We Handle Serious Personal Injury Claims in Portland and Throughout Oregon
Accidents can happen anywhere, and the resulting injuries can be serious and even debilitating. You may find yourself dealing with the financial impact of heavy medical and hospital expenses, while the time it takes to recover could result in lost wages and prevent you from engaging in hobbies and activities with friends and loved ones. In many cases, these so-called accidents are often the result of someone’s careless or negligent conduct. Personal injury law deals with various types of accidental and unintentional injuries, car accidents is a common example, and can be used to hold responsible parties accountable in order to obtain the compensation injured victims need. If you or someone you care about has suffered from these types of injuries in Portland or Vancouver, a personal injury lawyer can help you recover.
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; and
- 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.
- Mediation: 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.
- Settlement: A financial amount agreed upon by all parties out of court to compensate you for your injuries and resolve your claim.
- Damages: 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.
- Judgment: A verdict handed down by a judge awarding damages for your personal injury claim.
Even if you were partly responsible for your accident and injuries, you may still be entitled to compensation through Oregon’s comparative negligence laws, which allows for the apportionment of damages based on the percentage for which a party is responsible for your injuries.
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. Get the legal counsel you need to guide you through the process of filing an injury claim.
Personal Injury FAQs
When you sustain an injury in an accident, you likely have many questions about how to seek compensation for your injuries. The following are some Portland personal injury FAQs that may help you with your case.
What Events Can Lead To A Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Many different incidents can lead to serious injuries and a subsequent lawsuit filed by injured victims. The following are some events that are commonly at issue in a personal injury case:
- Car accidents;
- Truck accidents;
- Pedestrian and crosswalk accidents;
- Bicycle and motorcycle accidents;
- Slips, trips, and falls;
- Workplace accidents;
- Injuries caused by dangerous or defective products;
- Injuries caused by dangerous property hazards;
- Medical malpractice.
In addition to the above accidents, any accident that occurred because another party was negligent can lead to a personal injury case.
How Do I Know If Someone Else Was Negligent?
In order to be successful in a personal injury claim in Portland, you must prove that another person or party was negligent and should be held liable for your losses. Negligence occurs when a party fails to act with the degree of care legally required in a particular situation. Negligent parties can be other people, companies, or government entities and can include careless drivers, property owners, product manufacturers, employers, medical professionals, and more.
Negligence can be a complex legal concept and the best way to determine whether negligence played a role in your accident is to have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate your situation. An attorney will have the resources to investigate the circumstances of your accident and identify whether someone else was negligent.
How Long Do I Have To File A Personal Injury Claim?
Every state has different laws regarding the time limits for filing different types of legal claims. Under Oregon law, the following statutes of limitations apply:
- Personal injury – Two years from the date of the injury;
- Medical malpractice – Two years from the date of either the injury or when the injury was discovered;
- Wrongful death – Three years from the date of the injury that caused the death (not the date of the death itself).
While there are some rare exceptions to time limits for lawsuits, generally speaking, you will lose your chance to recover if you do not file a claim within this period of time. Lawsuits also take time to prepare, so you should never delay in discussing a possible case with an attorney who understands time limits for personal injury cases in Oregon.
Will My Personal Injury Case Go To Trial?
When you think of a court case, you may first think about a trial in front of a jury. In reality, the large majority of cases involving personal injury do not require a trial to resolve the matter. Instead, an experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to seek a favorable resolution in other ways. Engaging in mediation can often result in an outcome that is mutually agreeable and can save time, energy, and resources required for litigation. In addition, in the time leading up to a trial date, your attorney can use evidence and arguments to negotiate with the other party to try to reach a favorable settlement agreement that will cover your losses. Only if mediation and settlement negotiations fall through will your case go to trial.
What Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the value of a personal injury case can vary significantly from case to case. In cases involving relatively minor injuries, the case may be worth a few thousand dollars to cover your medical bills and any income lost during your recovery. However, when a catastrophic injury occurs, recovery can rise into the millions of dollars and can include compensation for lifelong medical care, permanent disability, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of earning capacity, and more.
In cases of serious injury, medical and economic experts are often involved to testify to the value of your intangible losses. An experienced lawyer will have resources to complete these complex calculations to ensure you seek the full amount of recovery that you deserve for your injuries and related losses.
What Are the Elements of a Personal Injury Claim?
In order for a claimant to be successful during the claims process, they must satisfy the elements of a personal injury claim. The elements of a personal injury claim, regardless of the type of claim, are:
- Duty. The first element of a personal injury claim is duty. This means that the plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant in the case owed the plaintiff a duty of care. Sometimes, duty of care is implied. For example, all drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road, and all doctors owe a duty of care to their patients. In other cases, though, duty will need to be established.
- Breach of duty. Once duty has been established, the second element that a plaintiff will need to prove is breach of duty. Usually, a breach of duty occurs in the form of negligence – the failure to act with the same level of care that a person of ordinary prudence would demonstrate in the same situation. For example, a driver acts negligently when they breach the duty of care owed to other drivers on the road by driving while distracted.
- Causation. The third thing that you will need to establish in a personal injury claim is causation – that is, that the accident and your injuries would not have occurred but for the breach of duty of care that occurred. Another way to think about this is that your accident was caused by the defendant’s actions.
- Damages. Finally, in addition to proving all of the above, you’ll need to establish that actual damages were suffered as a result. Medical bills, pain, suffering, lost wages, and property damage expenses are all examples of damages. Remember, you must be able to connect these damages directly to the accident caused by the defendant’s negligence.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Another question that our lawyers often hear–and that those who have been injured often have–is whether or not working with a lawyer is really necessary. We understand that working with a lawyer is a very personal choice, and may not always feel essential. Here are some circumstances when working with a lawyer is in your best interests:
- Your injuries are serious. If your injuries are serious, you probably don’t have the capacity to handle your claim yourself. What’s more, you probably desperately need a settlement in order to compensate you for your losses. Additionally, the more serious your injuries, the more pushback that you’ll likely get from an insurance adjuster, as an insurance company will be loath to pay out what you deserve. An attorney can help you to fight back.
- Your claim has been denied or low-balled. If your claim has been denied or if you have been offered a settlement that is less than what you believe you deserve, you should get an attorney immediately. An attorney will know how to appeal a denied claim on your behalf, as well as how to negotiate a settlement offer that it’s fair.
- Fault is disputed. When fault is disputed and you’re being blamed, in part, for your accident, you need an attorney. If you are found to be partially at fault, your settlement award can be diminished in proportion to that degree of fault. Which is why if you’re being blamed, you need to get an attorney who will present evidence that disproves the allegations of fault made against you and makes a clear case for the full liability of the other party.
What Types of Evidence Do I Need to Win My Claim?
Proving the elements of a personal injury claim and winning your case in court will require submitting a lot of compelling evidence; knowing what type of evidence is most important for your claim and when and how to collect it can make a big difference. Essential types of evidence in a personal injury claim usually includes photographs of the accident scene and your injuries, eyewitnesses’ testimonies, police/accident reports, the opinions of various experts, medical records, and more. Our lawyers can help you to collect this evidence by traveling to the accident scene, tracking down eyewitnesses, sending spoliation of evidence letters, and more. We’ll focus on the investigatory process so that you can focus on your recovery.
What Should I Do If I’m Offered a Settlement?
Being offered a settlement is exciting, and something that you may have been desperately waiting for. But while you may need the money and therefore be tempted to accept the settlement offer, it’s always smart to thoroughly review it first, preferably with an attorney. If your settlement offer is too low and you’re not being fully compensated, you have the right to reject the settlement offer and enter into negotiations until you and the insurance adjuster reach an amount you can both agree on. If you can’t reach a settlement, you also have the right to file a lawsuit and litigate your case in court.
What If I Can’t Afford an Attorney?
One reason that people may be hesitant to hire an attorney is because they’re worried that they won’t be able to afford an attorney’s services. Good personal injury attorneys, though, work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you won’t have to pay out-of-pocket for your legal services; instead, your attorney will be paid a portion of your settlement. If you don’t recover a settlement, you won’t have to pay your attorney anything. Your attorney won’t charge you upfront or hourly fees, and can also front costs to pay for experts and other expenses incurred during the claims process. When you work with an attorney, there is nothing to lose; when you don’t work with an attorney, there’s a lot on the line. Hiring an attorney almost always improves the outcome of your claim.
Compassionate and Dedicated Service from Marc A. Johnston
Whether your personal injury is a brain injury, car accident involving a drunk driver or wrongful death we are here to help. Our founder, Marc A. Johnston is known for his dedicated representation and exceptional client service throughout Portland, OR and surrounding areas. He truly gives it his all when investigating claims and preparing a personal injury case that tells your story. You can feel confident having him as your attorney when you seek our firm’s legal services for claims.
At Johnston Law Firm, we use a strategic approach to seek maximum compensation in all types of personal injury claims, involving:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Work site and industrial accidents
- Defective products
- Dog bites
- Sexual abuse
- Accidents resulting in injuries to children
- Medical Malpractice & Negligence
- Other accidents resulting in catastrophic injury or wrongful death
Free Confidential Case Evaluation
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.