Tag: Personal Injury Lawyer

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

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

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

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

Gathering Evidence

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

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

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

Evaluating the Merit of Your Case

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

Help Negotiate a Settlement

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

Preparing Deposition Strategies

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

Negotiating With Insurance Companies and Sending Demand Letters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Insurance Companies Are Complex Systems

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

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

2. Oregon Is an At-Fault State

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

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

3. What’s At Stake?

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

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

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

4. When Should I Contact a Lawyer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Have You Tried Similar Cases Before?

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

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

2. How Many Cases Have You Won?

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

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

3. How Much Will You Charge for Representing Me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. What Is My Claim Worth?

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

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

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

What To Do After a Car Accident in Portland

What To Do After a Car Accident in Portland

On average, six million car accidents happen in the United States every year. These include fender-benders and smaller-scale collisions all the way up to totaled vehicles. While the number of cars on the road has decreased during the pandemic, people tend to drive while distracted more often and speed, so your odds may be a little greater of getting in a car accident. Oregon is an at-fault state, meaning that if you cause a car accident, you (and your insurance) are responsible for those damages.

The first few minutes after a car accident can be confusing and scary, and you may not know what needs to be done first. Never fear. Here is a list of the things you should do first after a car accident in Portland.

1. Safety First

If possible, pull your car over to a public, well-lit and safe place nearby. This way you won’t impede the flow of traffic and you and the other driver will be able to see each other clearly. If you have a choice, choose the more public option so that others may see the other driver just in case they decide to leave the scene. It’s important that you don’t leave the scene, especially if there are injuries or if there are damages to the vehicles and insurance information to gather.

Hopefully, your car is still drivable, but if not, take stock of whether it will be a road hazard. If you can push it to the side, you can move it even up onto a sidewalk. If not, turn your emergency hazard lights on to give warning to passing cars.

2. Secure Your Traveling Companions

Were you in your car with your pet, a child, another adult, or an elder? Assess whether they are injured first. If you have a child young enough to be in a car seat, don’t take them out of the seat just yet. They may have injuries you can’t see, and it would be best to have a first responder check them out.

However, you wouldn’t leave a pet or a child or an elder in a hot locked car when you run into a store, so if the accident is a minor collision, you can leave the engine running with the AC on, roll down the windows, or let them out of the car while you handle the accident details. But this is assuming there’s a safe place to do so. Make sure you’re situationally aware of the area so you can prevent further injuries and so the pets and people in your care don’t wander off.

3. Talk With the Other Driver

Again, it’s good to be situationally aware. Is the other person agitated? Is this a safe place to talk? They may be frightened or blame you for the accident, so it’s important to choose your words carefully and—above all—remain calm. Before you speak with them, secure any valuables on your person as well. For instance, make sure your purse or wallet is with you rather than in a car with an open window.

It may be appropriate to engage in small talk if you and the other driver need to call an ambulance or the police, but be sure you don’t make any admissions, blame the other person, or apologize. If a claim is filed and the other driver or other witnesses say they heard you say you’re sorry or that you’re at fault in some way, it could be a major headache for you down the road. Rather, the insurance companies will determine these things later.

4. Gathering Information

It’s important to gather the right facts right after a collision. Information you will need to gather from the other driver includes their name and contact information; their insurance company and policy number; their driver’s license and license plate numbers; the type, color, and model of their vehicle; and the time and location of the accident. Be prepared to give this information as well. You should also take pictures of the accident scene and record with audio or video while you ask witnesses what they saw, but make sure they stick to the facts.

Other information you can gather includes road conditions or weather, any injuries you might see, and anything else that contributed to the collision (a distraction on the road, such as a squirrel, cat, or a runaway basketball, for instance). If your insurance company has a mobile app, sometimes they will walk you through items like this so these details aren’t lost in the shuffle.

If you’re a prepared person, you may already have this app on your phone or mobile device, which will cut down on time spent figuring it out and setting it up. Your insurance provider’s app might be critical in this situation because not only can it help you with the accident details, but you may have access through it to roadside assistance or towing or even rental car options.

And of course, make sure to save all this information and details, including receipts, bills, and medical records so that if a claim is filed you will have it all on hand.

5. Contact Your Insurance Provider (And Maybe Us!)

You’ll want to start an auto insurance claim once all these other items are handled. You can expedite the claim process this way by being proactive. Your insurance agent may also have further questions you might have missed or will be able to point out things you are eligible for in your policy. Make sure you ask any questions if you’re not sure of the process or what you need to do, especially if there are any deadlines.

Hopefully, you are uninjured, but if you or someone you love is injured or killed in a car accident, the expert team at Warren Allen LLP has your back. If you find you need to file a personal injury claim, contact Warren Allen today.

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 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.

 

African American man holding neck with personal injury after car rear-ended.

5 Most Common Car Accident Injuries and How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know how traumatizing of an event it can be. In the best-case scenario, you only need to worry about some damage to your car. It might cost a bit of money to have it repaired, but at least you made it out alright. If you sustain a personal injury, though, things get much more difficult.

After you suffer an injury, your first priority should be healing and recovery. But when it comes about due to a car accident, you may be lacking in both the time and money to do that. There are reports to complete, claims to file, all while you should be focusing on your own well-being. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed in the aftermath of an accident, a personal injury lawyer might be just what you need.
With legal representation, you have an advocate who can take some of the work off your plate while also ensuring you get any and all financial compensation you may be owed. Below you’ll find a few of the most common car accident injuries as well as how a personal injury lawyer can help.

1. Whiplash

A car accident can subject the body to a large and sudden amount of force, leading to injuries that might be less apparent in the first moments after. If some time passes after and you find yourself dealing with neck pain or discomfort, you may have sustained whiplash. It’s a condition resulting from sudden stress or strain put upon the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your neck.

While whiplash is more often than not temporary, it can take up to a few weeks for it to heal. It’s not a bad idea to have it looked at by a physician. With a personal injury lawyer helping you, you can seek aid to cover any medical bills that might arise from the accident. Should the injury turn out to be more severe, they can also help present this in your claim. That way your claim will stay up-to-date and accurate and you can receive the correct amount of compensation.

2. Back Injuries

Back injuries, like whiplash, may not be noticeable until sometime after a car accident. Unlike whiplash, a back injury can be significantly more serious and end up requiring medical attention. The sudden impact can cause ruptures or herniations along your spine, leading to pain and a loss of mobility.

If you experience persistent back pain after a car accident, it’s wise to visit an orthopedist for a full assessment. Back injuries can worsen if left alone, making an early examination the difference between a few weeks of back pain and a chronic condition. While specialized care can be costly, working with a personal injury lawyer will help you establish what your needs are and secure compensation to cover them.

3. Broken Bones

While not frequently seen in milder accidents, broken bones are a common outcome of many collisions. The bone (or bones) broken, along with the severity of the break, varies depending on the circumstances of a collision. Knee fractures can come about from slamming into the console, arms or legs can break if slammed or pinned against the door, and ribs can even break from the force from your seatbelt holding you in place.

Due to this variance in injury, a person’s needs after an accident will be unique to their situation. They may need a sling, a cast, or even surgery in order to set the bone in its proper place. With this in mind, it’s crucial you have help establishing the full extent of the injury in the moments after it happens. This will help your personal injury lawyer keep the facts straight when filing claims and getting you the assistance you need.

4. Concussions

If you follow any sports—or have played any yourself—you’re probably familiar with concussions. Caused by sudden impacts to the head, concussions are a common injury resulting from car accidents. If in the aftermath of an accident, you find yourself suffering from a headache, brain fog, memory loss, or just feel like your brain isn’t working like it normally does, you’ve most likely suffered a concussion. Luckily, concussions are easily treatable. The most important thing is that you get medical attention quickly. The sooner you do, the sooner you can start working on getting your brain back in order.

5. Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can result from the head sustaining a puncture or high amount of sudden force. Concussions technically fall within the category of TBIs, but while still serious, they are only considered to be mild cases. With a moderate or severe TBI, the consequences can be much more dire. A TBI can alter the way your brain functions, making it hard to properly regulate emotions or think clearly.

While a TBI can be treated, it can also become a lifelong condition or disability.

It’s for this reason that a personal injury lawyer can be massively important should you suffer a TBI in a car accident. A few trips to a specialist along with months of recovery are one thing, but figuring out what kind of care you’ll need for the rest of your life is another. Ongoing medical bills can quickly get expensive, but when you have a personal injury lawyer representing your interests, you can rest easy knowing your needs will be met.

What We Can Do to Help

With any injury incurred from a car accident, a personal injury lawyer can be vitally important to your recovery. From the get-go, they’ll help you get the facts of the accident straight, evaluate the extent and cost of the damages, and stay on your claim to ensure you get the full compensation you are owed. If you’re in need of a personal injury lawyer now or are interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Warren Allen. We’re happy to provide any information you may need.

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.

 

Woman shaking hands with male attorney.

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

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

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

What Does a Personal Injury Attorney Do?

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

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

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

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

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

5 Questions to Ask a Prospective Personal Injury Attorney

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

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

1. Have You Handled Cases Like This Before?

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

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

2. What Do You Think the Outcome Will Be?

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

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

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

4. What Work Will You Need from Me?

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

5. What’s the Strategy for an Appeal?

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

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

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

 

Man with personal injury to foot and crutches on laptop computer.

What Constitutes a Personal Injury?

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

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

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

1. Personal Injury Is Not the Same as Bodily Injury

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

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

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

2. It’s All About Negligence

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

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

3. Compensation for a Personal Injury Claim

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

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

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

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

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

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

Representation

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

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

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

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