Civil Crime Victim's lawyer. 
  11. Can A Civil Lawyer Get a Settlement With the Person Being Charged with a Crime Before Filing a Lawsuit?  Yes!  It is often very helpful to have a civil lawyer  representing the crime victim, so the Civil Lawyer can attempt to resolve the case before filing a Civil Lawsuit.  Sometimes this can occur while the DA is still prosecuting the wrongdoer in the criminal case.  
  12. I Believe A Corporation or Government Entity Caused Some of My Harm, Can I File A Civil Lawsuit Against Them Even if an Actual Person Committed the Crime?  Yes, if the evidence merits it.  This happens all of the time.   As a Civil Crime Victim's Lawyer I have filed a lawsuit against multiple corporations and a rapist in the same lawsuit.   We sued the corporations because they negligently hired the rapist and my client was raped while he was on the clock.   This scenario can come up with teachers sexually assaulting or molesting children, DHS failing to protect children, Hospitals allowing physicians to work after receiving complaints the physician had sexually assaulted a person, a bar that hired a bouncer that beat a person senseless, and a bar or social host that over-served a DUII Driver that caused a crash.   These are just a few of the countless examples.  
  13.  Can I File A Civil Lawsuit After The Wrongdoer Is Convicted of A Crime?  Yes!  In fact most of the time that is when most civil lawsuits are filed against the wrong doer.  Just because a person is convicted doesn't mean you can't still pursue a civil lawsuit against them to seek money to compensate you for the hell they put you through. 
  14. The DA Said The Statute Of Limitations  Ran on The Case, Can I Still File A Civil Lawsuit?  It depends.  Sometimes the criminal statute of limitations for a misdemeanor in Oregon may be as short as a year.  Most Civil Personal Injury lawsuits must be filed in two years.   Therefore a Civil Lawyer may have an extra year to hold the wrong doer accountable.  Other statute of limitations involving sexual assault, molestation, sexual abuse are very complicated and a Civil Lawyer should be consulted with.
  15. If I Receive Money From The Oregon Crime Victim's Compensation Fund Can I File a Civil Case Against the Defendant(s)?  Yes.  Oregon has a fund that will pay medical bills and therapy bills for crime victims in some circumstances.  If a person receives benefits from the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund, and later collects money from the defendant in a civil lawsuit or settlement then the Fund must be repaid. 

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a crime and want to file a civil lawsuit call Oregon Crime Victim Lawyer Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 for your free consultation.  Ross Law LLC is happy to assist crime victim.    Please note there are numerous differences between civil law and criminal law, and the law is constantly changing.