accident and injury lawyers

Sleep-Deprived Teens At Hightened Risk of Crashing

According to a study recently released online in the JAMA Pediatrics journal, drivers between the ages of 17 and 24 who report having slept 6 or fewer hours per night were about 20 percent more likely to be involved in an auto accident than those who slept longer than 6 hours per night.

Sllep Deprived Teens More Likely to CrashThis study, which was conducted on participants in New South Wales, Australia, was not highlighting a new problem: sleep deprivation and “drowsy driving” are well-known factors contributing to auto accidents.  The novelty of this study was that it focused young drivers and found that sleep affected young drivers’ ability to drive safely more their age, number of driving hours per week, and even risky driving behaviors like speeding.

JAMA emphasized that young drivers should be a focus of driver safety efforts because they already experience more impairment in alertness, mood, and physical performance than older drivers.

If you or your child has been injured in an auto accident in Oregon, don’t hesitate to call the experienced auto accident injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke PC today for your free consultation at 541-617-0555.

Dog Bite Accident Claims Are on the Rise in Oregon

In a news release from State Farm yesterday in honor of Dog Bite Prevention week, the insurance company proclaimed that dog bite accident claims are on the rise throughout our state.  According to State Farm’s amalgamated research, almost 5 million people are bitten or attacked by dogs every year across the United States. Drawing from State Farm’s research, dog bites are on a significant rise in Oregon.  Our state ranked 15 for the most dog bite claims. The insurer handled 77 dog-bite claims in Oregon last year, up from 62 in 2011.

In addition to the number of claims, the cost associated with treating these injuries seems to be mounting as well.  State Farm said that it spent $1.2 million helping Oregon customers recover from dog bites. This figure is nearly double what State Farm paid dog accident injury victims in 2008.  Hilliard said there are a number of factors that contribute to the rise in expenses paid – additional claims, medical treatments and severity of the injuries are just a few.

“A dog’s tendency to bite depends on factors like heredity, obedience training, socialization and health,”said Brad Hilliard, State Farm spokesman in Salem. “There are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed, just as there can be responsible and irresponsible owners of each breed.”  As a result, he said, “we do not track the type of breed for each claim.”

As the experienced dog bite and dog attack injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke know, any dog may attack when provoked.  But dog bite injuries are preventable when appropriate steps are taken to keep everyone safe.  These preventative measures include:

  • NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog, even if it is a family pet. Children are often bitten by a dog in their own household.
  • Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
  • Never put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.
  • Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
  • Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
  • Regular veterinary visits are essential to regulating the health of your dog. A sick or injured dog is more likely to bite.
  • Be alert. If someone approaches you and your dog while out on a walk, caution them to wait before petting the dog, giving your pet time to be comfortable with the stranger

If you or a loved one has been injured in an Oregon dog attack, call our caring and experienced dog bite injury attorneys today at 888-257-9023.  We can help you!

What To Expect if Your Oregon Personal Injury Claim Goes to Court.

Hello again and happy Friday! Today’s video clip from our founder and senior partner Roy Dwyer discusses what you can expect if your Oregon personal injury claim goes to court:

As Roy explains in this clip, first you will have to file a complaint. Complaints indicate how the accident happened, information about you, how you are injured, and how this case has impacted your life. This complaint must then be filed in the court and served on the defendant.

If you have been injured in an accident in the state of Oregon, call an experienced personal injury attorney right away. Call us for a free consultation at 541-617-0555 or visit our website for more information.

To view additional informative videos about personal injury law in the state of Oregon, visit Dwyer Williams Dretke PC’s You Tube channel.

How Can You Get an Oregon Auto Accident Injury Settlement?

In the video below, our founder and senior partner Roy Dwyer answers a common question posed by many new clients: how can you get a settlement in your Oregon auto accident injury claim?

As Roy explains, the first thing you have to be able to prove is fault. You must demonstrate that the person who injured you is liable. In other words, if you cannot prove that they have done something wrong, then there is no way that you can recover any damages.

If you have been injured in an accident in the state of Oregon, call an experienced personal injury attorney right away. Call us for a free consultation at 541-617-0555 or visit our website for more information.

To view additional informative videos about personal injury law in the state of Oregon, visit Dwyer Williams Dretke PC’s You Tube channel.

Senate Hearing tomorrow on HB 3160A – Amending the UTPA to Cover Insurance Companies

This blog post was written by Erik Kancler, who works on government and media relations and who is writing on behalf of Economic Fairness Oregon. A former BlueOregon contributor, Erik has previously worked as a scientist, journalist, nonprofit director, and as policy adviser to the Oregon Senate Democrats.

There is simply no good reason, principled, pragmatic, or otherwise, for why the goods and services we purchase and investments we make should be covered by the UTPA but the insurance policies that we purchase to protect those goods, services, and investments should not.

Imagine you’ve just purchased a new minivan. Kids are growing up, starting school, and you need a safe way to get everyone around town. Two weeks later the engine blows up and despite purchasing an extended five-year, fifty-thousand mile powertrain warrantee the dealer says tough luck.

Or you’ve recently bought a home only to find out that the roof leaks. To protect your investment you purchase a new 30-year roof and then watch in disbelief as major portions blow off as a result of a product defect. When you complain to the manufacturer, they in turn blow you off.

In cases like these, Oregon consumers can turn to Oregon’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act to seek justice. The UTPA is the backbone of consumer protection in Oregon. It provides consumers and the State Attorney General with the power to challenge companies that fail to deliver on the promises they’ve made and helps to lessen consumer abuse by deterring would-be bad actors.

But if your beef is with an insurance company, you’re out of luck. They can promise the sun, the moon, and the stars, but when they fail to deliver, Oregon law is on their side, not yours.

That’s because unlike the auto dealer or the manufacturer/installer of your roof (or every single other company in every single other industry doing business in Oregon) your insurance company is exempt from the UTPA’s requirements.

This isn’t the case in Washington. Most other states, in fact, include the industry in their unlawful and deceptive practice acts. That the industry presently enjoys such an exemption in Oregon is a direct result of its political influence in Salem. This session alone there more than 50 lobbyists defending the industry’s stance on the issue and opposing Oregon House Bill 3160A, which would add insurance to the State’s UTPA.

That any one industry would be exempted from a regulatory framework as important as the UTPA is unfair. That of all industries it would be the insurance industry – which itself represents an essential backbone of consumer protection – is especially troubling. If anything, given the unique and crucial role insurance plays in people’s lives, and that in many cases we’re actually required by law to purchase it, insurance should be the first industry covered.

In 1994, David Killion’s Warrenton home lost major portions of its roof during a winter storm with winds nearing 90 miles per hour. Afterwards, his insurance company sent out a claims adjuster who offered $3,000 for damage that local contractors estimated at over $20,000. Killion had no choice but to fight.

It took him over four years and considerable expense to get the insurance company to cover the damages. In the meantime, his house began to stink, black mold grew everywhere, his wife developed asthma, and he and his family were too embarrassed to invite friends or family over for get-togethers.

In 2004, a fire devastated Michael Mckeon’s potato packing factory in Merrill – a factory that his family had owned and operated since World War II. His insurance company not only failed to pay but dragged his family’s name through the mud in the process. It took nearly six years to reach a settlement and clear his family’s name, and the business was never able to re-open.

When Portland-based Zidell Industries received a cleanup notice from DEQ related to industrial contamination in 1997, its insurers balked. Eventually vindicated by court victories and settlements with all but the most obstinate of its insurers, Zidell has spent $20 million over multiple decades in an effort to receive coverage.

“If Zidell had been able to assert claims and seek penalties or unfair claim settlement practices, the insurer would have perhaps been compelled to settle the case years ago,” a representative from Zidell recently told the Oregon Legislature.

Among those who testified in support of HB 3160 is former Oregon Governor, Supreme Court Justice, and Insurance Commissioner, Ted Kulongoski:

Years ago, when I served as Oregon’s Insurance Commissioner, I testified against adding insurance companies to the UTPA in a similar piece of legislation. But times have changed—and I have changed my mind. The financial services meltdown in 2007 and the recent recession, which cost many Oregon citizens their jobs, their homes, their retirements, and their futures, must be a wake-up call for public officials to provide greater consumer protection against fraudulent business practices in the financial services markets.

Although the insurance industry disagrees with this perspective, there is simply no good reason, principled, pragmatic, or otherwise, for why the goods and services we purchase and investments we make should be covered by the UTPA but the insurance policies that we purchase to protect those goods, services, and investments should not.

Oregon House Bill 3610A would end the insurance industry’s unfair exemption from the UTPA and provide Oregon consumers and businesses much-needed consumer protection. The Oregon House of Representatives did its job in passing the bill over to the Senate. Now its time for Senate leaders to ensure that this bill gets to Governor Kitzhaber’s desk.

Oregon House Bill 3160A is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Committee on General Government, Consumer, Small Business Protection On May 8th from 3-5pm at the State Capitol, Hearing Room B. For more information on this issue, please visit Economic Fairness Oregon’s website.