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Tag: Portland Personal Injury

Traumatic Brain Injuries: Seeking Compensation and Support

According to the Brain Injury Association of America, approximately 2.8 million people sustain traumatic brain injuries annually in the United States alone. Although there is a wide range in severity, symptoms, and causes, this type of injury can be a life-altering event for an individual and their family.

You may be entitled to financial compensation if you have suffered a traumatic brain injury due to an accident or someone else’s negligence. Discussing your situation with a personal injury lawyer in Portland, like the expert team at Warren Allen, LLP, can help answer your questions and get you started on the road to recovery.

Types Of Traumatic Brain Injuries

As the name suggests, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain that affects how it functions. Generally speaking, there are two major types of TBIs. When an object penetrates the skull and damages brain tissue, it is commonly known as a penetrating or open TBI. Open TBIs often occur in accidents involving machinery or vehicles, like car accidents.

A non-penetrating or closed TBI most often occurs due to an external blow or jolt to the head or body that is forceful enough to move the brain inside the skull dramatically. These types of TBIs are more common in falls or sports. In some instances (e.g., natural disasters or serious accidents), an individual can experience both types of TBI simultaneously.

Common Symptoms

The brain is incredibly complex, so symptoms may not appear immediately but might develop or worsen over time. Sometimes, it can take weeks to know the full extent of the injury as the brain and the body work to recover from the initial trauma.

If you are in an accident or experience a blow to the head, it’s always a good idea to see a doctor, even if you’re not showing any symptoms. However, it’s imperative to seek medical help if you notice any of the following symptoms within 24 hours of sustaining a TBI:

  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Vision problems (blurriness, double vision, unevenly dilated pupils, light sensitivity)
  • Loss of, change in, or decreased consciousness
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Difficulty with memory, concentration, or decision-making
  • Changes in mood (anxiety, depression, agitation, irritability, anger, emotional outbursts, unusual behavior, etc.)
  • Slurred speech
  • Problems with hearing (ringing in the ears or sensitivity to sound)
  • Clear fluids from the nose or ears
  • Loss of balance, dizziness, lack of coordination
  • Weakness in limbs or face
  • Sleep issues (excessive or unexplained fatigue, drowsiness, difficulty falling asleep, sleeping more than usual, no energy, lack of motivation, inability to wake up)
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth

Personal Injury Cases Involving Traumatic Brain Injuries

When it comes to the law, the term “personal injury” refers to physical or emotional pain, suffering, or harm resulting from someone else’s negligence or an accident that was not your fault. Many different events can result in a TBI, so if you have been involved in one, you might have a personal injury case.

Some of the most common incidents causing a TBI can include the following:

  1. Vehicular accidents: including cars, bikes, motorcycles, trucks, boats, etc. TBIs may happen from a collision between vehicles, being thrown from a car, or if you are a pedestrian or a cyclist struck by a vehicle.
  2. Slip and fall accidents: especially if the fall includes hitting your head on a hard surface.
  3. Accidents in the workplace: head injuries are common at construction sites or when working with heavy machinery.
  4. Sports or recreational activities: contact sports like football or roller derby and recreational activities like skiing, snowboarding, dirt bikes, or mountain climbing can result in collisions, impacts, falls, and other head injuries.
  5. Medical malpractice: mistakes in medical procedures or other issues while under a doctor’s care can sometimes result in a TBI.
  6. Defective products: when a product like a bike helmet or a car seat is faulty, the user might suffer a TBI when the product does not protect them as it should.
  7. Dog bites: A TBI might occur if a dog attack is severe, especially if the dog bites the face or head.
  8. Premises liability or negligence: if a head injury occurs at a business or even a private property, the property owner might be held responsible if adequate and appropriate safety measures (e.g., warning signs about falling rocks or slippery surfaces, railings, etc.) were not taken.

As previously noted, seeking medical help and documenting all symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments is essential if you experience a TBI, no matter the precipitating cause. As brain injuries often have long-lasting or permanent effects, a medical professional should evaluate the extent of your injury and discuss treatment options and what types of impacts you might expect in the future.

How To Get Compensation For A TBI

When you meet with a legal expert, like a personal injury lawyer in Portland, Oregon, at Warren Allen, LLC, they can evaluate your situation, help you build your case, and seek compensation, if warranted.

In general, a personal injury lawyer will assist you in:

  • Establishing negligence – usually, you must demonstrate that you were injured due to someone else’s fault or negligence.
  • Collecting evidence – gathering together as much evidence as possible, including medical records and diagnoses, accident reports, surveillance footage, eyewitness statements, prescriptions, doctor’s notes, treatment plans, pictures of injuries (like dog bite marks) or locations, etc., can all be helpful for your case.
  • Determining damages – a legal expert will be up-to-date on the amount and type of compensation you might be eligible for, such as loss of income, emotional distress, pain and suffering, any physical rehabilitation or long-term care you might need, therapy, counseling, medical care, reduced quality of life, etc.
  • Representing you in negotiations, settlements, or litigation – whether working with insurance companies or other parties involved in an accident, your attorney can best negotiate on your behalf and present your evidence. Parties often prefer to settle out of court, but should your case go to trial, a personal injury lawyer can represent your interests and work for fair compensation.
  • Appealing an unfavorable verdict – if a judge rules against you, your attorney can help you navigate the court system to file an appeal, if appropriate.

Once the court rules in your favor, you will receive financial compensation. This compensation often comes through the other party’s insurance company but sometimes comes in a structured settlement or payment plan rather than a lump sum.

TBI Information And Support Groups

Dealing with some of the long-term consequences of a TBI can be expensive and emotionally draining for individuals and families. Thankfully, some federal and state resources are available that provide additional support. A quick Google search can point you toward many different resources, but the following are some places to start.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists where to get help in your state. The organizations listed provide helpful information about what to expect when you have a TBI, fact sheets, support groups for individuals and families, and other resources as you recover.

Financial Assistance

Suffering from a TBI can be a financial burden. Many families require outside financial assistance between medical bills, ongoing care, lost wages, or an inability to work. Federal assistance might be available through the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs.

Benefits.gov is a free website that allows you to search through over one thousand government programs to see if you are eligible for financial benefits and assistance.

Other Assistance

Each state has its own Department of Rehabilitation or Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Services to help residents with disabilities, including brain injuries, find employment and access resources. The Job Accommodation Network provides contact information for each state office. You can apply in person or online. If accepted, you can work with a case manager who will assist you in seeking employment suitable for you, choosing the best doctors for any long-term care you need, finding appropriate housing, accessing resources to help you live independently, and providing educational resources about your TBI for family members and coworkers.

If you have suffered a TBI due to an accident or someone else’s negligence and want to talk to a personal injury lawyer in Portland to see if you have a case, contact Warren Allen, LLP today. We have years of experience dealing with all types of personal injury cases. Let our team be your team!

Choosing the Right Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case

It can be a frightening place to be when you or a loved one are hurt, and then you have to navigate a legal case on top of the healing process. How do you know when to get a personal injury lawyer involved and how to pick the right one when you do? For many, legal issues can be daunting.

Here at Warren Allen LLP, Attorney at Law, we know Oregon personal injury law better than anyone, and we want to help you feel confident when hiring your personal injury lawyer. We have compiled some excellent tips on choosing the right personal injury lawyer for your case.

When Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, you might struggle with financial difficulties caused by missed work and medical expenses. Recovering compensation for these damages can be challenging, but a personal injury attorney can provide valuable assistance.

Personal injury attorneys handle a range of cases, including car accidents, slips and falls, medical malpractice, workplace injuries, product defects, dog bites, wrongful deaths, and nursing home abuse. They possess the necessary expertise to navigate legal procedures, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent clients in court to secure the compensation they deserve for their injuries and losses.

What To Look For

Look for References

When you hire a professional to do a job for you, you should look at their references and track record. Finding the right lawyer is not an exception. Many people have worked with a personal injury lawyer, so ask family, friends, and coworkers.

Both good and bad experiences can be helpful, but any good experiences will help you build a list of which lawyers to research further. You can also check sites like Martindale for peer reviews of law firms and individual lawyers.

When looking for a lawyer to handle your personal injury case, it is also good to consider their place of business. It’s a good practice to select a lawyer who operates from a professional office, as personal injury cases can be complex and require meeting numerous deadlines. A professional office indicates that the lawyer has efficient processes in place to handle their workload.

A messy office won’t necessarily mean they are a bad lawyer; many attorneys have piles of files in their offices. However, your lawyer should be punctual for meetings and quickly respond to your inquiries.

Experience

You want to make sure that you are working with someone with experience in personal injury law and who has successfully gone to trial. Having an experienced expert in Oregon personal injury law can relieve you of the stress of handling your own case and ensure you get all you are owed.

The liable party will often try and settle outside of court for much less. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if the settlement is what you deserve. With an experienced lawyer on your side, they can help you navigate this tricky world and help you take your case to trial.

Finding someone with a track record of successful negotiations and litigation is also important. While most cases are settled out of court, having an attorney with experience taking cases to a jury verdict is important. In order to assess their success rate, you can ask the attorney directly. If they do not provide this information when requested, it may be a sign that their success rate is not high.

Working on Contingency

It can be a lot to handle when healing and working to get your case to trial. If you have been injured and need legal assistance but are not working or earning income, the cost of a lawyer can be concerning. Typically, lawyers charge hundreds of dollars per hour for their services, which may be beyond your budget.

However, there is good news: many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they will take payment once you receive the payout from your case. The contingency fee is usually 40% or less of the final settlement amount. You want to seek out a lawyer who charges within this range. The best lawyers will include legal fees in the final settlement to ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible.

When starting your search for a lawyer, ask for a consultation with those who have passed your initial research. Most personal injury lawyers should offer free consultations. During an initial consultation, a possible client will meet with a lawyer to assess the strengths of their personal injury case and see if the lawyer and client can work together.

Communication

Especially when it comes to a personal injury case, communicating effectively with your lawyer is important for the best outcome. You must ensure they listen to your concerns and explain concepts clearly to give you confidence that your input will be considered before any significant decisions are made. Your satisfaction with their approach will depend on their willingness to understand your perspective, and their ability to explain the progress of your case will help you make informed decisions. Effective communication can also reduce the stress of the process. Having a good rapport with your personal injury attorney means they should respond to your inquiries, clarify things in a way that’s easy for you to understand, and have your best interests at heart.

If you need legal representation for personal injury, it’s important to consider several factors when choosing the right lawyer. Knowing what to look for can simplify the process.

At Warren Allen LLC, we have specialists in Oregon personal injury law and are dedicated to assisting you every step of the way. If you or a loved one requires legal representation, do not hesitate to contact us. We will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected, and that you receive the compassionate care you deserve.

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!

What Happens After You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Have you hired a Portland personal injury attorney and are wondering what happens next? Warren Allen LLP will explain what to expect. On the other hand, if you have not yet hired a personal injury attorney, be sure to do your research and schedule an initial consultation first. Once you have your consultation scheduled, come back and review these steps so you know what questions to ask.

From initially retaining a personal injury attorney to case resolution, Warren Allen LLP will take the guesswork out of the experience so you can be as prepared as possible.

Collect Documentation

A personal injury attorney has to first be able to make your case for why the liable party is at fault and why you should be justly compensated for your injury. To do this, your attorney will need all the relevant evidence and documentation that you’ve collected about your injury.

For instance, if you’ve collected witness contact information or photos of the injury scene, you should turn those over to your attorney. You should also describe what happened in as much written detail as possible. If you’ve taken notes about your symptoms or medical visits, you should hand those over to your attorney as well.

As your case progresses, continue to keep notes about your medical visits, prescribed treatment plans, and any injury-related symptoms. Be sure to follow all of your doctor’s orders as you seek treatment. If you fail to do so and your injury worsens, you could be viewed as negligible and even perceived to be responsible for your deteriorating condition.

Everything related to your injury, regardless of how large or small, should be disclosed to your attorney. It may seem relatively insignificant to you, but it could have major importance to your case. For instance, if you get calls from the other party’s insurance adjuster, be sure to disclose that to your attorney and seek their counsel before speaking with anyone about your case.

Serve Notice

Once your personal injury attorney has all the relevant documentation, they will serve notice of your intent to pursue civil action to all the parties involved in the case. In fact, once the liable party’s insurance company receives notice that you have retained representation, they should not reach out to you going forward. If anyone reaches out to you regarding your case, direct them to speak with your legal counsel and notify your attorney right away.

Serving notice does not necessarily mean that the case will proceed to litigation. In fact, many people seek to avoid litigation altogether. Serving notice to the liable party simply starts the process so that both sides can begin negotiating a settlement.

Investigate the Case

Your attorney will then get to work on your personal injury claim in order to build the strongest case possible. For example, if you’ve provided witness contact information, your attorney will reach out to them to gather statements about what they saw or heard at the time of your injury. In some instances, your attorney may return to the scene to take photos and notes about where the injury occurred. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may also hire a private investigator.

Attempt to Settle

Before your case goes through the formal legal process, your personal injury attorney will attempt to initiate settlement talks. Be prepared for this to be a somewhat lengthy process. Some settlement talks can take up to two years. It may take more or less time depending on the extent of your injury and the specifics of your particular situation. Oftentimes, a personal injury attorney will need to wait until the full scope of your injury is understood before accepting any settlement offers.

Your attorney will work to negotiate a settlement that’s fair and acceptable to you. Once a settlement offer is received, your attorney will notify you of the settlement terms so you can decide whether or not to accept the offer. Your attorney will explain whether the offer is fair and what your options are. Your attorney should also discuss the risks of proceeding to trial. Ultimately, you will need to decide whether to accept the settlement terms or reject the offer and proceed with filing a lawsuit.

File Suit

If you reject the settlement offer, you may need to sue for damages. When you decide to move forward with a lawsuit, your attorney will file a complaint with the court. Following the initial filing, there will be a pretrial discovery process during which both sides turn over evidence to the other.

As your case works its way through the legal system, there may still be an opportunity to settle outside court. For instance, both parties may agree to mediation. If so, a third party will attempt to reach an agreement that is suitable to both parties in a last attempt to settle the matter before it goes to trial.

The overwhelming majority of cases settle outside the courtroom. However, if settlement and mediation attempts are unsuccessful, you may have to proceed to a civil trial. If you decide to go this route, Warren Allen LLP has a skilled team of litigators who will fight on your behalf and diligently work to try to secure a favorable outcome.

If you need a Portland personal injury attorney, Warren Allen LLP serves the entire Pacific Northwest region. You can book a consultation with us so we can learn about your particular situation and provide you an honest evaluation of your case. We can also answer any specific questions you have about the personal injury claim process.

Recovering from an injury can be extremely difficult all on its own. That’s why we feel you shouldn’t have to navigate the legal process by yourself. We’ll be your advocates, by your side fighting for your interests throughout the process. We’ll explain your options and guide you through each stage of your personal injury claim with expertise and compassion.

If you want a skilled team to fight for the compensation you deserve, Warren Allen LLP will devote significant time, energy, and resources to your case. That way you can focus on what’s most important- your recovery.

How Do I Negotiate a Personal Injury Settlement With an Insurance Company?

When you’ve been injured in a car crash or accident, you are entitled to financial compensation to cover your losses. In order to receive that, you will need to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company. You shouldn’t have to take that on alone, especially when you already have recovery to focus on. Thankfully, having an attorney in your corner will be a huge advantage.

Read on below to find out more about how an attorney can help with negotiating a personal injury settlement:

What Is the First Step Toward Negotiating a Personal Injury Settlement?

Before filing a claim, you should gather as much information about the accident as possible. There should be some important details within the accident report, and you’ll want to confirm that the date, location, and time are all correct.

You’ll also need to have information about the other parties, including the driver who was at fault. Most significant is their insurance information, as that’s where you’ll file your claim. You should also gather the contact information of witnesses and anyone else involved.

As for yourself, make sure to include details and evidence of the injuries you sustained in the accident. This can include medical bills and photos, but make sure these are copies; you should keep the originals for yourself.

How Do I Start Trying to Receive a Personal Injury Settlement?

To get the ball rolling, you would file a claim with the insurance company. If you want to receive the highest settlement possible, you should have an attorney at this point. They’ll take care of filing a claim on your behalf.

A personal injury attorney will make sure your demand letter is written to be as convincing as possible. This letter will state your requested settlement amount. Your lawyer will send this along with all the necessary supporting documents. Because of their experience with these matters, you’ll be assured everything was done correctly.

How Do I Decide the Requested Settlement Amount?

Work with an attorney to decide how much your case is worth. Every accident is different, so the attorney would have to review and evaluate the details before coming up with an estimate. Typically, you will discuss how it breaks down into special damages versus general damages.

Special damages are more objective items. These are the medical bills, any lost wages, and other expenses. You’ll already have the paperwork on hand to crunch those numbers.

General damages can be difficult to discuss. Instead of objective numbers, this category refers to the non-economic damage from the accident. How the accident has impacted your life, and the pain and suffering it caused you. Throughout the negotiation process, your attorney will make sure the emotional damage you’ve suffered never gets overlooked.

These numbers aren’t set in stone, as things are set to change throughout the negotiation process. But it’s good to have a general idea.

How Long Do I Have to File for a Personal Injury Settlement?

Though the exact time may depend on individual circumstances, there are some general timelines in the Pacific Northwest region. In Oregon, you have two years but inWashington, you have three. In both cases, that clock begins after the date of loss or discovery of loss.

How Will the Insurance Company Respond?

At first, you should expect to receive a reservation of rights letter. This is an acknowledgment that they’ve received your claim and will review it. You should keep this on file, as it will include your claim number and the adjuster’s contact information. This letter does not guarantee that the insurer won’t deny it.

How Do I Respond to the Insurance Company’s First Settlement Offer?

It’s advised not to jump at the first offer you get. Expect the insurance company to offer the smallest amount possible, and they’ll try to justify the low amount by arguing that you’re asking too much or that you haven’t provided enough evidence. A personal injury attorney will back you up and ensure that you receive what you actually deserve.

How Do I Successfully Negotiate a Settlement?

Before it officially starts, an attorney will make sure you understand exactly how the settlement process works. The insurance company will have its own lawyers, who will try to trick and intimidate you. Therefore, you shouldn’t go into a negotiation like this on your own.

Obviously, you would hope to receive the exact amount you requested, or even a bit more. At this time, you can also discuss the minimum amount you’d accept. While you should prepare not to get everything you want, you should also go in feeling confident and strong. Have faith in the evidence you and your attorney have gathered.

The negotiation process will include a lot of back-and-forth with the insurance company. With every offer and counteroffer, your attorney will argue to effectively defend your side. Considering attorneys literally negotiate, argue, and defend for a living, this puts much less pressure on you.

As difficult and intimidating as the negotiations may seem, hiring an attorney instantly gives you an advantage. It shows that you’re serious about receiving the best settlement, and it implies you would be ready to file a lawsuit if the insurance company doesn’t align. In almost every case, they would prefer to settle out of court.

How Do You Reach a Personal Injury Settlement Agreement?

Even when you think you’ve reached an agreement, your attorney will follow up and follow through to ensure everything is settled. They’ll make sure you get everything in writing, and make sure the amount agreed upon is adequate to cover your bills and any future related needs.

Your attorney will also thoroughly review the agreement to make sure you understand and approve it. After all, this settlement agreement is a legal contract with the insurance company.

Here at Warren Allen LLP, our attorneys have experience successfully negotiating personal injury settlements in Portland and the surrounding Pacific Northwest area. You can find more information about our personal injury attorneys and contact us by visiting our website. We look forward to working on your behalf to get the compensation you deserve.

How To Find the Best Personal Injury Car Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, finding the best personal injury accident lawyer will help you handle both personal injury and monetary losses. They will help prepare your case for small claims court or arbitration.

Not just any lawyer will do when it comes to a personal injury case. You want to retain a lawyer that specializes in personal injuries, one you can trust to help you get the most to assist you as you move towards recovery.

Where do you begin?

Finding an Experienced Lawyer Who Specializes in Personal Injury

The practice of law is highly specialized. When law students enter school, they quickly narrow their focus for their coursework. From bankruptcy and finance law to civil rights or constitutional law, there’s a niche for every lawyer.

Once a lawyer focuses on a specific field of law, they begin to dive deeper into their chosen area of study. A tax lawyer would know little about personal injury and car accidents because they spend most of their time working on business and taxes.

So your first step is finding a lawyer with experience representing claimants in vehicular accident cases. They will have experience working with insurance companies and will be best equipped to stand by your side through the process.

Why Should You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Technically, you can file a claim with the car insurance company yourself for your accident. People do this routinely when they’ve suffered minor injuries and have the time to work through the process themselves. Moving forward on your own without a lawyer can avoid lawyer fees.

But how you stand up to big insurance companies and their lawyers will ultimately determine the outcome. Not everyone is prepared to handle this on their own.

A personal injury lawyer will have experience handling sticky situations when it comes to car accidents and the resulting claims. A team of lawyers for an auto insurance company will have the knowledge and experience to fight hard against every type of claim. How well you stand up against them is determined by the experience you bring to the table. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is best if you’ve:

  • Suffered severe injuries
  • Received extensive medical bills
  • Experienced significant loss of wages due to your injuries
  • Have a complicated situation, not cut-and-dry
  • May be at fault

When Consulting With a Lawyer Makes Sense

When personal injury and monetary loss are at stake, it almost always makes sense to speak with a lawyer. Specifically, personal injury lawyers are often hired in the event of:

Severe Injuries

The severity of a personal injury is measured in one of three ways:

  • The type of injury sustained
  • How much time it takes for recovery
  • The cost of medical bills incurred or that will incur in the future

Long-Term or Permanent Disability

A long-term injury is one that impacts you for a year or more of your life; a permanent disability will affect you for life. Both can impact the quality of your life as well as your ability to return to work and remain employable.

The legal process can be complicated. It may be well worth hiring a personal injury accident lawyer to help you navigate the legal work necessary to prove your injury was a direct result of your car accident.

How Do You Choose the Right Lawyer?

Finding a personal injury lawyer who meets your qualifications is essential. You’ll be working with them until the close of the case. There are many ways to find a potential personal injury lawyer.

  • Ask friends and acquaintances
  • Ask for referrals
  • Search online
  • Look for someone in your local community

When you’ve settled on a few prospects, it’s a good idea to sit down and meet to discuss your potential claim. Bring copies of all documentation you have on file. This includes:

  • The police report
  • Medical bills
  • Income loss information
  • Correspondence with the insurance company

Most personal injury lawyers don’t charge for this initial interview because they’re interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. This is the proper time to find out things like:

  • How long they’ve practiced personal injury law
  • How many personal injury cases they handle per year
  • How often they represent plaintiffs
  • How much experience they have working with insurance companies
  • If they’ve handled cases like yours before

This is where it’s important to learn who will handle your case. Lawyers and their staff often work together. Paralegals and less experienced attorneys will do routine tasks, which offers you a break in costs.

You should also discuss lines of communication. Ask questions. You can usually determine how willing a lawyer is to answer your questions in the future by looking at how well they handle the initial consultation. If you’re working with the right team, you should feel it in your gut.

Other Considerations

Communication is important. Don’t forget to get a general understanding of the settlement goal. The lawyer may give you a general opinion of how much the case is worth and how difficult it may be to see results.

If you have questions, ask. This is your time to get comfortable with the process. Sometimes, this is the best way to determine how well-suited you are at working together. Use this time to decide if you’ve found the lawyer who is best equipped to work with you through the end of your case.

This is about you. You’re the one who’s suffered personal injury and monetary loss due to someone else’s negligence. Using these tips, you’re sure to find the best personal injury accident lawyer you can trust.

If you’re searching for a personal injury lawyer in the Portland area, give Warren Allen a call. Let’s schedule a consultation and see if pairing with us is right for you.

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?

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

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

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.

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