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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.

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Pain and Suffering Hit By Drunk Driver

Any car accident is a stressful and nerve-wracking experience, but being hit by a drunk driver often brings another level of frustration, struggle and pain and suffering. Most courts will recognize this fact, and not many judges or juries will have sympathy for a drunk driver. Pain and suffering is one route to take when considering your legal options in the event of being hit by a drunk driver in order to collect the rightful damages that may be owed to you.

Pain and Suffering Cases

What is Pain and Suffering?

In addition to damages owed for medical expenses related to car accidents, pain and suffering is another option for accident victims. Legally speaking, pain and suffering is mental or physical distress that can be awarded damages in a lawsuit. Relevant damages are assessed based on type and gravity of injury and pain suffered and medical prognosis for future pain resulting from the injury or injuries. 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 that often fall under pain and suffering in a lawsuit. Oregon law recognizes pain and suffering for physical and emotional damages, although proving emotional damages may take a bit more legwork than medical and rehabilitation bills for physical injuries.

pain and suffering hit by drunk driver

Proving Pain and Suffering from Being Hit by Drunk Driver

In order to adequately prove your pain and suffering in a lawsuit, you’ll need to collect and keep as much documentation relating to the accident and subsequent injury as possible. Medical files and bills are particularly important for this, as well as prescription notes and receipts. If you visit a counselor, therapist or other service provider for emotional pain and suffering after the car accident, keep correspondence, files and bills from these providers as well. Photos and medical reports of physical injuries, and proof of time and wages lost as a result will also support your claim in court.

Keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations on claims. In Oregon, claims and lawsuits based on personal injury must be filed within two years. However, you’ll definitely want to file as soon as possible in order to prepare for the lengthy court process. Here’s the relevant text from the Oregon Revised Statutes, Volume 1, Chapter 12.

“An action for assault, battery, false imprisonment, or for any injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract, and not especially enumerated in this chapter, shall be commenced within two years; provided, that in an action at law based upon fraud or deceit, the limitation shall be deemed to commence only from the discovery of the fraud or deceit.”

Hit by Drunk Driver

Steps to Take After Being Hit by Drunk Driver

It may take a few days for the full effects of personal injury to become apparent after an accident. Regardless of your symptoms, it’s important to make sure you have accurate record of the incident in case personal injury symptoms arise or get worse after the accident occurs. Collecting records will help you and your lawyer build your case, and you can never start this process too early.

Some steps to take after being hit by a drunk driver:

  • Take pictures of your vehicle and any injuries
  • Collect a copy of the police report
  • Collect a copy of the medical report or notes after visiting a provider
  • Collect the other drivers insurance information, and notify your insurance company
  • Keep a file with all accident related proof and documentation

If you wish to proceed with a lawsuit, retain a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options and receive guidance on the process. One detail that most lawyers will stress in a personal injury claim involving pain and suffering from being hit by a drunk driver is not to immediately settle. Although damages don’t vary according to whether a car accident occurred with or without a drunk driver, insurance companies are aware that an accident involving a drunk driver will not garner much sympathy in court and are often willing to pay out higher amounts because of this.

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What is a Settlement Package?

Accidents are never easy to deal with. After sustaining an injury or damage to your property it can be hard to think straight, but it’s important that you keep your head. If you want to get what you deserve from your insurance company, you’ll need to send them a settlement package. This is defined as a collection of any pertinent documentary evidence relating to your injury. Even the most charitable insurance companies won’t pay you anything if you can’t prove that you’ve suffered unjustly, and most insurance companies are far from charitable. So even if you’ve been through a traumatic experience, you need to take the time to prepare a proper settlement package, with your own hands or by hiring a professional.

Settlement Agreement

Employment packages should include proof of the damage that happened.

The package should contain compelling evidence that an injury or some form of damage has taken place. Some of the most valuable types of evidence are photographs and official reports written up by respected authorities. If you’ve talked to a law enforcement officer or seen a doctor about your injury, then you should try and get a written report from them that can go in your package. If you’ve already spent money on treatments or repairs, then you should also include receipts for anything that has come out of your own pockets. Insurance companies don’t want to pay for anything that they don’t absolutely need to, so show them what they absolutely need to pay for.

What is a Settlement Contract

Creating a compelling settlement package takes planning.

Being proactive about documenting any damage or injury that occurs is crucial if you want to receive proper compensation. Even if you’ve put off documenting your injury, you should still start taking photos immediately so you can salvage whatever you can. Gather together all the existing paperwork you can and try and document the damage in picture and video form if possible. You want your package to be a thorough as possible, but you should also be careful about stuffing it full of weak or irrelevant information. It’s easy to think that a bigger stack of paper will look more impressive, but be careful about watering down your case.

Lady Justice

Assistance from a legal professional will help you prepare the best settlement package possible.

In an attempt to save money some people have tried to prepare their own settlement package. This is understandable in situations where money is tight, and a trip to the lawyer seems daunting, but it is the wrong thing to do. Investing in the assistance of a legal professional can save you time and money. For starters, they can tell you whether or not you have enough evidence to realistically seek a settlement. They can also help you prepare your package, but if you do want to save money, then you should gather up relevant documents and photographs before visiting a lawyer. A good lawyer will know what should and should not go into a settlement package. If you want to make sure that you get the settlement that you’re owed, then you need a lawyer in your corner who can get you what you deserve.

Car Accident Settlement

The settlement package is the foundation of an insurance claim.

Creating a settlement package is one of the first steps you should take when making an insurance claim and everything that follows after will build on it. That’s why it’s worth taking the time to properly prepare a settlement package. You should also remember that it’s an early step in a process that can stretch on. The party you’re seeking a settlement from will have to look over your package, run it by their legal team, and submit their settlement offer. This process can go back and forth a few times before both sides come to an agreement or end up taking the issue to court.

This is another reason why hiring a lawyer is important; only an experienced lawyer can tell you whether or not the settlement you’re being offered is the sort that you’re owed. If you don’t have someone advising you it’s possible that you might accept a lowball offer or turn down a generous settlement. It takes expertise and time to get these things right, so get an experienced lawyer on your side.

Do you need help with a settlement package in the state of Oregon? Contact Ryan Hilts today.

What is a Letter of Demand

The modern world runs on contracts, both written and unwritten. Take the most fundamental contract as an example, the one between employers and employees. The employer agrees to pay the employer for work, and in the end, everyone should walk away with what they were promised. At least, that’s how things should work in theory. In practice, there are all too many cases of people failing to live up to their side of the contract. When these failures happen, actions need to be taken to rectify the situation. A letter of demand is a useful tool that can help rectify these sorts of situations.

Many people think that a lawsuit is needed in these cases, but the fact is that there are less drastic steps that can be taken first to try and avoid the time and money involved in a full lawsuit. A letter of demand stating your case and your demands can be written without the aid of a lawyer, and it might even lead to a settlement outside of court. But this doesn’t mean that you should start typing away. If you write a letter of demand without understanding what one should and should not be you might ruin your chances of ever receiving what you are owed.

What is a Letter of Demand

Definition of a Letter of Demand

The initial letter written by one party demanding something from another party is a letter of demand.

A letter of demand might be a highly formal letter drafted up with the help of a legal professional, but more often than not a letter of demand is a less formal message written by someone who feels wronged and frustrated. When you are promised one thing but delivered another frustration is natural, but if you want to receive what you are owed, it’s important to proceed with a level head and a professional tone.

A letter of demand should include these things

  1. A statement of the wrong that has been committed
  2. The action or payment that is demanded
  3. The method by which the demand might be carried out
  4. The timeframe the demand should be carried out in before further action is taken

All of these details should be present to make an effective case that will stand up in court later on if necessary. Of course, this is a bare-bones outline of what is necessary; it’s the details that determine a letter’s efficacy.

Definition of a Letter of Demand

What Should Be in a Letter of Demand?

Letters of demand can be drafted by anyone, but they should be written with legal professionals in mind.

An effective letter of demand should be clear, concise, and specific. While it might be addressed to a person who has behaved poorly the letter should ultimately be written with legal professionals in mind. Hopefully, the person who receives the letter will rectify the situation, but if they don’t then the claim will need to move into the legal system. This is why a good letter of demand is professional in tone even when it is addressed to someone who isn’t professional themselves.

Laying out the details of the case so that they can be understood by anyone is crucial. When writing to someone you know personally it’s easy to leave out details or refer to them using a sort of personal shorthand. This might be fine for most communications, but a letter of demand might end up being read by a lawyer or a judge who doesn’t know you or the party you are dealing with. No matter who the letter is addressed to it should be written so that a third-party with no knowledge of the situation can understand your case and appreciate its merits.

What Should Be in a Letter of Demand

What Should NOT Be in a Letter of Demand?

It’s important to know what a letter of demand should not be.

In order to draft an effective letter of demand, it’s not enough to simply know what should be in such a letter; you should also know what to avoid. To begin with, a letter of demand is not the place for personal insults and attacks. To begin with, the goal of such a letter is first and foremost to convince the other party to rectify the situation at hand. Insults are more likely to cause the situation to escalate rather than bring it to a conclusion. Also, if a judge reads a letter of demand that is filled with vitriol and personal insults they might not take the case seriously. It’s important to keep things as professional as possible.

Next, a letter of demand is not a place for you to air all your grievances with the party. A letter of demand should be focused on the specific, actionable claim at hand. You might have many issues with the party involved beyond the specific incident you’re writing about but including them in your letter will just water down the case being made. A letter of demand should be about a specific, actionable claim. Anything that isn’t directly linked to that claim should be left out.

Finally, a letter of demand is not a chance for you to roleplay as a legal professional. While you should do everything you can to operate according to the letter of the law you should be careful not to present yourself as a lawyer or any other sort of certified legal professional. Too many people feel that they can bolster their case by acting as if they were a lawyer but this can easily backfire down the line if actual legal professionals become involved. If you want your letter to speak with the full force of a lawyer, then you should hire an actual lawyer to draft it.

What Should NOT Be in a Letter of Demand

How Important is a Letter of Demand?

The letter of demand can be considered the first step on the road to justice.

In some cases, a letter of demand might be all that is needed to convince a delinquent party to produce what is owed. A well-written and factual letter can work wonders. But some parties will have trouble agreeing to even the most reasonable letter possible. In such cases, further legal action will be necessary to see that justice is done. Such actions are beyond the scope of this article, but it is worth noting that a good letter of demand really sees its worth when it is ignored. This is because the letter can form the foundation for the legal proceedings that follow. Even parties that are in the right can lose their chance at justice if their case is built on a poorly written letter of demand.

You should now understand how powerful a letter of demand can be. Legal cases that last for years might hinge upon a letter that was drafted in a matter of minutes. Keep this in mind if you ever have to write such a letter. If a claim is worth making, then it’s worth making correctly, and that means taking the time to draft a quality letter of demand.

Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents

Car accidents can be incredibly traumatic experiences. Recovery after an accident can be a long process, and physical healing is just one consideration. Few people even want to think about their accident. This is understandable, but it can cause legal troubles. Injuries caused by car accidents are covered by a statute of limitations. This means that if you postpone legal action for too long, you may lose the right to your day in court.

The first thing you need to know about the car accident statutes of limitations is that they vary depending on the state the accident occurred in and the type of damage caused by the accident. In Oregon, the statute of limitations is two years.

Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents

The Oregon Statute of Limitations.

As of writing, the two-year statute of limitation that covers most car accidents can be found in the Oregon Revised Statutes, Volume 1, chapter 12. Here is the relevant text:

“An action for assault, battery, false imprisonment, or for any injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract, and not especially enumerated in this chapter, shall be commenced within two years; provided, that in an action at law based upon fraud or deceit, the limitation shall be deemed to commence only from the discovery of the fraud or deceit.”

To sum things up, the statute of limitations is two years in Oregon. With that said, please note that this information is based on the latest edition of the Oregon Revised Statutes. Laws can be changed from year to year, so it’s always a good idea to talk to a legal professional with relevant expertise.\

How Statutes of Limitations Work

Most people have a vague idea about statutes of limitations but have trouble with the specifics. Let’s clear up some of the most common misconceptions. To begin with, you should know that the statute of limitations defines the length of time until legal proceedings can be initiated. This means that plaintiffs can wait until the very last day of their eligibility to start the legal process. After that, the case may go on for years, but the length of proceeds will not impact the legitimacy of the case.

Another crucial point to remember is that the legal process can be initiated even if the statute of limitations has run out.

The court system won’t immediately reject a lawsuit because the statute has passed. It is up to the defendant and their legal counsel to note the time passed and use the statute as cause for the suit to be rejected.

Deciding Whether or Not You are Still Eligible

Whether or not you are eligible for your day in court seems like it should be cut and dry but there are actually a few things to consider when figuring out whether or not you are still within the statute of limitations. The most obvious way to answer the question is by counting the days since the accident occurred. If less than two years have gone by since the date of the accident, then there is still time to act.

However, even if the two-year time limit has elapsed, there may still be hope. This is because in cases involving less obvious types of damage and injury the clock might start ticking upon discovery of the issue. The catch is that in these cases it’s necessary to prove that the damage in question was caused by the accident. This task becomes more difficult the more time has elapsed since the accident, so there’s reason to act quickly even if the clock seems to have plenty of time left on it.

statute of limitations oregon car accident

Dealing with a Running Clock

After any car accident in Oregon, a ticking clock is hanging over the heads of those involved. Two years after the accident or discovery of the harm caused by the accident the opportunity for legal compensation fades away. This is why anyone injured in a car accident needs to move with urgency if they want to seek compensation through the legal system.

This isn’t to say that anyone should act hastily. It’s always worth taking the time to carefully consider any legal action while discussing it with proper professionals. But at the same time, you shouldn’t put the action off any longer than necessary. If you wait too long, you may miss out on your window of opportunity and forfeit the chance to receive the justice you are owed.

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Common Torts

A tort is a commonly used term in personal injury law. There are a number of different types of torts for various situation that might occur. Before we explain the different types of common torts, let’s first understand exactly what is a tort? The dictionary definition of a tort states:

“A wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to legal liability.”

One of the primary things to understand about torts is how they differ to criminal law. In tort law there is no government persecution of the wrongdoer. Tort cases are handled in civil court where a plaintiff is seeking compensation for the harm that was done to them. The compensation is most commonly in the form of money which would be paid by the defendant as a result of the harm that they caused.

Common Torts

Elements of Tort Law

There are four elements to tort law which include:

  • Duty: a legal obligation
  • Breach of Duty: Failing to live up to the standard of a duty
  • Causation: Defendant’s conduct (or lack thereof) caused harm or damage
  • Injury: The harm or damage that occurred.

If damages are to be claimed by a plaintiff they must be able to prove all 4 elements of tort law, meaning a defendant was in a breach of duty which caused an injury to them.

Common Torts

There are three primary categories of torts, negligence, strict liability, and intentional torts. There are a number of different situations that can occur which fall under each of these different areas. Let’s take a look at some common torts in each of the categories.

Negligence

Negligence

The most common personal injury cases involve negligence. This is where a person or group of people act irresponsible and in a way that causes hard to someone else. There are many different situations that fall under the category of negligence. Car accidents that are caused by drunk or inattentive drivers is a very common example of negligence that’s often brought to civil court (as well as criminal court). There are also many causes of negligence that involve parents and small children. Parents have a duty to care for their children and negligence can be found if parent leave a small child alone in a car or at home, or in any number of other precarious circumstances. Another example could be carelessness on behalf of a doctor which causes medical problems for a patient.

Strict Liability

Strict Liability

This category is often also referred to as Product Liability and deals primarily with products that are defective and cause harm. A manufacturer or vendor has a duty to provide safe products that do to cause injury to those who use them (during normal use). There’s a wide variety of product liability examples within the consumer goods sector, from toys to appliances any defect that causes harm falls under this category. Another common example is within the food and prescription drug industries. Whether it’s medication or a frozen dinner, products that are consumed are subject to strict regulation and if they aren’t doing things correctly can often find themselves as a defendant in a personal injury case.

 

Intentional Torts

If a defendant purposefully causes harm or injury to someone else, this falls under the category of an intentional tort. What separates this from the other classes of torts is the idea of intent. The harm done was not the results of the lack of action, but rather the complete opposite. There are many different common intentional tort examples. Assault and battery to another person is one of the most common forms, however these are not limited to physical abuse on someone else. Emotional distress can also be considered an intentional tort. Other examples could be theft, trespassing or false imprisonment.

Personal Injury Attorney

Have you or a loved one suffered as a result of negligence, product liability, or intentional harm? Ryan Hilts specializes in personal injury law and torts within the state of Oregon. Please contact us today if you are in need of legal representation.

 

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Oregon Pain and Suffering Law

It’s always a challenge to deal with the aftermath of a personal injury, and the last thing most people want to handle is the legal situation regarding reimbursement and other payment. Fortunately, the state of Oregon has quite favorable laws in this area, and there’s one particular concept which can really help: the pain and suffering law.
Oregon Pain and Suffering Law

Definition of Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering have a very vague definition under Oregon law.

Many people instinctively think that the law is always made up of very concrete definitions, but this is a good example of how that’s not always the case. In Oregon, pain and suffering can basically be defined as something which gives you misery as a result of the situation which injured you.

It can be broken into two categories:

  • Physical – actual pain in your body
  • Emotional – psychological ailments which occur in your mind

It’s possible to file an insurance claim for these, but they aren’t the only compensation you may receive.

This amount is separate from lost wages and other medical expenses, such as x-rays, medications, and hospital visits.”

Oregon Pain and Suffering Law

The pain and suffering law in Oregon breaks payments down into two categories: economic and non-economic.

The law is designed to compensate injury victims for various purposes. In this case, the payments are made in the form of damages, and they are easily explained in the following quote:

In general, damages are money awarded to a party in a civil lawsuit for any losses or injuries that are caused by others.

Here are some examples of economic damages:

  • Charges for medical and rehabilitation procedures necessary because of the injury
  • Loss of income due to the injury
  • Costs due to the loss of property because of the accident
  • Damage to a reputation (which will result in monetary loss)

Here are some examples of non-economic damages:

  • Physical and mental pain
  • Emotional stress
  • Humiliation and reputation damage

Oregon Economic and Nonecomoic Damages

Oregon Economic and Noneconomic Damages

Pain and suffering must be proven to be as a result of the accident, but there is no standard way to calculate it.

The degree of pain and suffering an individual experiences can vary greatly from person to person.

You will be required to prove that whatever pain and suffering you have was caused by the accident, and you will need to have appropriate documentation and testimony to prove that.

Oregon Limitations on Pain and Suffering

There are multiple aspects of the Oregon laws which place restrictions on pain and suffering damages, so you need to be aware of these as early as possible.

  • Time: There is a specific time limit in which you have to file your lawsuit.

In Oregon, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases gives an injured person two years from the date of the injury to go to civil court and file a lawsuit. (Ore. Rev. Stat. section 12.110(1)).

  • Caps: There are limits to the amount of the damages you can ask for.
  • Shared Faults: If it can be argued that you shared some of the fault for the accident that happened, this can be used against you (and it may reduce the amount of the damages accordingly).
  • Government: If your claim is against the state government (or an employee), then different rules apply. For example, you only have 180 days to make your claim – not 2 years.

How To Calculate or Measure a Pain and Suffering Settlement:

Economic damages are easier to calculate than non-economic, but there are methods to determine both types.

To calculate economic damages, you just need to have proof. You can show medical bills, the amount of salary you would have been paid for working those days, and similar information.

Non-economic damages are more complicated.

There are a number of approaches that insurance companies take when calculating pain and suffering as part of an injury settlement. The two most common are the multiplier method and the “per diem” (daily rate) method.

  • Multiplier method: This method is commonly used by insurance companies, and it simply multiplies your economic amount by another number to add on. The multiplier number is based on the severity of the injury, and it is generally between 1.5 and 5.
  • Daily Rate Method: In this method, you determine a daily dollar amount of how much effort it is to deal with your pain and suffering, and apply it to the duration (this gets much more complicated with permanent injuries).

Neither of these methods are an exact science, so it’s likely that your real number will be based on a mixture of the two.

How to Prove Pain and Suffering

How to Prove Pain and Suffering

You will be required to show a lot of proof of your claims of pain and suffering, so make sure you keep appropriate documentation along the way.

It’s a good idea to keep any receipts and bills you have because of your injury. Here are some examples of what are commonly used:

  • Medical bills
  • Prescription documentation and receipts
  • Proof of lost wages
  • Photos/medical reports about injuries

In general, the more you can provide, the better.

Why Ryan Hilts Is The Right Attorney For You

Insurance companies are experts at fighting these claims, so it pays to have an experienced and understanding lawyer by your side.

The process of filing a claim for pain and suffering in Oregon gets more complicated based on the severity of the injury, but it is never an easy one to do. I’ve helped countless people through this difficult time, and they were able to get back to things that meant the most to them in their lives – with an appropriate amount of compensation.

You don’t have to suffer alone!