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FAQ - What is Law

What is Law

Solution to Your Cases

General Personal Injury Questions

I was injured in an accident and just want some advice; can I have a free consultation without getting a sales pitch?

Yes. I’m happy to answer any questions you have. My consultations are always free. We can discuss all of your options and I’ll give you my opinion about how you should proceed.

Can I meet with you personally and discuss my case?

Sure. Just call my office or send me an email. I’m happy to schedule a time to meet you in person.

What types of cases do you handle?

I handle many kinds of personal injury cases in Portland and throughout Oregon. Typical cases I handle include:

  • Auto accidents
  • Trucking accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • ATV accidents
  • Injuries caused by defective products
  • Claims against bars and taverns for serving visibly intoxicated people who then cause injury accidents (dram shop).
  • Drunk driving victims
  • Sexual assault victims
  • People injured on dangerous business property
  • Boating injuries

Do you handle cases outside of Portland?

Yes. I take cases with merit in Portland and throughout the state of Oregon.

Do I have to pay to have a personal injury lawyer represent me?

No. I handle all my cases on a contingent fee. What that means is that you do not pay anything unless we win and then I will take a percentage of that recovery.

Are there any upfront or hidden fees?

No. Unlike most lawyers I will not ask for any money up front for court fees or anything else. You are never at risk of me asking you for a penny until after your personal injury case is completed.

Have I waited too long since my accident and lost my ability to bring a claim?

There are many laws that prohibit you from making a claim if you wait too long. For example, most personal injury cases in Oregon are banned if you do not bring a lawsuit within two years from the date of injury. And some cases have notice requirements which have a shorter time frame. It is important that you consult with a personal injury lawyer to make sure you don’t miss a deadline you aren’t even aware of.

If I hire you, will you handle my case personally or give it to an associate?

I handle all my cases personally. I do not hire associates. If you hire me I will always be available by phone and email to discuss any developments in your case.

Will I have to go to court?

Probably not. Most personal injury cases in Oregon settle without trial. It is important though that any personal injury lawyer you hire is prepared to go to trial if that’s what it takes. Some lawyers don’t try cases. The insurance companies know who they are and their clients suffer as a result. I have tried over 100 cases including over 60 jury trials. If a trial is necessary I will make sure that you are informed and comfortable with the process.

What if I don’t want to go to court?

The decision to take a case to trial is always the client’s decision to make. I’ll always give you my best advice on your options. Sometimes that advice is to reject the insurance companies offer and let a jury decide the case. However, if you really do not want to do that, we can discuss other options.

How much time will it take to resolve my case?

Most personal injury cases in Oregon are finished within about 15 months of a lawsuit being filed with the Court. However, every case is different. Oftentimes we can resolve cases much faster. Multnomah County has rules and procedures that oftentimes speed up the process.

I live out of state but was injured in Oregon; do I need an Oregon personal injury attorney and will you take my case?

It is likely that your case will need to be brought in an Oregon Court. Call me to consult with an experienced Oregon personal injury lawyer.

My child was injured; do you handle cases for children?

Yes. I’ve handled many personal injury cases for children. There are specific rules when handling personal injury cases for minors that are sometimes complicated. It’s important that you consult with an Oregon personal injury lawyer to make sure that your child is taken care of.

If I don’t have to pay you then how do you get paid?

I take 33 1/3 % of any recovery after the case is finished unless there is a trial and then my percentage increases, because of additional risk, to 40%. However, I base my percentage on the money that will actually go to you. Most personal injury lawyers base their percentage on the gross recovery. This includes amounts of money that you will never see including money that has to be repaid to medical providers and for healthcare insurance liens.

Will I have to go to a deposition?

Probably. Sometimes a personal injury case will settle before depositions but many times the insurance company’s lawyers will want to see you first and ask questions about the accident, your injuries and how those injuries have affected your life. Before any deposition I make sure that my clients are prepared for the questions they are likely to be asked and are comfortable going forward.

What is a deposition?

A deposition is sworn testimony taken before a case goes to trial. Generally the only people present for a deposition are the lawyers, the person being deposed and the court reporter. Depositions usually happen in my conference room. The insurance company’s lawyer will ask you about your background, the accident, your injuries and how the case has affected you. After the deposition they will report back to the insurance company about the facts, how good or bad a witness you will make if the case goes to trial, and what value they think the insurance company should place on the case. It is important that you are comfortable with the process and prepared for your deposition. That part is my job.

How much is my case worth?

I often get this question. The answer depends on many factors including fault, how badly you were injured, what your doctors think is required in the future, lost income and how well you come across to potential jurors. Sometimes people have heard that the case value is a multiplier of what their medical bills are. This is false. There is no formula. I’m happy to hear the details of your case and give you my opinion.

The person who caused my injury was very nice; will I have to cause them financial trouble?

Almost every case involves insurance. People have insurance so that they are covered in the event that they cause an accident. In the event that the person does not have enough insurance, they then expose themselves to potential financial harm. However, that is almost never the case and you always make the decision on how we proceed.

I have a personal injury case but it is not a serious injury. The insurance company isn’t helping me at all. Is there a way to make the insurance company pay?

Yes. Some people are injured in accidents because of the fault of another person but their injuries aren’t serious. The insurance company may not offer the injured person any money, or very little because they know that lawyers are not going to take such a small case. However, in Oregon there is a law which allows for attorney fees to be paid by the defense in small cases. It also speeds up the process. If you make a demand to the insurance company for $7,500 or less the insurance company has 30 days to respond with an offer. If they make no offer and the case goes to trial any amount of recovery means that the defense is on the hook for significant legal fees. If they make a low offer and that offer is beat at trial the insurance company is also on the hook for your lawyer’s fees. The reason this matters is that it forces the insurance companies to make reasonable offers on small cases or risk paying large legal fees. Call an experienced Oregon personal injury lawyer to discuss your options on a small case.

Auto Accident Questions

What is PIP?

PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection. It is the no fault portion of your car insurance. What that means is that it doesn’t matter who is at fault; your own insurance will cover reasonable and necessary medical expenses and lost wages while you are injured. In Oregon all car insurance policies are required to have at least $15,000 or one year’s worth of PIP medical coverage. If you have been injured in an Oregon car accident it is very likely that PIP benefits are available to you.

I was hurt in a car accident that wasn’t my fault and they are telling me that my own insurance company has to pay for my medical bills; why?

First, it’s temporary and doesn’t affect your insurance rates so there is no reason to be concerned. The personal injury protection coverage (PIP) on your own car insurance will cover your medical bills usually for one year or $15,000.00, whichever comes first. It also covers your lost income. The maximum amount of that coverage is 70% of your lost wages up to a cap of $3,000 per month and for a maximum duration of 52 weeks. You must be unable to work for 14 consecutive days before you can receive PIP wage loss benefits. Once fault is determined, the other drivers insurance is responsible for repaying your insurance company for the money they had to spend.

The insurance company wants to take a recorded statement from me; should I do it?

No. You are not required to give a recorded statement and I recommend that people do not. Oftentimes insurance companies will want to take a statement while you are still injured or on pain medication. That combined with an unclear question can lead to you say something inaccurate. Wait until after you have talked with an Oregon auto accident attorney for advice.

How am I going to get my medical bills paid while this case is getting sorted out?

First you look to your own PIP insurance on your automobile policy. (See above). If your PIP expires or if you use up the available coverage then the next stop is your health insurance, if you have any. If you do not have health insurance then it’s possible to get coverage under the other driver’s PIP. Call an experienced Portland Oregon personal injury attorney to find out what your options are.

Can I get some help with lost wages since I can’t go back to work yet?

Yes. PIP covers lost wages up to 70% of your provable income with a cap of $3,000 per month and a maximum duration of 52 weeks. To get PIP wage loss benefits you must first be kept off work for 14 consecutive days. Call an Oregon personal injury attorney to make sure your PIP benefits are paid.

I don’t think the other driver has insurance; do I still have a case?

Yes. You have a case under your own auto insurance for uninsured motorist coverage (UM). You will want to call an experienced Oregon personal injury attorney to discuss this option.

What if the other driver has insurance but not very much?

In that case you have a claim against your own auto insurance carrier for underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). Call an experienced Oregon auto accident attorney to discuss this option.

I was hit by a drunk driver; do you handle cases like that?

Yes. I have handled many cases involving drunk drivers. There are times when it is also appropriate to hold bars, restaurants and taverns responsible if they serve a customer who is visibly intoxicated and they then cause an accident. I handle cases against bars under these circumstances.

Recent Auto Accident Cases

$164,000 for a man hit by a merging car that lost control. Soft tissue damage and disputed nerve injury. $100,000 “policy limits” settlement against the at-fault driver and an additional $64,000 Underinsured Motorist settlement.
$146,000 for man who was passenger in drunk driver’s car. “Policy limit” settlement against drunk driver and additional money from bar that over served the driver. Wallowa County head injury.
$100,000 “policy limit” settlement for a rear-end crash resulting in a torn labrum.
$100,000 for woman hit by uninsured drunk driver.
$100,000 “policy limit” settlement for woman hit by speeding driver during winter snowstorm. Disc herniation.
$75,000 for man hit on freeway for non-surgical disk bulge.
$50,000 for a man hit in a t-bone intersection accident. Soft tissue injuries.
$47,000 for a Deschutes County soft tissue case.

Bicycle Accident Questions

I was injured by a driver when I was on my bicycle; how am I going to get my medical bills paid?

If you have automobile insurance the PIP portion of that insurance will cover your medical bills to the same extent it would if you were in a car. See my answers about PIP in the “Auto Accident Questions” section above.

I was injured by a driver when I was on my bicycle and can’t go back to work yet; can I get my wages paid until I get well?

Just like PIP medical coverage, if you have auto insurance you will be able to get PIP wage loss coverage to the same extent that you can if you were in a car.

Someone opened their car door into me and I was injured; do I have a case?

I have handled several of these cases recently. Drivers park on the side of the road and then open their doors without looking out for approaching cyclists. A serious injury can result. In Oregon the law requires a driver to look before opening their door. If they fail to do so and a cyclist is injured as a result, then the driver is liable for the damage. Call an Oregon personal injury attorney familiar with bicycle cases before settling with the insurance company.

Recent Bicycle Accident Cases

Confidential settlement for a cyclist who was hit by drunk driver. Broken pelvis. “Policy limits” settlement against the drunk driver and additional money from the bar where the drunk driver was being served while visibly intoxicated.
$50,000 “policy limit” settlement for cyclist hit when car turned in front of him. Separated shoulder.
$50,000 “policy limit” settlement for cyclist hit by distracted driver. Soft tissue injuries only.
$45,000 for a cyclist hit by car turning in front of him. Non surgical shoulder SLAP tear.
$30,000 for cyclist hit by car turning in front of him. Rib injury.

Pedestrian Accident Questions

Does PIP cover my medical bills if I’m hurt while I’m a pedestrian?

Yes. Your coverage under PIP does extend to you when you are a pedestrian. If you do not have auto insurance or health insurance then the other driver’s PIP insurance will cover your medical bills. Call an Oregon personal injury lawyer before settling your claim.

Recent Pedestrian Accident Cases

$100,000 – for a college student struck by a driver who was talking on his cell phone and not paying attention. “Policy limits” settlement on the eve of trial. Broken shoulder.
$25,000 for a woman struck by a car in her apartment parking lot. Soft tissue injuries.

Motorcycle Accident Questions

Do you represent people who were hurt in accidents related to motorcycles?

Yes. Motorcycle accidents can be very serious and can have issues not often found in regular car crash cases. Sometimes motorcyclists are cut off causing them to go to the ground but there is no actual impact with the other vehicle. Also, the other vehicle may not even realize they have caused a serious accident. In these situations it is very important to call an Oregon personal injury attorney right away.

I was hurt in a motorcycle accident and my policy does not have PIP; how will I get my medical bills and lost wages paid?

If you do not have health insurance you may be able to get coverage through the other driver’s PIP. An experienced Oregon auto accident attorney will be able to help get the claim set up.

Recent Motorcycle Accident Cases

$375,000 fora man who injured his shoulder and thumb when an illegally merging car flipped his motorcycle on Highway 217.
$95,000 for an off duty Portland Police officer who was forced to lay down her motorcycle to avoid collision with illegally merging vehicle.

Premises Liability Questions

I was hurt on dangerous property at a (hotel/restaurant/ bar etc.) do you handle these cases?

I handle premises liability cases with merit statewide. Call for a free consultation.

Recent Premises Liability Cases

$65,000 for a man who injured his finger on a karaoke bar’s dangerous chair.

Dog Bite Injury Questions

Do you handle dog bite cases?

I handle dog bite cases in Portland and throughout Oregon. There are specific laws dealing with dog bites that determine whether the owner is liable. Call an Oregon personal injury lawyer experienced with dog bite cases.

Can I get help with my medical bills after a dog bite?

Oftentimes homeowner’s insurance policies will have “med pay.” Med pay is similar to PIP on car insurance policies. While the case is getting sorted out the med pay portion of the homeowner’s policy will cover some medical care even if the homeowner is not accepting responsibility for the bite.

Recent Dog Bite Injury Cases

$100,000 for a woman bitten by her niece’s dog as they traveled through Oregon.
$85,000 for a child bitten by a family friend’s dog while visiting their home.
$48,500 for child bitten by dog while at birthday party.
$41,000 for an eleven year old boy bitten by a pit bull on the loose.