Tag: Portland Personal Injury

Man with injured and wrapped hand filling out "Work Injury" form.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney If My On-the-Job Injury Was Caused By Someone Else?

When it comes to injury on the job, most people immediately think of workers’ compensation. Though filing a workers’ comp claim is a necessary first step, it is not always the only step in receiving fair compensation for injuries sustained at work. This is especially true if the injury was caused by someone other than an employer or co-worker. These injuries are classified as a third-party injury claim and may entitle you to workers’ compensation and damages in a personal injury case.

If the injury you received at work was caused by a third party, you may want to file a personal injury claim in addition to the workers’ comp case. If you live in Oregon and are looking to receive fair compensation for your injury, it may be in your best interest to hire a Portland personal injury attorney. Read below to understand the benefit of a personal injury attorney for your on-the-job injury.

Understanding Workers’ Compensation

Before delving into third-party injuries, it’s important to first understand workers’ compensation. Though each state has different laws regarding workers’ comp, the program is designed to protect employees from losses due to injury or illness obtained on the job.

Workers’ comp is a type of insurance that provides medical care as well as wage replacement for wages lost. It is a no-fault program, which means that you can still receive these benefits even if the accident was your fault. Typically, this program enables an employee to receive medical care and recovery from losses while protecting the employer from potential lawsuits.

Defining Third-Party Injury Claims

An employee may file a third-party claim in addition to the workers’ comp claim if the injury they received was caused by reckless or negligent behavior by someone other than their direct employer. This excludes an injury caused by a co-worker or supervisor with the same direct employer.

What can qualify for a third-party injury claim? Any accident that was caused by someone separate from your employer. This can include jobs that work with multiple organizations at the same time while on site. Certain industries use a variety of organizations on the jo site, such as construction sites and certain fields of entertainment. Within the construction industry, there may be a general contractor, subcontractor, property manager, as well as multiple companies that specialize in framing or finish carpentry.

Third-party injuries can also occur in situations that place the employee in contact with people outside of the jobsite. For example, if an employee is driving for their job and another driver on the road hits them, the employee can file for workers’ comp as well as sue the individual responsible for the accident. If the at-fault party was driving a company vehicle, they may even file a personal injury claim against the company. An injury can also be classified as third-party if it is caused when an employee visits another company or business as part of their job duties or occurs because of a defective tool or machinery.

These injuries can include, but are not limited to, car accidents, premise liability, slip and falls, and malfunctioning equipment. It can also include occupational disease, such as exposure to a gas leak or asbestos on the jobsite, leading to health complications.

Why File a Third-Party Claim?

In most cases, Oregon’s laws and statutes protect employers from suits being brought against them by an employee. However, Oregon law also allows an employee to file a personal injury case against a third party for out-of-pocket damages. Workers’ compensation can be minimal, while a third-party claim can cover out-of-pocket expenses, economic damages, pain, and suffering, as well as punitive damages. These can be pursued in addition to workers’ comp.

Benefits of Legal Representation

If you are a victim of a third-party injury, then you may need to file a personal injury claim. If this is the case, you may also need to seek representation from a Portland personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney will have your best interests in mind while seeking compensation. Not only will they be your advocate, but they will also have the experience and understanding to prepare your claim and gather all necessary evidence to build a strong case.

Workers’ compensation is no-fault, which means fault does not have to be proven on the employer’s part in order to receive benefits. However, in a third-party injury case, the other party must be proven at fault in order for you to receive compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney knows what evidence is necessary and will ensure you don’t miss any necessary paperwork or deadlines. There are certain time limitations depending on the claim. Hiring a personal injury attorney as soon as possible is important to ensure you don’t miss out on compensation because you waited too long.

It’s also important to hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced with both workers’ compensation law as well as personal injury law. These laws are technical and in a personal injury claim, a case could go to trial. If this is the case, you will want an experienced trial attorney as your advocate.

Compiling Evidence

If you believe you can pursue a third-party injury claim, it’s important to take action immediately. While seeking the advice of a personal injury attorney, begin compiling as much data as possible surrounding your injury. This includes copies of receipts, medical bills, records of lost wages due to lost work, witnesses’ accounts and contact information, as well as written documentation of your symptoms and experiences. Continue to seek medical treatment and keep records of these visits.

When choosing a Portland personal injury attorney, consider our expert team at Warren Allen LLP. Our firm offers legal representation and advice for people who have been affected by third-party injuries and helps them to receive compensation. Contact us today and we will help you receive the best resolution possible so you can focus on healing.

Male attorney explaining legal paperwork to woman client.

How Do I Prepare for My Personal Injury Hearing in Portland?

If you’ve suffered a personal injury to the point where you’ve decided to bring a legal case in the hopes of recouping damages, then one of the most important parts of the process is the personal injury hearing. At the hearing, you (or your attorney) will present your case and argue why you are justified in seeking damages. Whether you live around the world or here in Portland, personal injury hearings are a critical part of the process, and you should know how to best prepare for them.

What Is a Personal Injury Hearing?

Typically, the term “personal injury hearing” specifically refers to the session where a personal injury case is argued before the judge, who will then determine fault and damages. However, not all personal injury cases actually make it to trial—in fact, the vast majority do not. Only about 4% to 5% of personal injury cases ever see a day in court, as the overwhelming majority are settled out of court.

Colloquially, however, this phrase may be used to refer to other matters related to personal injury proceedings. Two of the most common alternatives that may be called “personal injury hearings” (typically by non-attorneys or other legal professionals) will be personal injury depositions and personal injury mediations.

What’s the Difference Between Personal Injury Hearings, Depositions, and Mediations?

The three are very different in terms of outcome but also share broad similarities. In all of these, you will be telling your Portland personal injury lawyer—or your lawyer wherever else you live in the world—about why you think you deserve to be compensated for the injuries you’ve suffered. However, the differences between them are notable.

What Is a Personal Injury Deposition?

A deposition can be thought of as a “fact-finding” session. In a deposition, an attorney attempts to piece together exactly what happened and the facts of the matter as they related to the personal injury case.

If you are the person who experienced the personal injury, you may be called by your attorney to give an official deposition as to the facts of the matter. However, even if you are not the victim (or the plaintiff), you may be called in to testify. This can be true even if you are a witness to the events that happened.

You can think of a personal injury deposition as a “trial before a trial.” In other words, even though the attorneys are not pleading a case before a judge, much of the same information will be shared—this is the opportunity for the attorneys to gather the information that they will later use to plead their cases in the trial proper.

Most depositions are not held in a courtroom. Rather, they will usually be held at law offices or in other designated spaces owned by the attorneys involved in the case. However, a deposition is a legal proceeding, and as such, you are considered under oath and must be careful to tell the truth so you don’t risk perjury.

What Is a Personal Injury Mediation?

As previously mentioned, most personal injury cases in Portland and around the country are settled before trial. A personal injury mediation session may be one of the ways two parties come to an agreement, or it may be something mandated by the judge after the hearing proper. Either way, a personal injury mediation is a session in which the plaintiff and defendant (and their legal teams) come together to agree on an appropriate settlement.

Unlike the deposition, which is usually just for fact-finding, a personal injury mediation session is usually legally binding and will attempt to resolve the case for good.

What Is a Personal Injury Hearing?

A personal injury hearing, as previously mentioned, involves the parties in question coming forward to argue their cases in front of a judge. At the conclusion of the personal injury hearing, the judge will decide in favor of the defendant or plaintiff and award monetary damages—or alternatively, they may decide that the case should go to mediation, in which case you should refer to the above section.

Either way, it’s important that you know how to behave in these varying scenarios. So whether you’re around the country or here in Portland, personal injury hearing guidelines include the following:

  • Tell the truth. Not only is this a good maxim to live by, but in a deposition or hearing, you are under oath and therefore are legally obligated to be truthful. If it can be proven that you were lying, not only could the result be appealed, but you could face charges of perjury.
  • Be prepared. No attorney—and no judge—enjoys a defendant who doesn’t know what they’re talking about or who has to waste time trying to remember a facet of the event in question. You’re human, and of course, there’s leeway, but you should be sure to prepare as much as possible in terms of reviewing documents and your memory of the events in question.
  • Be on time. The annals of legal history are full of anecdotes of plaintiffs or defendants who forgot their court dates and as such forfeited their cases (and wasted the court’s time). Don’t be one of them. Ensure you know exactly where and when your court date is scheduled and don’t miss it.
  • Dress appropriately. You don’t need to show up to the court in full formal dress, but wearing clothing with vulgar images or slang on it might give a poor impression to the judge. Dress nicely to ensure you are perceived as credible.
  • Don’t take things personally. Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant—or a witness—people will be challenging your version of the events that transpired. The opposing counsel is legally obligated to do so, in fact. So when the opposing counsel puts forth a sequence of events that are totally at odds with how you describe it, don’t get angry. Remaining calm is the best thing you can do in a court hearing, especially if you’re on the stand.

If you have questions about personal injury hearings in Portland, Oregon, or anywhere else, don’t worry—contact an expert. At Warren Allen, we’re here for a consultation today.

 

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