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How to Keep Your Legal Assistant Happy, Part 3

This is the final post in our short series on fostering great relations with your Legal Assistant. Again, we will be incorporating more information into the Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC blog to help make it a great resource for new and prospective personal injury lawyers, so check back soon for more professional development posts!

“How to keep your legal secretary happy, part 1” suggested that you provide them with:

  • All incoming mail
  • Concise directions, and
  • Clear project parameters

“How to keep your legal secretary happy, part 2” suggested that you also provide:

  • An open-door policy for asking questions
  • Lists of what they can anticipate to happen on each case if/ when attorneys are out of the office
  • Streamlined phone call protocol

Three Final Ways to Keep Your Legal Assistant Happy

Here are the final three suggestions that our support staff have provided for how we can keep them happier in the workplace, which we want to share with you:

  1. Attorney Whereabouts
    According to our support staff, having this information on hand at all times is essential! The legal assistants are in large part expected to handle a majority of the clients and contact people including but not limited to insurance company representatives, court officials, medical providers, and other attorneys.  It is very difficult to manage these relationships when one is uninformed about attorneys’ locations and expected time back in the office. As with many of our other suggestions, adequate and clear communication with your legal assistant is key here.
  2. True, Uninterrupted Breaks During the Day
    Even if support staff remain in the office for lunch and other breaks, their personal time should be respected and not interrupted unless such interruption is for a true emergency.
  3. T/C’s and Files
    At the time of this poll, we all agreed that it would be a very good idea if the attorneys were given client/ matter files before taking phone calls.  This way, attorneys won’t be talking off of the tops of their heads about case facts, court procedure, or anything else. With files in hand, the attorneys can avoid undue and burdensome work down the road that could easily have been avoided.

We hope that you have gotten something out of this series. Again, we will be sharing more advice like this in the future on our blog as well as on our social media channels.  Subscribe to our RSS feed to get blog posts emailed directly to your inbox, or check us out online on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Happy Monday and have a great week!

How to Keep Your Legal Assistant Happy, Part 2

Last week we announced that we will be incorporating more information into the Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC blog to help make it a great resource for new and prospective personal injury lawyers.

Our first such blog series is about fostering great relations with your Legal Assistant, and our first post in this series suggested that you start to “keep your legal secretary happy” by providing them with:

  • All Incoming Mail
  • Concise Directions, and
  • Clear Project Parameters

Three More Ways to Keep Your Legal Assistant Happy

We polled the legal secretaries in our office and came up a list of nine top areas in which we personal injury lawyers can help empower our assistants and keep them happy in the office.  Here are the fourth through sixth agreed-upon suggestions:

  1. An Open-Door Policy
    Our legal assistants agreed that they would collectively appreciate a more open-door policy for asking questions of their attorneys.  Our support staff felt that some attorneys, who make it clear that they do not appreciate interruption, create a chilling effect on their support staff asking questions.  Legal Assistants need to be able to ask questions of their attorneys without fear of chastisement or reprisal.
  2. Attorney Lists
    If attorneys are out of the office for an extended period of time (3 or more work days), support staff suggested that it would be very helpful for attorneys to provide them with lists of what they anticipate to happen on any given case during their absence.  Statements as simple as “Smith case – waiting for Answer to Complain before sending out Request for Production” or “Black case – waiting for phone call from Dr. Joe before deciding to take the case” would provide Legal Secretaries with a status awaiting their attorneys’ return.  It was also unanimously agreed that it would be helpful for attorneys to leave lists of what they expect their Secretairs to do on any given case or matter while the attorney is out of the office.
  3. Phone Calls
    When asking Legal Assistants to make phone calls for you, our support staff suggests that you develop and utilize some sort of tracking system for streamlining what can otherwise become a time-consuming and frustrating task.  Your assistant needs to know Who to call, When to call them, and What the call is about.

Check back later this week to read our final post in this series.  Remember, also, thatwe will be sharing more advice like this in the future.  From our office to yours!

Client With Preexisting Back Injury Recovers Auto Accident Settlement

Our client in this matter was a passenger in a car being driven by her husband. Their car was stopped at a traffic signal, five cars back from the light. When the light turned green, our client’s husband began to move forward with traffic. As he looked in his rear-view mirror, however, he saw another motorist approaching at a very high rate of speed. That motorist rear-ended our client’s vehicle.

Oregon Back Pain Injury AttorneysPrior to this accident, our client suffered from age-related degeneration in her spine. She was receiving treatment for this degeneration when the accident occurred. We knew that we would need to provide documentation of her back condition because, often and in this case, insurance companies will attempt to blame preexisting conditions for accident victims’ injuries rather than accepting responsibility on behalf of their insureds.

In addition to ordering our client’s accident-related medical records, we ordered prior records in order to determine exactly what condition her spine was in leading up to this traumatic collision. It was very clear based on those records that the accident exacerbated our client’s preexisting back condition.

We provided the at-fault driver’s insurance company with our client’s complete medical records and, after several rounds of negotiation, the case settled for the amount we had previously determined to be the top value for our client’s case. Our client and her husband were happy with the results.

Oregon Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights

The state of Oregon has a Bill of Rights guaranteeing nursing home residents certain protections including the right to be treated with respect and dignity, the right for one’s records to be kept confidential, and freedom from mental and physical abuse as well as from being given unnecessary medication. Nursing home residents cannot be transferred or discharged without good cause, advance notice, or a discharge or transfer plan, and residents have a right to a hearing in order to stop any proposed change. Other rights guaranteed to nursing home residents include:

  • The right to be fully informed of the faculties, policies, and procedures that govern the conduct and responsibilities of all residents
  • The opportunity to participate in the planning of one’s medical treatment
  • No requirement that they perform services for non-therapeutic reasons
  • The right to accept or to refuse medication, treatment, or care and to choose their own physician
  • Freedom from retaliation for complaints

Abuse and neglect in Oregon nursing homes is insidious in large part because family members do not discover the abuse until permanent injury or death occurs. If your loved one has been abused or neglected in his or her elder care facility, contact a caring personal injury attorney today. The right attorney will have the ability to develop aggressive discovery methods that prove substandard treatment or abuse is taking place and to build a solid foundation for your case. Call our dedicated elder abuse and nursing home negligence attorneys today for a free consultation at 541-617-0555.

Elder Mistreatment and Nursing Home Abuse

Below are some of the most common kinds of abuse that we come across as elder abuse personal injury lawyers. Mistreatment of nursing home residents by caregivers can involve a number of situations that result in physical, emotional, or financial harm to the elder adult. Abuse and neglect can include any of the types of mistreatment listed below:

  • Abandonment, such as desertion by the person responsible for providing care to a vulnerable adult
  • Failure of the caregiver to provide articulated or expected care and services to the resident, whether intentional or negligent
  • Malnourishment or dehydration
  • Any untreated medical condition
  • A caregiver’s attitude of indifference to the resident’s physical needs
  • Failure to maintain a clean living environment for the resident
  • Financial abuse and exploitation of the resident’s resources including misappropriation of funds and illegal or improper use of the resident’s accounts
  • Infliction of physical pain
  • Over-medication
  • Inappropriate use of chemical or physical restraints
  • Sexual abuse or rape
  • Emotional abuse, such as verbal assaults or threats

These are all egregious forms of abuse and neglect that no loved one should be put through – especially not when he or she is entrusted to the care of a facility whose business is to care for the elderly. If your vulnerable elder loved one has experienced any form of elder abuse or nursing home neglect in Oregon, call us today for a free consultation and to discuss your case at 541-617-0555. We care and we can help. you

Has Your Elderly Loved One Been Abused or Neglected?

In honor of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which was June 15th of this year, the attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC will be blogging this week about the persistent and horrific problem of elder abuse and neglect in our state – as well as about legal mechanisms in place to protect you and your elderly loved ones. We understand the devastating emotional impact of nursing home abuse and neglect.

Oregon Elder Abuse and Neglect AttorneysThe increasing use of nursing home facilities in Oregon correlates to our population’s increasingly older age, and it suggests that there will almost certainly be a growing number of abuse and neglect incidents in Oregon nursing homes. The sad but simple truth is that nursing home residents are vulnerable to abuse and neglect. This is especially true when nursing home residents require medical staff to be on call around-the-clock.

Many of our most vulnerable family members are subject to gross and dehumanizing neglect as well as physical, financial, and emotional abuse in long-term care facilities. The elderly are a particularly at-risk segment of the population because a disproportionate number of them have difficulty understanding or communicating that they are being victimized. Additionally, if nursing home residents are being physically or sexually abused by nursing home staff members, they may be afraid that disclosing the abuse will lead to retribution by the staff.

At Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC, we offer compassionate and experienced representation to nursing home abuse victims and to the victims of neglect in long-term care facilities throughout Oregon. If someone you love has been victimized in any Oregon elder care facility, we are here to answer your questions and to offer you counsel built upon our attorneys’ 75 years of collective litigation experience. Call us today at 541-617-0555.

Fair Settlement for Workplace Slip and Fall Accident Victim

Our client in this Oregon slip and fall case was injured while on the job.  He was employed at a store where he stocked shelves and put recent deliveries in the stock room.  On the day of his accident, our client had started work on time and his initial job was to move cartons of bottled liquids from the delivery area to the stock room.  As he lifted a carton and started walking, the soggy bottom of the carton gave way, causing half gallon bottles to fall to the floor, break, and spill their contents all over.  The liquid and glass on the floor caused our client to slip and fall.

Oregon Slip, Trip and Fall AttorneysAs our client fell, he instinctively extended his arm to break his impact with the floor.  When the inevitable moment of impact arrived, his hand landed on a large piece of glass that severed a tendon in one of his fingers.  Our client picked himself up from this fall and went directly to the emergency room, where he underwent surgery to repair the tendon.  The emergency physicians treating him recommended rehabilitation consisting of physical therapy to regain movement in his finger.

Upon investigation it was immediately clear that the cartons had become wet from a leak in the semi truck that transported them.  Our client had not been advised that the cartons were wet when they were dropped off and left in his care.  The freight company initially denied liability, claiming that it was normal for trailers to leak in Oregon during cold winter months.  It also claimed that store employees were aware that cartons often arrived wet.

Our client hired the experienced and caring premises liability attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss to help him in this messy workplace slip and fall case. We demonstrated to the freight company that it is not “normal” for the inside of trailers to be wet during Oregon winters.  We showed that the driver never notified any store employees that the cartons were wet at the time of delivery.  This information was not written on the delivery invoice and had not been communicated orally when the driver stacked the cartons after taking them out of his truck.

With this information, the freight company conceded liability for the injuries sustained by our client.  In spite of the hurdles in this case, we were able to obtain a fair settlement that included paying our client’s medical providers and compensating him for his pain and suffering.

Oregon’s Elder Abuse Bill Moves Forward

Oregon Elder Abuse AttorneysA bill seeking to add attorneys, chiropractors, optometrists, and members of the Oregon Legislature to a list of people who are required to report elder abuse passed the Oregon House of Representatives today. Next it will go to Governor Kitzhaber for his signature.  Oregon state law currently requires certain kinds of health professionals and social workers to report elder abuse when they have reason to believe that it is taking place.

Does it Matter Which Doctor Treats Your Accident-Related Injuries?

Happy Friday!  Today’s video from our founder and senior partner Roy Dwyer addresses a common question that clients bring to us after they have been injured in a serious accident: does it matter which doctor treats my accident-related injuries?

As Roy explains in this clip, your choice of medical provider is indeed an important consideration in your personal injury claim. The more specialists who you consult with, the higher your overall cost of medical treatment and the more that insurance providers will object to covering your claims.

If you have been injured in an accident in the state of Oregon, contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. Call us for a free consultation at 541-617-0555 – we can help you.

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

After Tough Negotiations, Large Settlement for Injured Pedestrain

Our client was walking through a parking lot on his way to a bus stop when a motorist backed up without looking and hit him.  Our client was knocked to the ground and his hip and elbow were broken.  Our client sought timely medical help and treatment for his accident-related injuries, but his medical expenses exceeded the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits.

Oregon Pedestrian Accident Injury AttorneysAfter he had hired the dedicated and tough auto accident injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC, we contacted the at-fault driver’s insurance company and were able to get it to disclose its insured’s policy limit.  Once we knew this figure, we let our client’s health insurance know that there would not likely be enough money to go around.

After several rounds of negotiation, we were able to reach an agreement with our client’s health insurance company wherein it agreed to reduce its lien by almost half to total outstanding amount.  From there, we were able to get all of our client’s accident-related medical expenses paid and to get him a generous pain and suffering settlement.  Our client was thrilled with his decision to work with our experienced and tough personal injury attorneys.

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