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DUI Personal Injury Settlements

If you’ve been a victim of a car accident while the other driver was under the influence, knowing your legal options is important. If you’ve suffered personal injury or property damage through an accident caused by a DUI, you’ll want to recoup your expenses related to the accident. This can include repairing your vehicle, medical expenses, loss of wages and the costs of rental transportation among other things.

Insurance companies know that the courts look very harshly on driving under the influence, which increases the chance that either the driver’s insurance company or lawyers will attempt to settle out of court. Insurance companies will also do their best to whittle this settlement amount down to the lowest figure they can manage to save money. Because of this, it is very important to retain an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure that the settlement figure will adequately cover your tangible and intangible damages.

What to Know About DUI Personal Injury Settlements

When entertaining a settlement figure from a DUI driver’s insurance company, it’s important to have a personal injury lawyer on your side. This is because arriving at a settlement is, in essence, your attorney and the insurance company decides how much the accident and the subsequent damage is worth in a dollar amount. If both are unable to settle and this goes to court, it is up to the court to determine how much a DUI accident should “cost.” If a victim decides to settle themselves with no representation, there is a higher chance that they won’t collect all the money that they should rightfully be entitled to.

What is Included in a Personal Injury Settlement

When you agree to a personal injury settlement, it’s important not to leave any money on the table. Ideally, all your financial losses pertaining to a car accident should be recouped. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Repair or replace for the cost of your vehicle
  • Hospital bills and bills for follow-up visits
  • Therapy and counseling bills in the case of mental or emotional distress
  • Physical therapy costs
  • Lost wages from not being able to work

Financial losses from a car accident don’t just apply to the scene of the accident. After all, the damages from a car accident can be felt for months and even years after the incident.

Do Not Settle Right Away

Because the full damages of a car accident can take weeks or even months to assess and be fully realized, it is vital that you do not settle immediately. Most insurance companies will attempt to pressure you into accepting a settlement immediately. This settlement will often include some type of release of liability. The release of liability will prohibit you from pursuing further injury claims after accepting the settlement. The release of liability form is final, which makes it doubly important that a personal injury attorney looks over the settlement agreement before you sign the document.

It’s also important not to settle right away so that you can assess your health and financial setback from the asset in the weeks or months after the accident in case long-term injury manifests itself after your initial treatment.

Begin Preparing Yourself As Soon as Possible

Whether you intend to settle with the insurance company or take the driver to court, it’s important to prepare for either outcome as soon as possible. Collecting detailed records of all incidents, injuries, and bills as soon as you are able will help you and your attorney negotiate for an appropriate amount of damages. 

If you are able to at the scene of the accident or from your hospital bed, recount everything you remember about the accident while it’s fresh in your memory. Record it on your phone, or have someone write down your recollections if you’re unable to record it yourself. Obtain the police report, medical record, and doctors notes as well. The earlier you collect these details, the easier it will be on you and your attorney to manage.

 

 

Drunk Driver Totaled My Car

An accident involving a drunk driver that leaves your car totaled is devastating. Not only are your health and wellness affected by the accident, but your livelihood as well. We depend on our vehicles to get to important places like school and our job. Because of this, being faced with the cost and time of replacing your vehicle can seem overwhelming. Thankfully, you have legal options on your side to deal with your car being totaled if you were hit by a drunk driver. It’s important to consult with a personal injury attorney before beginning the process, to ensure you receive the damages that you are entitled to.

What to Do If You’ve Been Hit By a Drunk Driver

If you’ve been in a car accident and you suspect the other driver is drunk, call 911 immediately. You’ll want to call emergency services anyway if you have or think you have been injured. However, the police will also arrive, and be able to assess and administer tests to prove whether the other driver was intoxicated.

It is important to get police on the scene, as their report will be valuable documentation if you need to go to court. A police report of the suspected level of intoxication and subsequent arrest will help you pursue the damages you deserve.

Collect All the Details

Next, write down all the details you remember, even if you’ve told the police officer. Details surrounding the circumstances leading up to the accident will be important in court, and it’s possible some of them may not make it into the official report. If you have to be treated for injuries, dictate the details to someone else or record them if possible.

Finally, be sure to obtain the insurance information of the other driver. If you’re unable to at the scene, the police documentation should contain this information.

Get Legal Help

If your car was totaled in the accident, get a personal injury lawyer. We recommend retaining a personal injury lawyer even if your vehicle was not totaled, but it’s very important when substantial damage has occurred. Even if the other driver is insured, insurance claims can contain loopholes around DUI or DWI. It’s possible that you may have to go to court to get the damage you are entitled to. Do not sign anything from the insurance company or take any settlements before talking it over with a personal injury attorney. 

Make Contact with Insurance

Your next step will be making contact with both insurance companies. If the other drivers’ insurance company is difficult for you to reach, it’s possible for your insurance company to step in. In many cases, they will pay out the cost of replacing your vehicle, and sue the other insurance company to get their money back.

Keep meticulous records of anything relating to the accident that you could be awarded damages for. This includes hospital bills, specialist visits, the value of your vehicle, and the cost of rentals where applicable. If your vehicle was paid for under a lien, make sure to get documentation of the original loan amount and the amount still owed on the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Keep in mind that insurance companies are not personally invested in your injuries or inconvenience. They want to pay the least amount that they can get away with on the claim. This is why it is important to have all documentation and offers looked over by a personal injury attorney.

If the Drunk Driver is Not Insured

If the drunk driver you were struck by is not insured or is underinsured, you most likely will need to go to court to get the damages you need to replace your vehicle, medical expenses, any lost wages, etc. Review your auto insurance coverage as soon as possible to determine whether your plan includes Uninsured Motorist Coverage or Underinsured Motorist Coverage. This determines whether your insurance company will shoulder some or all of the cost of your expenses and if you’ll need to go to court to collect further damages.

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Hit By a Drunk Driver No Injuries

Getting hit by a drunk driver is a terrifying ordeal that can often have lethal consequences. However, some victims are able to walk away from the accident with no injuries other than to their vehicle. While that can be one of the best case scenarios for victims of this senseless crime, it’s important to be clear on exactly what this means for you in terms of your legal options. Just because you display no physical injuries, this doesn’t mean these are the only types that can earn damages in the court of law. It’s important to know your options and not move too hastily.

What Damages Can You Be Awarded With No Injuries?

Hit By a Drunk Driver No Injuries

No harm, no foul, you may be thinking. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Although you won’t have medical bills to take into account with no injuries, you are still entitled to damages!

You can be awarded damages for reasonable cost of repair, value of a totaled vehicle, loss of use of the vehicle, costs associated with car rentals or alternate transportation, lost wages and even pain and suffering.

Some might be confused by pain and suffering in particular. After all, you just clarified you had no injuries.

Legally speaking, pain and suffering is mental or physical distress that can be awarded damages in a lawsuit.

Even though physically a victim many be fine, many report walking away from a drunk driving accident feeling incredibly shaken and violated. This could be classified as mental distress resulting directly from the accident. Several states approach this definition differently, but often times emotional injury can be assessed in damages. For example, stress and anxiety are common symptoms of emotional distress in pain and suffering damages! Although several states approach and define what falls under pain and suffering differently, mental and emotional injury stemming from the injury can also be assessed. Stress and anxiety are two examples. However, proving emotional and mental damages often takes a little more work. If you feel you’ve incurred mental or emotional injury from the accident, most victims seek a counselor or therapists or a professional diagnosis.

Steps to Take After Being Hit By a Drunk Driver No Injuries

Drunk Diving Accident

If you’d like to proceed with a lawsuit, you’ll need to retain a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. It’s important to do this early on as often the drivers insurance company will pressure you to settle. Generally, if you settle early the insurance company can keep the payout low and release themselves from paying out from further damages. Since it sometimes takes a while to discover the full scope of injury incurred from an accident, you may find that you’ve incurred physical or mental damage that you can no longer seek recompense for after settling.

You will also want to keep a record of everything involved in the accident, from police report, medical evaluations, mental evaluations, receipts and reports from providers and any estimates involving the property damage to your vehicle.

Start this process early as it will help when you and your personal injury lawyer build a case. When you and your lawyer put forth claims for damages, you’ll need the supporting documentation of repairs or total value of car, wages lost while dealing with the accident, and any costs of rentals.

You will need to contact both insurance companies as well. If you have difficulty reaching the drivers insurance company, yours may shoulder the cost of vehicle repair and/ or loss and then sue the other insurance for the amount.

Make sure to keep clear communication with insurance parties and your personal injury lawyer to ensure you’re not leaving any potential damages on the table that you may be owed.

Oregon Auto Accidents

One of the unfortunate parts about the convenience of driving everywhere is that auto accidents can happen to anyone. Following the rules, being prepared, and using caution can help prevent accidents, but sometimes there’s nothing that can be done to stop them.

Also, they can happen at any time. In 2015, the most common time was on Fridays between 5:00 and 6:00 PM. However, many accidents were at all other hours of the day and night.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s a wise choice to seek legal assistance.

Driving and Accidents in Oregon

Driving in Oregon

Oregon is a beautiful state with a wonderful road system. There are more than 8,000 miles of state highways, and over 700 miles of the Interstate Highway System. When you combine this with all of the smaller city and country roads, it’s clear that you can easily get around the state while traveling in a vehicle. The only downside is that many people drive often, so statistically there will be plenty of accidents.

Accident Statistics in Oregon

Just knowing that there are a lot of roads and drivers can hint at the auto accident situation in Oregon, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. To put the number of accidents into perspective, let’s look at some of the statistics from 2015.

  • 28,647 of accidents were non-fatal injury crashes
  • 410 accidents had fatalities
  • 445 people were killed in car accidents
  • 41, 675 people were injured

Car accidents can come in all sizes. They might include one driver who only injured himself when going off the road, or can be a 50-car pileup, such as this recent accident caused by the slippery roads in the freezing rain.

Auto Accidents in Oregon

Common Causes for Drivers

The accidents are caused by many factors, but there are a few main situations that lead to most car crashes. First, a lot of accidents occur because one vehicle is not able to avoid a stopped car, or a collision happens because a driver is following another too closely. Also, many accidents happen because a driver doesn’t yield when another vehicle has the right-of-way. Not slowing down around cars not moving as quickly is a common cause, as well as trying to make left turns through on-coming traffic. Finally, many accidents are simply the result of inattention and careless driving.

Accidents Don’t Just Include Those Inside of Cars

Auto accidents automatically make you assume that the people involved were either driving or riding inside of a vehicle, but that’s not necessarily the case. Car accidents are better described as events which injure or kill anyone because of what a car was doing, and they can include pedestrians, cyclists, and anyone else on or near streets.

Pedistrain Caused Auto Accidents

Main Pedestrian Mistakes

Pedestrians are often seriously injured when hit by a car, but it’s not always the fault of the driver. There are of course cases where drivers break the rules and injure or kill a walker, but pedestrians themselves can be at fault because of failure to use the crosswalks, not paying attention to traffic signals, or many other situations.

Common Causes Made by Cyclists

As with pedestrians, cyclists can be victims of auto accidents, but they’re also sometimes at fault. The most common situations in which they cause them are because they fail to follow the traffic signals or stop signs, or they head the wrong direction while riding on the shoulder.

Know What to do Immediately After an Accident

If you’re involved in an auto accident, there are many things you should specifically do. The most important is to get out of the way of any more danger, and check on the health of everyone involved. Next, you should alert the authorities, and make it clear if anyone desperately requires medical attention.

Before leaving the scene, file a report with the police to help determine who is at fault. Also, you need to get contact and insurance information from anyone else involved.

Get Legal Help After an Accident

No matter who was at fault or what happened, it’s a good idea to get the assistance of a legal expert after an auto accident. They can help prevent others from taking advantage of you, and they can fight to get you any compensation that you deserve.

Also, even if you think the accident was your fault, you shouldn’t say this at the time. A legal expert may be able to prove otherwise, but this is much more difficult if you’ve already said the opposite.

Here to Help

If you or someone you care about has been involved in a car accident, I encourage you to reach out to me. As a firm that specializes in personal injury and car accident cases, we can help you get your life back on track with as little difficulty as possible.

 

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What to do if you get into a car accident in Oregon?

What To Do in A Car AccidentBeing involved in a car accident is something that we all hope to avoid, but it can, unfortunately, happen to anyone. To be on the safe side, it’s best to be prepared in case you find yourself in such a bad situation.

Do you know what to do if you get into a car accident in Oregon? Follow these pieces of advice, and you’ll be much better off.

Remain Calm

The first thing you should always do, no matter how serious the accident is, is to not panic. You or the people you care about could be injured, and you’ll need to be thinking clearly to help. Even without injuries, minor mistakes can cost a lot of money or legal trouble down the road.

Don’t Leave

This one is fairly obvious, but driving away from an accident is one of the worst things you can do. No matter how severe the accident or who’s to blame, you have to stop and assess the damage with anyone else involved. You can get into serious trouble if you don’t follow the appropriate procedures.

Find Out if Anyone is Injured

Checking on the health of everyone is the first action you should take after a car accident. If anyone is injured, getting them medical attention is the top priority.

Move Out of Traffic (In Non-Serious Accidents)

Oregon Car AccidentIn very serious accidents, or those in non-crowded areas, you may not have much choice but to leave your cars where they are. But, if you have a minor accident on a busy road, it’s usually best to move your vehicles to a safe area. If possible, take pictures before moving, but don’t risk your safety by remaining somewhere where other cars may hit you.

Place Warnings Signs

To help keep yourself safe, you should set up flares, traffic cones, traffic triangles, or any other noticeable objects on the road behind where your cars are.

You should plan ahead for this. You can buy these at any automotive shop, and you should keep a selection inside your car to be prepared. At the same time, it’s wise to keep a first aid kid and some emergency clothes in case of inclement weather.

Inform the Police

Oregon Car Accident AdviceYou’re required by law to inform the police about any accident you have. Also, it doesn’t matter who you believe is at fault, you should tell them everything with complete accuracy. They’re likely to find out the facts eventually, so any lies you tell could come back to haunt you.

It’s also a good idea to record the names and badge numbers of any police officers that are at the scene of the accident. This can sometimes be helpful later on if there are any problems.

Call a Lawyer

If you’ve been injured or sustained serious damage to your car, you should absolutely call a lawyer immediately. There are certain actions that need to be taken, and many of them need to be done as soon as possible.

Even if it seems relatively minor, it’s a really good idea to consult with a lawyer to make sure you aren’t missing anything. A legal expert will be able to tell you if you are eligible for any benefits, and they’ll be able to prepare for any trouble you might face.

Exchange Insurance Information

Even if the police record the insurance information of the other people involved in the accident, make sure you get it, too. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to get out of paying, and you need to be able to tell them exactly who the other drivers were.

Also, make sure that all the documents match. If the registration or insurance of the car doesn’t match the name of the driver, record all of the different names and contact information.

Take Photos

Don’t ever rely on others (including the police) to send you photos after the accident. If you need to prove the truth about what happened, it’s best to take them yourself.

Don’t Admit to Anything

As already mentioned, you should be completely honest with the police. But, that doesn’t mean you have to admit to being at fault for anything. It’s natural to want to apologize in a traumatic situation, but there are many cases where you may think you’re the one who caused the accident, and the law doesn’t. Tell what happened, but don’t ever say you were responsible for the crash.

Look for Witnesses

Witnesses can be incredibly valuable after a car accident. They are normally unbiased, and they had a different view than anyone involved in the wreck. Record the names and contact details of anyone who saw what happened.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you have any pain or injuries, immediately seek medical attention. But, you may have suffered some form of injury even if you don’t feel it. Many issues take time before you’ll notice the symptoms, so it’s best to go get checked by a doctor as soon as possible after the accident.

This is extraordinarily important because as time goes on, it’s much harder to prove that the accident caused your health problems.

Don’t Be in a Hurry to Leave

It can be tempting to want to get away as soon as you can, but be patient to make sure you do everything necessary before leaving the scene of the accident.

You Don’t Have to Go Through This Alone

No matter how severe, car accidents are traumatic experiences. The good news is that with a quality lawyer, you have a caring expert by your side through the whole process. I’ve helped a ton of people through situations they hoped never to be in, and I understand how hard it is. But, please know that the sooner you contact me, the better legal assistance I can offer you.

Drive safely!