Oregon vehicle accidents

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.

Oregon’s Financial Responsibility Law for Automotive Insurance

Oregon law requires that automobile policies provide a minimum level of liability coverage.  There are two main reasons for this requirement.  First, it ensures that motor vehicle drivers can respond to damages in liability.  Second, it ensures that all motor vehicle accident victims are compensated for injuries that they sustain.

Every automobile insurance policy issued for delivery in Oregon must provide coverage for at least:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury to or the death of one person;
  • $50,000 for bodily injury to or the death of two or more persons; and
  • $10,000 for property damage to the property of others.

If an at-fault driver has minimum policy limits, that means that no one person can collect more than $25,000 for bodily injury or death from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.  Similarly, the insurance carrier will pay no more than $50,000 for each accident regardless of how many people were injured.

Of course, an insurance policy may provide higher liability limits or a broader scope of coverage than is mandated by statue.  Indeed, the minimum level of liability coverage only provides bare bones protection and Oregon drivers should seriously consider raising their policy limits.

Insurance Provider Settles Pedestrian Collision Claim

Dwyer Williams Dretke PC recently settled a lawsuit brought against the insurance provider of a driver who backed into a pedestrian in a grocery store parking lot.  This incident occurred several months ago.  At that time, a female customer was returning her shopping cart to the grocery store’s cart return area after shopping when she noticed a van quickly reversing in her direction.  She waved at the driver, indicating her presence and encouraging the van driver to slow down.  Unfortunately, the driver continued to reverse on his trajectory aimed directly at her instead of slowing down or stopping his vehicle.  In the final moments before the van struck her, this pedestrian instinctively extended the arm she had waved at the driver.  When the van collided with her arm, it jammed her arm into her shoulder and severely injured it.

The injured pedestrian contacted our law firm after learning that the at-fault van driver’s insurance provider was refusing to cover the costs that she incurred treating her injuries.  The insurer argued that this pedestrian could not have sustained any significant injury because the van was moving slowly when it hit her, thus the force of impact was minimal and incapable of causing her serious harm.  Dwyer Williams Dretke LLC has vast experience in personal injury law involving automobiles and specific expertise in pedestrian collision injuries.  We were happy to take this client’s case when she approached us and to negotiate with the recalcitrant insurance provider on her behalf.

Our client was not to blame for this collision.  She had done everything in her power to stop the van as it barreled toward her in the store parking lot.  She waved at the van and then, upon realizing that the vehicle was not slowing down to avoid hitting her, she raised an arm to help cushion herself from the vehicle’s blow.  She reacted to the situation efficiently, following her human instinct.  Our client is also not to blame for the injuries that she sustained in this collision.  Our client’s shoulder was severely injured when the van hit her.  The force of the crash tore her rotator cuff and invasive surgery was required to repair this damage.

When we informed the adverse insurance provider of the severity of our client’s injuries and provided them with medical records and physician testimony that confirmed that the injury was proximately caused by the collision, the insurance provider provided a new argument in defense of its refusal to pay our client.  The insurer conceded that our client had been injured in the accident and that the van driver was at fault for the collision, but it claimed that our client was partially at fault for her injuries because she had walked behind the van as it began reversing.  This second claim was as refutable and reprehensible as the first: our client didn’t intend to be hit by a car or to have her rotator cuff torn while walking back to her vehicle after depositing her shopping cart.  Our client was struck unexpectedly and at such an angle that her protective instinct to raise her arm to keep the van away resulted in severe and unforeseeable injury.

After several rounds of negotiation with the insurance provider, we were able to secure a generous settlement for our client.  She was a random pedestrian struck by a driver who failed to take in the environment around him and thus failed to drive responsibly.  The burden of responsibility for this accident and for the injuries resulting from it fell squarely on the van driver’s shoulders.  Our client was ultimately awarded medical expense reimbursement, lost wages, and a lump sum for her pain and suffering.  She was happy to have selected experienced personal injury lawyers to represent her and defend her interests in this unfortunate pedestrian collision claim.

Insurer Covers Rear-End Collision Injuries

Dwyer Williams Dretke PC recently settled a rear-end collision case whose details were all too familiar.  A passenger was sitting in an idling car at a red traffic light when that vehicle was abruptly struck from behind by another motorist.  While the two drivers emerged from this accident unscathed, the passenger in the idling vehicle sustained serious physical injuries.

Our client had several preexisting health issues that were all affected by the collision. However, when our client approached the reckless driver’s insurance provider to be reimbursed for the medical expenses she incurred as a direct result of the accident, she came away empty-handed.  The insurance carrier presented a two-pronged explanation of why it would not pay for our client’s cost of care: first, 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; and second, that our client’s injuries were preexisting conditions and as such were not covered by their policy.

As experienced auto accident attorneys, Dwyer Williams Dretke PC recognized the fallacies in the insurance company’s position.  The extent of damage to vehicles involved in a collision does not have a direct or measurable correlation to the extent of the damage sustained by human beings within the cars.  Our client was at 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.  That stated, our client’s injuries cannot be conflated with her preexisting issues: they were far more serious.  Our client’s medical records and history made it amply clear that the auto accident aggravated her pre-existing conditions and brought her increased pain and suffering.

We presented this line of thinking to the insurance provider, as well as hard evidence underlying it in the form of medical records and the testimony of our client’s physicians.  These medical professionals all vowed that the accident worsened our client’s afflictions and that it should be considered the cause of her post-collision pain and suffering.  After several rounds of negotiation, armed with this evidence, we were able to get a favorable and fair settlement offer for our client from the insurance carrier.  Her injuries were not simply pre-existing conditions and they were proximately caused by the reckless driver who hit the vehicle in which our client was riding.  Our client was pleased with the settlement offer and with her choice of Dwyer Williams Dretke PC in this matter requiring car injury specialists.