Personal injury cases are especially difficult if you are unfamiliar with the law and unsure of how to move forward with your claim. It is important to address the topic that many are faced with: do I need a personal injury lawyer? Depending on your individual accident or the details of your particular case, it may not be as straight forward an answer. Still, there are some key factors in every accident that are important to address.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer is crucial, especially in the beginning, as they will be able to guide you in piecing together all of the items you will need to move forward. It can be overwhelming, initially, so it’s best to speak with an attorney sooner. Below are some important details.
What are common personal injury cases?
In essence, a personal injury case typically involves an injured party filing a claim against another party for negligent conduct that caused an injury. While the basic concept of each personal injury case is the same – someone was injured, either through negligence or an intent to injure – there are several kinds of personal injury cases that are very common.
Essentially, a personal injury case involves one party attempting to receive compensation for an injury that they received. In some cases, this injury was caused intentionally, while in most cases, it was caused through negligence.
Out of all of the personal injury claims that are filed in the United States, the majority of them are filed due to injuries sustained during car accidents. Car accidents are very common across the United States, and this includes the state of Oregon, of which there were 57,726 car crashes in 2017 alone. When someone files a personal injury claim due to a car accident, it’s generally because there was someone who was failing to obey the rules of the road.
Slip and fall cases are also very common, and they often take place when a property owner fails to ensure that their property is kept safe and free of hazards. One example of a slip and fall case is if someone is at a restaurant and slips on a greasy floor, causing them injuries leg. They could file a personal injury claim against the restaurant’s insurance company because the restaurant failed to keep the property safe for the customers.
- A personal injury case typically involves an injured party filing a personal injury claim against another on the grounds of negligent conduct
- Generally, wrongful conduct includes negligence, or acting with the intention to cause an injury
- Most personal injury claims are the result of car accidents
What Does A Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
A personal injury lawyer provides legal representation to those who have been injured – either through negligence or an intentional act – and are seeking compensation. Personal injury lawyers work with the plaintiff to determine the details of their case, the best way to move forward with the case, and how to get their client the compensation that they deserve.
Personal injury lawyers often work with a variety of different personal injury cases. Medical malpractice cases, car accident cases, slip and fall cases, and wrongful death cases are the most common.
When it’s time for a settlement to be reached, a personal injury lawyer works with their client to ensure that they’re receiving the settlement they deserve, based on the facts of their case. That way, the client isn’t receiving a low-ball settlement that is unbefitting of the injury they’ve sustained. If a settlement can’t be reached, filing a lawsuit against the negligent party is the next step.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer is often the best course of action because a personal injury lawyer understands the law, and how to work within the law to achieve specific results. Without this understanding of the law, it’s much harder to receive an appropriate settlement.
- Personal injury lawyers provide legal representation to those who have filed personal injury claims and are seeking compensation
- When working on a personal injury case, personal injury lawyers organize their client’s case and present it during the proceedings
- Personal injury lawyers help their client receive the settlement that is appropriate for the injury they’ve sustained
What Happens When A Lawyer Is Not Hired?
More often than not, you should hire a personal injury lawyer. If you don’t hire a personal injury lawyer, you’ll have to deal with the complexities and nuances of your personal injury case, and this can be very difficult if you don’t have an in-depth understanding of the law. There are a number of common mistakes that people often make in a personal injury lawsuit, and these mistakes are due to not having an understanding of the law, and not hiring a personal injury lawyer.
One of the most common mistakes is accepting a settlement that is too low. If someone receives a settlement while undergoing treatment, then this is especially problematic as it could lead to that individual receiving fewer resources than they need to continue their treatment, or even not understanding the extent of their injuries and how bad things actually are.
Another mistake that’s often made is the person who filed the personal injury claim failing to organize and present the evidence of their case properly. Most of the time, this occurs when the facts of the case aren’t understood very well, which is often due to not having consulted with a personal injury lawyer.
- The plaintiff accepting a low settlement is a very common mistake in situations where a personal injury lawyer isn’t hired
- Another common mistake is the plaintiff failing to organize and present the evidence of their case properly
- For the best results in a personal injury case, it’s important to hire a personal injury lawyer
Do I need a personal injury lawyer? This is a crucial question to consider and we can assist. For personal injury representation in Oregon, contact leading attorney Ryan Hilts Law Firm. We can help you move forward with your case.
Many people think that a lawsuit is needed in personal injury cases, but there are less drastic steps that should be taken first to attempt to avoid the time and money involved in litigation. A demand letter outlining your injuries and losses is typically the first step in settlement outside of court.
Definition of a Letter of Demand
The initial letter written by one party demanding something from another party is a letter of demand.
A demand letter should include these things
- A statement of the wrong that has been committed
- The action or payment that is demanded
- The method by which the demand might be carried out
- 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 if necessary. Of course, this is a bare-bones outline of what is necessary; it’s the details that determine a letter’s efficacy.
What Should Be in a Letter of Demand?
Demand letters can be drafted by anyone, but they should be written with legal professionals in mind.
An effective demand letter should be clear, concise, and specific. While it might be addressed to the insurance company of 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.
The demand letter might ultimately be read by a lawyer for the insurance company and used as a starting point in their preparation to defend the case. 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 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 demand letter, 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. The goal of such a letter is 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. It is important to keep the letter as professional as possible.
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. 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.
Car accidents can be incredibly traumatic experiences. Recovery after an accident can be a long process, and physical healing is just one consideration. 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 your claim.
Car accident statutes of limitations 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. There are also 180 day Tort Claim Notice requirements for cases involving public bodies and dram shop claims.
The Oregon Statute of Limitations.
The statute of limitations that covers most car accidents can be found in 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.”
Dealing with a Running Clock
After any car accident in Oregon, you have two years to either settle the case or file a lawsuit. legal compensation. This is why anyone injured in a car accident needs to move with urgency if they want to seek compensation through the legal system.
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: pain and suffering.
Definition of Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering 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 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 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 file a Tort Claim Notice – 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.
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.