Category: Personal Injury

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.

 

Young African American woman holding neck with personal injury after car accident.

How Does the Personal Injury Claim Process Work?

If you have experienced a personal injury due to an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Recovering from an injury takes time and can be costly. These hardships can range from monetary loss to physical and emotional pain and suffering. Medical bills, lost wages from missing work, repairs to damaged property—the costs can be overwhelming. However, you may have a right to recouping these losses.

Filing a personal injury claim gives you the opportunity to receive compensation for injuries sustained in an accident. This can be the help you need to recover physically, mentally, and emotionally as well as recover any financial loss. But how does the claim process work? If you live in Oregon and are filing a Portland personal injury claim but are uncertain of how it works, below is a simple breakdown of the process. Understanding how it works can alleviate added stress so you can have peace of mind knowing you are on the road to full recovery.

Seek Medical Treatment

The first step in the claims process is getting necessary medical treatment. If you don’t receive treatment immediately for any injuries sustained, it suggests these injuries were not that serious, and it will be difficult to prove otherwise to an insurance adjuster or jury. It is also the most important step in regard to your own health and recovery. Do not delay treatment because you are worried about how much it will cost or if you can afford it.

Keep careful documentation of treatment received as well as copies of all bills. These records are important to building your case and receiving fair compensation.

Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney

Though it’s possible to file a claim without legal representation, it isn’t advisable for more significant injuries or if you’re receiving opposition from the other party involved. An attorney will fairly represent you and your interests while advocating for the compensation you are entitled to. This is especially true if you have lost more than a couple of days of work or have costly medical bills. Insurance companies often attempt to minimize how much you receive, so an attorney can be a powerful ally in making sure you receive the full compensation you qualify for.

If you’re in the Portland area and looking for an experienced attorney for your Portland personal injury, Warren Allen LLP offers legal advice and representation for those who have been affected by these accidents. Whether you have experienced a car crash or other type of accident that has resulted in an injury, we are here to help you every step of the way. Contact our firm today and learn what your best options are. We’ll work to the best resolution possible and help you receive compensation.

Open Claim and Submit Demand Package

A personal injury attorney will then investigate your claim and gather all details pertaining to the accident, injury, and treatment. This includes all medical records and bills related to the accident. Once you have been interviewed and obtained all necessary documentation, a claim is filed with both parties’ respective insurance companies.

Most personal injury cases settle without filing a lawsuit in court. A demand package is a comprehensive collection of all medical bills and documents detailing the accident, injury, treatment, wage loss, and any other financial damage. This package is prepared during the pre-litigation stage and begins negotiations with the insurance company. At this stage, a favorable settlement may be reached.

If the insurance company agrees to fair financial compensation and you accept, a lawsuit will not have to be filed. However, if the insurance company offers a low settlement in hopes you will want to quickly settle, it may require more arbitration. If they are unwilling to offer a fair settlement, the next step is litigation.

File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If a settlement is not reached, litigation begins when your attorney files a personal injury lawsuit in court. This step should only take place after you have reached “maximum medical improvement.” Your medical treatment should be completed before submitting a demand package or filing a lawsuit because it helps an attorney determine what your case is worth.

After the complaint (the court action that begins the lawsuit) is filed, both you and the defendant will complete an “interrogatory” (a written document comprised of questions that have been answered to gather information regarding the accident) and a “deposition” (verbal questions).

Trial

As mentioned previously, most personal injury cases don’t make it to trial and can be settled out of court. And a very few instances require mandatory arbitration instead of court. This is usually limited to situations involving medical malpractice.

Once both parties of the claim have as much information regarding the claim as possible, an objective arbitrator reviews the evidence and will suggest a resolution, though, it is non-binding. If mediation and negations cannot result in a settlement, then your attorney will represent you and your interests in court and help you receive the compensation you deserve. If at no point in time you or the other parties involved are able to come to a voluntary agreement and reach a settlement, your case will be decided by a jury verdict and judgment.

Another reason your case may have to go to trial is if the statute of limitations on your claim is about to run out. If this is true with your claim, your attorney will have to file a lawsuit in court so they are able to continue your claim. This will, in turn, maintain your right to seek compensation for your injuries and not lose out on such claims because you missed the deadline by which your claim was to be filed within the proper court.

If you have suffered an injury and are seeking compensation, knowing the process of your personal injury claim and having the right team in your corner can help mitigate uncertainty and undue stress so you can focus on what matters most: recovery.

Woman with neck brace right arm in sling in attorney's office..

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.

 

Male attorney going over legal forms with female client.

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.

Older man in neck brace meeting with personal injury lawyer

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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