Recovering from an auto collision is daunting, even if your injuries are not life-threatening. The last thing you should have to worry about is dealing with insurance companies or whether your medical bills will be covered. After gathering information about you, your insurance, the collision, the other party and their insurance and obtaining the police and medical records regarding your claim, I work with the insurance adjusters, attorneys, medical personnel and others so you can focus on healing. I will keep you in the loop and always return phone calls and emails.
I handle car crash cases more than any other type of case. In the U.S. alone, motor vehicle-related injuries are the leading cause of death for people ages 34 and under. Nearly 5 million people suffer injuries that require an emergency department visit. The economic impact is also notable: According to the CDC, the lifetime costs of crash-related deaths and injuries among drivers and passengers were $70 billion just in 2005.
Traffic incidents might be common, but each case involves people with different injuries, needs and circumstances. I will work with you personally to provide the individualized legal services you require. From minor, soft-tissue injury cases to those involving catastrophic injuries and fatalities, I am experienced and prepared to ensure you obtain the maximum compensation for your loss.
As you might imagine, most of my auto accident cases involve auto insurance. Oregon drivers are required to carry both Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) and liability insurance coverage. Even when a driver fails to carry the required insurance, often you or another responsible party has insurance that will likely include Uninsured Motorist coverage to compensate you.
Liability insurance covers you if you are at fault in an crash. PIP coverage is no-fault coverage that pays for your medical expenses regardless of whether you’re at fault. The minimum coverage amount required in Oregon for PIP coverage is $15,000, which will last up to that amount or for two years, whichever occurs first. Of course, you can elect to have additional PIP coverage if you pay a higher insurance premium. PIP also covers up to 70% of your monthly lost wages if you miss at least 14 or more days of work. If you are deemed to not be at fault in a collision, then the liable party’s insurance will reimburse your insurance company for any PIP benefits they provided on your behalf. The purpose of PIP is to ensure individuals who are injured do not have to wait for a determination of fault before they can obtain medical treatment.
Auto collisions often cause devastating injuries. In my former work as a Deputy District Attorney for Multnomah County, I prosecuted vehicular homicide cases. I was often required to wake up at odd hours of the morning after a fatal collision and go to the scene to advise the police about legal procedure and search warrants. I also attended many autopsies, some of which were for victims killed in vehicle collisions. These cases often are the most traumatic for the surviving family members. In my career, I have worked directly with thousands of victims and their families. I understand that a money award from the court or sending someone to prison will not make everything okay. Nonetheless, both can go a long way to balance the scales. Our court system is not perfect. It is confusing, slow, overburdened and expensive. My job is to make your experience with the court system as simple and painless as possible while still attaining the maximum compensation for your injury. In furtherance of that goal, I front all costs for your case, including court filing fees, investigation fees, expert witness fees, medical records costs and anything else that might come up. You will not have to pay for these costs until the case is resolved.
Thankfully, most auto collision injuries are not life-threatening. Collisions often lead to obvious injuries like broken bones, lacerations, abrasions and bruises, but they also might cause less visible injuries such as whiplash, sprains, strained muscles and other “soft-tissue” injuries. Speeds as low as 15 miles per hour are capable of producing enough energy to cause whiplash, regardless of whether you’re wearing your seat belt.
It is important to treat all injuries with the care they demand, both from a medical and legal standpoint. Medically, it is important to see your doctor, because what might seem like a bump on the head or some back stiffness could actually be a life-threatening subdural hematoma or a herniated disk. Legally, it is important to see your doctor and follow all recommendations, because it serves as evidence that tends to corroborate your case. If you follow through with all of your doctor’s orders and attend all appointments, the doctor will likely make a good witness if and when we present your case to a jury at trial. If you fail to see your doctor or follow their advice, the jury will likely award less money.