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.

Premise Liability in Gyms

When someone is injured while using gym equipment, they need to be certain they remember the events leading up to the injury. When using gym equipment, a person needs to ask trainers and other gym personnel how to use the equipment before using it alone. After that, it’s important to always ask questions when needed and know ones personal limits on equipments and don’t go beyond them. Everyone that uses gym equipment has personal liability in regards to any injuries received up to a point. In the state of Oregon, negligence is determined under the Comparative negligence theory, if you are more than 51% at fault, you cannot collect any monetary damages. If you are less than 51% at fault, your monetary damage reward is comparative to your degree of fault.
If a gym is knowingly using old or broken equipment they could be held accountable for their negligence. In order to prove this in Oregon you need to prove all of the following items:
•    Gym owes the member a duty of care
•    Gym breached that duty
•    Injuries happened
•    The breach in duty directly caused the injuries
The gym may say that the equipment was regularly inspected by the gym, and it is the manufacturer’s fault for the injury. This is called strict liability for a consumer product and in order to prove this you need to prove all of these items:
•    Gym equipment was defective which caused unreasonable danger to the user(s)
•    The equipment was used for its intentional use only
•    The defect caused the injury
•    Injuries happened

Street Racing-Reckless Driving

In the state of Oregon reckless driving is defined as ” willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others.” Oregon has a specific statute for a kind of reckless driving that is very dangerous, street racing. Statute 4511.251 states that when 2 cars start at the same point on a public road and speed beyond the posted speed limit in an attempt for one driver to get to another point first, that is street racing.

The penalties for a street racing charge are:
•    Suspension of license for at least 30 days or up to 3 years, a judge cannot undo the first 30 days
•    Any other charge applicable if there is property damage
•    Manslaughter if someone dies
Street racing is a Class A violation as well as a misdemeanor charge. Since street racing is so dangerous because it usually happens on public streets and causes extensive damage to property, cars and possible death or severe injury; the Oregon Department of Transportation safety manager has further comment on it. He says that “any speed competition, acceleration contest, physical endurance test, making a speed record, or exhibition of speed or acceleration on a public highway” should be considered speed racing.
Racing is definitely a willful and wanton disregard for others and should never be attempted, the risk is to great. If a driver is charged with reckless driving, they need a skillful Oregon attorney to assist them through the process.

Snowmobile Accidents, Bend Oregon

Snowmobiles are a fun outdoor activity enjoyed by many during the winter time. They can also be dangerous. To drive a snowmobile in Bend Oregon you must take a safety training class if you are under 16 years and without a driver’s license. The safety class must be approved by the DMV.  After the safety class you will be issued a certificate saying you completed the class. When someone does something that can be dangerous they assume some of the liability. In Oregon, if you are over 51% at fault, you can get no monetary damages if you are injured. Less than 51% at fault, your damages are comparative to your degree of fault.
The company where you bought or rented your snowmobile may say that the snowmobile was regularly inspected by the company, and it is the manufacturer’s fault for the injury. This is called strict liability for a consumer product and in order to prove this you need to prove all of these items:
•    Snowmobile was defective which caused unreasonable danger to users
•    You used snowmobile for its intentional use only
•    Defect caused your injury
•    You suffered injuries
Safety is the number one priority when operating a snowmobile and should be at all times.

Distracted Driving in Bend Oregon

Driving is complicated enough without adding unnecessary distractions to it. When drivers are eating, putting on makeup, looking at dashboard electronics and talking or texting on their cell phone, they are distracted from driving and it is very dangerous.
In Bend Oregon as of 11/28/2010 there were 292 traffic fatalities and last year there were 295. As of January 1, 2010, Bend drivers cannot text while driving or talk into a handset, unless it’s necessary for their job. Except for answering or hanging up, drivers must talk into a hands free device, the fine for not obeying the law is $90 dollars. People under the age of 18 are not allowed to used cell phones at all while driving. The city of Bend has raised public awareness and continues to do so when it comes to distracted driving. They have actively used outdoor, radio and television advertisements that seem to be very effective.
There are things that happen during distracted driving that wouldn’t happen if people were paying attention to driving like they should. If a driver is distracted they could hit property and damage it, if it is severe enough the driver would have to report it to Oregon Department of Transportation. Since Bend Oregon is such a bike friendly city, drivers need to be on the lookout for bicyclists even more than other cities. Hitting a bicyclist while driving could have devastating consequences. More accurately hitting any person because the driver is too distracted is something so terrible, that drivers should do everything to avoid it.
Paying attention to your driving is something that should be a top priority to all drivers.