Our firm has handled thousands of car accident claims over the past twenty one years (prior to that, I defended car accident claims for three “insurance defense” law firms, and prior to that I worked a liability claims adjuster defending such claims). Based upon that experience one very strong piece of advice that I have for someone injured in a car accident is to retain counsel as soon as possible. There are many, many reasons for this recommendation. One of those reasons is that you need representation before an insurance adjuster convinces you to let them record an interview of you; not infrequently the content of such an interview can later hurt the person’s claim, even though the person did not make any intentional mis-statements when interviewed. Also, not long after an accident occurs the insurance companies go into action and “evidence” that might assist the person’s case at time of settlement negotiations or in trial, is lost.
Our firm does far more for our clients than obtaining fair compensation for them. An injury claim necessarily involves tremendous paperwork (usually, there are two or more insurance companies involved, by way of example) and our staff takes care of that work. By way of a more specific example, before we attempt to settle a personal injury claim, our staff generates a detailed spreadsheet that shows all of the client’s medical care charges, all payments made, and any balances still owing.
Most of our cases settle but not all do. If an insurance company refuses to recognize fault on the part of its insured and/or will not voluntarily offer reasonable compensation, we can and do file suit. When a case is in litigation we take great pains to keep our clients informed; ultimately our client decides whether to accept a given settlement offer or instead go to trial, and that decision needs to be informed. A significant percentage of our litigated cases resolve by way of arbitration or mediation (in addition to having arbitrated 100+ of our clients’ cases, I am a member of the court- appointed arbitration panels in multiple Oregon counties and also in Clark County, Washington).
There are two types of “damages” (the legal term for “compensation”) that someone injured in a car accident can seek: “noneconomic” damages and “economic” damages. The term “noneconomic damages” refers to compensation for pain, suffering and the like. There is no formula available to determine the appropriate amount of compensation but, the more and/or longer the pain one suffers, the more compensation they are entitled to. In contrast, “economic damages” are more concrete, so to speak. This term refers to one’s medical care costs (including future care, where applicable) and lost income, most often.
We are available to speak with you by telephone or in-person to discuss your auto accident case, at no cost to you. It is important to keep in mind that, subject to a narrow exception, pursuant to Oregon’s “statute of limitations” law, a person has only 2 years from the date on which they are involved in an accident within which to file suit.