Our client was driving her car home from work one evening. She approached a four way intersection controlled by stop signs, and came to a complete stop. As she was stopped she noticed another car approaching from her right. She assumed the other driver would obey the law and come to stop, and therefore, proceeded across the intersection. However, the other driver failed to stop and crashed into our client’s car as she was crossing the intersection. The other driver initially told our client that she was sorry and didn’t see her. When the police arrived, the other driver claimed they both came to a stop at the same time and since the other motorist was on the right, she had the right of way. The investigating officer was unsure of what actually happened and did not issue either of the drivers a ticket.
Our client’s injuries were modest. She was treated for her accident related injuries, running the bills through her own automobile insurance (i.e. PIP). After she completed treatment, she attempted to enter into settlement negotiations with the adverse driver’s insurance carrier but the insurance company refused to negotiate with her and denied liability for the accident. Our client was upset and did not know how to proceed. She called Dwyer Williams Dretke and spoke with attorney, Arne Cherkoss. After the initial consult, she hired Mr. Cherkoss to represent her.
Mr. Cherkoss initially sent a demand asking for a reasonable amount to compensate our client for her property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and for her pain and suffering. Our client’s own automobile insurance carrier failed to put a lien on the case, after receiving notice of the claim, within the time allowed by Oregon law. That meant that we were no longer legally obligated to protect PIP’s interests. With PIP out of the way, Mr. Cherkoss was able to make an ORS 20.080 demand for her property damages, lost wages, and her pain and suffering. Under ORS 20.080, the demand can be up to $10,000. The beauty of ORS 20.080 is that if the other side fails to make an offer within 30 days, or makes such a low offer within that amount of time, and the plaintiff ultimately wins in trial, the adverse insurance company can be held responsible for the claimant’s (here, our client’s) attorney fees in addition to any award by the court.
After the adverse insurance adjuster received Mr. Cherkoss’ ORS 20.080 demand, he began calling our office several times each week to try to resolve the claim. Initially, he made low ball offers, which were rejected. As the clock ticked and we got closer to the 30 day deadline, he kept upping his offers. On day 30, he finally made an offer that made sense for us to accept, and we did.
The case settled as a result of attorney Arne Cherkoss’ commanding knowledge of Oregon law and civil procedure. He was able to remove several obstacles blocking the way to a fair settlement by being knowledgeable, creative and persistent.