Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Local Bakery Manager Suffers Fatal Brain Injury

Accidents involving vehicles are one of the leading causes of brain injuries. Collisions involving two vehicles may be the main cause, but pedestrians being hit by cars is also a common cause of this often debilitating injury.

At the beginning of summer 2017, a bakery manager was one block away from her workplace while on her break. As she was walking across the intersection at SE 80th Avenue and Pine Street one afternoon, a dark vehicle hit her and fled the scene.

Not all brain injuries are fatal, but in this case, the manager’s injuries were substantial and she, unfortunately, passed away a few weeks after the crash.

Steps to Take If You Suspect a Brain Injury

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that close to 1.4 million Americans suffer from some type of brain injury every year. This may be in the form of a concussion, a “closed” head injury, or it may be an acquired brain injury (i.e., when brain cells are deprived of oxygen).

Any time you suspect that you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, it is critical that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible – even if you believe that the accident was minor. Symptoms of a brain injury can take hours, days, or even weeks to appear, so a proper medical evaluation is necessary to treat your injury before it can get worse.

Seeking medical advice is also important if that injury is the result of the negligence of another. The medical report will be used by your brain injury attorney to establish the severity of harm you have suffered.

Negligence may not be so straightforward. In some instances, it can be hard to prove who was negligent in a brain injury case. If a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, were they partially at fault (such as if they were jaywalking)? Was there a product which should have protected an individual but it failed to do so, resulting in a head injury (such as if you are involved in a motor vehicle crash, and your airbag did not deploy)?

Why Contact Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, PC

Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, PC is a statewide personal injury firm here in Oregon which has experience handling brain injury claims. We have the knowledge, the resources, and the expert investigators necessary to prove the full value of your claim so that you can receive maximum damages for your injury.

We have offices throughout all of Oregon and we offer free consultations to anyone who has suffered a personal injury. To arrange for your consultation today, we welcome your call at (541) 617-0555.

Family Sues Landlord for Wrongful Death

An Eastern Oregon family is suing their landlord after an electrical fire resulted in the death of their 8-year-old son.

In July 2016 the five-person family were asleep when the smoke alarm went off. The father got out of bed and saw a large fire in the living room. The parents managed to get their three children out of the home, but everyone suffered burns, smoke inhalation, or both. The family was transported to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Tragically, the eight-year-old boy succumbed to his injuries later that day.

Family Sues Landlord for Wrongful Death

Arson investigators of the Oregon State Police determined that the fire, which destroyed the home, was caused by electrical failure. The family is now accusing the property, and its owners, of having an unsafe or improperly maintained electrical system which resulted in the death of their child.

What Is Considered to Be a “Wrongful Death” in Oregon

A “wrongful death” in our state of Oregon is one that is the result of the omission or wrongful act of another. The death may be intentional or it may be unintentional, resulting from the negligence or recklessness of another party.  In Oregon, there are several protections in place for the tentants of a rental, including under the Oregon Residential Landlord Tenant Act, which requires that, among other things, the electrical systemt of the rental be in safe working condition.

What Damages Can Be Recovered

Damages recovered in wrongful death claims are intended to compensate surviving family members and the estate for any losses related to the death of the deceased individual. Some of the losses which may be recovered include:

  • Medical/hospital expenses related to the deceased individual’s illness or injury
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of wages and benefits (including reasonable future earnings)
  • Pain and suffering endured prior to death
  • Loss of companionship, care, guidance and comfort suffered by surviving family members

How Much Time Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Oregon, a wrongful death claim must be filed within three years of the deceased individual’s final injury. It is important to note that this date is different from the person’s date of death, and that this can have an impact on the amount of time you have to file a claim.  This timeline may be extended under certain circumstances, such as not reasonably identifying the wrong that led to the death, or when a child is killed.

Speak to an Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer at Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys

Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, PC is a personal injury law practice in Bend committed to representing victims who have suffered substantial personal injuries who has passed away due to the negligence or recklessness of another.

We invite you to call us today to discuss your claim for free at (541) 617-0555.

Motorcycle Accidents – What You Need to Know

Riding a motorcycle on the open road is an exhilarating experience. The feeling of wind rushing past your body and the purr of the motor as you open the throttle gives riders a real sense of freedom. This freedom is not without risk, however, with motorcycle accidents forming a major percentage of motor vehicle incidents.

A Guide on What to Do after Your Motorcycle Accident

Regardless of the cause of the accident, the following list is a guide on what steps you should take following a road traffic incident. Please note that before taking any of these steps that you assess the safety of the situation.

  • Check for injuries. A quick self-check will help to identify any major injuries, such as compound fractures, to assist paramedics when they attend the accident site. Some injuries are not immediately noticeable, however, such as concussions and internal bleeding, and are equally important to identify. Always seek medical attention after a motorcycle accident to determine any inconspicuous injuries
  • Move the bike off the road. If it is safe to do so, move the motorcycle out of traffic. Being small, lightweight vehicles, motorcycles lying flat on the road may not be visible to other traffic until it is too late, potentially causing another accident
  • Take photos. Only if it is safe, take photos which show not only the damage but also the potential cause of the accident. For example, if there was any damage to the road surface or poorly visible signage, this may be a factor
  • Gather information from other parties. Collect the details of all other parties involved including vehicle registrations, names, and telephone numbers. If there are witnesses to the incident, take note of their details as well
  • Prepare your legal case. Regardless of who was at fault, you will need a solid understanding of your legal rights which is best sought from an attorney

Additionally, due to the lack of metal surroundign the rider, as a passenger in a car woudl have, motorcycle riders are at a much higher risk of injury than those in passenger vehicles.  It goes without saying that those injuries are almost always much more severe than those involved in the same accident, but in a passenger car.  Sadly, motorcycle accidents often involved severe, permanetn injuries or death of the motorcycle operator.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident and are in need of legal assistance, we invite you to call Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, P.C. at (541) 617-0555.

Another Year of Rising Fatalities on American Roads

For decades, as safety technology in vehicles improved and public awareness of safe driving behavior increased, the total number of fatalities on American roads fell year after year. Beginning in 2014, however, a troubling trend took hold wherein more and more people are dying on US roads each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently released the roadway fatality statistics for 2016, which show that the trend has continued for another year.

According to the NHTSA, 2016 saw the deaths of 37,461 while in or near a motor vehicle. In other words, an average of 100 people died every day in 2016 in a motor vehicle-related accident. This number is an increase of 5.6% over the total number of roadway fatalities recorded in 2015. This number also means that there has been an increase of 14.4% in the annual number of deaths on the road between 2014 and 2016.

One category of fatalities that has seen a particularly stark increase has been among pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists—so-called “non-vehicle occupants.” Non-vehicle occupants accounted for 33% of all roadway fatalities in 2016, but this share used to be much smaller. In fact, non-vehicle occupants made up only 25% of all roadway deaths as of ten years ago. Deaths among pedestrians has risen 22% since 2014, and the number of fatally-injured motorcyclists and bicyclists has risen 15% respectively in that time.

The reasons for the increase in roadway deaths has been subject to some disagreement among experts. According to the NHTSA, phone distractions accounted for a mere 448 deaths on the road in 2016, but other safety organizations estimate that this number is much higher. The private nonprofit safety group National Safety Council, for example, found in its own investigation that the NHTSA only considered about half of all accidents where distraction from a phone was involved as being caused by mobile phone distraction. Law enforcement often find it difficult to determine whether a phone was involved in causing a crash, since learning this fact relies on either the driver confessing to using their phone, or to an eyewitness happening to see the driver use their phone immediately before a crash. Victims of accidents caused by distracted drivers may have a right to money damages, and they can support their claims of negligence by including evidence that the at-fault driver used their phone near the time of a crash.

For assistance getting the damages you deserve after an Oregon motor vehicle accident, contact the seasoned, compassionate, and effective Bend personal injury lawyers at Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, P.C. for a consultation, at 541-617-0555.

Preventing Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrians are increasingly likely to be injured or killed in accidents with cyclists, or vehicles.  In fact, a recent study showed that 15% of all vehicle crash deaths involve pedestrians.

The risk to the pedestrians is inevitably higher than that of the cyclist (who is likely to be wearing some protective clothing), or the person(s) inside the vehicle (who are protected by doors, windows, and in many cases seatbelts). The study showed that most of the injuries and deaths are caused by a lack of awareness by one or both parties involved.

Keeping Our Pedestrians safe from Harm

Regardless of whether you’re on foot or behind the wheel, being observant of your surroundings is paramount to everybody’s safety. The following items will highlight areas of awareness that will help minimize the chance of a pedestrian accident.

Pedestrians should be mindful of the following:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings
  • Look both ways before crossing the street
  • Avoid jaywalking by crossing at designated crosswalks where possible
  • Refrain from focusing on electronic devices while walking
  • Follow all traffic and crossing signals
  • Runners and walkers – opt for high visibility clothing when exercising with restricted daylight

For cyclists, there are very similar guidelines as those for pedestrians with the following additions:

  • Sound a bell or horn when approaching pedestrians
  • Slow down when approaching crosswalks and intersections

With vehicles, far more caution needs to be taken due to the additional speed and weight associated with driving:

  • Check for pedestrians before backing out or entering a drive
  • Be sure to check your blind spots when changing lanes
  • Slow down around schools during peak times
  • Take care when passing large stationary vehicles such as buses
  • Follow the road rules, including the speed limit

By following these guidelines and being more observant of our surroundings, the chance of a pedestrian accident will be greatly reduced.

If you are in the Portland, Oregon area and find yourself involved in a pedestrian accident and need legal help, we invite you to call our friendly team at Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys at (541) 617-0555 for a free consultation.