What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
What are the Types of Personal Injury?
I’ve just been in an accident, what do I do now?
Do I need to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Do I get a free consultation?
How much is my case worth?
How do I pay my medical bills?
Do I have to pay attorney fees up front in my case?
How will my lawyer be paid? What is a contingent fee agreement?
What other costs will there be in addition to the attorney fees?
How long will this process take?
What is the likelihood that my case will settle versus going to court?
Understanding exactly what counts as personal injury can be confusing. On the surface, the phrase “personal injury” is pretty broad and can cover a lot of ground especially if you’re wondering if you’ve got a situation that could be a lawsuit. Personal injury is an injury not to property, but to your body, mind or emotions.
A personal injury lawsuit is a legal case where someone sues another person or company for compensation to cover physical and mental damages. A personal injury lawyer will tell you that a lawsuit can be filed whether the injury is intentional, accidental or a result of a faulty product.
If you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages, including auto repair, car rental, personal property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, physical impairment and your pain and suffering.
If death or serious injury results, contact an experienced Oregon personal injury lawyer immediately. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help you preserve your claim while you focus on getting better. Working hard to return to health gives you credibility.
If you are injured by an uninsured driver, you have certain protection and benefits under your own auto insurance policy. Your rights to compensation will disappear if your claim is not brought within strict time limits. Consult an attorney immediately. [return to top]
While the following are examples of potential personal injury lawsuits, they do not include all the potential types of personal injury cases.
1. Bodily Injury is the most commonly understood type of personal injury case where the victim has been injured due to the behavior of another person, property owner or company.
2. Economic Injury – Certain personal injury cases come from economic damages instead of physical injury. For instance, if someone’s negligent behavior reduces the value of your home or other property that counts an economic injury.
3. Injury to Reputation – Slander and Libel claims fall under this category of personal injury lawsuit. In this situation the plaintiff has suffered harm to his or her reputation which led to actual physical or economic damages.
4. Intentional Injury – This is an area of personal injury law where the injury was done on purpose. An example of personal injury lawsuits that come under this classification would be assault and battery.
5. Product Liability – If the design or assembly of a product injures you, you may have a product liability lawsuit. Breach of warranty is another type of product liability lawsuit which refers to the failure of a seller to fulfill the terms of a promise or they make false claims about the quality or type of product they sell you. [return to top]
If you or a member of your family has been involved in a serious auto accident, trucking accident, or motorcycle accident, there are some steps you should take to protect your current and future ability to maximize auto insurance coverage compensation and benefits you are entitled to for any injuries you may have sustained.
- Collect all possible information about the car accident (this also pertains to truck or motorcycle accidents).
- If possible, get the name and phone number of any witness who saw the accident.
- Write down a description of the events immediately preceding and following the car accident. Memories fade and a written record can help remind you of the exact order of events.
- Take photographs of the scene, damage to the vehicles and any visible injuries.
- Make sure you visit a doctor if you have been injured. Follow the doctor’s advice and obtain all recommended and necessary medical treatments.
- Report all injuries even if they are minor. Having a record of the injury will increase your chances of financial recovery if your medical condition worsens.
- Do not sign any documents presented to you by any insurance company – even your own insurance company.
- Seek out an experienced and qualified personal injury or auto accident attorney. [return to top]
Since so many types of injuries fall under the category of “personal injury”, it’s especially important to talk with a lawyer. If you have a lawyer negotiate with an insurance company it’s entirely possible they will offer you a larger settlement than if you negotiate directly with the insurance company. A lawyer will also know what documentation you will need to help build the strongest case possible.
Another benefit of hiring a lawyer is that they know what questions to ask such as:
- What are the insurance liability limits?
- Are there other sources of insurance?
- What is the adjuster likely to pay out?
- What is the monetary value of your case?
- What is the best way to approach the negotiation?
A lawyer can also help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. Once a lawsuit has been filed your attorney is now dealing with another attorney instead of an insurance adjustor. Also, once a lawsuit has been filed the court is involved in the supervision of the case. Now your case has deadlines for the filing of various documents, depositions of witnesses may be taken and important documents may be subpoenaed. Having your lawyer file a lawsuit doesn’t guarantee a larger settlement but you are more likely to get a settlement that reflects the true value of your case. [return to top]
Yes. There is no cost for the initial consultation with our attorneys. [return to top]
The value of your case is dependent on the specific factors of the accident or incident. Each claim is unique and the value is determined by a number of variables including, but not limited to, how much medical treatment is necessary, how much lost wages or lost earning potential is determined, how much projected future medical treatment is necessary, and how much pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life was caused by this accident or incident. Our attorneys can only give an estimate of how much they believe your case is worth after fully reviewing all medical records, employment records and the individual facts of your specific situation. [return to top]
I will discuss the payment of your medical bills in detail with you when you contact me for an initial consultation. One of the following methods for payment may be available:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage from your own automobile policy if you were in your automobile, on a bike or a pedestrian and involved in an automobile collision.
Oregon law requires that every automobile policy pay up to $15,000.00 (for a period of up to one year) for medical costs, including, but not limited to, chiropractic, physical therapy and massage providing the treatment is reasonable, necessary and a result of the accident.
- Workers’ compensation insurance if your injury occurred while you were working on the job and the injury occurred as a result of your employment.
- Your own health insurance.
- Your own personal funds if you were not insured and are able to pay medical bills as they are incurred.
- The liability insurance coverage for the person who caused your injuries. Such liability insurance coverage will most likely be paid at the time of settlement rather than during the period you incur the bills. [return to top]
No, cases are taken on a contingency fee basis meaning that the attorney fees are taken out of any settlement that we effectively negotiate for you or award won at trial. If we do not settle your case before trial, or are not successful at trial, you do not have to pay any attorney fees.
In almost all personal injury cases, your attorney will be paid a percentage of the final settlement or judgment resulting from your injury. The percentage will be discussed with you and will be the subject of what is called a contingent fee agreement. The law requires for your protection and that of you lawyer a written contract, which specifies the fee so there will be no misunderstanding about how much your case will cost. The agreement will provide that your lawyer will work diligently on your case in exchange for the percentage in the agreement. If there is no recovery, you owe no attorney fees. [return to top]
The fee for your attorney is based upon the lawyer’s work, time, effort and expertise. In addition, your attorney may advance costs specific to your case. Your attorney will make decisions necessary to obtain the reports, opinions or records needed to present your case. Examples of these advanced costs include:
- Fees that doctors and hospitals charge for medical reports.
- Costs of photographs. Photograph and other visual documentation (such as videotape) are extremely important in personal injury cases. If your attorney incurs expenses in having visual materials obtained or prepared, you may be responsible for such costs.
- Reports of experts. Reports from experts other than physicians may be required in your case and, if so, you will have to pay the cost that such experts charge for their reports.
- Litigation costs. If your case has to proceed to suit or litigation, there will be costs incurred as a result of the filing of such a lawsuit. [return to top]
This depends on how much medical treatment you are getting and how quickly we are able to come to an agreement with the insurance company on an acceptable settlement. Usually cases are completed between 6 and 18 months after our involvement. [return to top]
Not all cases are taken to trial. The majority of cases are settled before a trial is necessary. Wise & Associates, P.C. has a reputation among insurance companies for taking cases to trial if a reasonable offer is not made by the insurance company. If a reasonable settlement is not offered, and you have a strong case, our attorneys will aggressively pursue the matter in court. If your case is going to trial, we will make sure you are fully prepared to testify and are educated on how the process works. [return to top]