Author: George McCoy

Man signing legal paperwork with happy woman and child. Adoption concept.

What Does an Adoption Lawyer Do?

When you decide that adoption is the right choice for your family, there are a series of steps that need to be taken. Finding an agency, choosing your child, and being matched with them are just a few. One of the steps people often overlook is the need to hire an adoption lawyer. An adoption lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in adoption-related services pertaining to law. Finding an adoption lawyer in Portland, Oregon, is as easy as finding a firm that deals with family law. Warren Allen LLP has lawyers that deal specifically with familial issues, such as issues regarding custody and adoptions.

Though it may seem like a cut-and-dry situation, adopting a child actually involves a large amount of legal work. Because there are so many things at stake when it comes to adoption, it’s best to hire someone who is familiar with and can walk you through any legal requirements necessary. They can assist you in making the decisions that will help you to expand your family and have a positive adoption experience.

Here are just a few of the things that adoption lawyers do.

Help Find an Agency

Adoption lawyers can assist you in even the earliest steps of the adoption process. That can include finding the best adoption agency in the area. An adoption agency is a licensed establishment that can let you place or adopt a child. A good adoption agency will assist your adoption lawyer in making the adoption process as easy as possible, and an established adoption lawyer will have good working relationships with local agencies.

The need to find an agency can be for prospective adoptive parents as well as parents looking to place a child with a prospective family. An agency can help you through this process, but an adoption lawyer can protect you and all of your legal rights before, during, and after. Having both an adoption agency and an adoption lawyer is the most popular and secure way that people move through the adoption process.

Complete Identified Adoptions

Not all adoptions happen in the same way. In some instances, families decide that they want to bring a child into their family without knowing who the child is beforehand. On the other hand, some families have already matched with a birth mother and don’t need the help of an adoption agency to place a child in their care. This can happen when the child is a distant member of a family or the child of a close friend. These types of situations are called identified adoption and require the help of an adoption lawyer to make them official.

Another form of identified adoption can involve stepparents. In some cases, a stepparent may wish to be the legal guardian of their stepchild through adoption. Despite the child being identified already, having an adoption lawyer can still work in your favor. They can assist you in collecting the proper paperwork and notifying the child’s birth parent, as well as represent you if you end up going to court.

Take Care of Paperwork

When you decide that adoption is the right choice for your family, you’ll need to fill out a variety of paperwork to make it official. Having all the necessary paperwork and filling it out correctly is what can officially establish someone as a parent. Not doing so can cause issues or delay the completion of your adoption. With the help of your adoption lawyer, you’ll be able to collect the proper paperwork and have it well organized by the time you need to present it.

One thing that people often overlook is the need to have an adoption lawyer even when you’re doing an identified adoption. Though you’ll skip the need to enlist an adoption agency to work on your behalf, there are still many legal steps you’ll need to take to secure adoption. Since that paperwork can differ from what is needed for traditional adoption, adoption lawyers can help you gather and present those documents as well.

Walk You Through the Requirements

There are various requirements that a prospective adoptive parent must meet in order to move forward. These conditions are different depending on the type of adoption you’re looking into. For instance, if you’re adopting a child from out of the country, families will need to be found eligible by not only US federal and state laws, but also the laws of the country you’re intending to adopt from.

Some of the other requirements include being a US citizen, being at least 25 years of age if you’re unmarried, and jointly adopting as a couple if you are married. You must also meet certain requirements that determine your suitability. These will require background checks, home studies, and fingerprinting. An adoption lawyer can help you understand the requirements and make sure you meet them all before attempting to move forward.

Provide Legal Council

No matter how you choose to move forward with the adoption process, you’ll likely face some challenging decisions. Those decisions will have consequences that can affect the adoption process now or later down the line. To make sure that your wishes are properly stated and that things go the way you’ve planned, it can be helpful to have an adoption lawyer speaking on your behalf. Adoption lawyers are familiar with the ins and outs of adoption law and can guide you in a direction that avoids any potential delays. Adoption lawyers can also provide legal services such as speaking on your behalf. Depending on the situation, you may need to go to court to complete your adoption process.

Assist You With Other Family Legal Issues

A great benefit to finding a good adoption lawyer is that they are usually well versed in other family law issues. Situations such as divorce, establishing paternity, separations, and custody all fall under the arena of family law, and establishing a good relationship with them now could make it easier for you to get their help in the future. Warren Allen LLP has a variety of lawyers in Portland, Oregon, that can assist with both adoption and other familial legal issues.

Man with injured and wrapped hand filling out "Work Injury" form.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney If My On-the-Job Injury Was Caused By Someone Else?

When it comes to injury on the job, most people immediately think of workers’ compensation. Though filing a workers’ comp claim is a necessary first step, it is not always the only step in receiving fair compensation for injuries sustained at work. This is especially true if the injury was caused by someone other than an employer or co-worker. These injuries are classified as a third-party injury claim and may entitle you to workers’ compensation and damages in a personal injury case.

If the injury you received at work was caused by a third party, you may want to file a personal injury claim in addition to the workers’ comp case. If you live in Oregon and are looking to receive fair compensation for your injury, it may be in your best interest to hire a Portland personal injury attorney. Read below to understand the benefit of a personal injury attorney for your on-the-job injury.

Understanding Workers’ Compensation

Before delving into third-party injuries, it’s important to first understand workers’ compensation. Though each state has different laws regarding workers’ comp, the program is designed to protect employees from losses due to injury or illness obtained on the job.

Workers’ comp is a type of insurance that provides medical care as well as wage replacement for wages lost. It is a no-fault program, which means that you can still receive these benefits even if the accident was your fault. Typically, this program enables an employee to receive medical care and recovery from losses while protecting the employer from potential lawsuits.

Defining Third-Party Injury Claims

An employee may file a third-party claim in addition to the workers’ comp claim if the injury they received was caused by reckless or negligent behavior by someone other than their direct employer. This excludes an injury caused by a co-worker or supervisor with the same direct employer.

What can qualify for a third-party injury claim? Any accident that was caused by someone separate from your employer. This can include jobs that work with multiple organizations at the same time while on site. Certain industries use a variety of organizations on the jo site, such as construction sites and certain fields of entertainment. Within the construction industry, there may be a general contractor, subcontractor, property manager, as well as multiple companies that specialize in framing or finish carpentry.

Third-party injuries can also occur in situations that place the employee in contact with people outside of the jobsite. For example, if an employee is driving for their job and another driver on the road hits them, the employee can file for workers’ comp as well as sue the individual responsible for the accident. If the at-fault party was driving a company vehicle, they may even file a personal injury claim against the company. An injury can also be classified as third-party if it is caused when an employee visits another company or business as part of their job duties or occurs because of a defective tool or machinery.

These injuries can include, but are not limited to, car accidents, premise liability, slip and falls, and malfunctioning equipment. It can also include occupational disease, such as exposure to a gas leak or asbestos on the jobsite, leading to health complications.

Why File a Third-Party Claim?

In most cases, Oregon’s laws and statutes protect employers from suits being brought against them by an employee. However, Oregon law also allows an employee to file a personal injury case against a third party for out-of-pocket damages. Workers’ compensation can be minimal, while a third-party claim can cover out-of-pocket expenses, economic damages, pain, and suffering, as well as punitive damages. These can be pursued in addition to workers’ comp.

Benefits of Legal Representation

If you are a victim of a third-party injury, then you may need to file a personal injury claim. If this is the case, you may also need to seek representation from a Portland personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney will have your best interests in mind while seeking compensation. Not only will they be your advocate, but they will also have the experience and understanding to prepare your claim and gather all necessary evidence to build a strong case.

Workers’ compensation is no-fault, which means fault does not have to be proven on the employer’s part in order to receive benefits. However, in a third-party injury case, the other party must be proven at fault in order for you to receive compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney knows what evidence is necessary and will ensure you don’t miss any necessary paperwork or deadlines. There are certain time limitations depending on the claim. Hiring a personal injury attorney as soon as possible is important to ensure you don’t miss out on compensation because you waited too long.

It’s also important to hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced with both workers’ compensation law as well as personal injury law. These laws are technical and in a personal injury claim, a case could go to trial. If this is the case, you will want an experienced trial attorney as your advocate.

Compiling Evidence

If you believe you can pursue a third-party injury claim, it’s important to take action immediately. While seeking the advice of a personal injury attorney, begin compiling as much data as possible surrounding your injury. This includes copies of receipts, medical bills, records of lost wages due to lost work, witnesses’ accounts and contact information, as well as written documentation of your symptoms and experiences. Continue to seek medical treatment and keep records of these visits.

When choosing a Portland personal injury attorney, consider our expert team at Warren Allen LLP. Our firm offers legal representation and advice for people who have been affected by third-party injuries and helps them to receive compensation. Contact us today and we will help you receive the best resolution possible so you can focus on healing.

Man in suit explaining document to another man. Law concept.

What Is a Strict Liability Tort and in What Instances Is It Used?

If you’ve suffered a personal injury through no fault of your own, you may be wondering what recourse you have available. An incident causing personal injury can often be traumatic, resulting in pain, expensive medical procedures, and even emotional trauma.

Warren Allen LLP wants to assist you in recouping the cost of those medical expenses and the pain and suffering you may have endured as a result. The process can be lengthy, complex, and involve specialized legalese with which you may not be entirely familiar, so it’s always recommended to enlist the assistance of a Portland personal injury attorney. But it’s always good to understand the vocabulary.

For instance, personal injury law typically involves the legal doctrine known as strict liability tort. We’ll outline for you exactly what it means and break down in what instances it’s most often used.

Strict Liability Tort Defined

Let’s break down this concept into parts. We’ll first start with tort. This term typically refers to a wrongful act that causes harm to another and for which relief may be sought in civil court through a compensatory award, commonly referred to as damages, or an injunction. Most civil lawsuits are based on tort law, with the exception of contractual disputes, which are governed by contract law.

Strict liability, in a sense, has to do with the mindset of the person whose actions caused the harm or loss. For instance, you may have heard the term “intent” used in criminal law. If a person is charged with murder, for example, a prosecutor often tries to establish that the defendant planned the crime and intended to kill the victim.

If the defendant did not intend to harm the victim, however (perhaps the death was due to negligence or recklessness rather than caused by willful action, for instance), then the defendant may be charged with a lesser crime, such as involuntary manslaughter. In this case, involuntary refers to the fact that the responsible party did not intend for the death to occur.

Strict liability, on the other hand, focuses on the responsible party’s actions rather than the intent behind them. In fact, when strict liability tort is applied, a person’s intent is not taken into consideration when deciding whether or not the person is liable for inflicting the harm.

In other words, if a person commits a harmful act, a court can find them liable for that act without a finding of fault. Even though there may have been no ill intent or negligence on the part of the responsible party, that person can still be held liable for the damage the harmful action caused. The main issue at play when strict liability tort is applied is whether the person or party to the suit is responsible for the harm or loss.

In What Instances Is It Used?

To give you a better idea of how and when strict liability tort is used, we’ll walk you through a few examples.

Criminal cases

Let’s start with criminal law. Most traffic offenses hold that the offending party is strictly liable for the offense regardless of whether or not they intended to break the law.

Let’s say, for instance, your car’s speedometer stops working and you’ve been unable to get into the repair shop to have it fixed. You’re going 50 in an area with a posted speed limit of 40 because you’re none the wiser. You’re simply following traffic. You will likely be ticketed for speeding, regardless of how fast everyone else on the road was traveling since most traffic offenses employ the use of strict liability.

Civil cases

Strict liability tort is often used in civil cases as well, particularly personal injury cases. A couple of examples include animal attacks and product defects. For instance, let’s say someone lets their dog out into the backyard to relieve itself. While the dog is outside, it somehow escapes through a hole in the fence. You see the dog running loose around the neighborhood and try to approach it to get the owner’s name and phone number off the dog tag. But as you get closer, the dog attacks.

You may be entitled to compensatory damages in the state of Oregon if the dog’s owner had preexisting knowledge that the animal was dangerous. The owner may have never intended for the dog to escape from the backyard and perhaps was never even aware that the dog left the yard in the first place. But under strict liability tort, the owner could be held responsible for the injuries the dog inflicted if there was reason to believe that the dog had a propensity for the dangerous behavior.

Strict liability tort is also used in many product defect cases. The defect may occur during the production process (known as a manufacturer’s defect) or be caused by a deficiency in the product’s original design (considered a design defect).

Under Oregon law, if you are able to establish that the product was unreasonably dangerous or that the manufacturer had a responsibility to warn about the dangers of using the product and failed to do so, you may be entitled to compensatory damages. If you’re working out on a treadmill, for instance, and the machine malfunctions, causing you serious injury, then you may be entitled to a compensatory award.

Work With a Professional

Of course, these are just examples, and the legal complexities of such cases can become quite convoluted. That’s why it’s well worth it to work with an experienced attorney. It’s also important to keep in mind that, just as there is a statute of limitations in many criminal cases, you are also bound by time constraints when it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you were injured and believe that you may be entitled to compensation, speak with a qualified attorney soon.

If you would like to consult with a Portland personal injury attorney, give Warren Allen LLP a call. We will help you get the best resolution possible and receive the compensation you deserve.

Woman signing legal documents with man and young girl watching.

What Falls Under Family Law in Portland?

Life can get relatively complicated, but sorting out legal issues related to family law in Portland shouldn’t be something that is overly complicated. Finding the right representation for your issue is key, and at Warren Allen LLP, we provide the best and most solid legal counsel we can. Whether you’re looking to adopt and need some legal guidance through the process or you’re getting ready to tie the knot and want to discuss your options when it comes to prenuptial agreements, we can help. If you’re seeking a legal separation, an annulment to your marriage, or even a divorce, Warren Allen LLP is here to help.

For other issues, such as guardianship, conservatorship, or domestic violence issues, there is someone here who can help you sort through the process and the impending legal framework. For more information about what falls under family law in Portland, Oregon, please keep reading.

Children & Families

Relationships in a domestic setting take a lot of work. When things don’t go as anticipated and new situations arise, a competent attorney can help you and your loved ones navigate the path. If you’ve recently dealt with a divorce and now need to figure out custody and visitation, a legal representative can make sure that you’re securing the results that are best for you and your family.
For other issues that fall under the umbrella of children and families, you’ll find assistance with parenting plans, birth through three, child support, the enforcement of parenting plans, parental education, adoption, mediation, temporary orders, and supervised parenting time.

Divorce, Separation & Annulment

If you were recently married and you’ve realized that it’s not going to work out in the long run, and you’re within the required time period, you can sometimes get an annulment from the courts. A family law attorney can help you with this.

If you’ve been married long enough that you need to take a different course of action, you have the choice to either separate or divorce. A legal separation might be issued in the place of a divorce for a variety of reasons, including if one party wishes to remain on the spouse’s insurance plan, if there is a moral or religious reason not to divorce, if the minimum required residence (six months in the state of Oregon) hasn’t been reached yet, or if the parties don’t wish for a divorce but still do want legal help to split their property and debts, establish a parenting plan, and so forth.

Otherwise, the final option is divorce. Once the papers have been served to the receiving party, the respondent has 30 days to file a response. A divorce doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out, or vicious affair. If both parties work together, including putting together a shared custody and parenting time plan if children are involved, the process can go fairly smoothly.

Guardianship & Conservatorship

If a person is incapable of managing their own care or legal affairs, or if a child doesn’t have a legal guardian, a competent and capable adult can petition to gain guardianship or conservatorship of that person. All people applying for this role must be up front with the court about their legal background, including if they have ever had a professional license canceled or revoked, if they ever went through a bankruptcy, or if they have ever been convicted of committing a crime. A court-appointed visitor will be assigned to the case and will be involved in the case to verify that all parties are adhering to their roles.

Because of the complexity of guardianships and conservatorships, it’s a good idea to get a lawyer who can help walk you through all the rules and laws around this topic of family law.

Prenuptials

Before getting married, a couple can outline and then legally put into place an agreement that outlines their plans for their property, their debts, and other legal rights that they acquire by getting married. There are traditional rules and laws related to marriage, but a prenuptial agreement gives more power to the couple to decide what they do and do not want relating to their marriage and their legal relationship. This is especially relevant if the marriage ends in divorce or death.

In simplest terms, it’s an outline of how the couple would like things to play out should something outside of their control happen in the course of or at the end of their marriage. Relevant topics in a prenup may include the division of property, retirement benefits, savings, and even spousal support. Having an attorney work through all of the legal processes related to prenuptial agreements makes the most sense for the couple involved, as they will need to file with the court and make sure that their agreement is deemed legal and valid.

Domestic Violence

Should things escalate and your safety become at risk, always get out and away and contact a first responder. Once you’re in a safe space and you’re in need of legal counsel on the issue of domestic violence, family law in Portland, Oregon, can help you in a handful of ways.

You can file a restraining order in the Family Abuse Protection Act (FAPA), get help through the Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act (EPPDAPA), or get a Sexual Abuse Protection Order (SAPO). If there are other issues, such as stalking, an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), or firearms restrictions, then there are family law firms that can help sort through the thick of some of these heavy topics.

There are many laws and rules that attorneys are versed in. Particularly when your physical, mental, or emotional well-being is in jeopardy, it’s best to have representation to make sure all the bases are covered and that you and your family are safe and secure. Attorney’s may also have other recourse and access to other resources to help protect you and those you love.
If you have questions or would like more information about family law in Oregon, contact Warren Allen. Our expert team can help you out.

Man with brace on wrist working on laptop.

How Do I Estimate a Personal Injury Settlement?

It’s never a good thing when you need to seek a personal injury settlement. By definition, it means you’ve been injured in some way, whether that’s injury to your person or injury by the loss of someone close to you. However, we are fortunate to have a legal system that makes legally and safely seeking personal injury settlements as straightforward as it can reasonably be.

But we regularly find our prospective clients asking us a particular question as they start their personal injury settlement journey: How much money should I be asking for? What’s a fair amount to be seeking as a personal injury settlement that will adequately address my damages and financial need, while not making it look like I’m just trying to get rich quick?

In this blog, we’ll look at the different types of damages typically included in a personal injury settlement and how much you should typically be seeking in your claim.

Important caveat: If you’re at all unsure about how to estimate your personal injury settlement amount, don’t just hazard a guess. There are many factors that go into assessing the amount you should be seeking, and you may not know about many or even most of the categories. For that reason, we highly recommend speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer before ever putting expected damages down in writing.

That said, let’s look at common wisdom about estimating claims.

The Average Personal Injury Settlement Is Between $3,000 and $75,000

Conventional wisdom in the world of personal injury law is that when you seek compensation for damages in a personal injury lawsuit, you can expect to receive (if successful) anywhere from $3,000 to $75,000. Damages below $3,000 typically aren’t seen in personal injury lawsuits; they’d be more suited for small-claims court.

On the other hand, while it is certainly possible to receive claims above $75,000, and you may have heard about personal injury settlements in the range of millions or tens of millions of dollars, these are extremely uncommon. What’s more, these are almost always not economic damages but rather punitive fines. That is, these are not necessarily reflective of the economic and personal hardship you yourself suffered but rather levied in order to punish the offending party for wrongdoing.

For instance, let’s say you lived downstream from a power plant that was dumping chemical waste in your water supply, leading to health issues for you and your neighbors. A judge or jury might award you money to address your health care costs, but if it found that the power plant company was acting willfully and recklessly, it might impose millions of dollars more in punitive fines as an extra penalty.

Still, punitive fines aren’t something that you can control—and the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits are settled before a trial ever starts—so you shouldn’t consider them as part of the estimate of damages you’re seeking.

Intangible vs. Tangible Damages

In any estimate of personal injury damages, there are always two types of injury to consider. One is much easier to estimate and quantify than the other.

Tangible damages

Tangible, or “hard” damages—sometimes called “special” damages—can include things like:

  • Medical expenses. How much did you spend out of pocket on specialists, medicine, physical therapy, hospital stays, and so on as a result of this injury?
  • Lost wages. How much money would you have made during the time period you were out of work as a result of the injury you suffered?
  • Other bills. If you were in a car accident, how much did it cost you to repair your car—or was it totaled and you had to buy a new one? Did you have to rebuild part of your house when an incorrectly felled tree damaged it? How much did you spend on hotel fees while living elsewhere waiting for your home to be livable again?

These are just some of the most common types of tangible or hard damages that you can expect to encounter as part of a legal settlement. These, in the end, are easy to quantify—you just need to add up all your bills. (Incidentally, this is why it is critical to keep records of all of these expenses so that you can prove you really did pay this money and that it was immediately relevant to the injury.)

Intangible damages

However, there are other damages, as well. Intangible damages, sometimes called “soft” damages or “general” damages, include things like pain suffered, emotional damage, loss of enjoyment, and so on.

These damages can be much more difficult to quantify than hard damages can, but they’re often the bulk of a settlement amount, and for good reason. After all, you can quantify being out of work for three months recovering, but how much money does it cost to have an aching body for the rest of your life due to the accident? If you had a car accident, what price can you put on anxiety every time you drive? Or if you had a love of skiing but the injury to your legs means you may never ski again, how much is “may never again do a beloved activity” worth?
For these reasons, you can see why intangible damages are both much harder to calculate than hard damages and often the more sizable part of any personal injury settlement estimate.

While it’s impossible to just put a price tag on things like loss of enjoyment or physical and emotional pain, one handy rule of thumb is this: take whatever your hard damages total is and multiply it by four or five to get the amount you should estimate for your intangible damages.

Setting Expectations

The reality is that you likely won’t get the full amount you seek in a trial, mainly because settlements are negotiated out of court to prevent it from going to trial in the first place. You can also only expect to recoup, in general, what the other party has in assets or insurance. It may not be possible for the person or entity you’re suing to pay the amount you ask.

However, working with an experienced personal injury attorney, like those at Warren Allen LLP, will increase your odds of getting the settlement you deserve. We know how to handle negotiations and estimations to maximize your settlement. If you’re looking to file a personal injury settlement, contact the experts at Warren Allen today.

 

Businessman or lawyer shaking hands with male client.

5 Tips for Finding the Best Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Oregon

If you or a loved one has suffered due to medical malpractice, finding the best medical malpractice lawyer is essential. You may know you need representation, but how do you find the right one? This can be an overwhelming time, without the added stress of worrying about how to find representation and file a medical malpractice claim. The right lawyer will help you navigate these difficulties while fighting for fair compensation.

Medical malpractice cases are complex and technical, and medical teams are often represented by attorneys and insurance companies on their payroll. You will need a lawyer with relevant experience in this specialized field, as well as a good rate of success.

Extensive medical bills and pain and suffering caused by medical malpractice demand a chance at fair compensation to cover these fees and help work toward healing. If you live in the Oregon area, below is a helpful guide to finding the best medical malpractice lawyers in Oregon.

1. Ask for Recommendations

In order to find the best medical malpractice lawyer, you must first begin compiling a list of potential lawyers. But where do you find good lawyers in the area? Often, the best way to find lawyers with good reputations and experience is to ask for recommendations. There are several ways you can find helpful recommendations.

You can start with the bar association. Your local bar association should be able to provide a list of injury law firms in the area. You can either contact them via their website or through their listed number.

Online searches are also a good resource, though they can be more difficult to sort through due to an over-saturation of options. When looking online, it’s important to check reviews for any malpractice lawyer you are considering. Look for testimonials and reviews from past clients. You can also use the internet to broadly ask if any friends, family, or trusted online communities have experience with a lawyer they would recommend.

Finally, take advantage of the professionals in your area. You can check with a primary physician, your insurance company, and even attorneys in other specialties. These professionals may have direct or indirect experience with good lawyers in the area.

2. Review their Background

Once you have made a list of lawyers in your area, it’s time to narrow down the list to the most qualified for your case. This can be accomplished by reviewing their backgrounds: what type of lawyer are they and what kind of reputation do they have within the legal community?

Essentially, there are two types of medical malpractice lawyers: lawyers who represent individuals wronged by medical malpractice and lawyers who defend doctors or insurance companies. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a misdiagnosis, surgical error, medication mistake, or another form of malpractice, you will need a plaintiff’s lawyer.

Once you have determined they are the right type of lawyer for your case, look for client reviews and a history of their past performances within the legal community. You can check with the local bar association to see if any corrective measures were taken for the lawyer in question or if they are in good standing. Also, check to see if they are a member of a personal injury trial association and if they’ve held leadership positions or received any accolades.

3. Look for Relevant Experience

The best medical malpractice lawyers in Oregon will have specialized experience in the field. Medical malpractice is a technical and complex area of law because it requires extensive knowledge in both medical and legal matters. This requires a lawyer with not only a lot of experience but also experience specifically in medical malpractice. They need to have an extensive understanding of technical information and standard medical procedure and be equipped to effectively handle procedural matters unique to medical malpractice cases.

Look for information regarding malpractice on their website: what is their education? Have they published any examples of successful case studies? Do they have a medical background? Check their biographies and look for articles or blogs detailing their experience with medical malpractice.

4. Ask the Right Questions

Law firms offer free consultations. If you have a few lawyers you are considering, take advantage of the free consultation and ask the right questions. How many medical malpractice cases have you handled? What types of medical malpractice cases do you have experience in? How many of these have you won? How long have you worked in the field of medical malpractice? How much of your time is devoted to personal injury cases? What was the outcome of your most recent medical malpractice case?

How these questions are answered will determine if the lawyer has the time, experience, and interest to properly handle your case. It’s important to establish not only what type of experience they have but also their success rate.

If you are ready to consult with the best medical malpractice lawyers in Oregon, consider Warren Allen LLP. We offer sound legal advice and representation for people who have experienced personal injury. Our personal injury attorneys are dedicated to helping you receive compensation and the best resolution possible.

5. Discuss Fees

Finally, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how your potential lawyer handles fees. Most medical malpractice lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no fee unless there is a favorable result—your case settles or you win in court. The lawyer will then take a fixed percentage of the recovery, or the amount paid to you. If there is no win, there is no fee arrangement.

However, some lawyers and firms may have other costs related to your case. It’s important to discuss their fee structure before hiring. A reputable firm will be transparent with its costs and help you understand if you are responsible for any costs.

These tips will help you find the right lawyer for your specific situation. Hiring the best lawyer will help set you on the path to recovery and healing.

 

Couple meeting with personal injury attorney.

4 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney in Gresham

Trying to recoup losses after suffering a personal injury due to an accident can be a difficult endeavor, especially while also trying to focus on getting better. Though you may be entitled to compensation for your losses, filing a personal injury claim can be a confusing process without the aid of a professional. Not all insurance companies have your best interests in mind, and they may try to minimize the amount you receive.

A personal injury attorney will represent your best interests while you try to receive fair compensation for your losses. They will not only be an advocate on your behalf but will also guide you through the entire process, ensuring all necessary steps are accurately completed in a timely manner.

If you live in Oregon and have decided to consult a personal injury attorney in Gresham, Oregon, what questions should you ask? Below is a simple guide to help you choose the right attorney to represent you.

1. What Is Your Personal Injury Case Background?

Though you are looking to hire a personal injury attorney, this is a broad category, and not all attorneys have necessarily handled cases similar to yours. When speaking with a potential attorney, it’s a good idea to ask about their background. What is their experience? What kinds of cases have they represented? What was the result of these cases?

When seeking representation, it’s beneficial to choose an attorney who has experience with cases like yours. There are a variety of accidents that fall within the broader category of “personal injury.” This can include slip and fall accidents, auto accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, as well as other forms of personal injury. Ask the attorney you are consulting about their experience related to your particular case and what the outcome was. If they have won cases similar to yours, they may have a better understanding of how to build a strong case representing your interests.

2. What Are Your Fees?

Personal injury attorneys typically work for a contingency fee. This means you don’t have to pay any fees unless your case is won or settled favorably and you receive monetary recovery. If you successfully recover money damages, then your personal injury attorney will take a fixed percentage of the recovery. This percentage can vary, though it typically ranges between 25 and 45 percent. When consulting a potential attorney, ask what their fixed percentage is and what their qualifications are for handling your case.

It’s also important to ask about additional fees. In the event your case is unsuccessful, who pays for the case-related costs? Some attorneys won’t cover out-of-pocket costs if your lawsuit is unsuccessful and will charge these in addition to the contingency fee. Before selecting an attorney, make sure you are clear on all potential fees and what their billing practices are. You may want to explore other law firms until you find an attorney that fronts the costs of pursuing a personal injury claim.

3. How Long Will a Resolution Take? Will It Go to Trial?

Though most personal injury cases can be settled outside the courtroom, if a desirable settlement cannot be reached, your personal injury attorney should be prepared to take the case to trial. This means that they will adequately prepare for every scenario it takes to reach the best resolution possible for your interests. It also means that they have the time to commit to resolving your case.

Though your attorney may not be able to give a specific time frame or promise whether or not it will settle, they should be able to offer advice, general expectations, and a rough timeline. Specific details will depend upon your individual case and the cooperation of other parties involved. However, asking will help you assess if a potential attorney is committed to helping you resolve the claim as quickly as circumstances allow for fair compensation.

4. What Is My Claim Worth?

Each individual case is different, and an attorney will not be able to give you an exact amount of what they expect your claim is worth. But an experienced attorney should be able to provide a rough estimate. This will be based on the particulars of your claim, as well as their past experiences from similar cases.

An attorney should be able to guide you through the process and prepare you for what to expect, including what your claim is worth. They will evaluate liability, discovery, and previous medical history and how it may impact your compensation. Using this figure, you can compare it to other estimates and determine who is offering unrealistic settlement figures and where you should exercise caution.

If you live in Gresham and are looking for a team of personal injury attorneys you can trust, consider choosing Warren Allen LLP. Our expert team offers legal representation, solid legal advice, and exceptional service. Our personal injury attorneys in Gresham, Oregon, will work hard to help you receive fair compensation and the best resolution possible. Contact our firm today and learn what your options are so you can focus on what matters most—healing from a personal injury and recovering losses.

 

Man and woman signing divorce paperwork with witness.

Who Are the Involved Parties in a Divorce Case in Oregon?

Unless you have been divorced before, or you are a divorce attorney yourself, you probably have a lot of questions about how these types of legal cases work. Unsure how many parties could be involved? Don’t know the difference between a petitioner and a respondent? That’s where our experts come in to help. Read on below to find out more information about what is involved in a divorce case in Oregon.

Petitioner

A petitioner is the term used to refer to the individual who files the petition for a divorce in Oregon. This party is also known as the plaintiff. The specific paperwork you will need to fill out can be found online or obtained through a court. There will be different paperwork if you petition or if you are the respondent.

There are some important requirements to note if you are planning to be the petitioner. First of all, the individual who files the petition for divorce must be an Oregon resident. They are required to have lived in the state for at least six months prior to the dissolution of the marriage. Also, the petitioner must make sure that their petition is filed in the county where they and/or the other spouse lives.

If only one of the parties lives in Oregon, the court may still be able to dissolve the marriage. However, this could lead to problems down the line. The court may not be able to require certain things of the party who lives out of state.

As the petitioner, you may have a specific reason for pursuing the divorce. However, Oregon also allows what is known as a “no-fault” divorce. Unlike with other grounds for divorce, no-fault divorce doesn’t require you to submit any proof. The grounds for divorce can just be irreconcilable differences.

Respondent

While one party is the petitioner in a divorce case, the other party is the respondent. The respondent is the defendant to the petitioner’s plaintiff.

After a petitioner files for divorce, the respondent is the one who will then be “served” with a copy of the petition, a summons, and other important paperwork. The petitioner can give this paperwork to their future former spouse themselves. Or the petitioner can also arrange for someone else, such as the sheriff, to serve the respondent.

In order to confirm that they have received the petition, summons, and paperwork, the respondent will sign an “Acceptance of Service.”
If the respondent is unable to be reached and/or found, there are some other ways they can be served. Although that is usually a last resort. This can include a notice published in an Oregon newspaper or something posted at the courthouse.

Once the respondent has been served with the petition, they are given a certain amount of time to file their response to the court. In Oregon, a respondent is given 30 days after they have been served. Once a response has been filed, the court can set a date for a trial, settlement, or mediation.

If the respondent does not file within those 30 days, the petitioner can ask for a default judgment from the court. If they decide to do so, it could mean that the petitioner will get everything they ask for in the petition.

Attorney

The state of Oregon does not necessarily require petitioners or respondents to have an attorney for a divorce case. However, it is still strongly recommended.

One very helpful service that attorneys provide is an initial consultation. Even if your divorce seems super simple and straightforward, this wouldn’t hurt. An experienced attorney may notice something that the average person would miss. That could save you a big headache later on. In some cases, these legal consultations are even free of charge.

Judge

Ultimately, a marriage is officially over when a judge signs a judgment of dissolution of marriage. This judgment will include the division of assets and how court costs and fees will be divided. If there are children involved, this judgment will include custody and child support arrangements as well.

At Warren Allen LLP, you can count on our excellent attorneys and decades of service in Oregon and the broader Pacific Northwest. Whether you are the petitioner or the respondent, turn to us for your Oregon divorce case. You can find more information about Warren Allen LLP on our website. If you’re interested in meeting with one of our attorneys for a consult, you can find our contact information on our website as well.

Male attorney explaining legal paperwork to woman client.

How Do I Prepare for My Personal Injury Hearing in Portland?

If you’ve suffered a personal injury to the point where you’ve decided to bring a legal case in the hopes of recouping damages, then one of the most important parts of the process is the personal injury hearing. At the hearing, you (or your attorney) will present your case and argue why you are justified in seeking damages. Whether you live around the world or here in Portland, personal injury hearings are a critical part of the process, and you should know how to best prepare for them.

What Is a Personal Injury Hearing?

Typically, the term “personal injury hearing” specifically refers to the session where a personal injury case is argued before the judge, who will then determine fault and damages. However, not all personal injury cases actually make it to trial—in fact, the vast majority do not. Only about 4% to 5% of personal injury cases ever see a day in court, as the overwhelming majority are settled out of court.

Colloquially, however, this phrase may be used to refer to other matters related to personal injury proceedings. Two of the most common alternatives that may be called “personal injury hearings” (typically by non-attorneys or other legal professionals) will be personal injury depositions and personal injury mediations.

What’s the Difference Between Personal Injury Hearings, Depositions, and Mediations?

The three are very different in terms of outcome but also share broad similarities. In all of these, you will be telling your Portland personal injury lawyer—or your lawyer wherever else you live in the world—about why you think you deserve to be compensated for the injuries you’ve suffered. However, the differences between them are notable.

What Is a Personal Injury Deposition?

A deposition can be thought of as a “fact-finding” session. In a deposition, an attorney attempts to piece together exactly what happened and the facts of the matter as they related to the personal injury case.

If you are the person who experienced the personal injury, you may be called by your attorney to give an official deposition as to the facts of the matter. However, even if you are not the victim (or the plaintiff), you may be called in to testify. This can be true even if you are a witness to the events that happened.

You can think of a personal injury deposition as a “trial before a trial.” In other words, even though the attorneys are not pleading a case before a judge, much of the same information will be shared—this is the opportunity for the attorneys to gather the information that they will later use to plead their cases in the trial proper.

Most depositions are not held in a courtroom. Rather, they will usually be held at law offices or in other designated spaces owned by the attorneys involved in the case. However, a deposition is a legal proceeding, and as such, you are considered under oath and must be careful to tell the truth so you don’t risk perjury.

What Is a Personal Injury Mediation?

As previously mentioned, most personal injury cases in Portland and around the country are settled before trial. A personal injury mediation session may be one of the ways two parties come to an agreement, or it may be something mandated by the judge after the hearing proper. Either way, a personal injury mediation is a session in which the plaintiff and defendant (and their legal teams) come together to agree on an appropriate settlement.

Unlike the deposition, which is usually just for fact-finding, a personal injury mediation session is usually legally binding and will attempt to resolve the case for good.

What Is a Personal Injury Hearing?

A personal injury hearing, as previously mentioned, involves the parties in question coming forward to argue their cases in front of a judge. At the conclusion of the personal injury hearing, the judge will decide in favor of the defendant or plaintiff and award monetary damages—or alternatively, they may decide that the case should go to mediation, in which case you should refer to the above section.

Either way, it’s important that you know how to behave in these varying scenarios. So whether you’re around the country or here in Portland, personal injury hearing guidelines include the following:

  • Tell the truth. Not only is this a good maxim to live by, but in a deposition or hearing, you are under oath and therefore are legally obligated to be truthful. If it can be proven that you were lying, not only could the result be appealed, but you could face charges of perjury.
  • Be prepared. No attorney—and no judge—enjoys a defendant who doesn’t know what they’re talking about or who has to waste time trying to remember a facet of the event in question. You’re human, and of course, there’s leeway, but you should be sure to prepare as much as possible in terms of reviewing documents and your memory of the events in question.
  • Be on time. The annals of legal history are full of anecdotes of plaintiffs or defendants who forgot their court dates and as such forfeited their cases (and wasted the court’s time). Don’t be one of them. Ensure you know exactly where and when your court date is scheduled and don’t miss it.
  • Dress appropriately. You don’t need to show up to the court in full formal dress, but wearing clothing with vulgar images or slang on it might give a poor impression to the judge. Dress nicely to ensure you are perceived as credible.
  • Don’t take things personally. Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant—or a witness—people will be challenging your version of the events that transpired. The opposing counsel is legally obligated to do so, in fact. So when the opposing counsel puts forth a sequence of events that are totally at odds with how you describe it, don’t get angry. Remaining calm is the best thing you can do in a court hearing, especially if you’re on the stand.

If you have questions about personal injury hearings in Portland, Oregon, or anywhere else, don’t worry—contact an expert. At Warren Allen, we’re here for a consultation today.

 

Power of Attorney legal document with pen and reading glasses.

Power of Attorney and 5 More Legal Terms Everyone Should Know

You don’t need a law degree to understand some legal terminology, and in fact, there are some basic legal concepts everyone should know. For instance, “power of attorney” is a legal term many people seem to recognize. But what can it be used for and how exactly does it work?

Warren Allen LLP has experience litigating cases in several practice areas, and there are certain legal concepts that are relevant across the board. Here’s an overview of the most relevant and useful legal terms with which you should familiarize yourself.

1. Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants someone else the ability, or power, to act on your behalf. A power of attorney can be executed for a limited purpose, such as one specific matter, or for a limited period of time. It may also be executed so that your representative has broad authority to act on your behalf for a range of legal matters.

For instance, let’s say you’re closing on a home, but you’re currently living in another city and are unable to attend the closing. You may execute a limited POA giving your spouse or attorney the ability to sign the closing documents on your behalf for that particular matter only.

On the other hand, you may want to grant a trusted friend or family member the long-term ability to act on your behalf in all legal matters. In this instance, you would execute what’s known as a durable POA. A durable POA in Oregon remains in effect indefinitely or until the power is revoked by the principal. In fact, an executed POA in Oregon is considered durable unless the POA expressly states something to the contrary.

A healthcare POA can also be executed if you want to designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. Even if you’re in good health, a healthcare POA is something you should consider in the event you become incapacitated and need someone to act on your behalf. For instance, you may want to communicate your feelings about life support to the person you designate as your healthcare POA and have them respect your wishes should you ever be unable to make your own medical decisions.

2. Retainer

A retainer refers to the fee that you pay to retain an attorney. An attorney may charge an hourly fee or a flat rate, depending on the legal issue at hand. If you are charged an hourly rate, you more than likely will have to pay the retainer before your attorney begins work on your case. Essentially, this is a good faith payment or a deposit of sorts.

The attorney then places that money in a trust account and accesses the funds as needed for expenses and services rendered. Should you have any money left over once the work is complete, your attorney will refund you the difference between the retainer and the amount of accrued expenses. Likewise, if the retainer does not cover the full amount of expenses, you will likely be responsible for paying the difference.

You may also choose to have an attorney on retainer, which is slightly different. If you have an attorney on retainer, you pay the attorney to be available for a specific period of time to answer questions or provide legal advice about specific matters. For instance, if you are a landlord or management company, you may want to have an attorney on retainer to answer questions about fair housing laws, eviction proceedings, or landlord/tenant disputes.

3. Liability

Liability refers to responsibility for a particular action or outcome. In personal injury law, for example, determining who is liable for an accident essentially means determining who was at fault. If a person is found liable, they will likely have to pay damages to the injured party. In some cases, who is liable isn’t entirely clear-cut, and it may be helpful to have a personal injury attorney acting on your behalf.

4. Damages

If you are found to be the liable party in a legal dispute, you will likely be responsible for paying damages—a monetary amount that is either agreed upon by the involved parties or determined by a court of law. Damages can be either punitive or compensatory.

The latter compensates the person for medical expenses, property damage, loss of income, and the pain and suffering they endured as a result of the injury. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish the liable party.

For instance, a judge may award punitive damages on top of compensatory damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Punitive damages are meant to have a deterrent effect on the responsible party so they will refrain from any future reckless or negligent behavior that may have led to the incident in question.

5. With/Without Prejudice

Some legal matters may be settled out of court. But in other instances, you may need to file suit against someone to resolve a dispute. If so, a judge will evaluate both sides of the argument and either allow the case to proceed or dismiss it.

If a judge dismisses a case, it will be dismissed with or without prejudice. If the case is dismissed with prejudice, it means the judge has made a definitive decision to not allow the case to proceed further.

If a judge dismisses a case without prejudice, it means that the suit can be refiled with the court in the future. A judge could dismiss a suit without prejudice if certain revisions need to be made to the original filing or if more information is needed before proceeding.

6. Probate

When a person dies, probate is the process in which the person’s will is evaluated and verified before their property or assets are distributed. The probate process ensures the will is legitimate and that it is honored according to the deceased person’s wishes.

If a person dies without a will, a probate court will decide how the assets should be distributed. This can often be a long and drawn-out process, especially if there’s a debate about who should get what. That’s why it’s all the more important to draft a will before you die.

If you want to learn more about estate planning, Warren Allen LLP can help. From obtaining a power of attorney to drafting a last will and testament, we will provide you with sound legal advice and counsel. If you’re dealing with a complex legal matter, make sure you have an experienced team like Warren Allen LLP by your side.

 

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