Car Accidents and Everything Else
Three Things to do in a Car Accident
Car accidents are by far the most common type of personal injury. We unfortunately put a lot of trust in other drivers who are in control of a 2-ton metal wrecking ball. Victims of collisions appreciate dangers more than other driver’s because a crash forces you to address real financial, medical, and insurance needs. When you’re injured in an accident, take a step back and follow these steps:
- Jot down insurance info, name of driver, and license plate.
- Go seek medical care. You get 15k free from your own insurance to use on medical
- File an insurance claim.
Personal injury torts can encompass many types of claims or lawsuits. They are largely divided into two types of actions: negligent or intentional. Some types of negligent acts include: car accidents, professional malpractice, and injuries while on a property.
For Negligence you need:
- Duty owed to you – Most people only owe you the duty to act reasonably.
- Breach of Duty – Did they act reasonably, or did they owe you a greater duty?
- Causation – A breach of their duty must have caused a negative outcome.
- Proximity – Negative outcome must be close in time, space or expected result.
- Injury – Result must be a type of harm our society recognizes.
- Damages – Economic losses include medical bills, lost wages, and property; non-economic is the infamous pain and suffering.
Intentional acts are a bit more sinister and include assault and battery, infliction of emotional distress, and defamation. While defamation and infliction of emotional distress are important much more common are cases that involve assault and battery. Here’s a quick look at the difference between assault versus battery.
An assault occurs when someone intends and attempts to cause an offensive contact and puts you in fear that it may actually happen. The threat or attempt thereof needs to be possible to carry out.
Battery on the other hand is a successful assault that results in touching. A simple example of this is someone punching another person. Word of caution though, many defenses can be raised against battery to defeat the claim, contact an attorney to find out about your case.
Medical Benefits in a Collision (PIP)
Oregon law entitles everyone (unless you elected out) to medical treatment, specifically, “All reasonable and necessary expenses of medical, hospital, dental, surgical, ambulance and prosthetic services incurred within two years after the date of the person’s injury, but not more than $15,000 in the aggregate for all such expenses of the person.” ORS § 742.524
It’s important to seek professional medical services right after an accident. Even if you do not feel significant injuries – it’s worth the effort to have diagnostic images done to make sure there’s no permanent damage you’re unable to recognize.
Sometimes insurance companies deny these benefits for ridiculous reasons, and you will need an attorney to bring the insurance company to their senses.
At Fault Has No Insurance? No Problem.
Deep within the confines of your insurance policy where adjusters fear to talk about is a little provision called uninsured motorist benefits. Benefits under this provision can include lost wages, property damage, and even pain and suffering! That’s right folks, you’ve been paying into this coverage since the inception of your policy, and all those delicious premiums should be put to good use. It’s not easy though, if you find yourself here contact an attorney to force your insurance company to arbitrate!
Four Rules to Maximize Your Settlement
Million Dollar Cases Are Tragedies
My firm receives calls all the time asking, “What’s my case worth?” or “How much do you think we could get?” Then you’ll read attorney websites that boasts of million dollar settlements, and in the same breath say, but all cases are different so no guarantees!
The truth is attorneys are not divine wizards that can conjure up money or the unknown. No jury or insurance company hands over a million dollars unless a devastating tragedy has occurred.
How Settlements are Calculated
Your injury, its permanency, job status and culpability of the person who caused the injury define the scope of your settlement. Your injury and its permanency defines the nature and course of medical treatment necessary. Job status will play a role in your lost wages. Culpability is what makes juries angry.
Angry juries can produce anomalies with verdicts, but sometimes this anger is justified. The McDonald’s Coffee Case everyone reads about was horrific, and the jury turned hulk when they found out McDonald’s knew they were selling molten coffee.
- Treat immediately after the accident, and request diagnostic images – injuries may take awhile to manifest, but do not wait else it’ll become “pre-existing.”
- Do not rush the process for treatment or settlement – the worst you can do is close out your claim before you know what it’s worth.
- Keep track of expenses, and any lost wages; your job now is to get better, and if work is not an option there are ways to receive income.
- Find an attorney you can trust.