Highly Rated Oregon Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been seriously injured in an Oregon car accident, you may have a lot of questions and feel like you have no place to turn. The insurance company is making you anxious by calling and sending you letters and forms. Do I have to call them back? What if I don’t send in these forms?
Information on the internet is often not credible. You can’t afford to make a mistake. Do yourself a favor and call for a free consultation and give yourself some peace of mind. We are here to answer your questions and help you get back to focusing on your recovery and the wellbeing of your family.
After we talk, if you decide you need representation, we can discuss that. But that is your choice on your timeline. We will never pressure you. Before making that call, you may want to have some information.
Oregon Car Accident Law
Statutes of Limitations
Generally, in Oregon, the statute of limitations for car accident cases is two years for an injury. The statute of limitations for an Oregon wrongful death case is three year. There are exceptions that can lengthen that time such as being a minor or mentally handicapped when the injury occurred.
Tort Claims Notice Requirements
If the at-fault driver is working for a public body, you may have some shorter deadlines than the statute of limitations. In that case, you must give the public entity notice within six months for an injury or one year for a death. This is commonly called tort claims notice. Much like the statute of limitations, there are also exceptions to the tort claims notice which can extend these deadlines.
It is a good idea to consult with an experienced Oregon car accident lawyer well in advance of your statute of limitations. Make sure you do not miss any critical deadlines.
Now that you understand that there are potential time limitations to your case, you need to know that it is your burden to prove the other driver was at fault and not you. This is another area where an experienced personal injury lawyer can be very helpful. Work that is done during this stage might include locating witnesses, gathering photos and videos, and possibly hiring good expert witnesses such as an accident reconstructionist. We will do whatever is necessary to make sure we can prove your case.
Comparative Fault in Oregon
We also want to be able to prove that you were not partially at fault for the crash. If you are found to be partially at fault for the crash, you may lose some or all of any money you would otherwise receive.
In Oregon, a jury determines who was at fault and compares fault if they find both parties have some blame. If you are determined to be 51% at fault or more, you receive nothing. Put another way, if you are more at-fault than the other driver you have no case. If the jury finds you both at fault but places less than 51% of the blame on you, then your verdict is reduced by the amount of fault they assign to you. For instance, If the jury finds the other driver 90% at fault and you 10% at fault, then the judge will reduce your verdict by 10%.
This is another reason to get a good personal injury to present your case. Insurance companies will often try to reduce case values by claiming you were partially at fault. We work hard to knock out comparative negligence defenses and make sure you get 100% of everything you are entitled to receive.
After you have proven that the other driver was at fault and you were not, then you must prove causation. This simply means that you have the burden of proving that your injuries were because of the car crash. You have the burden of proving that your injuries were either caused by the crash or made worse due to the crash. Insurance companies often fight about causation. They will allege that your injuries were pre-existing even in cases where you have received no related medical care in your life. This is especially common in spinal injury cases. They will use phrases such as “degenerative condition” to say that wear and tear or aging and not the crash that is causing your problems. We gather your prior medical records, talk to your doctors, consult experts where necessary and then prove that your injuries are related to the crash.
If you can prove that the other driver was responsible for the crash and that your injuries are the result of the crash, you still must prove your damages. Depending on your case the damages may include past medical expenses, future medical expenses, past wage losses, future wage losses, funeral expenses, and money for your non-economic damages - pain and suffering.
Maximizing these numbers is what we do. The insurance company will try to limit the amount of your past medical expenses by alleging some of your treatment was not necessary. They will argue that you will not need any future care. They will try to limit your lost wages saying that you should have been able to return to work sooner. They will not agree that your future ability to work may be impaired. They will try to reduce your pain and suffering damages by arguing that you made a great recovery and the whole incident was not a big deal. What they are really doing is trying to convince you to cut them a break. We work hard to prove the full amount of your damages. We work with your doctors and experts that may be necessary to explain all the losses you have and will suffer. We will work hard to make sure you get 100% of your damages.
Deciding whether to settle or go to trial
When we get retained on a case, we prepare to take that case to trial. Only when the offer gets to an amount of money we think is fair do we recommend settlement. That typically comes after a lot of hard work presenting your case. If the defense never gets to an amount of money we think is fair, we recommend going to trial. We give you our best advice and you make the decisions. If trial is necessary, we will be prepared.