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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.

 

 

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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.