Frequently asked questions
To have a personal injury claim, you must be able to prove that you have been injured, either physically and/or emotionally, by someone else (the defendant) under a negligence, strict liability or intentional misconduct theory. In some cases, it may be necessary for you to show that the other party is more at fault for the injury than you were.
In order to be successful in a personal injury claim in Portland, you must prove that another person or party was negligent and should be held liable for your losses. Negligence occurs when a party fails to act with the degree of care legally required in a particular situation. Negligent parties can be other people, companies, or government entities and can include careless drivers, property owners, product manufacturers, employers, medical professionals, and more.
Negligence can be a complex legal concept and the best way to determine whether negligence played a role in your accident is to have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate your situation. An attorney will have the resources to investigate the circumstances of your accident and identify whether someone else was negligent.
Every state has laws regarding the time limits for filing different types of legal claims. For the most part, the following guidelines apply – but you should consult an attorney since there are exceptions to these guidelines. Under Oregon law, the following statutes of limitations generally apply:
- Personal injury – Two years from the date of the injury;
- Medical malpractice – Two years from the date of either the injury or when the injury was discovered;
- Wrongful death – Three years from the date of the injury that caused the death (not the date of the death itself).
While there are some rare exceptions to time limits for lawsuits, generally speaking, you will lose your chance to recover if you do not file a claim within this period of time. Lawsuits also take time to prepare, so you should never delay in discussing a possible case with an attorney who understands time limits for personal injury cases in Oregon.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the value of a personal injury case can vary significantly from case to case. In cases involving relatively minor injuries, the case may be worth a few thousand dollars to cover your medical bills and any income lost during your recovery. However, when a catastrophic injury occurs, recovery can rise into the millions of dollars and can include compensation for lifelong medical care, permanent disability, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of earning capacity, and more.
In cases of serious injury, medical and economic experts are often involved to testify to the value of your intangible losses. An experienced lawyer will have resources to complete these complex calculations to ensure you seek the full amount of recovery that you deserve for your injuries and related losses.
We usually work on a contingent fee basis so that there is only a fee for the atorney’s time and services if there is a recovery. We do not charge any fee unless money is recovered. If no money is actually recovered, you owe us nothing for our time. If there is a recovery, the attorney fee is a percentage of the total recovery. This percentage is set out in the “retainer” agreement, the contract that must be signed to authorize us to go to work for you. In most situations, the fee is 33.3% of funds recovered on your behalf.
Your own car insurance company pays for your medical bills and wage loss for up to two years after your car accident under the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) of your policy. PIP is legally required under every insurance policy sold in the state of Oregon and acts as a kind of no fault coverage to get you the medical treatment you need and the wage loss you incur right away and when you need it. Under Oregon law, auto insurance policies provide for $15,000 in medical expenses for all medical bills caused by your accident. PIP pays these medical bills per the workers comp statutes so $15,000 in coverage could conceivably cover as much as $30,000 in bills because of the discount the law requires. PIP will also pay $3,000 per month or 70% of your wage loss, whichever is less, after you have missed 14 consecutive days of work, for up to two years. If you did not cause the accident, your insurance company will get its money back from the other insurance company when your case is over.