I’m afraid I can’t afford to pay a lawyer, how much will I have to pay to talk to or hire you?
It costs nothing to talk to us and then have an initial appointment to see if you want to hire us. Then there is no fee if there is no recovery.
Generally, our fee depends on whether we get you any money in a settlement or an award (a recovery). There is no fee if there is no recovery. If there is a recovery, we charge a percentage of that recovery. This is called a contingent fee and means that our interests are aligned with yours in that the more money we get for you, the more money we get for a fee our of any settlement or award. We thoroughly explain and discuss the fee agreement, costs agreement, etc. at your initial no-obligation free consultation.
Typically, there’s no money up front to get started. If we’re already representing you on your injury claim, we usually take no fee at all to help resolve the property damage to your vehicle if you need this.
What in general, are my legal rights?
Most importantly, you need someone to speak up for your rights amidst the tangle of insurance companies, attorneys and Court rules, legal deadlines, etc. Specific TIMELINES apply to your case, and if you wait too long, you can lose ALL your rights.
The legal rights which apply to your case, in particular, will vary from case to case. Don’t wait to call a good personal injury lawyer. At Injury Lawyer PDX, LLC, as with many other fine injury firms, your first consultation with us is free and free of obligation.
Call us or contact us online today to speak with a member of our firm who can help assess your case and advise you of the options available to you.
What I am entitled to under the law?
In general, when you are injured you are entitled to 2 categories of damages; Economic Damages and Non-Economic Damages.
The economic damages are things like the amounts you pay or owe or lose due to the injury caused by someone else, such as the medical bills, lost wages, or things like co-pays and at home help if you are physically unable to take care of your usual household responsibilities.
This is only the more common type of economic loss but there can be many others.
Non-economic damages are the intangible and not objectively measurable ways on which the injury has affected you, such as pain, suffering, limitation of activities, and the loss of enjoyment of your life as a result. There can be many profound ways that an injury affects your life and at Injury Lawyer PDX, LLC our job is to convey that to a jury or insurance company in a way that makes them feel compassion so that you are as fairly and reasonably compensated as possible.
There are other types of damages that are less common, such as punitive damages, specific performance, etc.. We can tell you if it appears your case is eligible for other types of damages after you call for a free consultation.
But the insurance adjuster seems nice, and said I didn't need a lawyer? Is that true?
No. The job of a good adjuster is to make you feel comfortable so you won’t think you need a lawyer. Insurance adjusters take classes to learn how to manipulate accident victims.
If you are facing these people without a lawyer, it’s too easy to be tricked into saying or doing the wrong thing for your case or settling for an amount that is too low or when the full extent of your injury is not yet known.
Remember, the insurance adjusters know that you are no expert in injury law and that you probably don’t know the real value of the case or the rules and laws that might defeat all your rights and thus their obligation to pay you.
The job of the adjuster is to pay you as little as they can get away with, as quickly as they can, before the full nature and extent of your injuries are known. The insurance companies generally are in the business to make a profit, thus the less they have to pay you the more profit they make.
We advise our clients to just say “No.” Some adjusters may even try to intimidate you and say that if you hire a lawyer things will be worse for you. The reality is, this is business and the insurance companies deal with lawyers, hire them, it's just normal business to them and if they tell you that it's just a scare tactic to try to get you to take less money than they know you should and likely will get if you hire a lawyer.
Talk to a lawyer before you talk to the adjuster. In the meantime, we suggest that you don’t talk to the opposing adjuster at all. However, should they call you or someone else in your household, go ahead and get info, such as the adjuster’s name, phone number, and your claim number. Then, politely end the conversation, and give the information to your attorney.
If I hire a lawyer, how long will this take?
Then, in most cases, once you are medically stationary, we get your medical records and begin the process of making a demand for settlement and either negotiating with the insurance company or filing a lawsuit. The timeline is largely governed by how long it takes for you to reach maximum medical improvement – and that is up to you and your doctors.
Once you are stable, if your case can be settled without a suit, it often takes as long as another three to six months to gather all the information, prepare a settlement package for the insurance company, negotiate a settlement, and then process the settlement funds.
Statistically, on a national basis, injured people usually end up with larger settlements with a lawyer, even after attorney fees, than what unrepresented people are able to achieve. This information is provided by the American Association for Justice.
If a reasonable settlement cannot be obtained then usually a lawsuit will be filed and then the timeline depends ultimately on the Court system and legal process.
How will I make up for the loss of my income?
You are usually entitled to compensation for your loss of income, depending on various factors.
However, it is generally important that your time loss is authorized by your doctor, and of course, the result of your injury.
In most Oregon auto cases, we can help you get wage loss and medical benefits from your own insurance, under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Unless you have a bigger policy, the standard PIP benefit is up to $15,000 for up to one year for medical bills, and 70% of your lost earnings, up to a maximum set by Statute, also up to one year. The wage coverage also requires that a doctor keep you off work for 14 days to trigger the insurance obligation to pay wage loss. Then, it’s retroactive to day one.
Can I get any money up-front from the insurance company?
The insurance for the car you were in may pay for certain medical bills and limited lost wages if you or the vehicle owner have PIP coverage (see below). You shouldn’t consider trying to get any compensation for pain and suffering until your doctor and your lawyer can assess the full extent of all your damages, present, and future.
Short term money problems can happen if you have no medical insurance and no savings. Your lawyer may be able to at least keep medical creditors at bay until settlement. If you are hurt, call a personal injury lawyer quickly, before you talk to an insurance adjuster.
Who will pay all my medical bills?
How might my injury affect my family?
How do you figure out how much money I should get for my pain and suffering?
In Oregon, if the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault then they are not entitled to recover any damages.) We keep track of what juries award for different types of injuries and our day to day experience with settlements gives us a solid base to know the common settlement values and value trends for any particular injury.
Injury values are influenced by a number of factors including primarily the severity of the injury, the permanence of the injury, the type of medical treatment required to address the injury, the amount of pain produced by the injury, limitations on movement, limitations on enjoyment of life and a variety of other similar factors.
Settlement values are influenced by the injury and the type of liability involved and can be influenced by the amount of insurance and assets available to compensate for the injury. If the person that caused the injury has only the minimum insurance required ($25,000.00 in Oregon) and has no significant assets then the monetary recovery may well be limited to the available insurance if the injury has a value in excess of the available insurance.
If the person has no insurance then your own insurance policy may cover you for Un-Insured motorist benefits. Similarly, if the defendant does not have enough insurance to compensate fully for the injury, then your own policy may cover you for Under-Insured motorist benefits.
Although people often want to know the value of their case right away the fact is that most prudent lawyers often cannot tell you what your case is worth at the outset of a case, right after the injury occurs and before treatment is complete. This is because it is often necessary to wait until treatment is completed and the full extent of the injuries and recovery is known before assigning a value to the injury or trying to settle the case.
Usually, a lawyer will want to wait and review all the medical records after treatment is complete before advising as to the value of a particular case. Sometimes, though it is apparent from the outset that a case has a particular value or is worth the limits of the policy involved. Sometimes other factors may influence whether a settlement is sought before treatment is complete. However, “early” settlements may be ill-advised since we feel it is often better to know the full extent of the injuries and recovery before the final settlement is attempted. Each case is different and a lawyer should advise as to what is appropriate in your case.
I have "full coverage" so I have nothing to worry about, Right?!?!, What does "full coverage" mean?’
It is required by law that you have car insurance if you are going to be driving. Most people buy insurance and think they have good insurance because their agent has told them they have “full coverage”. “Full coverage” only means that you are covered in every category of insurance required by law. The fact is while you may be “covered” the amount you are covered for may only be the minimum amount required and may not be enough to cover you if you are seriously injured. The minimum amount required by law in Oregon is only $25,000.00 for bodily injury damages. Therefore, we always recommend to people that they buy the highest amount of coverage that they can afford. Usually, higher limits of insurance are not that much more money every month and they are well worth having if you or your family are seriously injured.
It is especially important that you are covered for Uninsured Motorists (UM) and Under-Insured Motorists (UIM) to as high a limit as you can afford. This is to protect you in case you are injured by someone driving with no insurance or with low limits of coverage. If you own a home and have homeowners insurance and car insurance it is also recommended that you obtain an “Umbrella” policy if possible. This is added coverage amounts above the limits of those other policies that offer you even more protection.
Not all umbrella policies attach to the UM and UIM portion of the car policy, so you should make sure that your Umbrella policy covers the UM and UIM portion of your car policy. Umbrella policies usually only cost a few hundred dollars a year to have.
In Oregon, if you can afford extra PIP coverage amounts above the minimum $15,000.00 it can be a good idea to get the higher limits also. Medical bills can get very high very quickly so the extra coverage could help in case you are seriously injured.
The other driver had no insurance at all. What happens now?
I was hurt by a HIT and RUN driver. Do I still have a claim?
When is the best time after an injury to talk to a lawyer?
Once you hire a lawyer, the adjuster is not permitted to talk to you at all, except as your lawyer may allow. Also, hiring a lawyer right away allows the lawyer to gather physical evidence before it’s gone and to get witness statements before memories fade.