Tag: Insurance Companies

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.

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.

 

Personal injury attorney shaking hands with male client and his wife.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Personal Injury Lawyer?

When you experience a personal injury, which can be an injury to the mind or body, it isn’t always easy to get the compensation you deserve. Figuring out who will pay for your expenses can be a huge hassle, and finding a way to get it resolved may seem impossible on your own. Though it may seem simple enough to prove your injury, this process can often become more complex and require a professional eye to investigate, prove, and argue your case.

A personal injury lawyer will assist you in receiving compensation after suffering from such an injury by doing the handwork, which involves more steps than you’d expect. Our lawyers at Warren Allen LLP serve Oregon and have experience with many types of personal injury cases. We can provide the help you desperately need during situations like this. A personal injury lawyer takes on a variety of tasks to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Here are a few of the responsibilities that personal injury lawyers have.

Be Qualified and Educated

Not everyone is qualified to represent you and your personal injury case. A qualified personal injury lawyer will have completed extensive education to receive their title, giving them the knowledge to navigate your situation in the smartest way possible. This includes obtaining an undergraduate degree and then going on to complete training at an accredited law school.

After obtaining both degrees, an individual will also have to take a series of tests to prove their knowledge of the law. The Law School Administration Test (LSAT), Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), and the bar exam are all tests that personal injury lawyers are required to pass. Depending on the state you live in, there may be even more examination requirements for your lawyer. A professional personal injury lawyer will have made these qualifications their responsibility before providing services.

Investigate the Claim

Once you hire a personal injury lawyer to take on your case, that person will be responsible for gathering the information needed to prove your right to compensation. This goes much further than a simple “he said, she said.” A personal injury lawyer will collect significant evidence to support your case. This can include acquiring surveillance footage of your accident, finding witnesses, hiring an investigator to further look into the situation, and obtaining police reports.

These lawyers will gather all the necessary information and examine it as evidence to support your case. Gathering all of this evidence can be a difficult task, but having enough of it can make the difference between winning and losing your case. A good personal injury lawyer will take this responsibility seriously and do everything in their power to gather as much evidence as they can.

Explain Your Rights to You

Not everyone is as well-versed with the law as a personal injury lawyer, and that’s okay. The education that a personal injury lawyer receives gives them more knowledge than the average person about the law, which can be a relief when you aren’t sure about what rights you have regarding your personal injury. The law was created to protect individuals in situations like this, but it’s up to your team to know which laws can protect you.

It’s your lawyer’s job to explain to you what rights you have regarding your personal injury as well as the compensation you’re eligible for. Once they fully understand your case and have collected the proper evidence, your lawyer will be able to tell you what you should expect from your injury and what you’re entitled to receive because of it.

Communicate with Insurance Companies

Depending on how you sustained your personal injury, you may have to deal with an insurance company that’s in charge of your compensation. Insurance companies may not have your best interests in mind, and they may try to offer you compensation lower than you deserve. These situations can become difficult, and knowing how to properly interact with an insurance company is important.

When you have a personal injury lawyer on your side, you won’t have to worry about having discussions with insurance companies, as your lawyer will handle those interactions. They take on the responsibility of speaking on your behalf and conversing in a way that’s in your best interest. With their knowledge from other cases and education, they can work to negotiate a payment that’s fair for you. This can take a lot of stress off you and allow you to avoid potential manipulation from an insurance company.

Prepare the Client for Deposition

In many cases, a deposition is required. A deposition is the process of giving sworn evidence and can often be an intimidating aspect of a personal injury case. It’s the personal injury lawyer’s job to prepare clients for this deposition, by getting all of the facts together in an effort to produce the most honest portrayal of the events that led to injury.

Though the truth isn’t hard to tell, knowing and remembering all of the details necessary to give a full telling of your situation may take practice. Your lawyer will both prepare you for and allow you to practice giving your deposition so that it’s as complete as possible.

Represent You in Court

No one wants to have to go to trial for their case. A lawyer will do everything possible to have your case settled before it gets to that point. Many personal injury cases can be settled much earlier in the process, such as during litigation or mediation or through negotiations. Still, sometimes coming to an agreement can be a challenge and your case will have to go to trial.

If this is the case, your personal injury lawyer will have the responsibility of representing you at trial. This includes presenting the evidence they’ve obtained to a judge and maybe jury and preparing you beforehand for this experience. This situation and the instances that come beforehand are why hiring a personal injury lawyer is so important. Their expertise can get you through this process and lead you to the compensation you deserve.

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