Category: Personal Injury

What Is the Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer in a Claim?

What Is the Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer in a Claim?

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to someone’s negligence, you need a personal injury lawyer to represent you should you decide you initiate legal action. Instead of engaging a general practitioner, having a specialized lawyer who is an expert in handling matters relating to the negligence of a third party can make a difference to the outcome of your case.

If you’re wondering about the specific role of a personal injury lawyer in such matters, here’s what you need to know:

Gathering Evidence

Gathering the right evidence is central to the success of your claim. The law has strict requirements about what can be accepted as evidence. Any oversight at this stage can completely change the outcome of your case.

A personal injury lawyer is trained to understand the fine print of the law and ascertain the type of evidence needed to raise a claim successfully. Physical evidence, medical reports, photographs, and witness and expert statements are all critical to establishing your case. Moreover, if not preserved or photographed properly, physical evidence can get destroyed within a few hours or days after the incident.

This is where a personal injury lawyer can help, as they ensure the evidence is gathered properly. They also make sure all witness and expert statements are recorded, as per the requirements of law.

Evaluating the Merit of Your Case

Until the case is settled or heard and decided by a jury, no one can guarantee the outcome. But it’s of no use to pursue legal remedies if the outcome is destined to go against you. A personal injury lawyer will evaluate your case by considering all aspects of your claim and tell you what your chances of success are. Moreover, it works in their favor to do an initial assessment since most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee model.
Since they are familiar with the burden of proof, it’s their responsibility to tell you whether it will be too difficult to meet the requirements. And this examination goes beyond simply looking at the immediate facts of the case. Personal injury lawyers look at the entire incident comprehensively to determine how it has changed your life.

Help Negotiate a Settlement

Often, cases can be settled to achieve the best outcome. In fact, trials are riskier, expensive, and may go against you even if the odds are in your favor.
As an aggrieved party, you may hardly be in a position to negotiate with the party at fault. Even if you do it on your own, you may end up overlooking critical aspects of the case and negotiating a much lower amount than you deserve.
Luckily, that’s one of the advantages of getting a personal injury lawyer on board, as they can negotiate on your behalf. Armed with knowledge and years of experience, a lawyer knows the ins and outs of dealing with all other parties to ensure that you get a fair outcome.
Preparing Arguments
If your case is going to trial, you will need solid arguments. Even a single misstep here can impact the outcome of your case. A personal injury lawyer knows how to draft the pleadings based on tested strategies that appeal to the audience. They know how to present their arguments persuasively and succinctly so that both judge and jury are likely to rule in your favor. They also manage the finer details of the pleadings, such as using the correct format and filing the motion on time.

Preparing Deposition Strategies

The examination of witnesses, claimants, or defendants plays a pivotal role in your claim. How each participant narrates the events leading to the injury you have suffered is essential to making your case to the jury and judge. But in the absence of thorough preparation of plaintiffs and their witnesses, there is a chance that the case may get dismissed on summary judgment.
A personal injury lawyer helps their clients craft a compelling story and present it clearly and so the weaknesses aren’t highlighted. They also work out how to depose the defendants during cross-examination and poke holes in their statements to strengthen your case.

Negotiating With Insurance Companies and Sending Demand Letters

Insurance companies are key stakeholders in most personal injury claims, and dealing with them is often challenging. Personal injury lawyers are experts when it comes to negotiating with insurance companies. Not only do they go over the details of the policy statement to determine the exact compensation available, but they can also ensure regular communication with the insurer to avoid any untoward circumstances where the claim gets rejected or jeopardized.
A personal injury lawyer may also send demand letters to the insurer detailing the facts and the estimate of the claim amount payable on account of the injury. In fact, they also ensure that the insurance companies pay up the maximum amount possible following the policy terms, as insurers attempt to find loopholes in the claim to reduce their liability.

Are you looking for a personal injury lawyer to give you solid legal advice?

Now that you’re familiar with the role of a personal injury lawyer, make sure to approach one if you or a loved one has experienced an accident that has resulted in injury or even death. Suitable legal representation can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer in Portland and Pacific Northwest, reach out to Warren Allen LLP. Our attorneys are licensed to practice in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho courts and can help you litigate your personal injury claims successfully. Contact us to learn more.

Your Portland Attorneys Should Be Experts in What You Need

Your Portland Attorneys Should Be Experts in What You Need

When selecting a Portland attorney to represent your interests, it’s important to choose someone who can meet your specific legal needs. Having just any attorney isn’t enough. You need an attorney who has expertise and experience in the field in which your case falls. In short, you want to hire a personal injury attorney to manage your car accident case or a family law attorney to handle your divorce.
When faced with legal problems, many people run to the first lawyer they can contact, hoping to solve the problem quickly and cheaply. This puts them at risk of overlooking quality advice from expert attorneys, and they can end up with complicated cases, wasted time, lost cases, and hefty legal fees.
You can easily avoid this if you keep one thing in mind: your Portland attorney should be an expert in what you need.
Law is an extensive practice with many technicalities, some of which are under constant change or review. You should, therefore, not expect a general legal practitioner to grasp the essentials of all branches of law fully. By selecting an attorney who specializes in what you need, you can better ensure your case is handled properly.

The Necessity of Specialization

When in need of legal representation, you have three options:

  1. You can go it by yourself.
  2. You can go with an attorney who has legal experience but in another field or as a general practice attorney. They may have dabbled in the law you require, and they understand the constructs, but they’re limited in their knowledge.
  3. You can choose to go with an attorney who is experienced and knows the ins and outs of the relevant legal field. This expert has worked in the field for years, has handled many different cases, and is prepared to deal with all circumstances.

Advanced societies thrive on expertise. This is reflected everywhere, from medicine to business to the justice system and beyond. Law is interwoven into every aspect of our society to provide justice and order.
It’s likely that, at some point, you will need to contact a Portland attorney for specific legal services, whether it’s for an injury, estate planning, or other areas. Every field of law has its own terminology, evidentiary requirements, procedures, and so forth. A legal practitioner who specializes in another field may know the basic legal implications involved, but they won’t necessarily understand the finer points of the process. That comes with training and experience. This could ultimately hurt the results of your case.
Clearly, of the options above, the best is number three. It helps to have an expert Portland attorney with a wealth of experience who engages actively with the field of law that fits your case. Let’s take a closer look at why this is your best choice.

1. The Technicalities of Law

This is why experts dominate over other professionals in the legal field. Law is a broad body of knowledge, and the better educated an attorney is in a particular area of law, the stronger the case they can make for their client. Knowledge of the technicalities of law does not come from general study. It takes years of practice to establish oneself as an expert in any area of law. During this time, the attorney gathers a wealth of knowledge, from both within and outside the field, that they can continually apply to new cases.

2. Speed

The longer an attorney spends practicing, the easier it is for them to handle new and more significant cases. Complications that could arise from a case are anticipated and dealt with even before there is a need to go to court. Unlike a general attorney, an expert does not have to take a refresher course to prepare for your case, as they are constantly engaging with that particular field of law.
In fact, often, general legal practitioners would still request the services of an expert attorney. Cut out the middleman and reduce costs by choosing a qualified expert Portland attorney for your case.

3. Legal Advice

Expert Portland attorneys are adept at providing the information needed to make your case. They can tell you what you need to gather or overlook; sometimes, it can be the smallest of details that you may consider insignificant. Because they are constantly working in their field, they have seen details from previous cases that could either make or destroy a case. They can point out areas where you need redress and weed out anything that would make your case appear weak. Non-experts do not have that level of knowledge and can mishandle your case by missing small but otherwise significant details in a case.

4. Command of Power

Expert attorneys command respect because of the record of expertise behind their names. Communication written by an expert Portland attorney carries more weight than one from a general legal practitioner, just as a recommendation from a neurosurgeon on brain surgery carries more weight than that of a general medical practitioner. An expert attorney is also easily recognized and more respected in professional circles than general attorneys. Expert attorneys have the benefit of belonging to a network of other expert legal professionals.
Each field of law involves many technicalities. When you choose to use the services of an attorney who has established a record of experience and training concerning the area of law where you need help, you are putting your case in the hands of an expert who can help you get the results you deserve. If you’re looking for a personal injury or family law attorney, look no further than Warren Allen. Within our team, you’ll work with an expert Portland attorney who suits your specific needs. Contact us today.

Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Portland or Handle My Claim Myself?

Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Portland or Handle My Claim Myself?

Life happens, and that includes all kinds of injuries and accidents. An injury or accident could be a small annoyance: maybe your car only needs bodywork to take out some dents after a small collision. It could also be a terrible tragedy, such as if a loved one is killed on a jobsite. These are on opposite sides of the spectrum of personal injury claims: there are many other types of personal injury claims.

You may wonder in the aftermath if it’s worth hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your claim—after all, you’re a smart person, maybe the damage or the injury wasn’t a major disaster and maybe you don’t want to spend the extra money for a lawyer on top of those new medical bills or bills from your mechanic. In some cases, you may be able to handle it all on your own, either through insurance or through small claims court. But we want you to have all the facts to make an informed decision. Here are five things to consider about hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your claim.

1. Insurance Companies Are Complex Systems

Whenever there is a claim—no matter what type of claim it is or the severity of the situation—insurance companies often attempt to minimize the amount you receive. It’s how insurance companies make a profit: by not paying out as much as they could. Personal injury lawyers can help you navigate these waters—we’re more familiar with the verbiage and the loopholes the insurance companies may try to throw at you.

If you have already been offered the maximum insurance settlement possible, you may not need an attorney. For instance, if the person who injured you has an insurance policy worth $100,000, and you are awarded $100,000, you’ll have to have an extremely persuasive reason to go beyond that amount. If that person has assets or money and you feel it’s fair they pay that in addition to the $100,000, you’ll have to have a very good case for it.

2. Oregon Is an At-Fault State

The at-fault system is a more traditional system of filing accident and injury claims. In a nutshell, whoever is at fault in an accident is liable for repairs to vehicles or property, medical costs, and other damages.

Oregon is a little unusual, though, because there are some no-fault provisions (and the system could be argued as a hybrid of no-fault and at-fault—more on this later). In insurance policies for vehicles, for instance, there are built-in no-fault provisions. This means that car insurance providers also provide personal injury protection, which pays for injuries resulting from the ownership, use, or maintenance of a vehicle. Your car insurance policy should automatically have this if your car insurance was bought in Oregon.

3. What’s At Stake?

Managing your own claim and then later hiring a lawyer may complicate things, but you shouldn’t hesitate to get the help you need. Perhaps you feel your claim is easy enough—or low-stakes enough—that you feel comfortable handling it on your own but then decide you’d like assistance later. It’s to your benefit to contact one at this point rather than not at all.

Best practice, even if you’re not sure whether a personal injury lawyer is going to be helpful in your case, is to still contact one and get a consultation. They might be able to give you an idea of what you’re up against or important points you may not have thought about.

If you move forward and handle your own case, you could have a steep learning curve. For instance, you’ll want to be sure you know about the laws in your state. A personal injury attorney in Portland will be more aware of the Oregon Shared Fault Rules. Simply, these rules mean that the other person in your claim may also state that you’re partially at fault for the accident that occurred. Therefore, your share of the money you would have received may be reduced by a certain percentage, based on how much you are found to be at fault.

4. When Should I Contact a Lawyer?

The tipping point might be something small, or it may be the fact that your injuries end up being more major than you first thought. It may be difficult to justify paying the money for a personal injury lawyer, especially if you think your injuries are minor—bruises and scrapes instead of broken bones and time that you can’t work. You should consider, though, that sometimes seemingly minor injuries can turn into major ones. If your injuries are worse than your doctor initially thought but you’ve already received a settlement, that claim is closed and can never be reopened again.
A good lawyer will be able to advise you on whether to wait or move forward until you know the full extent of your injuries. There may also be “pain and suffering” damages involved that you may not be aware of.

Consider also that even if you have a minor injury, it may be difficult to keep a clear mind and be consistent when it comes to reading all the paperwork, doing all the research, or gathering all your materials. Delegating this kind of work to a lawyer will mean all you have to worry about is healing from the injury.

5. Warren Allen Attorneys at Law Is an Experienced Law Firm

It’s likely that, before you had a personal injury claim, you may not have had any kind of experience with the law. The law is always changing, too, and we keep up with each nuance and update. Our firm has been running in the same location since 1971, so whatever type of injury you’re dealing with,  we’ve probably seen it before. Having that precedent and the background for this kind of work, we can help you get the money you need for your peace of mind and recovery. Contact us today for a consultation about your personal injury claim.

Ask These 5 Questions to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Portland

Ask These 5 Questions to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Portland

Hiring a personal injury lawyer, who can best represent your interests in a case that has left you injured due to an accident or negligence of the other party is no easy feat.

You want someone who understands what lies at the heart of the matter so that they can help you get the justice and compensation you rightfully deserve and a market overflowing with lawyers simply adds to the stress of working with a good one. If you are having a tough time finding personal injury lawyers in Portland, Oregon, here are five questions you need to ask to ensure that you are picking someone you won’t regret working with:

1. Have You Tried Similar Cases Before?

Not all personal injury lawyers handle the same types of cases. That’s why it’s important to find out in the beginning whether they have experience with cases similar to yours. Be straightforward and ask them whether they have represented clients who were injured under similar circumstances. For instance, if you were a victim of a slip and fall at a store due to its poor infrastructure, hiring a lawyer who only represents clients involved in car accidents will not be useful.

Having specific experience as opposed to general experience is crucial when you are in the market for a personal injury lawyer because a specialist will know exactly what kind of laws apply to your case and will also have a ready roster of experts and medical professionals whose opinions can help strengthen your case. For example, if you were injured due to a defective product, you will need someone who is well versed with the laws about products liability claims. Also, don’t hesitate to ask how long the lawyer has been practicing personal injury law.

2. How Many Cases Have You Won?

While it’s possible that the opposite party may want to settle with you outside of court—as is often the case—you need to be prepared should the case go to trial. This means you need to know how successful your lawyer has been in winning such cases in the past. Ask about their success rate and also the maximum amount of compensation they have won for their previous clients. Undoubtedly, the experience of your attorney is essential. But unless your chosen lawyer has been successful in the past, it’s probably not worth hiring them. After all, you don’t want to get someone who knows the laws inside out but is unable to convince the jury or judge to decide in your favor.

Ideally, you should work with someone who has successfully negotiated out-of-court settlements and litigated cases to win a favorable jury verdict. If the lawyer is hesitant to share their success rate, they are probably not very good at what they do, which should serve as a potential red flag.

3. How Much Will You Charge for Representing Me?

To cut to the chase—money matters and is an important factor to consider when choosing an attorney to represent you.

Usually, most personal injury lawyers in Portland work on a contingency fee model and charge one-third of the compensation you receive, so the lawyer getting paid is contingent on you winning the case or getting a favorable settlement. However, there are also lawyers who may work on different payment models. It’s common for most litigants to opt for a contingency model, as you don’t have to pay out of pocket until you receive something. And don’t forget to ask about the fees in the event your case is unsuccessful. Will the attorney waive any out-of-pocket costs incurred?

The bottom line is, choose someone who suits your needs the best. Before locking in an attorney, ensure that you understand all the terms and conditions of their fees and the billing cycle.

4. How Many Active Cases Do You Handle at a Time?

What good will hiring an experienced attorney do if they are unable to give your case the attention it deserves?

Bear in mind that the legal system is overburdened, and depending on the complexity of your matter, it can take a while even to file the suit. Moreover, Oregon has a statute of limitations of two years for personal injury matters. It means that you need to file your lawsuit within two years from the time you suffered the injury.

You need to work with someone who has time to file the suit well ahead of the deadline and has enough bandwidth to follow up on your case. You should also ask how many personal injury cases they are currently litigating to get a sense of the time they will be able to devote to your matter.

If you are approaching a law firm to represent you, also make sure to ask who will serve as your contact person. You’ll need someone available to attend your calls and answer any questions you may have about the litigation as quickly as possible.

5. What Is My Claim Worth?

Simply based on facts, an attorney may not be able to give you a definitive amount of your claim. However, based on their experience, they should be able to provide you with a rough estimate. Getting a rough estimate is also helpful should you have insurance companies pushing you to get an out-of-court settlement.

To sum up, you need to pick a personal injury you see yourself getting along with. Your attorney should have your best interests in mind and should be willing to hold your hand through the process. If you are looking for a team of personal injury lawyers in Portland, Oregon, consider choosing Warren Allen LLP.

We have a team whose expertise lies in representing clients in a variety of personal injury suits and providing them solid legal advice. We are committed to getting you the best resolution possible. Get in touch with our firm today to learn more about how we can help you.

Attorney going over legal paperwork with client. Only hands seen along with gavel.

Describe Three Ways to Narrow Down Qualified Personal Injury Lawyers

If you search for lawyers in your local area, your search results will show dozens, if not thousands, of possible contacts. How do you narrow down a list of potential lawyers to determine which ones are qualified? It’s an important question for any type of lawsuit, especially for personal injury cases. Considering how complicated these can be, clients naturally want to know they can trust a lawyer to look out for their best interests. Read on and we’ll describe three ways to narrow down qualified personal injury lawyers.

1. Identify Potential Lawyers

The first way to narrow down qualified lawyers is to come up with a list of potential candidates. You can start by asking friends and family for any referrals. Even if they don’t have relevant experience themselves, they may know someone who went through a similar legal battle as yours. Have them describe why the names they recommend should be on your narrowed-down list of qualified personal injury lawyers.

One very helpful resource to check out is your local bar association. Because this is a personal injury case, you may also want to inquire for recommendations from certain medical professionals.

The internet can also be an incredibly valuable tool. If you’re really starting from scratch, search for attorneys in your area, and then by personal injury specialty. You may also be able to find some qualified options through the news, mailers, radio, or other media.

See if there are any online reviews or testimonials you can find as well. How do others describe their experience with the personal injury lawyers? Do any of the attorneys come across as properly qualified in the descriptions?

And keep an eye out for any negative reviews. If a lawyer sounds too good to be true, there could be an unsatisfied previous client who is trying to warn others.

2. Do Background Research

Once you have a list of candidates, do some research on their backgrounds. This can be described as looking at their education, how long they’ve been practicing, their general reputation, and so forth.

Now, let’s describe some other effective ways to narrow down qualified lawyers with good reputations.

  • Find out how long they have been practicing law, and personal injury law specifically.
  • See if they have earned certain accolades and/or won awards.
  • See if they have published any case studies.
  • Do they have an online bio that lays out their most impressive accomplishments?
  • Can you find any disciplinary actions that involve the individual lawyer? What about the law firm they work for?

While these are some general ways to narrow down qualified lawyers, don’t forget how important the personal injury specialty is. In case the laws change, you want to make sure to choose a lawyer who stays informed of all the latest developments.

Likewise, you should also make sure that the attorneys are as knowledgeable about the medical field as they are about the law.

Furthermore, you should try to make sure they have plenty of experience, not just with medical-related law, but also with your specific type of personal injury case.

3. Talk to the Personal Injury Lawyers

Recommendations and research are highly effective, but another way to narrow down qualified candidates is to talk to the lawyers themselves. This should be done once you’ve narrowed down the list using the two ways above. You don’t want to waste your time by talking to any lawyer in your area. That being said, however, you should be meeting with at least a few candidates. And be sure to come prepared with the necessary paperwork and information. This can include correspondence, medical bills, and any reports.

Ask questions

Make sure that you are asking the right questions. While you’ve ideally done some research ahead of time, you should still ask some of those basic questions to see how the attorney responds. There could be something important that wasn’t found in your online research.

To make sure the attorney is qualified, ask how many personal injury cases they’ve tried. How many of those cases have they won? Ask them about their most recent personal injury case and what the outcome of it was.

You should also be asking questions about your specific case. These can include:

  • What kind of personal injury law experience do you have?
  • Have you handled a similar case before?
  • Do you typically represent individuals or insurance companies?
  • How long do you expect the timeline of this case to be?
  • What would be your strategy for this case?

Discuss fees

These aren’t the only things you should be inquiring about. While some people get nervous discussing payment, it can be imperative to ask about the fees. Here are some of the questions you can ask about fees to narrow down qualified lawyers below:

  • Is the initial consultation free? If not, how much will I be charged?
  • Will I be provided with a list of fees?
  • How many people will be working on this personal injury case? How many different services will be involved? Will there be individual fees for every single one?
  • What is the ballpark anticipated cost overall, fees included?

If the individual you’re speaking to cannot answer these questions or does not provide satisfactory answers, then consider it another way to successfully narrow down your list of qualified lawyers.

The above tips describe three ways to successfully narrow down qualified lawyers, setting you on the path to find one you can fully rely on. But the best way to narrow down qualified personal injury lawyers? Choose one of our experienced, dedicated, and trustworthy attorneys here at Warren Allen LLP. We are sure our attorneys will provide the best legal advice and representation available in the Pacific Northwest, which we’ve served for over 50 years.

You can find more information on Warren Allen LLP, our specialties, and our attorneys on our website. Our blog includes helpful legal tips and expert advice. Have questions for us? Don’t hesitate to reach out. You can find our contact information on this website as well.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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