Car Accident Medical Expenses

Struck Pedestrian Gets Large Insurance Settlement

An Oregonian was recently walking through a parking lot to a bus stop when a driver carelessly reversed into him.  This pedestrian was knocked over with such force that his wrist and hip broke.  He called Dwyer Williams Dretke PC, experienced auto accident and pedestrian injury attorneys, and hired us to advocate on his behalf in this pedestrian accident injury claim.

Our client incurred significant accident-related medical expenses, which exceeded the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits.  We contacted the at-fault driver’s insurance company and were able to convince it to disclose the at-fault driver’s policy limit.  Once we knew this dollar value, we next informed our client’s health insurance provider that there would be insufficient insurance money to pay all of our client’s accident-related medical and treatment bills.

After several rounds of negotiation, our client’s health insurance provider agreed to cut its lien by 50 percent.  With this reduction in place, we were able to get pay off our client’s accident-related medical expenses and to secure him a large pain and suffering settlement.  Our client was thrilled with his settlement package and with the professional pedestrian injury representation given to him by Dwyer Williams Dretke PC.

 

Juror Biases and Their Identification Process in Voir Dire

I love the fact that plaintiffs’ attorneys get to go first in Voir Dire. Going first means that we have the opportunity to direct and control the voir dire’s initial focus. If we start talking about the defendant’s bad behavior, the jury will analyze that side of the story. Because jurors’ natural instincts are to figure out as quickly as possible how they would have avoided injury, they might find fault with the premises itself if they are nudged in that direction (again, we call this “defensive attribution bias“).  If jurors can conclude early on that the premises were not safe, it will be harder for them to later switch blame to the plaintiff.  Instead, they will more readily accept the facts that support the initial position presented to them, that of the plaintiff, and reject those that undermine it.

After focusing on what the defendant could have done to prevent the accident, you should focus on getting the jury to feel similarly situated with your client – without, of course, violating the “golden rule” and prejudicing the jury.  Ways of building plaintiff sympathy with jurors include asking about similar incidents that the jurors have experienced.  Ask jurors if they were to blame for thosee incidents – the answer will likely be a resounding ‘no’.  If jurors believe that they weren’t to blame then how can they believe the same about your client under similar circumstances?  Another technique to help build juror empathy in these cases is to present them with hypothetical situations concerning family members.  While the proverbial jury golden rule prohibits you from asking the jurors to place themselves in your clients’ position, it says nothing about placing their loved ones in that position to build empathy.  Jurors’ instincts will be to hold their family members blameless.  If a potential juror does assign blame to a relative in this situation, find out why – and eliminate that person from the jury.

Bear in mind that the instinct to hold the victim blameless is strongest when jurors consider themselves the victims, less so with family members, even less so with friends, and it is virtually nonexistant with strangers.  The more you help jurors identify themselves with your plaintiff client, the better off you will be.

 

Lawyer Timothy Williams | Top Attorney Personal Injury | Tim Williams Attorney Profile

Generous Insurance Settlement Reached Despite Low Policy Limits

The details of another successful Dwyer Williams Dretke PC car accident injury settlement are as follows: our client, a young and able-bodied Central Oregonian woman, was having trouble starting her car.  She popped the hood and manually opened it while waiting for another motorist to pull forward and help her jump-start the car.  This motorist accidentally stepped on the gas pedal, which caused his vehicle to lurch forward and pinned our client’s leg between the two cars.  As a result of this incident, our client was seriously injured and she sought immediate medical attention for her accident-related injuries.

The at-fault driver’s insurance provider offered to pay the full policy limit toward our client’s injuries, but unfortunately the at-fault driver was only insured for the minimum amount required under Oregon law.  Under Oregon law, all vehicle insurance policies must carry at least $15,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.  This meager amount was not enough to cover our client’s prohibitive medical bills.

Our client sought the help of Dwyer Williams Dretke PC because we are experienced auto accident injury lawyers with a track record of success throughout the state of Oregon.  She knew that she could entrust her legal situation with us and that we would secure her the fairest possible settlement given the facts and parties involved in this case.

After reaching out to the health providers that provided services to our client following her accident, we were able to get several to significantly reduce their bills.  We also convinced our client’s insurance provider to waive its lien on the $30,000 in medical expenses that it covered for our client.  Once these arrangements had been made, the case settled and all of our client’s accident-related medical expenses were taken care of.  Our client also received a reasonable settlement to compensate her for her pain and suffering.

Rear-End Collisions Can Exacerbate Pre-existing Conditions

Our law firm was recently contacted by a passenger who was sitting in an idling car at a red traffic light when her vehicle was abruptly hit from behind by another motorist.  The two drivers emerged from this accident unscathed, but our client sustained physical injuries and the accident exacerbated her preexisting medical conditions.  Our client had multiple health issues at the time of this collision and each was affected. Unfortunately, when our client approached the at-fault driver’s insurance provider to have her accident-related medical expenses reimbursed, she was refused.  It was upon learning this that she contacted our law firm; she knew that she needed the help of competent and experienced Oregon auto accident injury lawyers.

The at-fault driver’s insurance provider gave a two-pronged explanation of why it would not pay for our client’s post-accident care.  First, it argued that the collision could not be the direct cause of our client’s injuries because damage to the vehicles involved was inexpensive and relatively minor.  According to this provider, if the cars were not badly injured in this accident then our client could not have been either.  The provider’s second argument was that our client’s injuries were preexisting conditions that fell outside of the insurance provider’s coverage.

Dwyer Williams Dretke PC has years of experience with car accident injury claims in the state of Oregon.  When contacted by this new client, we identified the weaknesses in the insurance company’s position.  The extent of damage to vehicles involved in a collision has no direct or measurable correlation to the extent of the damage sustained by human beings within the vehicles that collide.  Our client had an increased risk of getting hurt in any collision, regardless of the magnitude of impact or the extent of damage to cars, because of her preexisting health issues.  However, even though our client did indeed have preexisting health issues, it would be wrong to confuse her post-accident injuries with her preexisting issues.  Our client was injured in this accident above and beyond her preexisting pain.  The injuries she sustained in this rear-end collision were legitimate and serious.

Our client’s medical records and history made it amply clear that the auto accident aggravated her preexisting conditions and increased the pain and suffering that she experienced.  We presented these medical records to the insurance provider as well testimonies from our client’s doctors.  These medical experts confirmed that the accident should be considered the direct cause of our client’s post-collision pain and that it had negatively impacted her preexisting conditions.  Armed with this evidence in support of our case, and after several rounds of negotiation, we were able to get a favorable and fair settlement offer for our client.  Her injuries were not simply preexisting conditions and they were caused by the reckless driver who hit the vehicle in which our client was riding.

Personal Injury Claim Settled after Multiple Car Collision

Oregon’s roads can be treacherous in the fall and winter months.  Whether you are driving along the overcast coast with its slick roads or in the mountains and high desert on snowy roads, Oregon’s roadway hazards are as high as its accident rates in the fall and winter.  Reduced visibility and dangerous driving conditions are primarily to blame for the spike in auto accidents and auto accident injuries this time of year.  Oregonian drivers need to be especially careful commuting and traveling during the colder months and their short days.

Dwyer Williams Dretke PC recently settled a personal injury claim stemming from a complicated multiple-vehicle car accident.  This accident occurred on a day when it had been raining heavily. There were puddles of water all over on the roadway where this accident occurred.  A man driving an east-bound vehicle lost control of his car after skidding in the standing water.  He rolled several times before his car came to rest in the westbound lane, blocking traffic in that direction.  At the same time as the driver of an east-bound motor home stopped to ask the first driver if he needed assistance, a third driver came around a bend in the road, saw the blocked lanes, and quickly swerved in an attempt to avoid hitting either of these vehicles. Despite swerving, this third driver was unable to completely avoid the collision.  She drove into the side of the motor home before her pickup truck came to rest in the opposite lane of traffic.  She was sitting in her car, stunned by the accident, when she was rear-ended by a fourth vehicle.

Not surprisingly, this driver was seriously injured by the two moments of impact.  In the first moment of impact, her forehead struck the steering wheel and she was knocked out.  In the second moment of impact, when she was struck from behind, her head flung backward and smashed out the rear window.  Ambulances transported her to the nearest Emergency Room where she received treatment for her accident-related injuries, but on the way she slipped into unconsciousness several times.

This driver was diagnosed with chronic neck pain, persistent headaches, and nerve damage to her hands.  There were many insurance companies involved in this multiple-car collision and all argued about which impact caused which of this driver’s injuries while individually denying liability for her injuries.  The driver’s own car insurance claimed that her carpal tunnel injury could not have been caused by the accidents.  She contacted Dwyer Williams Dretke PC because she knew that she needed the counsel and guidance of an experienced and competent Oregon auto accident injury lawyer.

After carefully reviewing our client’s medical records we agreed to have our client undergo an independent medical examination (IME) requested by her insurance company.  The physician who examined her during the IME determined that the carpal tunnel syndrome was a direct result of this multiple-car accident and the two moments of impact that our client experienced.  This physician further recommended that our client have immediate carpal tunnel surgery on one of her wrists but unfortunately, by this time, our client’s medical benefits through her own insurance had been fully paid out.

Dwyer Williams Dretke PC successfully negotiated a policy limits settlement with one of the involved insurance companies that covered our client’s accident-related medical injuries including the recommended future carpal tunnel surgery.  We simultaneously convinced our client’s insurance company to waive its right to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) reimbursement.  Our client was thrilled with the final settlement offer that we were able to secure for her and with her selection of Dwyer Williams Dretke in this complicated auto accident injury claim.