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How Is Child Custody Determined in an Oregon Divorce?

Child custody is not a decision that any court takes lightly. The specifics of custody law vary by state, but the child’s best interest is always the most important thing. How does Oregon law determine which custody is in the best interest of the child or children? Ultimately, it’s whatever will best benefit the child and where they will be most safe, stable, happy, and healthy. But what factors help the court determine this? Read on below to find out more.

What is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan establishes how divorced or separated (if never married) parents will handle the decisions involved in child-rearing for a child they share, which the court will then confirm. These plans usually include outlines of holidays and vacation schedules, how information is shared between parents, when a child resides with each parent, and how disputes will be resolved.

In Oregon, most parenting plans must also include a requirement about moving. Per this requirement, a parent can only move up to 60 miles away without informing the other parent and the courts first. 

In some cases, parents agree on the details of the parenting plan, and the court only needs to get involved in ratifying the plan. In other cases, parents can not work together on the parenting plan, and the court needs to get more involved.

How is Custody Determined?

While physical custody is a significant part of parenting plan cases, it’s not the only part. Legal custody is another portion, referring to decision-making regarding education, primary care physicians, and other major choices that arise while raising a child.

When it comes to legal custody, joint custody is where both parents share the decision-making. In Oregon, a judge will only sign off on joint custody if both parents agree. If either parent objects to joint custody, the court will determine which parent gets sole custody.

Sole custody gives one parent the power to make decisions, but this arrangement usually still includes a split of time each parent spends with the child. Both parents would usually still have access to the child’s health, education, and government records and be able to make emergency medical calls. 

If the court deems it necessary, the parent without custody may have specific limitations placed. These could include court-supervised visits only or no visitation at all.

What are the Determining Factors for Custody in Oregon?

A Portland, Oregon, divorce lawyer will guide you through the ins and outs of the state’s laws, including factors that determine custody decisions in Oregon specifically. Here’s a breakdown of factors the court considers, as stated in Oregon Statue 107.137

  • The emotional bond between the child and family members. The child’s relationship with other family members, such as grandparents, will be a factor in determining custody. Oregon judges are typically reluctant to separate siblings.
  • The interest of the parties in/attitude towards the child. Your divorce lawyer must effectively show that the child is the number one priority in a parent’s life.
  • Which parent is the primary caregiver of the child. The primary caregiver can be determined by who takes the child to activities, who regularly attends physician and dental appointments, who bathes and feeds the child, etc.
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a continuing relationship between the other parent and the child. The health and safety of the child is always the most important deciding factor. 
  • If one of the parents committed abuse. In this case, custody will not be awarded to that parent for the child’s safety, health, and emotional well-being. Also, the courts will consider if one parent has a history of violence, drug abuse, criminal activity, or neglect. 

 Some other factors may include:

  • The child’s preference. Children can communicate their wishes, but because they are under 18, they will not have a legal say. 
  • Child’s age and gender.
  • Access to education options, opportunities, and resources.
  • Stability of each parent’s home. 
  • How much of an adjustment the child would have to make to shuttle back and forth to each parent’s house.
  • The testimony of expert witnesses, including psychologists, social workers, and physicians. 

What are some exceptions?

  • The parent’s income, social environment, and lifestyle will only be considered if it negatively impacts the child’s well-being.
  • There is no preference or bias based on the parent’s gender. 
  • A parent’s disability, unless it directly affects the child’s care. Mental disabilities or a disability that prevents a parent from being able to care for the child will be considered appropriately.

How Can a Portland, Oregon Divorce Lawyer Help with Child Custody?

Child custody has many aspects, so it will only help to have legal expertise in your corner. By consulting with a lawyer, you can discuss and figure out what you hope the custody arrangement’s outcome will be. Lawyers can also represent you in determining child support. Together, you’ll create a plan to achieve those goals.

If you don’t want to go to court, your lawyer can work to do everything possible to come to a resolution. If you must go to court, your lawyer can prepare you for the process. Even if both parents agree on a parenting plan, you should have a lawyer review the documents before anything is officially filed. Family law attorneys have experience creating these plans and will include what’s necessary, and help you avoid any pitfalls.

You’ll want to work with family law experts when navigating child custody cases. Our Warren Allen family law attorneys are some of the top-rated and most experienced divorce lawyers in Portland, Oregon. We’ll work hard for you to ensure the court determines the best custody arrangement for your child. Visit our website for more information about our Portland, Oregon divorce lawyers at Warren Allen LLP. If you have any questions or are interested in scheduling a consult, call or contact us via the website.

Alimony, Child Support, and More: Family Law Terms Explained

As the name suggests, family law deals with familial relationships and related legal issues that may arise, such as annulment and divorce, child custody, adoption, guardianship, paternity, and more. Because these issues involve family members, there is often a lot of emotion involved, and cases can be complicated and sensitive. 

Seeking out an attorney familiar with the area of family law can be helpful as you navigate the family court system. Many law firms have attorneys who specialize in family law who can provide sound advice and legal representation when you need it. 

If you are looking for a family law attorney in Portland, OR, for instance, the law firm of Warren Allen LLP has experienced attorneys who have handled many cases involving prenuptial agreements, separations, divorces, establishing paternity, settling child custody issues, and other related issues. 

To better understand the issues covered by family law, the following guide provides brief definitions and descriptions of some of the most common family law terms.

Legal Issues Related to Marriage

At its best, marriage is a lifetime partnership between two people who love and support each other. It is also a legal contract with shared rights and responsibilities. Below are some legal issues relating to marriage or the dissolution of one:

Prenuptial Agreement

Sometimes referred to as a “prenup,” a prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that a couple agrees to before marriage. Prenuptial agreements usually outline the couple’s wishes for the distribution of assets, debts, and alimony or spousal support should the marriage end in divorce, separation, or the death of one of the spouses.

Annulment

Although most people think about divorce (see below) as the only way to legally end a marriage, under certain circumstances, a court may grant an annulment. An annulment is a legal declaration that a marriage contract is void, meaning the marriage never existed legally. Grounds for an annulment are situations that would challenge the validity of the marriage (e.g., fraud, bigamy, lack of mental capacity, legal age issues, undue influence, impotence, and more.).

Separation

Some married couples choose to live apart but remain legally married for financial, religious, or other reasons. This type of arrangement is known as legal separation. While separation sometimes ends in divorce, that is not always the case. In most cases, couples sign a separation agreement that formally outlines the rights and responsibilities of each spouse, especially if there are child custody (see below) or visitation issues.

Domestic Violence

Unfortunately, some family relationships involve abuse or violence within a domestic setting. Domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse but also encompasses emotional and psychological abuse. Partners who are dating, spouses, children, and elders can all experience domestic violence and might require legal intervention such as getting a protective order or pursuing criminal charges.

Divorce 

When a couple chooses to terminate their marriage contract legally, it is known as divorce. Divorce legally dissolves the marital relationship, and the involved parties must agree on several issues, such as the division of assets and debts, spousal support, child support, and child custody. 

Mediation

Although many divorces are amicable, if a couple has difficulty reaching a mutually acceptable agreement, involving a neutral third party known as a mediator can be helpful. The mediator can facilitate communication and can negotiate solutions to resolve disputes. Mediation can be especially beneficial in contentious or complicated divorces.

Alimony or Spousal Support

When one spouse earns less than the other, the higher-earning spouse may be required to provide financial support to the lower-earning spouse to help them maintain their standard of living after a divorce. This financial assistance, known as alimony or spousal support, may be permanent or just until the lower-earning spouse can support themselves financially.

Legal Issues Related to Children

When children are involved in family law cases, the child’s best interests should always be considered. The following legal issues might arise in cases of separation or divorce (see above) for spouses who share children:

Child Custody

In the eyes of the law, child custody refers to the rights and responsibilities of each parent to care for their child. Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with, and courts grant either joint or sole physical custody. If one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent usually has visitation rights. Legal custody refers to which parent has the right to make important decisions about the child’s healthcare, education, religious upbringing, and more. Joint legal custody requires both parents to be involved in the decision-making.

Child Support 

As with spousal support (see above), child support is the legal obligation of one party to contribute financially to the needs of another. In this case, one parent makes court-ordered payments to cover costs related to basic needs like housing, food, education, healthcare, clothes, school supplies, etc.

Guardianship

Sometimes, a court may grant legal authority to someone to care for another person (often a minor) who cannot care for themselves. Known as a guardian, the individual then bears the legal responsibility to make decisions on that person’s behalf and provide them with care.

Guardianship is sometimes necessary to help aging parents or adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. When it comes to children specifically, guardianship of a minor might be granted to someone if the minor’s parents have abandoned them or died or when the minor’s parents are not capable of providing adequate care. 

Family Law Attorneys in Portland

The descriptions above provide a general overview of common family law terms. Laws can vary by state and jurisdiction, so getting legal advice from a local attorney well-versed in your area’s family court system is essential. If you’re looking for a family law attorney in Portland, OR, or the surrounding areas of the Pacific Northwest, Warren Allen LLP offers top-quality legal services to clients in Portland, Southwest Washington, and all across Oregon and Washington. Contact us today to discuss your case.

How Do You Know Who’s At Fault in a Car Accident in Oregon?

Getting into a car accident is never a pleasant experience, and when it happens in Oregon, understanding the nuances of determining fault becomes crucial. Oregon follows a no-fault insurance system and at first glance, that system may seem straightforward. However, the intricacies of this system, coupled with exceptions and legal considerations, demand a closer examination. 

This article will break down the fault determination process in Oregon car accidents, shedding light on the state’s no-fault system and the pivotal role of a Portland personal injury lawyer.

The Basics of Oregon’s No-Fault System

The no-fault system in Oregon operates on the fundamental principle that each party involved in a car accident is responsible for their own injuries and damages, regardless of who caused the accident. This particular approach is designed to simplify the claims process, with each driver’s insurance covering their related medical expenses and losses. 

However, this is not a one-size-fits-all scenario, as there are exceptions to the no-fault rule.

Exceptions to the no-fault system come into play when medical expenses exceed a predefined threshold or when injuries are deemed severe. An injured party may be eligible to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver in such cases. At this point, it is in their best interest to contact a lawyer like Warren Allen LLP and schedule a free consultation with one of our Portland personal injury lawyers.

These exceptions acknowledge the limitations of a strict, no-fault approach and ensure that individuals with significant damages have avenues for appropriate compensation.

Deciphering Fault In Oregon Auto Accidents

Understanding the foundations of fault determination is crucial for those navigating the aftermath of a car accident in Oregon. Thre are several factors that come into play with fault determination: 

  • Foundations In Traffic Laws: The cornerstone of finding fault lies in carefully examining Oregon’s traffic laws and regulations. Rules regarding speed limits, right-of-way, and other traffic norms provide the framework for assessing liability. If any party involved in the accident violated these regulations, it can become a critical factor in determining fault.
  • Role Of Police Reports & Witness Statements: Law enforcement officers play a pivotal role in the post-accident scenario by creating detailed reports. These reports encompass the officer’s observations, statements from involved parties, and any observed violations of traffic laws. Additionally, witness statements can either corroborate or challenge the events leading up to the collision. The combination of police reports and witness statements aids in constructing an accurate narrative of the accident.
  • Insurance Adjuster Investigations: Insurance adjusters undertake thorough investigations to determine fault, utilizing resources such as police reports and witness statements. However, individuals involved in an accident must approach these investigations cautiously, recognizing the potential for biases. Seeking guidance from a Portland personal injury lawyer at Warren Allen, LLP will provide valuable assistance in navigating these complexities.
  • The Crucial Role Of A Portland Personal Injury Lawyer: The legal professionals at Warren Allen specialize in deciphering the nuances of Oregon’s no-fault system, ensuring that individuals receive fair compensation for their losses. A Portland personal injury lawyer emerges as an indispensable asset in the intricate landscape of fault determination.

Warren Allen LLC’s Portland personal injury lawyers serve as seasoned guides, steering clients through the legal complexities associated with fault determination. Their expertise in understanding the intricacies of Oregon’s no-fault system is instrumental in ensuring that individuals are treated fairly in the aftermath of an accident.

Assessing Damages & Negotiating Compensation

Beyond navigating legal complexities, Portland personal injury lawyers play a crucial role in assessing the full extent of damages incurred by their clients. From medical expenses to property damage, these attorneys meticulously quantify losses, enabling them to negotiate with insurance companies effectively and secure just compensation for their clients.

While the no-fault system streamlines the claims process, exceptions allow for litigation against the at-fault driver. In such scenarios, a Portland personal injury lawyer becomes an advocate, building a compelling case to demonstrate the opposing party’s liability. Their expertise in litigation ensures that clients receive due compensation for the damages suffered.

Prompt Reporting & Documentation

Prompt reporting of the accident to law enforcement and insurance companies is crucial. Documenting the scene through photographs and collecting witness contact information provides essential evidence for fault determination and subsequent claims. 

Avoid Statements That Admit Fault

In the aftermath of an accident, individuals should exercise caution and refrain from making statements that may be construed as admissions of fault. Consulting with a Portland personal injury lawyer before providing statements to insurance companies is a prudent step to safeguard legal interests.

Securing Legal Representation Early

Engaging the services of a Portland personal injury lawyer early in the process significantly influences the trajectory of a case. These attorneys bring a wealth of experience to the table, ensuring that clients’ rights are protected and that they receive fair compensation for their damages.

In conclusion, determining fault in a car accident in Oregon involves a comprehensive understanding of the state’s unique no-fault system. From traffic laws and police reports to the indispensable role of a Portland personal injury lawyer, various factors contribute to this intricate process. By adhering to best practices, promptly reporting accidents, and securing legal representation when needed, individuals can navigate the aftermath with greater clarity and confidence.

The expertise of a Portland personal injury lawyer emerges as a crucial asset in unraveling the legal complexities and ensuring a fair resolution for those affected. As individuals seek to recover from the physical, emotional, and financial toll of an auto accident, the guidance of a Portland personal injury lawyer becomes paramount, providing a sense of justice and a pathway to fair compensation. With the right approach and support, individuals can navigate the complexities of fault determination and emerge with a fair resolution in the aftermath of a car accident in Oregon. If you’ve been in an accident and need legal help, reach out to us at Warren Allen today.

Navigating Legalities of Child Custody in Family Law

Protecting the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of a child is the most important part of establishing child custody. For Pacific Northwest family law, several complex factors can contribute to the custody decision. Our experienced attorneys at Warren Allen can help navigate the legal requirements for a child custody agreement. 

Below is a helpful guide on the types of child custody arrangements, the factors that affect custody decisions, and how an attorney can help you determine the right action plan.

Types of Child Custody

There are two types of custody arrangements established in Oregon law. The first is called joint custody, which can be a confusing term. Joint custody simply means that both parents share equal responsibility for the decisions made for a child, even when the child lives primarily with one parent. 

Joint custody might look like a child lives with one parent during the school year and the other during summer. It might also mean that a child lives with a parent one week and the other during the opposite week. Some agreements might have the child with one parent during the week, and the other on weekends and holidays. For the courts to grant a joint custody arrangement, both parties need to agree on the arrangement’s terms. 

The second is called sole custody. This means that one parent will be the designated primary parent and make all the decisions regarding the care of the child. Sole custody can happen when parents don’t agree to a joint custody plan or the court determines it is better for a child to remain with one parent. 

Both parents will almost always have the right to access the child’s school, medical, dental, police, and counseling records and authorize emergency medical care if necessary. However, certain factors affect the court’s decision on what type of child custody is awarded and if there are any restrictions on the parents.

Factors that Affect Child Custody 

The primary factor that affects most child custody scenarios is the parents themselves. If parents are already agreeable to an arrangement, this eases the process immensely. If that is not an option, the court will consider several factors to develop a custody agreement. 

The judge will use the information presented to determine what is in the best interest of the child. They will consider things like who the primary caregiver has been. If the child needs physical and mental accommodations, that is another consideration. The court will also consider the child’s preference of which parent they want to live with. The strength of family relationships with other family members is also another consideration. 

The fitness of each parent and their ability to offer a safe and stable home is considered. Whether or not each parent has taken an interest in the child or children, their attitude towards the child and maintaining a relationship is another factor. Whether each parent is encouraging and facilitating a close relationship with the other parent can affect the outcome of a custody agreement.

The court will also consider if there has been abuse by the parent to either the child or the other parent. The court also considers any evidence of a history of substance abuse, crime, or violence. The court will also look at a parent’s lifestyle, marital status, income, or social environment and consider if adequate child care is in place when the parent is at work. 

If any of these is determined to be harmful to the child, they can be factors in determining custody. The court may order supervised visits and potentially give sole custody to one of the parents if it feels it’s in the child’s best interest. 

How An Attorney Can Find the Right Plan

It’s essential to have a Pacific Northwest family law attorney to help you navigate the legal complexities the court requires while coming up with a plan that works for you and your child. Even if both parties agree, it’s important to have an experienced attorney look for potential issues that may come up. When the parties don’t agree, you’ll need an attorney to ensure your rights and your child’s rights aren’t violated. 

The courts require a parenting plan to be a part of the process for determining child custody. The parenting plan helps parents determine the physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child or children. It will also outline the time each parent will spend with their child, known as “parenting time.” 

Parenting time is also used to determine any child support. The plan outlines who makes decisions, the weekly schedule, vacation and holiday schedules, how parents will exchange their children from one home to the other, and will clearly delineate other decisions and obligations both parents agree to. 

Having an attorney oversee this process can help ensure you’re not missing vital information the court will require or mistakingly agreeing to something you didn’t have to agree to. 

Unfortunately, there are too many instances where this situation is tense and strenuous. Having an attorney will help you know your rights, file for temporary parenting plans if necessary, and help ensure that you are not breaking any laws. If the situation is unsafe for you or your child, knowing what protections are available to you and how to access them is important. A good family law attorney is there to help you gather the information that the court will need, navigate these difficult situations, and develop the right action plan. Navigating a child custody agreement can be one of the most challenging and emotional times for parents and children. Our experienced family law attorneys at Warren Allen are here to help and guide you with our extensive knowledge and solid experience. Schedule a consultation with us today to help you navigate the best outcome for you and your child.

Common Types of Personal Injury Cases and How to Handle Them

You might have seen commercials for personal injury lawyers talking about fighting for your rights if you’re the victim in an accident with a semi-truck or if you have gotten sick as a result of using specific products. Although vehicular accidents and product liability are common types of personal injury cases, there is a range of issues that can fall under the umbrella of “personal injury.” 

What constitutes personal injury according to the law? Any time you sustain an injury as a direct result of the actions or negligence of another person or entity (such as your place of employment, a government agency, a business, etc.), you might have a personal injury case. As in other states, Oregon personal injury law has a statute of limitations deadline for filing this type of case. In Oregon, you must file your claim within two years of sustaining the injury. 

How can a personal injury lawyer help? Usually, personal injury lawyers work to get financial compensation from the responsible party to help you with medical bills, lost wages, repairs, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life. 

Below are descriptions of the most common types of personal injury cases and how personal injury lawyers, like the Warren Allen LLP team, handle them. 

Types Of Personal Injury Cases

It’s important to remember that the term “personal injury” does not exclusively mean “bodily injury.” In some cases, you can suffer mental or emotional damage as the result of someone else’s actions or inaction, and the law recognizes these issues as personal injury.

Vehicular Accidents

Accidents involving vehicles are prevalent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for people between the ages of 1 and 54. Vehicular accidents can occur with any type of vehicle, including bicycles, boats, airplanes, and mass transportation like buses or trains. If you are a pedestrian or cyclist struck by a vehicle, you may also have a valid personal injury claim.

Oregon adheres to a traditional “fault-based” system, meaning the person at fault is held responsible for any resulting damages or harm. Personal injury lawyers often help clients navigate the insurance claims process, analyze insurance policies and negotiate with the insurance company, gather evidence like police reports or eyewitness accounts, and represent you in court if needed.

Slip And Fall Accidents

As the name suggests, slip-and-fall accidents are when an individual slips or trips, falls and sustains an injury on another person’s property. A more formal name for this type of personal injury case is a premises liability claim. If you slipped and fell due to negligence, the property owner or the person responsible for the property at the time of the incident might be required to compensate you financially for your injuries. 

Some common causes of slip and fall accidents are snow and ice accumulation on a sidewalk, missing handrails, poor lighting, liquid spills, uneven surfaces or poorly maintained stairs, flooring, etc. If the property did not take proper precautions, like posting warning signs or ensuring appropriate maintenance, they could be held liable. 

Premises liability cases are not restricted to businesses. Individual homeowners can also be liable if you can prove you were injured on their property due to negligence. 

Hiring a personal injury lawyer for a slip and fall case is a good idea because they understand what is necessary to establish negligence in the eyes of the law. They can arrange for an assessment of the premises, gather appropriate evidence to prove negligence, negotiate with property owners or insurance companies as needed, and represent your case in court if you cannot reach a fair settlement.

Product Liability

When you purchase and use a product, you put a certain amount of faith in whoever designed, manufactured, and sold you that product. They have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that the products they provide are safe for consumers. If you use the product as intended, but it damages you or your property because of a product defect, you might have an avenue open to pursue a product liability claim and recoup money for the resulting damages.

Working with a personal injury lawyer who understands Oregon’s product liability laws is usually best. The total damages for which you may be eligible might be reduced because of the “comparative” fault of you as the user. 

Try to keep as much of the defective product together as possible so that your attorney can work with experts to investigate and gather evidence. Experienced attorneys can also negotiate with manufacturers and insurance companies on your behalf. If proper compensation is not provided, your personal injury lawyer can help you file a lawsuit and represent your interests in court.

Animal Bites

Unfortunately, over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States annually. Dog or other domesticated animal bites can cause physical injury that requires medical care but can also result in psychological damage. 

As with other types of personal injury cases, your lawyer will help assess the liability of the animal’s owner and negotiate with them, their insurance company, or their attorney, if necessary. Depending on the case, your attorney might seek compensation for medical expenses, therapy, counseling, lost wages, or other damages related to pain, suffering, or loss of quality of life, especially if injuries were severe or had long-term consequences.

Medical Malpractice

Healthcare providers always strive to diagnose and treat our illnesses and injuries correctly. However, they are human, and there might be times that you experience substandard medical care. A missed diagnosis, a wrong diagnosis, or an error during surgery can result in significant physical and emotional injury. 

Working with a personal injury lawyer is especially important in medical malpractice cases because expert medical evidence and testimony will most likely be required for a successful case. Your attorney will work with experts to review medical records and assess the standard of care. Your attorney can also negotiate with insurance companies and work with you to file a lawsuit. 

Workplace Accidents

While a workers’ compensation insurance claim might be the first and most appropriate route for accidents at work, in some cases, you may also be eligible to make a personal injury claim. If a third party (like the manufacturer of a defective product) was involved in the incident, you could file a personal injury claim against them. Consulting with legal experts is the best way to ensure you receive everything you are due from everyone who might be at fault. 

No matter what type of personal injury case you might have, working with experienced attorneys who understand Oregon personal injury law is essential to getting the help you need. Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you try to deal with insurance companies alone. 

Call our personal injury team at Warren Allen, LLP. They will offer sound legal advice and representation as they work to get you the appropriate compensation and the best resolution to your situation.

Medical Malpractice: How to Pursue Justice for Your Injuries

Most of the time, when you go to a healthcare provider, it’s to cure an ailment; you feel sick, you make an appointment, they provide a service or treatment to make you feel better, and you go on with your life. Your appointment usually goes that smoothly, and you don’t give it another thought. But what if something out of the ordinary happens and things don’t go as smoothly as you think they should?

Unfortunately, some healthcare workers can make you feel worse instead of better, resulting in injury and, in severe cases, even death. Suppose you believe you or a loved one has been injured while seeking medical treatment. In that case, it is in your best interest to retain a medical malpractice attorney in Oregon as soon as possible.

Medical Error vs. Medical Malpractice

At the heart of all medical malpractice cases is determining whether the injury was due to medical error or medical malpractice. So, what exactly is the difference between the two?

A medical error is defined as a preventable adverse effect of care, whether or not it is evident or harmful to the patient. Medical error might include an inaccurate or incomplete diagnosis or treatment of a disease, injury, syndrome, behavior, infection, or other ailment.

On the other hand, medical malpractice is defined as a legal cause of action that occurs when a medical or healthcare professional, through a negligent act or omission. It must deviate from standards in the medical provider’s profession, causing injury or death to a patient. Negligence might arise from diagnosis, treatment, aftercare, or health management errors.

As you can see, the two definitions are startlingly similar. Simply put, medical errors are unintentional, while medical malpractice involves negligence or malice. In most cases, there is a very fine line between the two, which makes medical malpractice cases some of the most complicated claims to prove. To say these lawsuits are incredibly detailed would be an understatement, which makes it nearly impossible for someone without a law or medical degree to win. In fact, due to Oregon State’s complex and ever-evolving medical malpractice laws, even the most seasoned medical malpractice attorneys can find these types of cases difficult.

Starting the Process

Schedule your free consultation with Warren Allen, Attorneys at Law, and our team of experienced medical malpractice attorneys specializing in Oregon State law will be there for you. We can help you determine if your or your loved one’s injuries constitute a valid medical malpractice claim and help you seek justice for your injuries.

Several initial steps will be taken, including but not limited to:

  • Making sure your claim meets the minimum criteria. Your medical malpractice claim must be filed within Oregon State’s statute of limitations, though exceptions exist. Since every case has different circumstances, be sure to consult with your medical malpractice attorney before assuming your claim is invalid.
  • Initiating contact with those responsible for the incident. It is vital to understand what went wrong and explore potential remedies. Medical professionals are generally very cooperative and willing to provide the necessary services to address your issue, as they’d rather settle the dispute before it escalates to an official legal matter.
  • Filing a claim with Oregon State’s medical licensing board. You should file this claim regardless of whether or not you choose to retain one of our medical malpractice attorneys in Oregon, as it will prompt an official investigation by Oregon State’s medical licensing board. That investigation will notify the medical professional in question, as well as the medical facility in which they are employed. The medical board’s investigation could significantly help your case, and it could even help move your settlement along faster. At the very least, it might possibly prevent injury to others while the investigation is underway.
  • Reviewing and maintaining your claim details and paperwork. This sounds like a simple enough task, though it may be the most complicated step of all. Every piece of documentation relating to your case is important, including something as simple as a gas station receipt. Gathering as much evidence as possible, such as medical records, witnesses, testimonials, medical assessments, depositions, investigations, and any other additional resources along the way, will only strengthen your case.
  • Be open to settling out of court. This benefits both parties, especially considering medical malpractice cases can be costly and lengthy, sometimes dragging on for months and possibly years. An astonishing 96 percent of these cases settle out of court with attorneys negotiating a reasonable monetary settlement. Your medical malpractice attorney will advise you on the best strategy for your particular case and help you make an informed decision, as it is ultimately up to you.

Legal Fees

If you’ve suffered from medical malpractice, you don’t need the added hassle of pursuing an ongoing and possibly costly lawsuit on your own. All of the details listed above can be extremely overwhelming, especially when you’re already suffering physical and/or emotional anguish – but you don’t have to do it alone. The attorneys at Warren Allen are here to relieve some of your burden and fight for you.

Our medical malpractice attorneys will navigate the labyrinth of Oregon State’s medical malpractice laws and the mountains of paperwork that come along with every medical malpractice claim while you focus on recovery. You may think you can’t afford a medical malpractice attorney, but I have good news for you! Our legal fees are contingent on your case settlement, so we don’t get paid unless you do.

Whether you’re just starting the medical malpractice process in Oregon State or have inquiries about your case, seeking sound legal advice is crucial. Schedule your free consultation with one of our medical malpractice attorneys in Oregon today, and let the legal experts at Warren Allen, Attorneys at Law, address all of your concerns.

Property Division Under Oregon Divorce Laws: What to Expect

Going through a separation and divorce is one of the most stressful experiences a person can have. Financial security, distribution of assets, and even alimony and child support considerations can be huge stressors, along with the emotional toll that divorce causes. There are many aspects to Oregon divorce laws, and reliable, knowledgeable, and skilled divorce attorneys are necessary to help navigate them.

Our experts here at Warren Allen LLP field many questions about property division and how it works. While there is no way to determine what judicial order might encompass, there are ways to gather and provide as much information as possible to help your divorce be less stressful. Here is a short guide on property division under Oregon divorce laws and what to expect:

Equitable Distribution

Oregon is considered an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution means the court will consider several factors in dividing up marital assets and what they believe to be marital assets to divide them up equitably. In some ways, this is an attempt to have a fairer distribution versus community property, where everything is divided 50/50.

The types of property that the court considers are real property and personal property. Real property is any land, buildings, homes, and condominiums. Mobile homes on rented land are not regarded as real property.

Personal property can include cars, jewelry, furniture, pension plans, retirement accounts, bank accounts, investment accounts, airline miles, cash on hand, and businesses. Any art collections, valuable collections, even life insurance policies, expected inheritances, and annuities are to be documented in what is submitted to the court.

Types of Documentation Needed

This is where part of the nuances of equitable distribution comes into play. While it may seem like Oregon divorce laws are attempting to be more fair in the distribution, proper documentation and evaluation are needed in order to do that. Providing the correct documentation of assets and liabilities is critical.

Real property requires an appraisal. Any businesses will also need an appraisal. Some personal property like vehicles, jewels, art, and collections will also need some form of assessment. Also crucial for documentation is the dates when either party in the marriage acquired these items. In some instances, assets and liabilities may not be subject to splitting under equitable distribution.

All mortgages, loans, credit cards, pending college tuition payments, student loan debts, and even pending lawsuits should be documented in what is given to the court. Even outstanding debt on businesses, tax debt, and future tax debt need to be considered.

While the court does not require documentation other than what they request, if there is a dispute on any of the value of any items, it’s better to have documentation available to support it. Consider gathering deeds, titles, bank and credit card statements, and other relevant information. If there were a prenuptial agreement, a copy would most assuredly be relevant in this case.

Filings to Submit to the Court

The court requires a submission of all of the assets, real and personal properties in the Statement of Assets and Liabilities form. This is where things get very specific, and distinctions are to be made. The courts want respondents to file this jointly and come to a decision on how and what is divided, but sometimes, that is not possible. If that is the case, each party needs to file this statement.

Regarding retirement accounts, the courts require filing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This is a complex document with the specific language needed by the financial and pension institutions in order to distribute. Incorrectly filing this out will be costly regarding time and money and is critical to the next step in the divorce process. The QDRO will instruct the retirement account holders on how these accounts will be split up and enable them to create two separate accounts based on that information.

Considerations Under Equitable Distribution

Most people don’t realize that these filings are to be agreed upon before submitting, if possible. Distributions must not be equal to be considered fair and equitable. This is where documentation and evaluation come into play.

Consider assets acquired before the marriage, like a house. Factors like how long the marriage lasted, how much the other spouse contributed to maintaining or renovating, and if they contributed towards the mortgage all become relevant to the distribution of this asset. If the house increases in value during the marriage, it can also affect how this asset is considered under distribution.

The same goes for debt. If a spouse had secretly run up credit cards for a gambling addiction and the other spouse was unaware, this might be considered differently. Still, if a spouse gets into debt after the separation, that might also be factored in. If there is business debt and even future expenses like tuition are all factors that weigh into equitable distribution.

There are a lot of factors that the courts consider when doing property division, and it can be complex. The court will look at many factors, including the age and health of the spouses, how much financial contributions each spouse made, and the earning power of each spouse. Child support, alimony, and current lifestyle are all considerations. The court considers non-financial contributions to the marriage, like a spouse made into the marriage for the other spouse to be successful in their career.

Property and asset division will usually come up in any divorce. While parties are expected to come up with an agreement, sometimes that isn’t possible without professional help. You can find expert advice from our team at the Warren Allen LLP website. Our experience has helped Portland area residents for decades, and you can count on our excellence in helping you navigate this difficult time in your life.

What is a Personal Injury Lawyer? When Do You Need One?

Accidents happen. But what if you get hurt in an accident, and it’s someone else’s fault? For instance, if you trip and fall on a broken step in a store and sprain your ankle, can you get compensated for medical bills or wages lost from time missed at work? 

When you’ve sustained an injury as a direct result of the actions or inactions of another person or entity (e.g., government agency, company, workplace, etc.), you might need the services of a personal injury lawyer to represent you. Usually, a personal injury lawyer will work to get payment from the responsible party to compensate you and help you recover.

Although car accidents are usually what first spring to mind when thinking about personal injury cases, there are several different types of cases that personal injury lawyers handle. Keep reading to better understand what these cases entail, as well as the services that personal injury lawyers generally provide to their clients. 

Types Of Personal Injury Cases

The following are short descriptions of the most common personal injury cases. Keep in mind that the term “personal injury” does not always have to mean “bodily injury.” Not just physical injury falls under the umbrella of personal injury, mental and emotional damage count as well.

Vehicular Accidents

The most common personal injury claims come from accidents involving vehicles, including cars, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, boats, airplanes, and mass transportation like buses or trains. You might also file a personal injury claim if you were a pedestrian struck by a vehicle.

Slip And Fall Accidents

When one person slips (or trips), falls, and sustains an injury on another person’s property, it’s called a slip-and-fall accident. This type of personal injury case is known as a premises liability claim. The owner of the property, or the person responsible for controlling the property at the time, might be required to provide you with financial compensation for your injuries if you slipped and fell due to their negligence. For instance, if you slipped because the floor was very wet and they did not put up a cautionary sign, the property owner could be held liable. 

Although premises liability cases often involve businesses, individual homeowners can also be held liable if you can prove that you were injured on the property and that the homeowner did not take necessary precautions through appropriate maintenance or signage to prevent the injury.

Product Liability

Manufacturers, designers, and sellers of products have a legal obligation to ensure those products are safe for consumers. If you or your property experience damage when using a product in the way it was intended or as a result of a defective product, you might be able to pursue a product liability claim to recoup money for the resulting damages.

Animal Bites

We love our dogs, but even the best-trained and most mild-mannered dog can bite. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs yearly in the United States alone. Of that number, over 800,000 seek medical care as a direct result.

If you or a loved one has been physically injured by a dog bite (or other domesticated animal) or suffered psychological damage after being bitten, you have two years to file a claim under Oregon’s personal injury statute of limitations.

Medical Malpractice

Healthcare providers devote their lives to helping us stay healthy and recover from illnesses and injuries. However, you might sometimes receive substandard medical care, such as a misdiagnosis, an error during surgery, failure to diagnose a harmful physical condition or illness, wrong prescription, etc. In these cases, it is best to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, especially because a successful lawsuit will likely require expert medical evidence and testimony. 

Workplace Accidents

Although accidents at work are generally covered under workers’ compensation insurance, you may still be eligible to make a personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ compensation claim. If a third party, like an employee from another company or a manufacturer of a defective product was involved in the incident, you could file a personal injury claim against them. Working with legal representation will ensure you receive everything due to you from the at-fault parties. 

What Does A Personal Injury Lawyer Do For Clients?

Personal injury lawyers work to get you compensation for a variety of damages. Some of the most common include medical expenses (surgery, prescription medication, emergency transportation, etc.); lost income from time missed at work; out-of-pocket expenses like a car rental while yours is being repaired; and more intangible costs like pain and suffering; mental anguish; and loss of enjoyment of life. 

Depending on the type of claim, personal injury lawyers will have different responsibilities. In general, though, they might:

  • Gather evidence to support your claim – Police reports, witness statements, photographs of the scene, medical reports, etc.
  • Work with insurance companies on your behalf – Analyze insurance policies and handle all communication. An intermediary is especially helpful when dealing with the defendant’s insurance adjuster.
  • Prepare complaints – If the defendant’s insurance company refuses to work with you toward a fair settlement, your personal injury lawyer will set out the legal arguments about why the defendant is responsible for the accident and the damages you seek.
  • Represent you in court – If your case eventually ends up going to trial, it’s best to have a personal injury lawyer represent you since they will be familiar with the law and court procedures.

Get The Help You Need

When you’re already dealing with physical or emotional pain and trauma, it can be overwhelming to face medical bills, calls from insurance agents, physical rehabilitation, counseling, loss of wages, and more. You don’t have to do it alone. If you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer in Portland, call the team at Warren Allen, LLP. We will work to get you appropriate compensation and the best resolution to your situation.

What To Do If You’re Bitten By a Dog

The number of dogs in the US has steadily increased over the past two decades: roughly half of US households now own a dog. With that number of dogs living amongst humans, it’s more common than you think for someone to suffer a dog bite. This might sound frightening, but statistics show dog bite incidents have decreased over the years.

Certain breeds have a reputation for being more aggressive or biting more often, but a study by the American Veterinary Medical Association shows this is unlikely. Instead, the AVMA suggests that a better way to decrease dog bites is to enforce “non-breed-specific dangerous dog laws, with an emphasis on chronically irresponsible owners,” and prohibit dog fighting, among other things.

Laws and breeds notwithstanding, dogs are still animals and can lash out if frightened. Even if dog bites are not as common as we fear, it is still essential to be mindful of the risk and be cautious around dogs we don’t know. Ask to pet any unfamiliar dogs and respect the owner’s answer.

It is equally important to have a plan of action if an injury occurs, including first aid and contacting a lawyer if a dog bite is severe. Knowing what action you can take following a bite, including hiring a dog bite lawyer, can help ease anxiety or fear in the moment.

Here are steps you can take following a dog bite:

When a Dog Bite Occurs

If someone is bitten, stay calm and get some distance from the dog. Dog bites can be painful and scary, especially for children, but it’s important to remain level-headed. Most dogs won’t bite unless they’re agitated or stressed, so it’s good to give the dog some space to calm down; this will also help prevent further injury.

It is crucial to get medical attention if needed, but “it doesn’t necessarily have to be that second, minute or even within an hour” says Dr. Drigalla, an emergency medicine physician. You have some time to assess the situation calmly and apply first aid.

Medical attention is still essential in many cases, so Dr. Drigalla also says that “waiting a couple of days is a bad idea.” We’ll go over more details about seeing a medical professional shortly.

Clean Wound and Apply First Aid

As a first step, when a dog bite occurs, you will need to check the bite itself. Ensure your hands are clean before handling the wound, and check if it’s actively bleeding. If it is, apply pressure with a clean cloth, gauze, or tissue, and hold it there until the bleeding stops.

If there is no active bleeding, or when the bleeding has stopped, make sure to clean the wound with mild soap and water. It is also recommended that you rinse the wound with warm water for several minutes.

After cleaning the bite, apply antibiotic cream if at all possible. It might not be necessary for all scrapes and cuts, but it is vital for dog bites. The University of Rochester Medical Center says to apply it if the wound is dirty because of the bacteria in a dog’s mouth that can be introduced if the skin is broken. If you don’t have antibiotic cream, follow the rest of the first aid steps and keep the wound clean.

Finally, apply a clean bandage, and change it if it gets dirty or wet.

Get Information From the Dog Owner

You will need to get information from the owner (if possible) when a dog bite occurs. The AVMA recommends that you:

  • Request proof of rabies vaccination
  • Get the owner’s name and contact information
  • Contact the dog’s veterinarian to check vaccination records

Your doctor will want this information so they can decide how to proceed with treatment. This information can also be important if the injury is severe and you need advice from a lawyer, which we will cover later.

If the dog is a stray or the owner is not nearby, consider calling your local animal control to ask for advice. They may want more information about the situation.

See a Medical Professional

The next step is to seek medical attention. You are encouraged to see your provider or visit a walk-in clinic, even if the wound isn’t severe, due to the risk of infection. If you have diabetes or are immunocompromised, that risk of infection is even higher.

The Cleveland Clinic states, “Roughly half of dog bites introduce bacteria, including staphylococcus, streptococcus, and pasteurella, as well as capnocytophaga.” A tetanus infection can also be a concern, so you may need a booster if you haven’t had a tetanus shot within five years.

Of course, another consideration is rabies. Mandatory dog vaccination programs have lowered the chance of rabies – only around 60 to 70 dogsare reported rabid in the US each year – but the disease is fatal if contracted and is not worth leaving up to chance. After a potential exposure, washing and thoroughly rinsing the wound is vital, but you will still need to see a medical professional for further treatment.

Contact a Personal Attorney if Necessary

Finally, consider contacting a personal injury attorney. If you aren’t sure if you have a case, the attorneys at Warren Allen clarify: “If you were injured in an accident and you were found not to be at fault, you have a case for personal injury.”

Of course, taking legal action is not always necessary, but you can always seek advice from a lawyer regarding a dog bite. Keep track of details of the incident, such as the dog owner’s information, and record your injuries and recovery via writing or photos. An attorney may be able to help you receive compensation, so reach out to Warren Allen today and let us help you!

Is a Dog Bite Injury Attorney Worth It?

When an encounter with a dog turns into a painful dog bite injury, it can be a traumatizing experience. A dog bite’s physical and emotional repercussions can be overwhelming, leaving victims with medical bills, lost wages, and a lasting fear of dogs. In such cases, seeking legal representation from a dog bite injury attorney can make a significant difference in obtaining fair compensation and justice.

Expertise in Dog Bite Laws

First and foremost, navigating the legal process can be complex and overwhelming, especially when dealing with a dog bite injury. Dog bite laws can be complex and vary from one jurisdiction to another.

Hiring a dog bite injury attorney means having a legal professional specializing in personal injury cases, specifically those related to dog bites. They have an in-depth understanding of the laws and regulations governing dog bites in your jurisdiction. This knowledge allows them to navigate the legal landscape efficiently, ensuring your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve.

If you are looking for a skilled dog bite attorney in Portland, Warren Allen has the expertise to maximize your claim and get you the compensation and peace of mind you deserve.

Determining Liability

Determining liability in a dog bite case is crucial for receiving compensation. In some jurisdictions, strict liability laws hold dog owners responsible for their pet’s actions, regardless of whether they knew about their dog’s aggressive tendencies. In other areas, the “one-bite rule” may be in effect, where the owner is liable if they were aware or should have been aware of their dog’s dangerous propensities. A dog bite injury attorney can assess the circumstances of the incident, gather evidence, and establish liability, strengthening your case.

Gathering Evidence

To build a strong case, it’s essential to gather relevant evidence. A dog bite injury attorney has the necessary experience and resources to collect and preserve evidence that supports your claim. They can obtain medical records, witness statements, photographs of injuries and the scene, and any other evidence needed to establish the severity of the dog bite and its impact on your life. Their expertise in handling evidence can significantly increase the chances of a favorable outcome.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Furthermore, a dog bite injury attorney can effectively negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Insurance companies are notorious for attempting to minimize payouts and protect their own interests. They will often offer settlements far below what the victim is entitled to. When dealing with a dog bite injury claim, you may face challenges from the dog owner’s insurance company.

An experienced dog bite injury attorney can handle negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Having a knowledgeable attorney by your side significantly increases your chances of securing a fair settlement. They have the experience and legal acumen to negotiate and counter any attempts by the insurance company to undervalue or deny your claim.

Maximizing Compensation

One of the primary benefits of hiring a dog bite injury attorney is their ability to assess your case’s value accurately. Dog bite injuries can result in significant physical, emotional, and financial hardships. A skilled attorney will fight to ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your case. They can assess the full extent of your damages, including medical bills, future medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and emotional distress.

By calculating the actual value of your claim, they can pursue a fair settlement or represent you in court if necessary. This comprehensive evaluation ensures that you pursue a fair and just compensation amount.

Peace of Mind

Hiring an attorney is undoubtedly worth it if you’ve been injured by a dog bite. Dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite injury can be overwhelming, especially when you’re already coping with physical pain and emotional distress. By hiring a dog bite injury attorney, you can focus on your recovery and well-being while leaving the legal complexities to a trusted professional. Their expertise in dog bite laws, ability to determine liability, and skills in gathering evidence and negotiating with insurance companies are invaluable. Additionally, their commitment to maximizing compensation and providing peace of mind during a challenging time makes them vital allies in your pursuit of justice.

Moreover, a dog bite injury attorney understands the emotional toll a dog attack can have on a victim. They provide not only legal but also emotional support throughout the entire process. Dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite can be distressing, and having a compassionate attorney who genuinely cares about your well-being can make a significant difference. They can help connect you with resources such as therapists or support groups to aid in your recovery.

Most dog bite injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay upfront fees. The attorney’s fees are contingent upon winning your case or securing a settlement. This arrangement allows individuals who may not have the financial means to hire legal representation to still have access to justice. It also means that the attorney has a vested interest in obtaining the best possible outcome for you.

Working with an attorney can be highly advantageous if you have suffered a dog bite injury. They possess the legal knowledge, negotiation skills, and courtroom experience to navigate the complexities of personal injury law and fight for your rights.

From accurately assessing the value of your case to negotiating with insurance companies and representing you in court if necessary, a dog bite injury attorney is dedicated to obtaining fair compensation for your injuries and aiding in your recovery. The attorneys at Warren Allen LLP are experienced and ready to help with dog bite cases and much more. Contact us today to see how we can help support you.