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Car accidents, or other types of auto accidents, can happen in the blink of an eye and can be devastating. Injuries can be catastrophic, even if they appear to be minor initially. Once you have received appropriate medical care, it is important to consult with an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible.
At Johnston Law Firm, P.C., we help our clients understand and evaluate their legal options. We work in our clients’ best interests, not the interests of insurance companies. Our experience in handling well over 1,000 personal injury cases helps us relate to our clients’ individual and collective needs and goals. We act quickly and decisively. When you get in touch with us immediately following a car accident, we can send independent accident investigators to the scene of the accident before the insurance company gets there. We can document, photograph and collect evidence, including witness statements and law enforcement evidence with professionalism.
You should not have to bear the burdens caused by someone else’s negligence yourself. After receiving the medical treatment that you need for recovery, contact Portland car accident attorney Marc A. Johnston before speaking to insurance companies who are trying to protect their own interests over your best interests. We can provide you the counsel and representation necessary to pursue the maximum compensation you deserve for injuries and damages.
Portland Car Accident – A Veteran’s Fighting Spirit
In the bustling city of Portland, Oregon, a tale of resilience unfolded that we are privileged to share. It is a story of a brave veteran – a man that served his country with honor and faced the unimaginable horrors of war, who found himself in a serious car accident in Portland, Oregon, that would test his strength once more.
On a summer evening, our client was heading to his partner’s home, planning to take the 405 freeway on-ramp near SW 13th Street. As he approached the intersection, he responsibly slowed for a red light. As the light turned green, he gently accelerated, only to be blindsided by a sudden, violent collision on the passenger side of his vehicle by a reckless driver running the red light.
The impact was so severe that it sent our client’s car spinning, jolting him with a force that left him dazed, disoriented and injured. His vehicle came to rest 50 feet down the road, perched precariously on the curb.
In the aftermath of the collision, he found himself trapped in his vehicle, unable to escape without assistance. Once freed by good Samaritans, he sought answers, asking bystanders, “Who hit me? Who was the other driver?” When he finally locked eyes with the defendant, the only response he received was a hollow, “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.”
The defendant, as it turned out, had a track record of poor driving, including a number of suspensions. Despite this, he was employed by a company that failed to conduct thorough checks on their employees’ driving records prior to hire, allowing him to operate a supercharged truck on public roads.
Our client’s life was forever altered by this incident – his car was totaled; he suffered a fractured neck, and his former PTSD was reignited. But just as he had done on the battlefield, he chose to fight. He sought the expertise of the Johnston Law Firm, and together, we sued the negligent driver and his employer.
Despite apologizing at the scene, the defendant driver now blamed our client, claiming that our client ran the red light. This became a challenging ‘he said—she said’ case, with no independent witnesses. We hired an accident reconstructionist and deposed the company and the negligent driver. The insurance company offered an insufficient settlement, so we conducted mock jury focus groups and prepared for trial.
Our client, backed by seasoned trial attorney Marc Johnston and his team, held firm. On the eve of the trial, the insurance company capitulated, offering nearly double their previous offer. This was a testament to the joint determination of our client and our firm to never settle for less than full justice, even if it means going to trial.
Our client’s journey didn’t end there: even after settlement the Portland VA sought more than $20,000 in reimbursement for medical charges incurred by our client. Our team fought this lien with incredibly creative methods and approaches, eventually earning a complete waiver of this lien, putting $20,000 back into our client’s pocket.
This story is a testament to our client’s indomitable spirit and our firm’s commitment to our clients. We stand by those who have been wronged, ensuring they receive the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Portland, Oregon, trust our team to fight for you, just as we did for this courageous veteran.
Our Firm Handles a Full
Range of Car Accident Claims
An auto accident can happen many different ways in many different places! They are always a surprise and you never know what the damage is until days after. That is why our Portland personal injury attorney has worked to be experienced will all types of accidents and injuries. Here are just a few of the different type os accident claims that we handle:
- Construction zone collisions. A construction zone collision may involve two non-construction vehicles, or a construction worker and a non-construction vehicle. These accident types might occur as a result of speeding, improper signage, distraction, and more.
- Distracted driver cases. Distracted driving isn’t always illegal; there’s no law that says you can’t take a sip of your coffee while operating the car, or turn around to check on pets or small children. But distracted driving is dangerous and negligent, and is the source of far too many crashes each year.
- Dram shop claims. When a drunk driver causes a crash, it makes sense to blame the drunk driver. But the drunk driver may not be the only party who’s to blame; it’s important to consider who served the drunk driver alcohol in the first place. If the drunk driver was over-served, a claimant might have a dram shop liability claim.
- Drunk driver cases. Drunk driving is one of the most dangerous actions in which a person can engage. When a drunk driver causes a crash, the driver can be held liable for the full extent of damages. Working with a lawyer can help you to prove that the driver was responsible, even if you don’t have proof of blood alcohol levels.
- Faulty airbags, auto glass, seatbelts. The vast majority of car accidents are caused by the errors of drivers on the road. However, there are a handful of crashes that occur because of defective auto parts. What’s more, the degree of damages is sometimes exacerbated in a crash because of defective parts, such as faulty airbags that don’t fully protect occupants, poor auto glass, which could shatter and lead to serious injuries, and faulty seatbelts, which may not properly protect occupants or even contribute to injuries.
- Head-on collisions. While all accidents have the potential to be serious and result in catastrophic injuries, head-on collisions are statistically one of the most deadly. Often the result of a driver traveling the wrong way on a one-way road, drunk driving, or falling asleep at the wheel, if you’ve been in a head-on crash, our lawyers will advocate for you.
- Intersection collisions. Often resulting in T-bone accidents, intersection collisions can happen when a driver fails to yield the right-of-way properly, runs a red light or stop sign, or is speeding or driving while distracted or drunk. These accidents are most devastating if vehicles are traveling at high speeds at the time they occur.
- Railroad crossing accidents. The idea of being involved in an accident with a train is unsettling to even think about. If you or a loved one has been in a railroad crossing accident, our law firm can investigate the case to determine what went wrong and who should be held liable for your losses.
- Rear-end collisions. While rear-end collisions are often put into the category of insignificant crashes (because they often are), the reality is that rear-end crashes can be serious in some cases, particularly when they occur at high speeds. What’s more, because the rear driver is not always at fault, it’s important to work with an attorney who can fully investigate your case.
- Rented scooter injuries. Renting a scooter to get around is very fun, as well as a functional way to get from place to place. But scooters aren’t always safe and the actions of other scooterists or motorists could lead to devastating accidents.
- Rideshare accidents (Uber, Lyft). While rideshare services have certainly added a level of convenience to most people’s lives, rideshare vehicles and their drivers aren’t infallible, and accidents can and do happen. When a rideshare accident occurs, one thing that can be particularly confusing is knowing which insurance company should pay for damages.
- Roadside hazard cases. While manipulates and agencies/departments are supposed to maintain roadways in a safe condition, sometimes, roadside hazards exist that contribute to crashes. When a crash occurs as a result of a roadside hazard, having an attorney on your side who can build your case and hold the responsible party liability is important.
- Roadway design cases. Sometimes, the design of a road itself is too dangerous. For example, a grade may be too steep, or a turn may be too sharp. When hazards like this exist, it’s important that proper signage exists to warn drivers of the risk. If a crash happens as a result of unsafe roadway design, your attorney can help you to understand against whom to file a claim.
- Rollovers. Like head-on collisions, rollover accidents have a statistically high rate of fatality and serious injury. These crashes may occur when two vehicles collide, or could be single-vehicle crashes.
- Roof crush cases. If a rollover accident happens, one of the consequences of that roll could be that the roof of the vehicle is crushed or caves in. Obviously, this can lead to devastating, if not fatal, injuries for those within the vehicle. In a roof crush case, the manufacturer of the vehicle may be held liable for the defective design/manufacturer of the roof.
- Stop sign accidents. This type of accident can be minor if it occurs when both drivers at opposing stop signs slowly proceed at the same time, resulting in a low-speed collision, or serious if a stop sign accident occurs because one driver speeds through a stop sign, breaching the right-of-way law and crashing into another driver in the intersection.
- Sudden acceleration cases. The choice of a driver to suddenly accelerate in a manner that is reckless could put others in danger, including pedestrians and cyclists. While sudden acceleration is often a result of a driver’s negligence, it could also be a vehicle defect issue.
- Tire detread & tire defects. The quality of a vehicle’s tires are one of the most important elements of a safe car or truck. When tires are low-quality or are poorly maintained, or when they are defective, a crash can occur. If you believe that your accident was the result of a tire defect, the tire manufacturer or distributor could be held liable.
- Trucking accidents. No one ever expects to be in an accident with a big rig. When this type of crash occurs, the results can be devastating. The sheer size of large trucks alone means that the force involved in truck accidents is increased significantly relative to accidents involving smaller cars. Our law firm can help you to build your claim and prove liability and damages.
No matter what type of accident you find yourself in, call Marc Johnston today for your free consultation!
Don’t miss out on these common personal injury mistakes.
Duty of Care
Negligence claims are based on a duty of care. This duty requires that people and businesses act with reasonable safety so that they do not end up harming people. When a person is insufficiently careful, they legally “breach” their duty of care, and they are legally liable when this breach ends up harming our clients.
Establishing a duty of care is a fact-intensive effort. If you were hurt driving on the road or while walking in a crosswalk, then your task is easier. Oregon drivers must operate their vehicles with enough care that they don’t hurt other people on the road or near them on the sidewalk. Driving carelessly or recklessly makes these motorists legally liable for any accident.
At Johnston Law Firm, our Portland car accident lawyers have the skills needed to prove a driver breached their duty of care. We can review police reports, talk to witnesses, and document the accident using your photographs. If a defective product contributed to the accident, then we can also establish liability.
Portland Car Accidents
& Insurance Laws
In the United States, each of the 50 states sets its own insurance laws for car accidents. Generally, states are either fault or no-fault states. The rules of seeking compensation are different in each.
In no-fault states like Florida, every person who registers a vehicle will need to purchase personal injury protection insurance, called PIP for short. This insurance is no-fault, meaning a motorist can use it even if they caused the wreck. PIP benefits cover the cost of medical care and lost wages, up to the policy limit. If a driver suffered serious or permanent injuries, they might be able to sue the driver who hit them. But if their injuries are too minor, they are prevented from bringing a lawsuit.
Fault states like Oregon are different. In our state, motorists purchase a liability insurance policy. This policy will pay compensation to any hurt if the policyholder is at fault for the accident. Currently, Oregon requires the following amounts:
- $25,000 for bodily injury liability coverage, which pays if you hurt or kill someone.
- $50,000 for bodily injury liability per accident (when 2 or more people are hurt).
- $20,000 for property damage liability per accident.
- $15,000 in PIP insurance
- $25,000 in uninsured motorist coverage, up to $50,000 per accident.
Those are the minimums—a motorist could purchase more, if they wanted. After an accident in Oregon, a victim can first use their PIP benefits (which are no fault) and then seek compensation from the other driver at fault. There is no bar on filing a lawsuit for even minor injuries like there is in no-fault states.
Insurance is confusing. You might not know which insurance to use or whether to make a claim on another driver’s policy. Contact Johnston Law Firm today to discuss how to navigate the insurance claims process.
What to Do if the
Other Driver is Uninsured
According to some estimates, roughly 13% of Oregon motorists do not have insurance. This is unfortunate. However, there is a reason Oregon requires motorists to carry uninsured motorist coverage. You can use those insurance benefits to cover some of the costs of your accident.
Uninsured motorist insurance is liability coverage. That means you can’t tap these benefits if you were responsible for the accident. Some insurers balk at paying a claim because they think you are really responsible for going off the road. We might need to collect evidence to establish you were the victim of a negligent driver.
Car accidents are common in Oregon. The City of Portland alone has more than 10,000 car accidents each year. They vary from fatal accidents to mere fender-benders, but any accident is potentially serious.
Oregon saw 38,141 crashes in 2020, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT). Broken down, these accidents included:
- 18,338 collisions that caused only property damage
- 19,343 collisions causing non-fatal injuries
- 460 fatal accidents
The DOT also kept track of the most common errors made by drivers, which include:
- Failing to avoid a parked or stopped vehicle
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Driving off the road
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Driver inattention
These statistics provide context for understanding the hazards motorists face. Rest assured, however, that at Johnston Law Firm you are never a statistic. We realize that each car accident is unique. We give your case the individualized attention it deserves.
Should You Hire a
Portland Car Accident Lawyer?
An experienced attorney can provide an immediate “lift” to your chances of receiving compensation. Following a collision, you are probably in considerable discomfort and might be unable to leave the hospital or your home. It will be a challenge to negotiate a favorable settlement in these circumstances.
Unfortunately, many insurance companies are less eager to settle claims fairly. They have found over the decades that they can increase their profits if they delay or deny claims. Our knowledge of insurance company tactics allows us to negotiate from a position of strength. Because we are detailed at understanding the “ins” and “outs” of your accident, we can confidently argue for maximum compensation.
A seasoned Portland car accident attorney can handle the legal side of things while you focus on physical and emotional recovery. Many clients report feeling that it’s a full-time job to go to rehab, doctor’s appointments, and therapy sessions. When an insurance company sees that you have hired a lawyer, they know that you intend to be treated fairly. And they know they can’t use many of their most common tricks to reduce the amount they pay in a settlement. This peace of mind is incalculable.
How Insurance Companies
Maximize Their Profits
Car accidents send accident victims to the hospital in pain, and you deserve fair compensation. Sadly, insurance companies in Oregon have grown very large over the years implementing a “Delay, Deny, and Defend” strategy:
- Delay—Is the insurance company ignoring your claim and failing to respond to your phone calls? Insurers must investigate a claim in a reasonable manner, but insurers have found that they can put pressure on victims by delaying an investigation. The longer you have to wait, the more stressful you can feel about the bills you need to pay.
- Deny—Was liability obvious based on the facts? Unfortunately, many insurers will deny even valid compensation claims. They will claim you bear the majority responsibility for the accident, or they will minimize your injuries and claim you aren’t really hurt. Some car accident victims without lawyers might give up at this point.
- Defend—Have negotiations hit a wall? When an insurer fails to settle, you might have no other options but to file a lawsuit for personal injuries. Bringing a lawsuit is very complex and requires knowledge of many areas of law. A lawsuit also can take a year or longer, denying you the compensation you deserve.
At Johnston Law Firm, we know how to counter these tactics—we’ve had success doing so for decades. The “Delay, Deny, Defend” strategy is designed to pressure injured victims like you to settle for too little in compensation. Insurers know that you still have bills arriving every day for utilities, rent/mortgage, and medical care. They probably also suspect you can’t work as you try to heal. Sadly, many victims grab at the first offer because they are so stressed out about finances and not really sure of how much their claim is worth.
If you contact us today, we can collect high-quality evidence that shows fault, and we will drive a hard bargain with an insurer.
The Danger of
Because Oregon has a comparative negligence law, insurers are eager to hear your version of events. They might call you soon after the accident and ask if you will give a recorded statement. Our Portland car accident attorney recommends you decline.
Many insurers will ask questions in the hopes you will say something (even accidentally) which they can construe as you accepting responsibility for the wreck. For example, they might ask how tired you were the night before the crash or whether you had your phone in the car with you. Based on this information, they might argue you were negligent too, which would reduce the money they have to pay.
They could also dig for information to use in an effort to minimize your injuries. How you respond to a simple question like “How are you?” could show up later as proof that you aren’t really in pain.
At some point, you will need to answer an insurance company’s questions. You should have an attorney by your side during this process. Johnston Law Firm can represent you and ensure you don’t say something you don’t mean.
Your Successful Recovery
Is Our Top Priority
Injuries from rear-end collisions, T-bones, rollovers and even seemingly minor fender benders can cause severe injuries. Fractures, head injuries, neck injuries, back injuries and soft tissue damage can become severe over time, or if not properly treated. If you have been involved in a car accident, first tend to your health and see a doctor. It is important to consult with an independent specialist of your choice to fully evaluate the extent of injuries sustained in an accident.
At Johnston Law Firm, our car accident attorneys collaborate with car accident reconstructionists, medical experts and economic experts to establish the full value of your case. When you have been struck by a driver who was driving recklessly or was distracted by speaking on a cellphone, texting or driving drunk, you need a lawyer with experience both in and out of the courtroom.
The Portland car accident attorneys at Johnston Law Firm will strive aggressively for the compensation you deserve with tactful and strategic preparation. Our innovative techniques and quick response to insurance defense can seek your deserved compensation in negotiation or at trial for the following recoveries:
- Loss of expected future earnings/wages
- Pain and suffering
- Reimbursement for medical expenses and medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Any other costs applicable to your case
Car accidents can be extremely stressful events. Following a collision, many victims are unsure of what to do, especially if they have suffered injuries. Injuries from a car crash can be severe and can require extensive medical care, keep you from working, and have long-lasting effects. The following are some frequently asked questions that car accident victims often have regarding recovery for their losses.
The scene of an accident is often chaotic, but it is important to remain as calm as possible and take certain steps to protect your health and your legal rights. If emergency medical personnel advise you to go for emergency care, you should listen to them and seek the necessary medical treatment. If you can remain on the scene, you should do the following:
- Wait for law enforcement and give them your side of the story;
- Collect the names and contact information of witnesses and anyone involved in the collision;
- Take photos of the scene and make notes of any unusual weather or road conditions;
- Seek a medical evaluation to ensure any injuries are timely diagnosed.
Any party that acted negligently and contributed to causing the accident may be held responsible for your medical expenses and other losses. Some examples of negligent parties in collisions include the following:
- Distracted drivers;
- Drunk drivers;
- Aggressive drivers;
- Drivers who violated traffic laws;
- Government entities that failed to maintain, inspect, or repair the roads;
- Auto manufacturers that sold defective brakes, tires, airbags, or other pertinent auto parts.
It is highly important to identify the correct negligent party so that you can seek compensation from them. The action you take to seek recovery can vary based on whether the liable party is a person, a company, or the local government.
When you make a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company, you will likely receive a settlement offer. Many people believe their only option is to accept the offer, however, accepting a settlement that does not fully cover all of your losses can result in financial disaster. Once you accept a settlement, you will have to sign a release that waives your right to file a subsequent lawsuit. Therefore, if the settlement is too low, you will have no other way of obtaining compensation and will be responsible for paying your own medical bills and incurring your other losses with no legal relief. Unfortunately, many insurance companies begin with a low offer, so you should always review settlement offers with an experienced attorney before accepting. A lawyer can then negotiate with the insurance company to try to obtain the maximum settlement.
In many collisions, more than one driver makes an error that contributes to the accident. Fortunately, Oregon law allows victims to recover even if they were partially at fault, though they will not be able to recover for the full amount of their losses. Instead, the court will determine what percentage of fault is attributable to you and will decrease your compensation by that percentage.
For example, imagine that one driver suddenly slams on their brakes for no reason in the middle of the highway. The car behind the braking vehicle would have had time to stop, except that the driver was sending a text message at the time and was not looking at the road. By the time they look up, it is too late to stop and a collision occurs. This is a common example of a situation in which a driver may be partially at fault but may still be able to recover for some of their losses.
Like the majority of legal cases, there is time limit–called the statute of limitations–set out in Oregon law. Specifically, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim for personal injury against the negligent party. If you miss this deadline, you will likely lose your right to recover.
Wrongful death is one that is caused by the negligent or reckless acts of another, or due to someone failing to take the appropriate precautions that could have prevented the death from occurring.
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– Michelle E.
Mr. Johnston and his firm were incredibly thorough in getting us a fair settlement from our insurance company with little to no pressure. We really appreciated having someone who truly cared about us every step of the way. I would highly recommend the Johnston Law Firm to anyone in need of personal injury representation.
Contact Johnston Law Firm to Speak with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Oregon car accident laws state that you have to file within a specified amount of time, so you should act quickly and call Johnston Law Firm at 503-546-3167 or fill out our free confidential case evaluation form. Our personal injury lawyers will know exactly how to help with your Oregon car accident cases. We’re highly rated, and offer a free initial consultation, and flexible hours by appointment. We look forward to helping you with your car accident claim.
Act quickly and call Johnston Law Firm at 503-713-6839 or fill out our free confidential case evaluation form. We’re highly rated, and offer a free initial consultation, and flexible hours by appointment. We look forward to helping you with your car accident claim.
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