Frequently asked questions in personal injury cases
We’ve provided here some answers to questions people often ask about injury cases. These are not intended as legal advice, but are for general information only.
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Q How do I pay for an attorney?
A We don’t charge for the initial consultation. If you hire us we would take a percentage of any recovery. If there is no recovery you pay no attorney’s fee.
Q I was just in an auto accident that wasn’t my fault and I was injured. Do I need an attorney now?
A Hiring an attorney now helps ensure that your legal rights about your injury claim are protected. You will probably be contacted by an insurance company claims adjuster for the other driver. They may offer you some money now to permanently settle your injury claim. They may also want you to sign a paper that will allow them to get all your personal medical and employment records.
Once you hire us, our firm immediately contacts the insurance company in writing. We prevent any further contact with you. We also revoke any medical authorizations you may have signed. This protects your privacy, so that your claim can be settled fairly when you are ready.
Q Will I have to go to court?
A Most injury cases are resolved without ever going to court. In fact, a great many are settled before a lawsuit even has to be filed.
Q How long do I have to make a personal injury claim from a car accident?
A Generally, if the accident happened in Oregon, you have no more than 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in court, or all your rights will be lost. An experienced law firm like ours has the expertise to evaluate the facts and determine what time period applies to our client’s claim. These time periods are called “statutes of limitation”
Q What if the other driver wasn’t insured?
A You may be able to present your injury claim to your own insurance company. This is called an “uninsured motorist claim”. If your auto insurance policy was issued in Oregon, it has this coverage. The amount of coverage that may be available to you depends on many different factors. Our firm is highly experienced in presenting, settling and litigating uninsured motorist claims.
Q The other driver has some insurance, but not enough. My injuries are extensive and permanent. What can I do?
A Your automobile policy may contain a provision for “underinsured motorist” coverage. This is similar to uninsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage may provide additional insurance benefits beyond the other driver’s insurance limits. Whether this insurance applies is a question our firm can answer for our clients.
Q How will I pay my medical bills? I don’t have health insurance.
A Your automobile insurance policy may provide Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. In most cases the insurer will pay up to $10,000.00 in accident-related medical bills for treatment that takes place within 1 year from the accident. We can assist our clients in processing a PIP claim. We do not charge for this service.
Q I lost time from work because of my injuries. Can I recover that money?
A PIP coverage may reimburse a portion of your lost wages up to a year from the accident. There are several limitations on this coverage. You may also recover from the at-fault party lost wages not paid by PIP.
Q A close relative of mine was killed in an auto accident recently. Does his estate have a claim against the negligent driver?
A If the accident was caused by the other driver’s fault, the estate would have a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are governed by statute. Generally, the estate would be able to present a claim for the following:
1. Medical, funeral and burial expenses
2. Disability, loss of income, pain and suffering of your relative from the accident until his/her death.
3. Loss of the companionship, society and services suffered by the immediate family.
4. Economic loss to your relative’s estate. See generally ORS 30.020.
Q The other driver’s insurance company keeps calling me asking for a recorded statement. What do I do?
A It’s still a free country. You don’t have to talk to them, but they don’t have to stop calling. Once we’re hired, we immediately contact the at-fault party’s insurance company in writing, and instruct the claim representative to route all further communication through our office.