Lost Wages Central Issue in PIP Case

Our client had been an active mother of two small children when she was injured in an auto accident in Portland, Oregon. She sought medical treatment for her injuries and had nearly exhausted the $15,000 policy her personal injury protection (PIP) provided. Auto Accident Lawyers Portland | Auto Accident Attorney Portland | Portland Injury Lawyers | Oregon In addition to her medical treatment and expenses, she found that the result of her injury was that she could no longer perform the duties of the job she had enjoyed up until that point. She found another job, but it paid less than her previous one. Trying to take care of herself and her two children, she filed a claim for wage loss through her PIP carrier to cover the gap and give her time to recover financially.

To her surprise, her PIP carrier declared that she had chosen to pursue a new career and refused to pay her lost wages claim. Furthermore, her PIP carrier demanded that she repay what they had paid for her medical bills with the money she had received in the liability settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. A previous attorney had pursued these issues vigorously but with no success, so she transferred the case to a Portland, Oregon auto accident attorneys at Dwyer Williams Potter.

ORS 742.544 provides for repayment only when the recovery is greater than the financial losses. Considering that our client had to take a job that paid less, her lost earning capacity exceeded her liability settlement. The notion that she had wanted a change in careers was absurd, and we provided documentation from our client’s doctors to prove that the change in jobs was due to the injuries she suffered in the accident. In spite of our arguments, the PIP carrier still refused to pay the wage loss. Undaunted and determined to get our client the settlement she deserves, I filed a lawsuit for the lost earnings and attorney fees.

As usual, filing a lawsuit made the PIP carrier take us more seriously, and the case settled shortly after it was referred to a defense attorney, based on the understanding that attorney fee exposure would be far greater than the amount of lost wages. Our client kept the entire $25,000 liability settlement without repaying the medical expenses, and she received the lost wages from her PIP carrier to which she was entitled. She was very happy that she had transferred the case to Dwyer Williams Potter.

If you have been in an auto accident and have medical expenses and have lost wages as a result, we can help you get the financial reimbursement you deserve. Even if you’ve already consulted with another attorney, we often get results where others have failed, as in this case. One of our expert Portland, Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys will be happy to discuss your Portland, Oregon Personal Injury case with you. Call us now: 888-700-4337

Intersections Site of Many Auto Accidents Resulting in Personal Injury

When you think of dangerous places you drive, you may think of I-5, where you speed at 80 mph from exit to exit. Or, maybe you think of downtown Portland, crowded with cars, pedestrians, and bikes. While these places are definitely dangerous, the most dangerous place on the road is far more ordinary and mundane: intersections. Auto Accident Lawyers Portland | Auto Accident Attorney Portland | Portland Injury Lawyers | Oregon The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) even defines an intersection as a “planned point of conflict in the roadway system.” The statistics collected by federal agencies like the FHWA and non-profits like the National Safety Council prove just how treacherous intersections are:

  • Almost 43% of all accidents occur in intersections.
  • In 2009, 20% of all fatal auto accidents occurred in intersections.
  • Also in 2009, over 2.2 million crashes happened just in intersections with traffic lights, which are supposed to provide a measure of safety and control in intersections.
  • Almost 50% of all urban accidents occur in intersections, an especially salient fact for Portland, Oregon drivers.

The area surrounding Portland certainly has its share of dangerous intersections. In early October, a 60 year old motorcyclist was killed at an intersection in Hillsboro by a truck turning left on a blinking caution light. An intersection on Oregon 211 near Mollala has seen repeated coverage in The Oregonian for its fatal crashes in 2005, 2009, and 2011 and numerous injury crashes. Causes for crashes in intersections are as various as the number of drivers on the road: distracted driving, failure to yield right of way, changing lanes in the intersection, and disregard for traffic control signals.

There are many intersections around Portland, Oregon that present a threat for pedestrians and bicyclists as well, and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has acted to place better safety signals at these intersections, such as one on the Tualatin Valley Highway, where many auto and pedestrian accidents have happened. The deaths of bicyclists at Portland intersections has led to the placement of green “bike boxes,” where bikes can stop to be more visible. In spite of these precautions, accidents continue to happen, like the tragic crash that killed bicyclist Kathryn Rickson in Portland this May.

If you have been involved in a crash in an intersection and injured, or if you’ve lost a loved one in an intersection auto accident, you can get help from a personal injury attorney in making sure you get full compensation from your or the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Dwyer Williams Potter has experience settling and litigating all kinds of auto accident cases in Portland, including intersection auto accidents. Whether you were in an auto accident, a bicycle accident, or a pedestrian accident, we can help settle your case successfully. One of our expert Portland, Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys will be happy to discuss your Portland, Oregon Personal Injury case with you. Call us now: 888-700-4337

Passengers Benefit from Representation of Auto Accident Attorney

The Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is in the news again – this time for a car accident in Detroit, Michigan. You may remember that the Portland native was in our local news in December 2011, when he lost control and crashed on 3rd and Burnside in Portland, Oregon. Although Suh was eventually ticketed, the accident was not investigated initially, because the crash reportedly involved no injuries or intoxicants. In July 2012, a passenger in Suh’s car at the time of the accident, Saadia Van Winkle, sued Suh for $1 million, for negligence, reckless driving, and emotional distress. Van Winkle said that she was injured in the crash but that Suh intimidated her into keeping quiet to avoid an investigation by the police. According to the Oregonian, the case is set to go to trial in March 2013. Auto Accident Lawyers Portland | Auto Accident Attorney Portland | Portland Injury Lawyers | Oregon

Regardless of how the case plays out in court, it is a reminder that passengers are often injured in car accidents and need medical care, may lose wages while recovering, and suffer emotional pain as well as physical, just as the driver of the car might. If you’re a passenger in a car accident, what are your resources and rights?

All Oregon private auto insurance policies include Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which provides payment for medical bills, lost wages, and even some household expenses. If you are a passenger in a car involved in an accident, the driver’s PIP policy should cover you. If the other driver is liable and you are injured, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy for any injuries, lost wages, or pain and suffering. The insurance company may deny your claim or offer you a settlement that is too low. If that happens, you should retain the services of an auto accident attorney. You have a right to legal representation, just as a driver of the car might.

If you were a passenger in a car involved in a Portland, Oregon auto accident and were injured, we can help. Don’t think that just because you weren’t driving, you have no rights or deserve no compensation. At Dwyer Williams Potter, our attorneys have experience settling and litigating all kinds of auto accident claims, for drivers and passengers. We offer free consultations, so you can discuss your accident and claim with us at any time. One of our expert Personal Injury Attorneys will be happy to discuss your Oregon Personal Injury case with you. Call us now: 888-247-9023

Insurance Company Lets Off Brakes on Settlement in Personal Injury Case

It was a normal day at work, and our client, an employee in a Portland, Oregon warehouse, was riding a forklift that a co-worker was driving. The day quickly became abnormal when the brakes went out on the forklift, throwing our client to the ground, where he was then run over by the forklift. Portland Accident Lawyer | Portland Accident Attorney – Portland Injury Lawyers He suffered multiple broken bones and severe cuts.

After one month in the hospital and many months of out-of-hospital recovery, his medical bills were astronomical. In addition, he had a permanent limp and several large scars on his right leg. He was sure that his worker’s compensation insurance would cover his medical expenses and was angered when they denied his claim and offered no settlement. Even more ludicrous was the insurance company’s reason: they said that the driver had done nothing wrong and that our client had not been thrown off but had jumped off on his own. Our client, knowing nothing could be farther from the truth, called an expert Portland, Oregon personal injury attorney at Dwyer Williams Potter.

In the course of investigating our client’s accident, I discovered that the forklift had brake problems several months before our client’s accident. The driver of the forklift, who was also the owner, had tried to fix the brakes himself but had evidently not succeeded. I immediately turned this information over to the insurance company and they reconsidered their position and agreed to negotiate. After negotiations, the company offered our client a fair settlement.

If you’ve been injured at work and need help getting an insurance company to settle your claim, we can help. One of our expert Portland, Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys will be happy to discuss your Portland, Oregon Personal Injury case with you. Call us now: 888-700-4337

Skilled Negotiations Lead to Settlement in Auto Accident Case

It appeared to be a relatively quiet midweek day, and our client and a friend had decided to go into downtown Portland, Oregon for lunch. What had started out as a quiet day quickly got chaotic when a driver ran a red light and t-boned the car our client was the passenger in. Oregon Auto Car Accident Attorneys, Accident Attorney Oregon | Dwyer Williams Potter LLP | Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys He suffered serious injuries and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. After examination and x-rays, his doctors diagnosed a protruding disc that required surgery.

When he filed a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, they offered to settle the case for a ridiculously low amount, citing a prior condition the client had suffered from about a year before that involved back pain and numbness in his leg. The cited this in spite of the treating physician’s specifically prescribing the surgery for accident-related injuries, not the pre-existing condition. Knowing that he deserved more, he contacted an experienced Portland, Oregon auto accident attorney for help in getting a better settlement.

In order to get the insurance company to talk about its position on our client’s claim was to file a lawsuit. I did this, confident that we could fight it in court successfully if we needed to. However, the lawsuit got the insurance company’s attention, and they had their own attorney review the case. He advised them to settle, given the facts. Even then, the insurance company only offered half of policy limits. I negotiated with them aggressively until they offered full policy limits, giving our client the resources he needed to get the proper medical care.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and can’t get the insurance company to cooperate because of unrelated pre-existing conditions, we can help. One of our expert One of our expert Portland, Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys will be happy to discuss your Portland, Oregon Personal Injury case with you. Call us now: 888-700-4337

Distracted Driving Causes Accidents, Injury in Portland, Oregon

Whether you’re on I-5, one of the bridges, or downtown, you’ve probably seen a lot of drivers talking or texting on their cell phones while driving or while stopped in traffic. Oregon Auto Car Accident Attorneys, Accident Attorney Oregon | Dwyer Williams Potter LLP | Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys A 2010 Oregon law (updated in 2012 to close a loophole that allowed work-related calls) mandated that adult drivers use hands-free devices to talk on phones while driving and prohibits teen drivers from talking and driving at all, with or without a hands-free device. However, the law – and its $110 fine for offenders – is largely ignored by many drivers. In a November 2011 survey conducted by Pemco Insurance, 1 in 3 Portland, Oregon drivers admitted to texting or using a handheld cell phone while driving. According to Oregon Department of Transportation statistics, car accidents involving cell phones injured 179 people and killed 4 people in 2011.

Unfortunate cases abound where innocent pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers have been killed or seriously injured by drivers using their cell phones. In a 2011 Portland, Oregon accident, a driver talking on her cell phone collided head-on with a car carrying two other women and a baby. All were injured and had to seek medical attention, though all were fortunate to live. Portland riders of public transportation have even had occasion to complain about TriMet drivers being distracted by cell phone use while driving, a serious public safety hazard.

The legal charges for drivers at-fault in fatal Portland, Oregon auto accidents involving distracted driving include careless driving resulting in the death of a vulnerable road user or reckless driving, if the accident also involves a traffic violation, such as running a red light. Consequences of conviction under these charges include fines and jail time. In non-fatal accidents involving cell phones, drivers are usually cited for traffic violations or for cell phone use, both of which cost the driver a fine. Ironically, for those who have been injured in a crash caused by a cell phone-using driver, the costs can be much steeper, including months of medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

If you have been injured in a Portland, Oregon auto accident where the at-fault driver was using a cell phone or if you have lost a loved one in such an accident, we can help you get the settlement you deserve from the insurance company to help you pay medical expenses, recover lost wages, and get compensation for pain and suffering. One of our expert Portland, Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys will be happy to discuss your Portland, Oregon Personal Injury case with you. Call us now: 888-700-4337

No Stop Signs on the Road to Settlement

One lovely Saturday in Portland, Oregon, our client had decided to take his dog to the dog park so they could both enjoy the fresh air and sun. Just as he was almost to the park, another driver ran a stop sign and crashed into the front driver’s side of his car. Auto Accident Lawyers Portland | Auto Accident Attorney Portland | Portland Injury Lawyers | Oregon He didn’t seem hurt, but his car was too damaged to drive. He got the other driver’s information and called a tow truck and a friend to give him and his dog a ride home. He woke up the next morning with neck pain that he realized must be from the accident. He got to his doctor’s office and found out that he would need medical treatment to fully heal the injury.

Thirteen months later, his treatment was complete, but he had lost over $10,000 in wages due to the restrictions on his physical movement because of his injury and had $5,000 in bills for the damage done to his car, plus medical expenses. When he filed an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s company they offered only a paltry $7,000. Extremely dissatisfied with that offer and suspecting that he should – and could – get better, he called us, experienced Portland, Oregon auto accident attorneys.

After taking the case, I opened negotiations with the insurance company, using his medical records and car repair bills to demonstrate the $7,000 was too little. After several rounds of intense negotiation, they didn’t bring their offer up to what I considered a fair amount. Because we stop at nothing to get our clients the settlements they deserve, I filed a lawsuit on my client’s behalf. An attorney for the insurance company took his deposition, and we set up mediation to try again to resolve the claim. After meeting with the mediator, the insurance company offered the policy limits and the case was settled for a fair amount. This settlement offer pleased our client and, with his injury healed, he was able to resume his normal life.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident that has resulted in medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering that the insurance company won’t reimburse you for fairly, we can help. One of our expert Portland, Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys will be happy to discuss your Portland, Oregon Personal Injury case with you. Call us now: 888-700-4337

Low Impact Crash, High Impact Settlement

Our client was stopped at a stop sign in a residential neighborhood on his way home from work in Portland, Oregon. Before he could enter traffic again, another car rear-ended him, causing what appeared to be a minor fender bender. Becase of the low speed and low impact of the crash, the damage to his car was minimal. Auto Accident Lawyers Portland | Auto Accident Attorney Portland | Portland Injury Lawyers | Oregon Our client went on his way, thinking everything was more or less fine. Unfortunately, the next day, he realized that he had neck pain that he had not had before the accident. It’s not at all uncommon for injuries related to low-impact car accidents to take a day or two to manifest.

He sought medical treatment, and his recovery plan included physical therapy. He also had to take several unpaid days off from his food service industry job for his injury to heal completely. When he realized the grand total of his medical expenses and lost wages was $8,000, he filed a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. He was annoyed and worried when they offered him only $1,000, arguing that the speed had been too low and the property damage too minimal to warrant such costly injuries. Feeling like he was getting the run-around from the insurance company, he decided to call an expert Portland, Oregon auto accident attorney to help him recover his expenses and lost wages.

After taking his case, I obtained his medical records from the accident and attempted to negotiate the case with the insurance company. They wouldn’t budge on their low-end offer, so I filed a lawsuit under ORS 20.080 to force the issue. Oregon Statute 20.080 allows a plaintiff to recover attorney fees from the insurance company on claims of $10,000 or less, so filing under this statue usually gets the insurance company’s attention. It worked this time, too, and the case was transferred to a litigation adjuster, who took our client’s case more seriously than the initial adjuster. The insurance company reviewed the case and came back with a settlement offer of $8,000 plus attorney fees. Our client was quite happy with this offer and accepted.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident – even a low-impact one with little property damage – and need help getting the insurance company to pay attention to you and your claim, we can help. One of our expert Portland, Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys will be happy to discuss your Portland, Oregon Personal Injury case with you. Call us now: 888-700-4337

Bicyclist’s Death Reminder of the Hazards of Shared Roads

Portland, Oregon is a city known for its bicycle friendliness. That reputation is well-deserved, as the city has a resident population of enthusiastic and dedicated bike riders. The Portland Bureau of Transportation’s statistics show that the number of bike riders on the road in 2011 had increased by an impressive 225% since 2001. But, bikes on the roadways can also lead to dangerous – even tragic – situations when bikes and cars crash. Bike Accident Lawyer Portland | Bicycle Accident Attorney  | Portland Injury Lawyers | Oregon

One such situation took place in May 2012, when bicyclist Kathryn Rickson was struck by a semi-truck at a red light in downtown Portland. The truck driver was turning right while the bicyclist was going straight, and, at 8:30 pm, it was already dark, making the bicyclist even harder to see than if it had been daylight. The truck driver was not charged or held liable for the accident, because the Multnomah County District Attorney’s report found that it was an accident and there was nothing the driver could have done to have prevented it. Witnesses stated that the driver was going slowly and used his turn signal.

This type of bicycle accident is known as a “right hook” – a driver turning right hits a cyclist who is going straight through an intersection. It’s far from the first type of this accident to take place in Portland. Another high-profile case involved the death of Tracey Sparling, a 19 year old cyclist who was killed by a cement truck at an intersection in 2007. In that case, the driver was fined only $242 for his failure to yield the right of way. Under Oregon law, bicyclists have to obey the same traffic laws as other drivers, and the same rules apply to bicycle lanes as to other lanes of traffic. Drivers are supposed to yield to bicyclists when a bicycle is going straight and the car is turning. But, because bikes are slower and smaller than cars, many drivers take advantage of their cars’ greater size and speed and ignore the right of way laws. The results are often dangerous, even deadly.

If you’re a bicyclist and have been injured in a Portland, Oregon bike accident involving a car, or if one of your loved ones has been killed in a bike-car accident, a personal injury attorney specializing in bike accidents can help you get the settlement you or your loved one deserves. We can help you fight for reimbursement of medical expenses, lost wages, and the cost of pain and suffering. Call us today; one of our expert Personal Injury Attorneys will be happy to discuss your Portland, Oregon Personal Injury case with you: 888-700-4337

Lost Wages Regained in Successful Personal Injury Lawsuit

After years of hard work, our client had established a successful contracting business in Portland, Oregon. His upcoming jobs included a 6-month long remodeling job at a local apartment complex, and he was glad to have secured a half year of steady work. Shortly before the job was scheduled to begin, he was rear ended by another driver while waiting at a downtown red light. He sustained serious back and neck injuries and he could not work while undergoing medical treatment. Auto Accident Lawyers Portland | Auto Accident Attorney Portland | Portland Injury Lawyers | Oregon The owners of the apartment complex couldn’t wait for him to get better and gave the job to another contractor. Our client lost $30,000 of income in the few seconds it took the auto accident to happen.

When our client filed a claim with the insurance company for his lost wages, he was very frustrated when they responded with an offer of only $5,000. He decided to hire an experienced Portland, Oregon auto accident attorney to help him recover his lost wages.

Upon taking his case, I collected the documentation necessary to prove that his lost income added up to $30,000 and submitted that to the insurance company. They still refused his claim. I took the next action available and filed a lawsuit for our client’s injuries and lost income. Then, I took my client’s deposition – basically establishing a legal record of the facts in the case – and the court ordered mediation for his case. During the mediation process, the insurance company finally offered him all of his lost wages plus compensation for his medical expenses and pain and suffering. Our client was extremely happy with the results.

If you’ve been injured and are losing wages because you can’t work – even if you’re self-employed – we can help. One of our expert Portland, Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys will be happy to discuss your Portland, Oregon Personal Injury case with you. Call us now: 888-700-4337

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