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Tag: Portland Personal Injury

How Does the Legal Process for Personal Injury Cases Work?

Personal injury cases can feel overwhelming, especially when dealing with the aftermath of an accident that has caused you physical or psychological harm. Understanding the legal process for personal injury cases is vital, particularly in Oregon, where specific timelines and procedures must be followed for a successful outcome. 

This article will walk you through the legal process of filing a personal injury case, from the initial consultation with a lawyer to a potential trial.

Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation

The journey towards seeking redress for a personal injury should begin with an initial consultation with a knowledgeable attorney specializing in personal injury law. The legal framework surrounding personal injury cases offers several unique provisions important for anyone involved in an accident to understand. Working with an experienced law firm can eliminate any questions. At Warren Allen LLC, our experienced personal injury attorneys will work with you every step of the way, providing the knowledge needed to empower you to make informed decisions and seek rightful compensation.

During this pivotal first meeting, your attorney will delve into the details of the incident, assess the extent of injuries, and evaluate potential liability under Oregon law. This initial consultation sets the foundation for the legal strategy moving forward, guiding the injured party on the next steps to pursue their claim effectively.

Insurance and Liability

Following the initial consultation, the attorney initiates a thorough investigation to gather pertinent evidence following Oregon’s legal standards. This investigation may include obtaining medical records, scrutinizing accident reports, interviewing witnesses, and securing available surveillance footage.

Insurance plays a fundamental role in personal injury cases, often covering the defendant’s liability or offering a settlement to the plaintiff. Understanding the intricacies of insurance policies is crucial for both parties involved.

Auto insurance sometimes includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Uninsured Motorist (UM), and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage. PIP helps cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other related cost, regardless of who is at fault. UM and UIM come into play when the at-fault driver lacks sufficient insurance or does not have insurance.

When injuries occur on someone else’s property, claims may be filed under business or homeowner’s insurance. These policies cover incidents like slips, falls, or other hazards-related injuries. 

Worker’s Compensation Insurance provides essential benefits for employees injured on the job, covering medical bills and a portion of lost wages. Medical Malpractice Insurance, on the other hand, addresses negligence by healthcare professionals, covering costs from legal actions due to medical errors or faulty products.

Insurance companies use a formula to determine settlement offers, but initial offers may be lower than the claim’s actual value. Claimants must understand these dynamics to negotiate effectively, as insurers often propose a figure below what they are prepared to pay.

Insurance adjusters gather information to aid the company’s investigation but represent the insurer’s interests, not the claimant’s. Their goal is to settle claims at the minimum possible cost to the company, which might not align with the claimant’s needs for fair compensation. Working with a lawyer can help avoid pitfalls or errors when dealing with an insurance company.

What Happens Next?

Armed with compelling evidence, your attorney may draft a demand letter outlining the specifics of the case and the damages sought under Oregon law. This letter serves as a formal communication to the at-fault party or their insurance company, initiating the negotiation process. 

In Oregon, negotiations aim to reach a fair settlement that adequately compensates the injured party for their losses while adhering to the state’s legal guidelines and precedents regarding negligence and fault.

Negligence is a fundamental concept in personal injury law, requiring proof that someone failed to exercise the care a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances. In Oregon, establishing negligence involves demonstrating four key elements:

  1. Duty of Care: Establishing that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff to act with care.
  2. Breach of Duty: Showing that the defendant failed to fulfill their duty of care.
  3. Causation: Linking the breach directly to the injuries sustained by the plaintiff.
  4. Damages: Proving that the plaintiff suffered actual damages due to the breach.

Oregon adheres to a modified comparative negligence rule, which impacts the compensation you can recover in personal injury cases. If you are found to be more than 50% responsible for the accident, you are barred from receiving any compensation. If your responsibility is less than 50%, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are 30% at fault and your damages amount to $100,000, you would receive $70,000.

Proving negligence requires substantial evidence. Essential documentation includes accident reports, witness statements, medical records, photographic evidence, and personal documentation (such as maintaining a journal detailing the impact of your injuries on your daily life). Understanding these principles can significantly influence the outcome of your personal injury case.

Litigation

The legal process formally begins with filing a complaint in court, marking your transition from an injured party to a plaintiff. The discovery phase of the court process involves exchanging information between the parties and can include depositions, document requests, and third-party interviews.

Before trial, mediation may be attempted to settle the dispute out of court. If mediation fails, the case will move to trial, where evidence is presented before a judge or jury. If the verdict is in your favor, the recovery process for damages begins.

Categories of damages are as follows:

  • Nominal Damages: These are symbolic and awarded when no actual damage has occurred, but the principle of the matter is recognized.
  • Compensatory Damages: These are intended to cover both economic losses (like medical bills and lost wages) and non-economic losses (such as pain and suffering).
  • Punitive Damages: Awarded in cases of egregious wrongdoing, these are meant to punish the defendant and deter similar actions in the future.

Personal injury cases are fraught with complexities and demand meticulous attention to detail, highlighting the immense value of hiring professional legal assistance. Consider reaching out to Warren Allen LLC today for your free consultation; we have extensive experience and the knowledge to help you find the best outcome for your personal injury claim.

Fast Facts: Everything You Need to Know About Oregon Dog Bite Laws

According to the most current statistics in the United States, over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs annually, with 800,000 or more receiving medical attention. In some cases, a dog bite can result in a personal injury claim, in which the dog’s owner must provide financial compensation for hospital bills, medical treatment, or emotional damages. 

Most states have specific laws and local ordinances outlining when a dog owner is liable for a dog bite. These laws, known as “dog bite laws,” vary slightly from state to state

If you live in Oregon and have suffered a dog bite, you might be looking for a personal injury lawyer familiar with Oregon dog bite law. The attorneys at Warren Allen LLP specialize in a range of personal injury cases, including dog bite claims, across the Pacific Northwest. Before you call them to schedule your consultation, read through the comprehensive summary below to learn more about Oregon’s dog bite laws and your legal rights regarding those laws.

Who is Legally Responsible?

First, it’s essential to understand who is legally responsible for the dog’s actions. An “owner” usually owns the dog as property or is the regular custodian caring for it. However, the term can also extend to someone who knowingly allows the animal to stay on or near their premises

An exception to this rule, veterinarians and those who run kennels or boarding facilities might have temporary custody of the dog but are not considered “owners” since their care is usually less than 30 days at a time.

When to Report a Dog Bite

Any time that a dog bite breaks the skin, you suspect the dog might have rabies, or you know the dog has been in close contact with a rabid animal (or an animal suspected of having rabies), you must report the incident to the local health authority. 

Statute of Limitations

Although you do not need to take legal action against the dog owner immediately, you have a limited time to file a personal injury claim in court. Oregon does not have a specific statute of limitations on filing dog bite civil lawsuits, but these cases fall under the “personal injury.” Oregon’s statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years from the date of the initial encounter, so you must file your case within two years of a dog bite. 

Even if you do not initially plan on pursuing legal action after a dog bite injury, taking detailed notes about what occurred is always a good idea. Get the dog owner’s information, including name and contact information, proof of the dog’s rabies vaccination status, and the dog’s veterinarian’s contact information. Take pictures of your injury as soon as possible and continue taking pictures throughout the various healing stages. Keep all written notes, records, and photographic evidence of anything related to your injury in a file together.

What Financial Compensation Might Be Covered?

In general, when you file a personal injury claim, you might be eligible to receive financial compensation to cover medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. To support your claim, collect as much evidence as you can. 

  • If you receive medical care, ask for copies of doctor’s notes, pictures, prescriptions, and anything related to your care and recovery from the bite. 
  • If you need to take time off work due to your injury, this time could be considered a loss of income, so be sure to document it.
  • If you cannot perform specific domestic duties (e.g., cooking, driving, childcare, etc.) because of your injuries and need to hire outside help, retain all receipts, invoices, and communication with the service provider. 

Around half of dog bite victims are children who might be more prone to the after-effects of fear and anxiety from a traumatic dog encounter and injury. It’s important to remember that personal injury cases are not limited to physical damages, so if you or your child suffer mental or emotional anguish in the wake of a dog bite and seek professional mental health care or counseling services, keep detailed records of this medical treatment as well.

Strict Liability vs One-Bite 

Washington State is known as a strict liability state (rather than a “one-bite state”) regarding dog bite laws. Strict liability laws hold the dog owner responsible for any bite occurring on public property (unless the victim provoked the dog or assaulted the dog owner) or private property (unless the victim was trespassing). 

Even if the dog has never displayed aggression or bitten anyone, the dog owner will still be held liable and might be responsible for providing financial compensation to the victim. In contrast, a one-bite state does not allow liability to be applied until a history of aggression is established. Oregon is a mixed-liability state. Per Westberry v. Blackwell, an Oregon dog owner is liable for a dog bite injury if they knew or should have known the dog’s dangerous behavior.

Additional Local Ordinances

Certain Oregon cities or counties might have other dog ownership regulations that could affect your personal injury case. For instance, in some counties and all Oregon state parks, dog owners must always keep their dogs on leash in public unless in a designated off-leash area. 

Other laws apply to dogs legally designated as “dangerous” after previously showing aggression or having bitten someone. Owners of dangerous dogs often must meet specific additional requirements, such as confining the dog securely or keeping it muzzled in public.

Get an Expert Opinion on Your Dog Bite Case

Talking to an attorney familiar with Oregon dog bite law is essential if you’re wondering whether you’re eligible for financial compensation due to a dog bite injury. Laws are subject to change, and you need someone up-to-date and aware of local ordinances and regulations that might apply to your case. The personal injury team at Warren Allen LLP would be happy to discuss your case with you and provide legal advice and representation if you live in southwestern Washington, Portland, or other areas across Oregon. Let our team be your team. Contact us to get started today!

What Factors Should I Consider When Hiring Attorneys in Portland?

How do you find the right attorney when you need legal advice or representation? Your first step might be to ask family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers for recommendations. First-hand experience with a law firm or attorney can provide valuable information about how they approach cases, treat clients, communicate, and more. 

You might also do a quick internet search to see what attorneys are in your area. It’s important to find a local law firm for a few reasons. Since laws vary from state to state and in different jurisdictions, a local firm will be the most familiar with the laws and local court system that might affect your case. Secondly, depending on the type and complexity of your case, you might need to consult with their team more than once, which will be easier with a local attorney. 

If you’re looking for attorneys in Portland, Oregon, for instance, the expert team at Warren Allen, LLP, has a wealth of experience representing clients across Washington and Oregon in a range of legal areas. Specialties include personal injury, family law, landlords’ rights, condominiums, estate planning and probate, and wildfire recovery.

Besides location, though, there are several other factors to consider when hiring attorneys in Portland or any other city. The following guide outlines some things to think about in your search.

Area of Expertise

First and foremost, you want an attorney familiar with your type of case. When attorneys specialize in a particular area of law, they are better equipped to provide sound legal advice and represent you in court should that become necessary. Familiarity with your type of case ensures the attorney can:

  • Develop effective legal strategies. They stay updated on changes in the related laws and are familiar with relevant case precedents and rulings, so they know what approach works best, what type of evidence is needed, etc.
  • Capitalize on established relationships. They will likely have established relationships with judges, other attorneys, and experts in the area who can help with your case. For example, in personal injury cases, you need an expert to establish negligence, gather evidence, and assess damages.
  • Work efficiently and confidently. Because these attorneys have already spent a lot of time working with similar cases, they won’t need extra research time, which will be more cost-effective for you. Knowing what paperwork is needed and which steps you need to take can also significantly reduce the risk of missing important deadlines or leaving out pertinent information.

Level of Experience and Reputation

Of course, you would like an experienced attorney with a high success rate, but how can you check? The first step is to contact your state’s bar association or use their online search function to verify the attorney’s credentials. Their online entry should also indicate whether they have faced any disciplinary actions or if there have been complaints filed against them. State bar associations should also have information about the attorney’s track record of cases.

You can also ask the attorney for references or case studies from some of their previous clients. These references can help you gauge client satisfaction and success rate. Read any reviews or testimonials you can find online. Do they have a good reputation?

Professionalism

Another important factor to consider is the level of professionalism of the attorney and the law firm. You want to feel confident that you and your case are in capable hands. When a law office, the attorney, or their team is disorganized, chaotic, or perpetually late, they will likely handle your case the same way. 

Communication

Maintaining professionalism in communication covers a few different areas. When you call or email, do they answer quickly, or do you have to follow up on communication attempts to get a response? Do they listen to you and answer your questions, or are they dismissive? Are they clear in their communication, or do they use many legal terms you might need help understanding? Do they seem genuinely interested in your welfare and your case?

Another thing that communication might clarify is whether or not the attorney has the time and resources to dedicate to your case and focus on your needs. Even if their communication is professional, delays in responses indicate that your attorney is very busy with a heavy workload and may be unable to give your case the necessary attention for success.

Presentation

If your attorney might eventually represent you in court, you want them to have a professional appearance and presentation, which will inspire confidence. You can begin to gauge their level of professionalism by looking at their website and office. Do they have typos on their website? Is the office messy or dirty? Are they dressed appropriately for a business atmosphere? 

Although these issues might be minor, they can give you a better sense overall of how seriously the attorney takes their job and, in turn, how much effort they will put toward your case.

Fee Structure

Some attorneys charge by the hour. Others work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you are only required to pay them if you win the case. Some charge flat fees for specific services. Discuss fees upfront and make sure you have a clear understanding of the billing structure. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any law firm that: 

  • Makes you feel uncomfortable asking questions about the fee structure
  • Cannot provide you with specific information about fees and costs
  • Guarantees you will win your case or will receive a certain amount of financial compensation

Compatibility

Even for a relatively simple case, you will work closely with your attorney and need to trust them. Feeling compatible and comfortable with your attorney is especially important if your case is sensitive (as in many family law or personal injury cases) or complicated. Trust your gut. Considering the above tips, you are in the best position to know whether the attorney you’re consulting with is the right fit for you.

Many reputable law firms offer free initial consultations for potential clients. These consultations are both to make sure you have a strong case and also to allow you to get a feel for the attorney. Take advantage of this service to ask questions and assess your comfort level.

Experienced Attorneys in Portland

Finding the right attorney might take some time. Don’t be afraid to interview multiple candidates before making a final decision. Ultimately, it’s worth the effort to make sure you have the right team on your side. If you are looking for experienced, professional, caring attorneys in Portland and the Pacific Northwest, contact the team at Warren Allen LLP. We would love to discuss your case with you.

What Is the Role of Insurance in Personal Injury Cases?

Personal injury cases are common and can include car accidents, slip-and-fall incidents, workplace injuries, and dog bites. If you have been involved in an accident that caused you physical, mental, or emotional harm because of someone else’s actions or negligence, you might be entitled to financial compensation from the party at fault. 

Insurance companies and their representatives usually work to settle personal injury claims. Depending on the type of personal injury case, different types of insurance policies and companies might be involved. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer in Portland, like the Warren Allen LLP team, who specializes in these types of cases, is often a good idea since they can help you navigate the claims process, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and represent you in court if you are unable to reach a fair settlement. 

For instance, if you are looking for a personal injury lawyer, ensure they are well-versed in providing solid legal advice and working on all types of personal injury cases, which should include: 

  • Vehicular accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents (also known as premises liability)
  • Product liability
  • Animal bites
  • Medical malpractice
  • Workplace accidents

It’s important to remember that the insurance company of the other party involved in the accident will likely try to settle the claim as quickly as possible while minimizing the financial impact on their client. Understanding the different types of insurance policies and companies you might encounter and their role in personal injury claims might help you be more prepared to ensure the best outcome for yourself. The information below provides an overview of insurance in personal injury cases, including things to watch out for.

Common Types of Insurance Policies Involved In Personal Injury Cases

Many insurance policies offer some coverage for personal injury claims. The following are a few different kinds of insurance and the costs they might cover.

Automobile Insurance

Most drivers have car insurance that provides liability coverage that helps pay for bodily injury or physical damage you might cause in an accident. Depending on the policy, medical bills, car repairs, pain and suffering, and lost wages might be covered. Some states also require personal injury protection or no-fault insurance as part of your plan. This protection might help pay for medical costs and sometimes lost wages not covered by your regular health insurance, no matter who was at fault in the accident. 

Insurance companies generally use a specific formula and minimum amounts the state sets to determine the settlement amount they offer you.

Business Owner’s Policy And Homeowners’ Insurance

Slip-and-fall incidents most often occur at businesses or on private property. Business owner’s policies combine liability coverage and property insurance; some homeowners’ insurance policies can include personal liability coverage. In both cases, the insurance policy could cover the medical bills of a third party who is injured on the property of the business or home due to negligence, like an icy sidewalk, slippery floor, or a loose board on the porch. 

The insurance company sets coverage limits depending on the plan purchased by the business or homeowner. Any settlement beyond those limits would be paid out-of-pocket by the policyholder. Also, it’s important to remember that claims against insurance policies often raise rates for the policyholder, making them more likely to challenge these claims. An experienced personal injury lawyer on your side is especially helpful if the situation becomes contentious.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Any time you are injured while on the job, your employer should have workers’ compensation insurance coverage to help cover any medical treatment or lost wages as you recover. Many workers’ compensation claims are paid in full, even if you are at fault. Typically, when you accept payment, you give up any rights to sue your employer for the incident, including for financial compensation for pain and suffering in the future.

Medical Malpractice Insurance

In the United States, all hospitals have medical malpractice insurance, and many healthcare professionals do as well. These insurance policies provide liability coverage related to claims of medical negligence, products, or services that result in a patient’s injury or death. Medical malpractice cases are complicated, and it’s usually best to consult with professionals before pursuing one. 

What Do Insurance Companies Do In Personal Injury Claims?

As a general rule, when an accident is reported to an insurance company, they assign a claims adjuster who will be responsible for the following:

  • Investigate the accident
  • Gather information and evidence through eyewitness accounts, pictures, police reports, medical records, etc.
  • Assess the extent of damages and injuries
  • Interview and determine the liability of their policyholder
  • Calculate the amount of compensation to be offered
  • Negotiate with you or your representative to settle the claim

Insurance Company Tactics To Be Aware Of

Remember that the insurance adjusters work for the insurance company of the other party involved in your accident, not you. They most likely do not have your best interests in mind. To minimize the financial impact on their employer (the insurance company) and their client (the policyholder), they might employ a few different tactics you should be aware of, including:

  • Offering a low initial settlement amount
  • Pressuring you to settle early, before your medical treatment or car repairs are complete
  • Attempting to shift liability from their client to you
  • Requesting records, reports, or personal recorded statements from you that might be used against you (such as information about pre-existing medical conditions or prior personal injury claims) 
  • Trying to settle your claim before you’ve consulted with a lawyer or pursue litigation

When To Talk To A Personal Injury Lawyer

It’s always a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer in Portland before providing recorded statements to an insurance claims adjuster or accepting any settlement offers outright. Many attorneys provide free initial consultations to offer legal advice on protecting your rights. They can also help you assess any settlement offers you might receive and whether you should pursue litigation. 

Negotiating with insurance companies can take time and effort. If you cannot reach a fair settlement agreement with an insurance company, it is in your best interests to work with a personal injury lawyer who can help you file a personal injury lawsuit and represent you in court. When you contact the team at Warren Allen LLP, you will have access to a personal injury lawyer in Portland with a wealth of knowledge and experience representing clients throughout the Pacific Northwest. Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be challenging. It helps to have a team on your side. Call today to discuss how Warren Allen LLP can help you!

Personal Injuries and Emotional Distress: Understanding Your Claims

After you incur a personal injury, you often experience physical pain and suffering. What you don’t realize is you may also experience emotional distress. Though you may not be able to see it, emotional distress can be just as traumatic as a physical injury, if not more. 

This article will help explain emotional distress, how it can relate to an accident or injury, and how it might apply to your personal injury claim. 

What is Emotional Distress?

When it comes to a personal injury claim, emotional distress is defined as “mental suffering as an emotional response to an experience that arises from the effect or memory of a particular event, occurrence, pattern of events or condition.” 

Emotional distress can manifest itself in many different ways, which may not be evident at first. It could even be brushed aside and attributed to physical injury. Knowing the signs and symptoms of emotional distress can help you understand how it’s affecting your mental health. 

Some common signs of emotional distress include, but are not limited to:

  • subtle personality changes
  • crying spells or bursts of anger
  • increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • changes in appetite or difficulty eating
  • increasing physical distress symptoms such as headaches or stomach pains
  • feeling guilty, helpless, or hopeless
  • avoiding family and friends, isolating
  • trouble keeping track of things or remembering

Since some of these symptoms can be masked by physical injury, it is vital to be aware of any emotional changes you may be feeling, regardless of your bodily injury status. Keep a journal and note the changes in your mental health. If you notice any of the signs above, getting the support you need is vital. 

Understanding the Legal Basis for Emotional Distress Claims

Whether it’s a car accident, a workplace incident, or a slip and fall, the impact of personal injuries can extend far beyond physical pain. Understanding the connection between personal injuries and emotional distress is crucial when it comes to seeking compensation for your suffering. 

Emotional distress claims are a subset of personal injury claims that focus on the psychological harm suffered by the victim. These claims assert that the negligent or intentional actions of another party caused significant emotional distress, resulting in mental anguish and psychological trauma. While physical injuries may be more visible and tangible, emotional distress claims recognize the profound impact that psychological harm can have on a person’s well-being. By understanding the legal basis for emotional distress claims, you can better navigate the legal process to seek appropriate compensation.

How Does Emotional Distress Affect You?

Physical Injuries 

The pain, suffering, and lifestyle changes that accompany physical injuries can encompass a wide range of emotions, including fear, anxiety, anger, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our personal injury lawyers in Portland can help you recognize and identify the validity and impact of emotional distress on a person’s mental health and overall quality of life. It’s essential to address these emotional impacts alongside the physical ones when seeking compensation.

Psychological Trauma

Psychological trauma resulting from personal injuries can have far-reaching consequences on emotional well-being. Witnessing a traumatic event, such as a serious accident or violence, can cause severe psychological distress. This trauma can manifest as nightmares, flashbacks, and intense fear, affecting daily life and mental health. Recognizing the psychological impact of personal injuries is crucial in understanding the full scope of emotional distress.

Chronic Illness

Personal injuries aren’t always limited to isolated incidents but can also encompass chronic illnesses and conditions. Coping with a chronic illness can take a toll on a person’s mental health, leading to emotional distress. The constant pain, limitations, and uncertainty associated with chronic illnesses can contribute to feelings of frustration, sadness, and anxiety. Acknowledging the emotional burden of chronic illnesses is essential when seeking compensation for the overall impact on one’s well-being.

Long-Term Effects of Emotional Distress on Mental Health 

Emotional distress can have long-lasting effects on mental health if not effectively addressed. Untreated emotional distress may lead to chronic anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. By understanding the potential long-term consequences, it becomes evident that seeking compensation for emotional distress is not only fair but necessary to obtain the resources for proper treatment and support.

Establishing Duty of Care in Personal Injury Cases

To pursue an emotional distress claim, it is crucial to establish the legal concept of duty of care. This concept recognizes that individuals and entities have a legal obligation to act responsibly and avoid causing harm to others. Proving that the party responsible for your personal injury owed you a duty of care is essential in building a solid emotional distress claim.

Causation is another critical element in emotional distress claims. It requires demonstrating that the personal injury directly caused the emotional distress suffered. Establishing this link may involve medical records, expert testimony, and evidence of the emotional impact experienced. By connecting the personal injury to the emotional distress, you strengthen the foundation of your claim.

Determining the Level of Emotional Distress

Emotional distress claims often require meeting a threshold to be eligible for compensation. This means that the emotional distress experienced must reach a certain level of severity, causing significant harm and disruption to one’s life. While the exact requirements vary depending on jurisdiction, understanding the severity threshold is imperative in evaluating the strength of your emotional distress claim.

When it comes to proving emotional distress in personal injury cases, documentation is key. Keep a record of any mental or emotional symptoms you experience after the incident. It’s also helpful to track any changes in your daily life, relationships, or work performance attributed to your emotional distress. Save any relevant documents, such as medical records or therapy session notes, that support your claims.

Seeking legal advice is always advisable to navigate this complex aspect of your case. Our personal injury lawyers in Portland can help you understand how your particular injury impacts your emotional well-being. If you believe you or a loved one has sustained a personal injury, contact Warren Allen, Attorneys at Law, to schedule your free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers in Portland.

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.

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