PERSONAL INJURY LAW
I handle a variety of personal injury cases. Personal injury is the area of law that addresses injuries or death caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct of others. Personal injury includes claims for motor vehicle collisions, certain workplace injuries, injuries from hazards on land or building premises, and injuries from faulty products (products liability). My personal injury practice is not limited to these areas. A personal injury case can arise from any injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful conduct of another.
Under the American legal system, insurance is meant to spread the cost of injuries so that no one individual must bear the cost alone. Many of the laws that address personal injury matters were created with that principle in mind. This means that insurance law and personal injury law often intersect.
With regard to motor vehicle collisions in particular, both Oregon and Washington have complex rules governing payment of insurance benefits to injured drivers or passengers. Those rules apply to one's own insurance coverage and to the coverage carried by the party who caused injury. I typically speak of an injured person's own insurance as "PIP insurance," the term "PIP" standing for "personal injury protection." I speak of the responsible party's insurance as "liability insurance." When the responsible party does not have insurance or sufficient insurance, an injured person can bring a claim against her or his own insurance company.
Personal injury cases frequently turn on the precise facts of the accident or wrongdoing involved. Memories of witnesses fade with time, and accident scenes change. For that reason, victims of accidents or wrongdoing can benefit from getting legal representation early on. Representation does involve the cost of contingent or hourly fees (see below), but often the benefits of representation more than outweigh that cost. Insurance companies recognize this fact. They frequently try to convince injured persons that they do not need attorneys.
Timely representation also can prevent an injured person from losing rights due to the passage of time. Personal injury claims are subject to "statutes of limitation." These are time limits by which one must file a civil suit or other legal action. What time limit applies depends on the particular facts of each matter. Although no injured person should avoid talking to an attorney because she or he thinks too much time has passed, any person injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of another should not delay in seeking legal advice.
Injured persons typically seek money recoveries for different economic and noneconomic harms. These include the cost of medical care, lost income, compensation for pain and suffering, compensation for permanent impairment, and compensation for the impact injuries can have on a person's family. I evaluate each case individually to maximize every client's recovery.
I do not charge for an initial consultation regarding a personal injury matter. If a client retains me, my fees depend on the client's wishes and the nature of the matter. I handle most personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis. That means that my fee is a percentage of the recovery. The client is responsible only for costs. Some clients prefer hourly fees. On occasion, the law permits me to recover attorney fees in addition to damages for injury. I will discuss fee arrangements during the initial consultation, and I am happy to answer any questions about fees a potential client may have.
Portland Attorney at Law
1826 NE Broadway • Portland, Oregon 97232-1430 • Phone: (503) 281-6362 • Fax: (503) 288-8046
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