Types of Personal Injury Cases
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accidental injuries result in more than 30 million hospital emergency room visits each year, and are the fourth leading cause of death in this country. While the injuries sustained in these accidents may have been largely unintentional, the fact is that there is generally someone or something who is ultimately responsible. In personal injury law, negligence is a legal theory under which a responsible party may be held liable for the injuries and other damages an injured victim suffers. Negligence is defined as doing something or failing to do something a reasonable person would have done under similar circumstances. Negligent actions or inaction form the basis for many types of personal injury cases, including the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents, in which a driver, passenger, or pedestrian is injured as the result of another driver’s reckless behavior;
- Slip and fall accidents, such as injuries sustained as the result of wet floors or uneven sidewalks;
- Premises liability cases, in which a person is injured due to dangerous conditions on another’s property;
- Product liability cases, in which injuries occur as the result of defective or dangerous products;
- Medical malpractice, in which a medical error or mistake results in injuries or damages;
- Wrongful death, in cases where unintentional injuries result in death.
Elements of A Personal Injury Lawsuit
Under Chapter 31 of Oregon Revised Statutes, tort actions are those which seek financial compensation for injuries suffered as the result of someone’s reckless or negligent actions. As a tort action, elements of a personal injury lawsuit include the following:
- Claim for damages
The legal paperwork filed by your attorney with the court on your behalf, naming the parties responsible for your injuries and the types of damages you are seeking.
Negotiations before an impartial party with you, your attorney, and the at fault party during which an attempt will be made to settle or resolve your case.
A financial amount agreed upon by all parties out of court to compensate you for your injuries and resolve your claim.
Under Oregon law, you may be entitled to economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages including mental anguish and pain and suffering.
A verdict handed down by a judge awarding damages for your personal injury claim.
Steps to Take After an Accident
The steps you take after any accident are crucial to any claim you may file in the future. The most important of these include:
- Call the police if your accident involved a vehicle
- Fill out and obtain a copy of any incident report you file, such as if you slipped and fell inside of a business
- Locate witnesses who saw the accident and obtain their contact information
- Write down any details you can remember as soon as possible after an accident, such as what caused your accident, as well as the time, date, and location of the accident and any other pertinent details
- Take photos and video footage of important details, such as any vehicle that was involved in the accident, your injuries, and physical evidence, such as skid marks on the road
- Do not admit fault or sign any documents the insurance company presents to you
Lastly, it is critical to contact a Portland personal injury attorney who can advise on your case and the next steps to take.
How Much is Your Personal Injury Case Worth?
The value of a personal injury case depends on many different factors. No two cases are exactly alike and many variables will affect the value of a claim. These include:
- The nature and severity of your injuries, as well as the permanency of them
- The medical treatment required to ensure the injuries do not become worse
- The wages, bonuses, and benefits you lost at work due to your injuries
- Whether you can return to the same type of work again in the future, and if you can earn similar wages in the future
- The amount of insurance that is available
An injury lawyer can only value your claim after they have fully reviewed your medical documentation, employment records, and the specific facts of your case. Lastly, the value of a case can change as new information is uncovered.
How an Injury Lawyer Can Help with Your Case
People are reluctant to reach out to an injury lawyer after an accident for many reasons. They may think they cannot afford an attorney, or they may not even know if they have a valid case. If you have been hurt, working with an injury lawyer will help you obtain more damages than you may if you take on your case alone. It is never easy to negotiate with insurance companies, or collect the evidence necessary to prove your case. These tasks, and the others that go into building a strong injury case, are almost impossible to perform while you are trying to recover from serious injuries. A lawyer can help with your case in many ways, including:
- Conducting the investigation: Determining how your accident occurred, and who is liable, requires a full investigation. An injury lawyer will visit the scene of your accident to become more familiar with important details, find local businesses who may have video footage, and reach out to professionals such as accident reconstruction experts who can advise on how your accident occurred.
- Collect important evidence: Evidence is critical when proving your case. Physical evidence from the scene, cell phone records, photos, video footage, and eyewitness statements are some of the strongest pieces of evidence. An attorney will have the resources to subpoena certain types of evidence, locate witnesses, and the know-how to collect other pieces of evidence.
- Negotiate with the insurer: Insurance companies prioritize their own profits over the health and safety of accident victims. They are very reluctant to offer fair settlements that will fully cover the cost of injury and other losses. It takes a skilled negotiator to enter into negotiations and obtain the full and fair settlement you deserve. An injury lawyer will have the experience and expertise to help you obtain yours.
- Trial representation, when necessary: Very few personal injury cases actually make it to the trial stage. Still, sometimes this step is the only way to make sure you obtain the full damages you are entitled to. If you get to the trial stage and are not working with an attorney, you should definitely contact one before you attend any court hearing. Trials are very overwhelming, particularly for those who have never been through the process before. A lawyer will make sure you are prepared and provide the strong representation you need.
The above are just a few of the ways in which our Portland personal injury lawyer can help with your case. Essentially, an attorney will handle every aspect of your claim so you can focus on getting better.
Personal Injury and Insurance Companies
If you have been seriously injured due to the negligence or careless actions of an individual or business, enlist the help of a personal injury attorney right away. Settling with an insurance company may result in you receiving far less compensation than you actually need.
At Johnston Law Firm, P.C., in Portland, Oregon, we pride ourselves in our ability to work hand in hand with insurance companies to resolve coverage disputes and denials for our clients. Our experience with insurance denials is a great benefit to our personal injury clients. We know exactly what the insurance companies are looking at, and we can head off many of their challenges proactively. This helps us build a persuasive claim that pursues full and fair damages for your pain and suffering.
Don’t miss out on these common personal injury mistakes.
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Johnston Law Firm, P.C. represents clients in all cities and counties in Oregon including: Portland, Gresham, Milwaukie, Lake Oswego, Tigard, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas.
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Contact us today at
to get a FREE, confidential case evaluation
We’re conveniently located in downtown Portland, and we offer flexible hours by appointment.