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What Is a Contingency Fee in a Personal Injury Suit?

A personal injury lawsuit is the last thing anyone wants to face. It means you or someone you love has been injured or even died. Now you could be navigating a new reality with medical bills and work loss. A personal injury lawsuit could be a way to recover a settlement that will help relieve some pressure and stress. One phrase you might see connected to personal injury cases is “contingency fee.” This is a way of saying that the attorney will be paid based on the outcome of the case.

In this article, we discuss the contingency fee arrangement in-depth to help you understand what it means and how it might affect you. If you’re considering a personal injury lawsuit in Oregon, consider the experienced attorneys at Warren Allen.

What Is a Contingency Fee?

A contingency fee in Oregon is a payment arrangement based on the results of the case. An attorney does not collect payment for work unless the case is successfully resolved in the client’s favor. In a personal injury case, this means that if a client reaches a settlement or wins in court, the attorney gets paid. If the client loses the case and there’s no settlement, the attorney isn’t paid. The contingency fee arrangement is not allowed in cases where ethical issues are present, such as family law, where a contingency fee could be seen as incentivizing work for something where vulnerable people are at risk.

How Does a Contingency Fee Work?

A contingency fee is a written agreement between a client and an attorney. The written agreement should include expectations for the recovery fee and expenses. According to ORS 20.3040, the agreement must be explained to the client by the attorney, written in a reasonable way so the client can understand, and signed by both parties. The client has the right to in writing to void the arrangement within 24 hours of signing. Here are a few things that you should see in your contingency fee agreement:

  • Fee Structure: The agreement should state that it’s a contingency fee agreement and include the rate charged. Fees are often a percentage of the lawsuit settlement awarded to the plaintiff. Most recovery fees are between 30 and 40 percent of the settlement, but this can vary. A larger, more complex case may have a higher fee. Some attorneys may charge a higher fee if the case cannot be settled outside court and needs to go to trial.
  • Costs and Expenses: Every case will have fees and expenses that come up. The agreement should detail what to expect and how the fees will be handled. Below, you will find some of the possible fees in greater detail.
  • Fee Disputes and Termination: A client has every right to end their representation by an attorney, but this may lead to disputes about fees for the work done. Coming to an agreement on this possibility is an important part of the arrangement.

What Additional Fees Might Come Up?

Additional fees or costs are the expenses an attorney incurs while building a case for their client. Some of the additional fees might include court costs, filing fees, deposition and transcription, expert witnesses, travel, medical filing, and other administrative fees to cover necessary paperwork. In a contingency fee arrangement, these costs could be added to the recovery fee charged by your attorney so they can recover what they spend on building the case.

Talk with your attorney about the fees that might come up. An experienced attorney should be able to walk you through the expected fees for building a case like yours.

What Are the Advantages of a Contingency Fee Attorney Contract?

One of the key advantages is no fees up-front. You may have medical bills, loss of income from missed work, insurance deductibles, or other issues to manage. The contingency fee arrangement allows a client who may not have the financial resources to pay for quality legal representation up-front to still have their case prosecuted.

There’s a low risk for the client, but a high risk for the attorney. The attorney will need to weigh whether the strength of the case is sufficient to justify the time and effort necessary to win. If the case lacks merit, an attorney may turn it down. Remember, when an attorney takes on a case, they may need to turn down other work.

Another advantage is that your attorney is motivated to do their best work for you, as they won’t get paid if there is no settlement.

What Should You Expect When Considering a Contingency Fee?

Navigating a personal injury suit can be stressful and confusing. An experienced personal injury attorney should help you understand your case in a way that relieves some of that stress. A high-quality attorney will consider all areas of the case before advising you how to proceed. You may have a lot of questions as you decide on an attorney and whether you want to build a case. Here are a few things to expect from a personal injury attorney when considering a contingency fee arrangement:

  • An attorney will explain your rights. A personal injury attorney should help you understand your rights, give an honest assessment of how they understand the case including if you might have been doing something that might limit your ability to recover a settlement.
  • They will assess and investigate the accident. Your attorney will need a full understanding of the incident and how it happened. This might include hiring an investigator, taking photos of the scene, interviewing witnesses, and other activities to document what happened.
  • Your attorney will advise you on how to move forward. Once a full understanding of the event is gained, an attorney can advise you on how to proceed. This may include helping you understand what could make it more or less likely you will win a settlement.
  • If necessary, your attorney will represent you in court. Most personal injury cases are settled long before a hearing in court is necessary, but if your case requires a hearing, then you will benefit from an experienced attorney who both understands the law and can navigate the hearing process competently.

For experienced personal injury attorneys, contact the professionals at Warren Allen.

 

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5 Tips for Finding the Best Family Law Attorney in Portland

When you experience a distressing situation in your family that needs potential legal intervention, looking for a family lawyer is the best way to proceed. However, choosing a family law attorney can be stressful. In the absence of adequate due diligence, you may end up with one who cannot give you the desired results.

So how do you go about choosing one? To make the process easier for you, here are Warren Allen’s five tips for finding the best Portland family law attorney without any hassle.

1. Always Go with an Expert

Family law is complex, as the interpretation of the law can change with every new case. Your attorney should be able to identify the core issues right away and provide tailored advice. They should also know the various practices and legal procedures followed by family law courts in the region.

The best way to narrow down your options to the most qualified experts is by browsing through attorney profiles available online to assess the experience of each lawyer, their educational qualifications, and the types of cases they have dealt with. You can prepare an initial shortlist and start a deep dive to assess each of the profiles in-depth.

You can start reading the blog posts and articles published by such lawyers to know more about their work. There may be a lot of general practitioners in the market, but your goal should be to find someone who specializes in family law.

You can look up their social media handles to see the type of posts they have. You can assess your lawyer by asking questions. For example, if you’re approaching a Portland family law attorney for a divorce case, ask them about the recent cases they have dealt with and the outcomes. You can also ask if they’re willing to take on difficult matters for representation. Moreover, an expert attorney will keep track of recent developments in the field of family law. So the more questions you ask, the better it will be to assess their expertise. While this may sound like a lot of work, it can give you a clear sense of whether you want to work with a particular attorney.

2. Make Sure Your Lawyer Is Easily Accessible

Your Portland family law attorney should be someone you can contact easily and receive quick responses. With many family matters, things can go from bad to worse very quickly. Having an attorney who is prompt with turnarounds can go a long way in helping you navigate through complex legal issues.

Your attorney must be able to simplify legal jargon and explain it to you in layperson’s terms. If your lawyer is bombarding you with too much jargon or doesn’t make you feel at ease about your issues, it’s probably a huge red flag. After all, family law involves a lot of complex emotions, and that’s why your lawyer must make you feel comfortable.

In addition to that, also take into consideration the location of the attorney’s office. If it is too far away from where you live, it can be immensely stressful to keep traveling for in-person meetings. Having a local attorney who is closer to home also means you can schedule more face-to-face appointments to discuss the challenges you face.

3. Know What You Want

Too many begin on a wild goose chase to hunt down a Portland family law attorney without knowing what they expect as an outcome. Plus, unsolicited advice from family and friends can make it even more overwhelming for a person to have clarity about the end goal.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, it’s time to take a step back and think. Write down the problem that you’re facing and the outcomes you’re expecting. You should also spend time thinking about the best alternative to your hoped-for outcome.

Doing this will help you find a lawyer who’s more suited to your needs. For instance, if you’re engaged in a custody battle but you don’t want things to get too heated up in the court, choosing an attorney who’s known to be too aggressive in the court may not be ideal, even though such a lawyer may have many years of expertise under their belt.

4. Be Clear About the Costs

Hiring a family law attorney doesn’t come cheap. To avoid any last-minute surprises, it’s best to iron out costs and fees right in the beginning. Usually, attorneys like to charge a retainer fee and then work by the hour, but you may have the option to work out alternative arrangements. Also, make sure to ask about any out-of-pocket or overhead costs (such as travel expenses, postage charges, filing charges with the court, etc.) that you may need to bear as the client.

Asking for discounted rates is also a common practice in the industry. Don’t hesitate to have a conversation if you think you may not be able to work with the fees quoted by your attorney.

5. Ask People Around You

Word-of-mouth references are a great seal of approval for an attorney. You can always ask your friends and family members to pass on references of lawyers they have worked with. Moreover, if you’ve worked with other attorneys, such as a personal injury attorney for another matter, you can also ask them for referrals.

However, be mindful that when it comes to legal problems, there is no one-size-fits-all approach you can take. Ensure that the lawyer you choose is the right fit for you.

Working with an experienced family law attorney can help you get through challenging legal issues and give you the results you deserve. If you’re looking for a Portland family law attorney, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team of experienced family law lawyers at Warren Allen is here to help you overcome any challenging situation in the field of family law.

 

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What Can a Medical Malpractice Attorney Help Me With?

Medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners are some of the hardest working people in America, a fact that has become all the more clear during the pandemic. The vast majority of the time, you can trust that your healthcare provider is doing their best for your benefit. However, there may be a time when, through negligence or personal error, a medical professional winds up causing great harm instead.

In that unfortunate instance, if you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice, you should always consult medical malpractice attorneys, such as the professionals at Warren Allen, for help. In this blog post, we’ll look at how a veteran medical malpractice attorney can help you in your time of need.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice refers to harm done by a medical practitioner, such as a doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, or healthcare institution as a whole, to a patient under their care. Colloquially, it may be used to refer to any medical treatment or interaction perceived as substandard. However, from a legal standpoint, medical malpractice must meet several criteria to suffice:

1. There Must Be an Extant Doctor-Patient Relationship

To put it plainly, a medical malpractice suit can only be brought against a doctor or medical professional who had direct involvement in treating the patient in question. For instance, if a doctor published a paper suggesting a new treatment for an illness and following that treatment caused injury or death, that doctor cannot be hit with a malpractice suit. The doctor who used that new treatment on the patient could potentially be vulnerable to malpractice lawsuits, however, but there are other constraints on this.

2. The Medical Provider Must Have Acted in Negligence

One of the most critical facets in any medical malpractice suit is this: the doctor or other healthcare professional must have acted in a negligent manner. It’s not enough that the victim of the possible malpractice be unhappy with the care they received. Their medical malpractice attorneys must be able to demonstrate that this was truly a case of negligence.

In our hypothetical case earlier, the doctor who treated the patient with this new treatment might be able to successfully argue that they thought they were using the most advanced, cutting-edge treatment possible and that they had clearly notified the patient or their family that this was experimental. This would be a strong argument to fend off a medical malpractice suit.

Context is also critical here. For example, if a neurologist was on board an airplane and called upon to help care for a person suffering a heart attack with only basic medical supplies, it would be difficult to sue them for malpractice given the context, their lack of resources, and their lack of specific training. They could well argue that they did the best they could in the circumstances.

3. The Negligent Behavior Caused Specific Injury

There are two parts to this third and final criterion: first, that this negligence directly caused a specific injury, and second, there were specific damages incurred by the victim as a result of this injury.

For the first part, it can be understood as this: if the doctor was in fact negligent, did this negligence cause the harm in question?
In other words, if a doctor was giving an eye exam, and perhaps was doing so sufficiently poorly so as to be considered negligent, and then their patient suffered a fatal heart attack, is there actually a link between the two events? If the eye doctor’s negligence led to blindness, on the other hand, that would be a prime candidate for a medical malpractice suit.

The second part is equally key: did this injury cause damage to the victim in a real, tangible way? If you believe that your doctor erred and prescribed you the wrong medication, but you were not harmed by taking the medication, then you would not likely have a successful malpractice suit.

Some of the most common types of damages listed in a lawsuit for medical malpractice are:

  • Physical pain and emotional distress
  • Loss of wages due to lack of work
  • Extra expenses due to further medical treatment to correct the potential malpractice
  • Death

If your incident involves all three of these medical malpractice elements, then you could stand a good chance at prevailing in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

What Services Do Medical Malpractice Attorneys Offer?

If you think you or a loved one potentially has a viable medical malpractice suit based on the above criteria, then you should consult with a medical malpractice attorney. An experienced malpractice lawyer can help you through the following services:

  • Assessing your case. Especially in the emotionally charged period following a medical mishap, it may be difficult to maintain an unbiased mentality as you try to work out whether you have a viable, valid malpractice suit to bring forward. A medical malpractice attorney can give an experienced, unbiased assessment of your situation and whether you will be likely to prevail.
  • Helping you understand all your legal rights. It’s unlikely for any one individual to understand all the labyrinthine facets of federal, state, and local law, especially one who isn’t an experienced attorney. If your rights have been violated in any way, the attorney can let you know just what the injury was and what your recompense might be.
  • Handling necessary paperwork and red tape. Filing a lawsuit in any situation can be daunting, especially if you’re dealing with pain from medical malpractice or are caring for someone who now needs it. The medical malpractice attorney can take care of all the filing for you, taking this off your plate.
  • Arguing cases as needed. Most lawsuits are resolved out of court in settlements, but should your lawsuit need to be argued before a judge, you will be glad you have an experienced medical malpractice attorney representing you.

To help your medical malpractice attorney help you, it’s often a good idea to get a medical assessment by another doctor (i.e., not the one you might possibly sue) to have a professional evaluation of your condition and the harm that has been done. However, if you aren’t sure where to start, you can always contact your malpractice lawyer for a consultation.

 

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Responding to Client Trauma After Personal Injury

Suffering any kind of injury is incredibly difficult. The recovery process afterward can be daunting. And you’ll surely have many, many questions about your next steps. It’s not a situation you should have to handle on your own. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with people you can count on. This includes a reputable personal injury attorney. If you’re on the fence about hiring one, you should know they are also a support system if you’re experiencing trauma. Read on below to find out some of the ways personal injury lawyers support and protect their clients.

Safe Environment for Client

A personal injury lawyer will work to keep you safe both physically and psychologically. This includes creating a safe, structured environment for you throughout the process. From the start, they will know how to form a trusting attorney-client relationship. You can count on personal injury lawyers to be patient, compassionate, and willing to go above and beyond to accommodate clients’ trauma.

There are a number of ways your attorney can adapt the environment to best suit you as well. For instance, you can meet in quiet, private settings. If you’d feel better having multiple shorter meetings instead of one long meeting, they can try to accommodate that. For many people, predictability helps. If that’s the case for you, meetings can be held at the same times and/or on the same days. You can discuss options and see what makes you feel most comfortable.

Avoiding Potential Triggers

Personal injury lawyers, especially those with a lot of experience, are familiar with the signs of trauma. And they should know how to avoid further exasperating you. Due to the many unique factors that come with these cases, they will come to you with the education needed to handle it.

Another way your attorney keeps you safe is by protecting you in potentially triggering situations. They are experts at handling the difficult conversations that can bring back traumatic memories of the accident. Interacting with those responsible for your injury is too emotional and upsetting to go through on your own. And negotiations with insurance companies can be incredibly stressful. Your attorney has the knowledge, experience, and skills to be a great negotiator. A client doesn’t necessarily have that expertise and should not be expected to.

Supporting Client Throughout Process

After a traumatic event, it’s understandable that you’d need to focus on healing instead of immediately thinking about your financial situation. But the financial stress, from medical costs to how long you may be out of work, can really take a toll. That’s why it’s so important to have a personal injury lawyer looking out for your financial well-being. They will help to make sure that you receive a sufficient amount. Without a lawyer, you may wind up receiving little to nothing.

A personal injury lawyer will also serve as a great source of support. In addition to fighting for your right to compensation, they’re also there to listen. The confidentiality agreement can help people feel more at ease to open up about their feelings and lingering trauma. Effective communication is a core value of personal injury lawyers.

While trust and communication with a lawyer can greatly help, they are also not the only people you should consult. Your lawyer should also have a number of references for psychologists, psychiatrists, specialists, counselors, and more. These resources will further aid your recovery.

Filing a Claim

When you’re injured in an accident, it’s best to gather as much evidence for your claim as possible. However, this is understandably another step that can be traumatic to handle on your own. Your attorney can work to confirm your claims and find more evidence to support them. In fact, they often have ways of collecting significant evidence that you would not have access to, such as police reports and surveillance.

Without a lawyer, even just filing the initial personal injury report can be very difficult. The expertise your personal injury lawyer has means they’ll provide you with excellent advice along the way. Their experience will be helpful for analyzing your case, determining the best steps to take, and predicting potential outcomes. This takes a lot of stress off your shoulders.

At the same time, they will still leave decisions up to you. A lawyer is there to help you, not steamroll your wishes. And they know the balance between sheltering you from triggering situations and making sure your voice is heard.

Preparing Client for the Case

If necessary, your lawyer will thoroughly prepare you for a deposition. When clients experience trauma, it can sometimes affect memory. And one of the trauma responses is to suddenly shut down. So, ahead of time, you can put your side of the story together. And you can go over it as many times as you need to remember which important details you want to include.

Lawyers know that going to trial could hurt and trigger a traumatized individual. That’s why they will go above and beyond to avoid a trial in your case. If you do end up needing to appear in court, your lawyer will make sure to extensively prepare, protect, and support you. Preparation can include role-playing and thoroughly going over the whole process as many times as necessary. Sometimes, your lawyer can give you an idea of the type of questions you will be asked so you won’t feel blindsided. Usually, knowing what to expect will help ease your nerves. They will also be aware of the behaviors that stem from trauma and can explain them to the judge and jury as needed.

To find out more, don’t hesitate to reach out to the professionals at Warren Allen. We have been providing excellent service to the Portland and Pacific Northwest area for five decades. The extensive experience and expertise of our staff will be incredibly beneficial. You can find more information about our personal injury law services on our website. You can contact us via the website as well.

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5 Reasons Having a Personal Injury Lawyer Is Important

If you’ve experienced an accident that has resulted in an injury to yourself or a loved one, obtaining fair compensation may be critical for the recovery process. Though recovery is the primary concern, it can be costly. The added financial stress of medical bills, repairs, and work missed can be overwhelming. Additionally, the insurance company may try to minimize the amount of compensation you receive.

Rather than settling a claim on your own, you may want to hire a personal injury lawyer to be your advocate. Legal representation can be extremely beneficial when attempting compensation, helping to ease the financial and emotional burden so you can focus on getting better faster. Below are just a few of the reasons it’s important to have good legal representation.

1. Prevents Errors

Personal injury claims are contingent upon getting the facts straight. Though the accident’s details may seem straightforward, it’s easy to miscommunicate the facts or make small errors. In a system where your best interests aren’t always the priority, something you say can be turned against you. Even if you have done a diligent job of keeping records and documenting the injury, symptoms, or proof of damage, a simple mistake such as a paperwork error or a missed deadline can cost you the case.

A personal injury lawyer equipped with the knowledge of how these claims work can protect you and your case from simple errors. Keeping track of all the details can be complicated, especially when managing your own recovery with doctors’ appointments and any insurance claims also involving damage to property, such as your car or house. Good legal representation will keep track of what you need when you need it, presenting your case in the best way possible. This will better ensure fair and full compensation.

2. Protects Against Insurance Companies Trying to Withhold Money

Though there are good insurance companies, most are businesses that will have their own interests in mind. When it comes to providing compensation, an insurance company may try to minimize how much you receive. There are insurance laws that regulate these companies, but they will also have a team of attorneys representing them that will understand these laws and how to use them in their favor or find possible loopholes. It’s important to have representation on your side who also understands these laws and can protect you from losing out on money you may be entitled to.

3. Evaluates Damage Accurately

Evaluating damage properly is twofold: whose fault is it and how much damage was sustained? It’s important to identify fault. Establishing that the accident isn’t your fault and having the proof to back these claims will help your case establish liability. A good personal injury lawyer will eliminate any doubt of how these injuries occurred and who the responsibilities lie with. They will also help compile the evidence needed to document the extent of the injury and any damage to property.

However, the full damage may not be limited to visible damage. Depending on state laws, some claims may entitle you to pain and suffering compensation or loss of consortium. A good personal injury lawyer can better assess the extent of damage in addition to reimbursement of medical bills and have a better understanding of what your claim is actually worth.

If you have experienced an accident and need advice on what your claim is worth, contact the expert team at Warren Allen LLP. We are here to help you deal with the aftermath of an accident and provide solid legal representation and advice to help you receive compensation. Contact our firm today so you can learn what your options are for the best resolution possible.

4. Manages Claim Details

Personal injury claims can be quite complex. Each state has different laws and different rules you must comply with. There are required documents and paperwork and deadlines to be met, and your claim must be substantiated with strong evidence. With obtaining all the documents, filling out the paperwork, acquiring proper evidence, following protocol properly, and meeting all your deadlines, this can be a lot to manage. Not to mention balancing all of this with continuing your recovery and any emotional damage sustained as well. Legal representation will manage your case so you can focus on getting better, without the risk of compromising your claim or the payout you receive.

A skilled attorney will have the knowledge of what you need to build your case so you can have the best possible outcome. This could include accident reports, eyewitness statements, photographs, medical records, insurance information, and financial records.

Legal representation will also understand the procedures you must follow. Do you have to schedule a damage inspection? What paperwork do you need? Is there a statute of limitation? Which state you live in will determine the maximum amount of time a person has from the date of injury to when they file their claim. An attorney will help you meet deadlines and follow proper procedures so you don’t miss out on potential compensation.

5. Help Prepare You for Deposition

You may be required to give a deposition. If you’re unprepared, this can be intimidating. A deposition is a sworn, out-of-court testimony of a witness involved in a civil lawsuit. Though it may seem simple enough to give an honest account of the accident and how the injuries were obtained, it can be difficult to recall these events later with accuracy and detail.

A personal injury lawyer will help you gather the facts and compile a clear and accurate account of what you remember. They will also make sure that it’s as comprehensive as possible. If you’re nervous, you will be able to practice with your attorney until you feel confident you can retell the events with accuracy, clarity, and honesty.

This is a difficult time in your life, and it can be emotionally and financially draining. Having an experienced attorney is important because they will focus on the details of helping you win your claim so you can focus on your health, making recovery your top priority.

 

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What Do Probate Lawyers Do?

One of the most loving actions a person can take while alive is to give time and careful thought to estate planning. This planning can ensure your assets are passed on as you want them to be and taxed as little as possible, making the decisions after death much easier and simpler for a grieving family. Even with careful planning, questions can still arise after your loved one dies, and it can be necessary to have a probate lawyer help you through the process of settling an estate.

When considering Portland probate lawyers, education, background, and experience are critical. Warren Allen LLP is a full-service local firm with a long history of deep community roots and exceptional client service. Our lawyers have the professional credentials and depth of experience to help you know your rights and responsibilities in the probate process.

At this point, you might be asking if you even need a probate lawyer. In this article, we’ll walk through what probate is, what a probate lawyer is, and what they do. Understanding their important role in how an estate is settled can help you make the best decisions for you and your loved ones’ future.

What Is Probate?

If someone dies owning property, the question of who will own the property next needs to be answered. Probate is the legal process of determining the person or people who will own the property after the decedent, the person who died, assessing assets, debts, and taxes, and distributing what’s left to beneficiaries. This can also be a lengthy process lasting from a few months to over a year. Statutes guiding the process may vary from state to state.

What Is a Probate Lawyer?

A qualified probate lawyer in Portland is an attorney who specializes in estate law to assist clients in all matters related to property, inheritance, and estate planning while still alive and to help administer or oversee the estate after death. A qualified probate lawyer should have successfully accomplished an undergraduate degree and a Juris Doctor, or law degree, from an accredited law school. They also need to have passed the bar exam to practice law in their state. Depending on the state, additional certifications could be needed. Not every lawyer specializes in probate, so understanding a lawyer’s background and experience can help you make the best decision for you and your loved ones.

When Is a Probate Lawyer Needed?

A Portland probate lawyer is needed when an executor or personal representative decides they need legal support to successfully administer the estate they’re entrusted with and avoid any liability should mistakes happen in the process. In many cases, it comes down to personal comfort level. Generally, the more complicated the estate, the more likely a probate lawyer could be necessary. Establishing a probate lawyer as part of your estate planning can make this decision easier. The probate lawyer could be the same lawyer who helped with the estate planning.

It’s possible to act as executor without an attorney, but it does take time, attention to detail, and organization. Executors often have their own full lives to manage in addition to settling the estate. While some estates can be settled without issue, it can be helpful to have additional support during a stressful time to take away guesswork or simplify complicated processes.

Additionally, if the estate is quite large or the debts exceed the value of the estate, a probate lawyer could be necessary to sort out the priorities and obligations. A Portland probate lawyer could also be needed when someone dies without a will and interested parties want their interests represented through the court-supervised probate proceeding.

What Does a Probate Lawyer Do When There Is a Will?

The simplest situation is when the decedent leaves a will that can be authenticated and is uncontested. When this happens, an estate may not need a court-supervised probate proceeding to be settled, and a probate lawyer can help you understand if this is the case. Their work can also look like a consultation, where they only help the executor understand legal definitions and deadlines or answer questions when unexpected issues arise.

In other circumstances, the probate lawyer could provide comprehensive services that provide support at every step of the process, from filing death certificates to the final distribution of assets to heirs or beneficiaries. Should conflicts arise between parties, the probate lawyer could be critical to mediating and resolving issues. A probate lawyer could also interact with the probate court when court permission is needed for various actions.

Here is a list of some of the most common things probate lawyers do:

  • Locate and secure assets such as insurance or retirement plans
  • Appraise and sell estate property, including real estate
  • Retitle for heirs or beneficiaries if the property isn’t sold
  • Communicate with creditors and settle debts
  • Determine final income tax returns and file
  • Understand potential state or federal estate taxes or inheritance taxes
  • Oversee the distribution of assets to heirs and beneficiaries
  • Validate or dismiss claims against the estate
  • Interact with probate court when necessary
  • Manage the flow of paperwork and deadlines
  • Mediate conflict between interested parties

What Does a Probate Lawyer Do When There Is No Will?

If the decedent died intestate, meaning they did not have a will or trust, the state statutes will determine how the estate is settled through the probate process. States have laws that govern intestate succession, or how assets are distributed in the absence of a will. Certain assets, such as insurance or a 401(k), will likely have a beneficiary named and will pass directly to the named beneficiary.

For assets that don’t have an established direct line of succession, concerned parties might benefit from a probate lawyer as they navigate the probate proceedings that determine the appointment of a personal representative or estate administrator, learn the legal heirs, and understand how the assets, debts, and taxes will be settled. Even when there’s no will, a Portland probate lawyer will still do many, if not all, of the actions in the list above.

 

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5 Questions to Ask When Choosing Personal Injury Attorneys in Portland Oregon

Most of us hope that we’ll never have reason to hire a personal injury attorney in our lives. By definition, you only need the services of a PI attorney when something has gone wrong and you (or someone you love) has suffered an injury or even death. However, not wanting to ever have to hire an attorney to represent you when seeking compensation for injury doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t prepare for the possibility.

Here are some questions that you should ask when looking for personal injury attorneys in Portland, Oregon—or, really, anywhere.

What Does a Personal Injury Attorney Do?

Before you know what questions you should ask a hypothetical PI attorney in the Portland, OR, area, you should know what the purpose of a personal injury attorney is.

An attorney who specializes in matters of personal injury is an attorney who will help people who have suffered a wrong or an injury, typically in an accident of some kind. Given that medical expenses in the United States can often be dire, one of the most critical purposes of a personal injury lawyer is helping you recoup money that will help you pay these bills—so that you aren’t staring down the barrel of medical bankruptcy at a time when you should be focused on healing. The damages you and your attorney will seek can also go toward covering living expenses while off work, and so on.

Whether in Portland, Oregon, or elsewhere, personal injury attorneys will:

  • Explain your rights. The best lawyers will give an honest assessment of your case as they understand it. What rights do you have that might have been violated? Alternatively, were you doing anything at the time that might make seeking damages more difficult?
  • Assess and investigate the incident. Some law firms specializing in personal injury may carry out their own investigations of an accident, hiring professional investigators to do things like interview witnesses, take photos of the scene, and other activities to document what happened to you. Your attorney and their staff want to make sure they have a full understanding of the events that transpired.
  • Advise you as to how to proceed. The legal system can be a tricky, arcane beast even when you aren’t recovering from injury. It’s often tremendous help to have an objective voice that can give professional, experienced advice as to how you should proceed and what steps will make it more or less likely for you to receive the damages you deserve.
  • Represent you in court. The majority of personal injury claims are settled long before anyone ever steps into a courtroom, but should that step occur, you’ll be well served by having experienced legal counsel to handle the case for you. A trial requires expert knowledge not just of the law, but also of how it is applied—and how to argue it—and that’s why you want a seasoned personal injury attorney to argue your case, whether in a Portland courtroom or anywhere else.

Now that we know the role a personal injury attorney typically holds, what should you look for and what should you ask when you hire one?

5 Questions to Ask a Prospective Personal Injury Attorney

Hiring a personal injury attorney isn’t like hiring a painter or a web design firm, where if the result is subpar, you’re only out time and money and can easily try again. Many times, your first attempt to recover damages over an injury is the only attempt you get; judges frown on repeated attempts to file lawsuits over the same offense. (Setting aside appeals, but we’ll get to that later).

Because of this, you need to make sure your personal injury firm is the best in the business at what they do. Always ask at least these questions, and do your research to get to know the law firm and its staff.

1. Have You Handled Cases Like This Before?

The most brilliant attorney in Portland today might be a fresh-faced young lawyer hot off the bar exam, but that’s not a smart gamble to take. Even veteran attorneys might be fishes out of water when faced with a case that isn’t quite their expertise. Would you trust even an accomplished podiatrist with your eye surgery? Of course you wouldn’t.

Ask your prospective attorney whether they’ve represented clients like you before—and what the outcomes were. If the law firm has handled dozens of cases like yours but hasn’t won any, that might mean you should keep looking.

2. What Do You Think the Outcome Will Be?

On the other hand, a losing record might indicate that cases like yours rarely succeed. Lawyers aren’t psychics or fortune-tellers, but they do understand the law, and when you lay out the facts, they can often give an honest prognostication of where they think this case might go. This isn’t an ironclad guarantee, of course, but it might help you decide your next steps. For instance, if the attorney says you’ll be more likely to see money in arbitration, rather than in a courtroom, you can pursue that avenue.

3. How Will the Billing Be Handled? What Fees Do You Have?

Outside of pro bono lawyers—who may handle your case in certain circumstances—your attorney and their firm will, of course, expect to be paid for their hard work. It’s important to understand the fees that your representation will be seeking and to understand how and when they expect to be paid. Nobody likes talking about money, but it’s critical to ensure you’re all on the same page.

4. What Work Will You Need from Me?

When you sign the contract to officially hire a personal injury attorney, sometimes your work is done and you can leave it all up to your law firm. Other times, the attorney will need you to provide documents, other information, or anything else they can use to build your case. However, most of them will probably tell you not to do any work, like talking to witnesses, on your own—that can backfire.

5. What’s the Strategy for an Appeal?

If you lose a case, you’re usually allowed to appeal it to a higher court. (As are the defendants if the court rules in your favor). It’s important that you assess how prepared a law firm and its attorneys are when it comes to appellate courts. Ideally, you’ll win the case at the first level, but planning ahead is never a bad thing.

These are just some of the many questions you should ask a personal injury attorney when looking for representation in Portland or around Oregon—or the country. You should always consult multiple potential attorneys to ensure that you have the right personal injury firm to represent your case.

To find top-notch representation in the Portland area or for legal consultation, contact Warren Allen.

 

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What to Bring When You Meet Your Personal Injury Attorney

Experiencing an accident resulting in personal injury or in the injury of a loved one is stressful enough, without the added stress of having to learn how to proceed with a personal injury case. If you’re trying to receive compensation from an accident, legal representation can be a beneficial asset. Though this can initially feel overwhelming, getting all your proper documentation in order before meeting with your attorney can help streamline the entire process and minimize unnecessary stress. Equipped with the proper documents, they can best assist you and your case so you can focus on getting better.

But what documents do you need? To make the process more manageable, listed below are helpful documents to bring when meeting with your personal injury attorney for the first time.

Medical Records

Medical records pertaining to injuries sustained during the accident and any treatment received are critical information for a personal injury case. This documentation provides a record of the severity of the injury and how much treatment was required, as well as proof of treatment corresponding with the date of the accident. This information is foundational in establishing that the injury is real and required medical treatment and that the treatment is directly related to the accident.

Bring any bills or doctor’s notes, as well as any photographs. If you’re uncertain if it’s relevant, bring it anyway. It’s best to have comprehensive documentation. Bring any relevant paperwork received from visits to the hospital, doctor’s office, physical therapist, or specialist.

Witness Contact Information

After you have been in an accident, it’s important to get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident and is willing to provide their information. Make a record of their full name, address, and phone number. If there are any written statements involved, bring copies of those as well. If you don’t have any statements, the contact information will help your personal injury attorney obtain any necessary statements.

Accident Report

If you were in an accident caused by another person, filing a police report is helpful in establishing who is at fault. The accident will be on record and the police may investigate if necessary. Both parties’ claims will be on record in detail as well as a description of the scene. If you have any photos from the scene, including photos of your injury or damage to your property, bring them as well. Both the accident report and any relevant photos taken will be an aid to verifying your claim.

Insurance Information

You will also want to report your injury or accident to your insurance provider. Keep records of any correspondence with your provider. Make copies of emails exchanged and make notes of phone conversations, including dates and with whom you spoke. If another party is at fault, you will need their insurance information as well.

When meeting with your attorney, make sure to bring copies of your insurance policy. If you were in a car accident, you’ll need to include a copy of your automobile insurance policy.

Financial Records

Make sure to keep records of any costs you have incurred as a result of your injury and any other related damage. This means saving receipts for medical bills or repairs for damaged property. If you had to buy any goods or services because of your injury, keep the receipts. If you had anything fixed because of an accident, keep those receipts as well.

You should also keep track of lost wages. If you lost any time from work due to your injury, bring documents that show what dates you missed and the pay lost from missed work. These could include pay stubs, payroll documents, or your W-2 form. Make sure to keep a log of any dates you missed from work, even if you can’t find supporting paperwork.

Personal Account

In addition to official documents, it’s helpful to keep a written journal detailing the events related to your injury and any other pertinent information. Keep records of your injuries and any damage through writings and photos. It may be helpful to get a notebook dedicated to journaling and detailing injuries, damage, symptoms you’re experiencing, as well as your experiences.

A key element to include in your personal recordings is a timeline of events. It’s easy to forget details or get the order of events mixed up, especially as time passes. Writing down your personal account will help you remember the details of what happened: when it took place, the order of events, what and how it happened. This will not only help you remember what happened, but it will also help you present the important facts of your case to your personal injury attorney.

Additional Information

Other important information to include in your personal account are the names, addresses, and numbers of services obtained or other parties involved. This can include the ambulance service, emergency room, business addresses and names of doctors or specialists who treated you, witnesses, insurance adjusters you spoke with, other people involved in the accident, and anyone else you spoke to about the injury or accident. Make sure to include the dates you were admitted to the hospital or emergency room and dates of work missed.

If you have any questions or need advice, contact our expert team at Warren Allen LLP. Our firm offers legal representation as well as advice for anyone who has been affected by an accident. We will help you to receive compensation and the best resolution possible. If you don’t have legal representation, an insurance company may attempt to minimize the amount you receive. Contact our firm today and find the representation and advice you need, as well as the best options available to you.

Personal injury because of an accident can be scary and overwhelming without proper support and help. However, the right tools and people in your corner can mitigate the entire process. Equipped with the proper documents and a skilled attorney, you can better obtain proper compensation with peace of mind during this trying time.

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What Are the Types of Power of Attorney?

Power of attorney is a legal document that gives one person the power to represent or act on behalf of another person in business, private affairs, or any other legal matter. For instance, it can be used to allow one person to sign a contract for someone else, make financial transactions, make health care decisions, and so on. In fact, a power of attorney may be the most important of all the legal documents there are. Because of this, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly and should be discussed and researched first by all parties involved.

The person who is giving the power to another person is referred to as the principal, grantor, or donor. The person receiving the power is referred to as an agent or attorney-in-fact. The agent is able to make the power of attorney very broad or can limit it to just certain acts. There are four different types of power of attorney for you to choose from—special or limited power of attorney, general power of attorney, durable power of attorney, and springing durable power of attorney.

1. Special or Limited Power of Attorney

If you don’t want to give someone the ability to act on behalf of all of your rights, a special or limited power of attorney is likely what you want to choose. It gives the agent the power to act for you in only a very specific, limited purpose. There will be a specified time in the document when the power of attorney privileges end.

Common uses of a special or limited power of attorney include granting the agent the ability to sell a home or other real estate, sign a deed on behalf of the principal, or cash checks payable in the principal’s name.

2. General Power of Attorney

As the name suggests, this is the broadest level of power of attorney, and it’s quite comprehensive. With a general power of attorney in Oregon, the agent can act entirely on behalf of the principal. Any rights the grantor has are now shared with the agent. This means that the agent can manage the principal’s personal finances, including opening accounts and signing for them. The agent is also able to file lawsuits, make financial investments, manage the business, apply for benefits, collect debts, cash checks, and purchase or sell things all on behalf of the principal.

To revoke a general power of attorney arrangement, the principal needs to legally take it away, become incapacitated, or pass away.

3. Durable Power of Attorney

Whereas a general power of attorney is revoked when a principal becomes incapacitated, a durable power of attorney endures. This means that you should assign someone as a durable power of attorney in Oregon when you want to give them authority only if you’re not able to act on behalf of yourself or if you want to give them an immediate authority that will continue after you become incapacitated. This form of power of attorney can be limited or general in scope. A durable power of attorney in Oregon will remain in place until the principal’s passing or if they revoked it before becoming incapacitated.

A common reason people choose a durable power of attorney in Oregon is if they have been diagnosed with a disease such as Alzheimer’s. By choosing a durable power of attorney, you’re making sure that there is someone who can begin to act on your behalf or continue to act on your behalf when the disease progresses to a level where you’re no longer able to act on your own.

If you don’t assign a durable power of attorney and become incapacitated, a court will have to appoint a guardian or conservator for you, which is why it’s good to assign a durable power of attorney sooner rather than later.

4. Springing Durable Power of Attorney

As you may be able to tell from the name, this form of power of attorney is similar to a durable power of attorney, but it only begins once a specified event has happened where the principal has become incapacitated. Because of this, it’s very important that if you choose this type of power of attorney, you are extremely careful in the document to determine the standard for what would trigger the power of attorney to become effective. Both the principal and the agent need to understand what triggers this springing durable power of attorney to begin and make sure that it’s crystal clear in the document so there won’t be any misinterpretation.

Not every state in the US has this type of power of attorney, but there is springing durable power of attorney in Oregon if this is an appropriate option for your situation.

Some Considerations Before Sign the Paperwork

Becoming involved in a power of attorney privilege is an important decision and responsibility for both parties. If you’re the principal, you’re allowing someone else to act on behalf of you. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the different types of power of attorney first to ensure you’re choosing the type that’s correct for you and will benefit you the most. It’s also important that you assign a power of attorney prior to becoming incapacitated.

If you’re considering naming a power of attorney in Oregon, at Warren Allen LLP, we’re here for you. We’ve been serving Portland and the Pacific Northwest since 1971 and have a thorough understanding of power of attorney. Please feel free to reach out to us. We’re happy to discuss the topic further with you and hear about your needs. We can then help to assess your situation and provide you with a recommendation as to which power of attorney we would recommend for you. We understand that this is a big decision to make, and we’re here to guide you through the process and make it a bit easier.

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What Constitutes a Personal Injury?

Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with a personal injury case. However, you could get caught in an accident and need help navigating how to handle it. That’s where our experienced team at Warren Allen LLP can help. It’s always good to be careful, but when something blindsides you, our representatives are here to get you the compensation you need.

A personal injury case begins when you experience an accident that results in you being injured or in the death of a loved one. So, what constitutes a personal injury?

Here are four facts about personal injury cases to help you get started.

1. Personal Injury Is Not the Same as Bodily Injury

The terms personal injury and bodily injury are sometimes used interchangeably, but they have two different meanings. If you have a personal injury lawsuit, that means you’re a plaintiff looking for compensation because you’re a victim of an accident or a social wrong (as in a defamation of character case). The defendant is the person you’re suing for compensation from. Their negligence caused an injury to you.

For instance, consider a situation where the manager of a store fails to fix a loose railing for the stairs and doesn’t post any signs about it to warn people against using it. While in the store, you use the railing, fall down the stairs, and break your leg. In this case, you can ask for compensation for your medical bills and lost wages while you recuperate.

If you have a bodily injury case, it’s most likely in the context of a car accident. If you sustained bodily injury in a car accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay out compensation to you, whether you’re a pedestrian, another driver, or a passenger in another car. This compensation can be for out-of-pocket medical expenses, treatment procedures (such as x-rays, specialist doctor’s visits, and physical therapy), and transport to the hospital. Other plaintiffs have been known to receive compensation for pain and suffering, but this tends to be rare in bodily injury cases, as insurance companies typically pay out for physical injuries.

2. It’s All About Negligence

Remember the example of the stairway railing? Imagine instead that there had been a prominent sign posted stating not to use the railing or that the railing was going to be fixed soon. If you still used the railing, fell, and broke your leg, you probably wouldn’t have much of a case because the store was not being negligent.

In a personal injury case, you also need to prove that there was negligence on behalf of that company. This railing example would be known as a premises liability lawsuit and can be filed against the person or entity in control of those premises. Personal injury claims come up frequently in cases where there are defective products, professional malpractice, or abuse as a result of nursing home negligence. The most common personal injury cases tend to be car accidents, product liability, dog bites, and slip and fall accidents.

3. Compensation for a Personal Injury Claim

There are two kinds of compensation you can expect from your personal injury claim: economic and non-economic.

Economic compensation is what most of us think of when we think of compensation: money to pay for our actual losses, that is, medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages.

Non-economic compensation is a little different. You’re still being paid money, but it’s to compensate for the damages of pain and suffering, which may not have a monetary value. Some states have a set “cap” for these pain and suffering cases, so you cannot win more than that set amount for your case.

An example of a pain and suffering case would be a medical malpractice claim, such as if a doctor failed to diagnose or misdiagnosed your symptoms. They could have also misread or ignored laboratory results or failed to order the proper tests (or failed to order tests at all). This is negligence on their part and is a violation of the standard of care. In this case, however, it’s not enough to have suffered the malpractice. You also must show that you were injured due to their negligence or that your injury resulted in significant damages.

4. What Is the First Thing I Should Do After an Accident?

The order of operations is important, and you should make sure to have all your ducks in a row. This makes everything move a lot faster (having all of your information ready to go may also lend you a little more credibility) and will get you your compensation faster.
After an accident, make sure to gather information for the other people involved. Gather names, phone numbers, and addresses for the people who injured you and for any witnesses. Keep a careful record of your symptoms, injuries, doctors’ visits, payments you’ve made, wages you’ve lost, and other information that seems important. Take pictures of the space, of the vehicles, and of your injuries, and write everything down as well. Include medical treatments that are recommended for you by medical experts and how much those treatments cost.

Representation

Individuals can represent themselves in cases like this, but it’s not really recommended. Besides, you’re still recovering from an accident that’s probably sapping your energy and causing anxiety. It may cost some money to hire a personal injury lawyer, but having a professional in your corner who knows what they’re doing, who can investigate your claim, who knows your rights, who can speak with your insurance company, and who can argue your case in court will give you great peace of mind. You’ll feel a lot better than if you were trying to handle it yourself.

The more information you can assemble about your situation, the easier it will be for one of our personal injury lawyers to argue your case and help you with your recovery, both mentally and physically. A good personal injury lawyer will also know which questions to ask and how to further investigate and gather other evidence to help your claim, such as gathering surveillance camera footage, finding additional witnesses, and obtaining police reports.

If you’ve been in an accident, the Warren Allen team can help you get back on your feet as soon as possible. Insurance companies will try to minimize the payments you receive, but we’ll fight for your fair compensation after an accident or injury. Contact us today.

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