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Treatment Costs Covered for Uninsured Driver in Rear-End Collision

In this Central Oregon rear-end auto collision case, our client was injured while driving his car down a busy street in Bend.  He was sitting at an intersection, waiting for his traffic light to turn green from red, when another driver plowed into him from behind.  The force of this collision lurched our client and his vehicle forward suddenly, which injured our client’s neck and back.

Oregon Auto Accident Injury Attorneys | Oregon Rear-End Collision LawyersUnfortunately, at the time of this accident our client didn’t have health insurance and his auto insurance policy did not include coverage of medical expenditures related to auto accidents.  Our client called the experienced and tough Oregon auto accident injury lawyers at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC to help him get the treatment he needed and to settle this auto injury claim.

We contacted our client’s medical providers right away and offered to protect their accounts if they would treat our client for his accident-related injuries and hold on billing him.  The providers agreed, allowing our client to complete treatment for his auto accident-related injuries.

Once our client had finished treating his injuries, we sent a demand package to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.  They almost immediately began negotiating a settlement with us.  Our client accepted a fair offer and was happy with his treatment as well as with his representation by the compassionate yet tough Oregon auto accident attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss.

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.

Car Accident Injury Victim Recovers Lost Wages

Our client was driving her car along a busy street in Bend.  As she approached an intersection, she noted that the light was green for traffic moving in her direction, and proceeded through the intersection.  When her car was half way through the intersection, another motorist ran a red light and crashed his vehicle into hers.

Oregon Auto Accident Injury Attorneys | Oregon Personal Injury AttorneysOur client’s doctors instructed her not to work while she was recuperating from her accident-related injuries.  She had no income during this time and was struggling to keep up with her bills.  She called the experienced personal injury and auto accident attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC to represent her in this stressful case.

We immediately made contact with the at-fault driver’s insurer as well as our client’s own auto insurance company.  We worked with our client’s employer and doctors to get the information requested by her insurance company so that she could begin receiving compensation for her wage loss.  Once she was receiving loss of income compensation, which was a pressing concern and priority for our client, she was able to focus her attention on recovering from her injuries.

The caring personal injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC evaluated our client’s claim after she completed treatment.  We met to discuss her claim and decide on our approach to settling it.  The case quickly settled for a fair value and our client was finally able to move on with her life.

How to Bring a Ski Resort Accident Claim

Regardless of who is legally responsible for causing your ski or snowboard accident injury,  if you have been injured at a ski resort then you must notify the ski area operator of the injury by registered or certified mail within 180 days of discovering your injury.  Failure to notify the ski resort within a time designated by Oregon law bars a claim for injury or wrongful death.  However, there are a few exceptions to this rule:

  • If a ski operator had knowledge of the injury or death within 180 days of its occurrence, then failure of the injured party to provide notice will not bar the claim;
  • If there is good cause for the failure to give notice, then the claim will not be barred; and
  • If the ski resort operator failed to inform the skier or snowboarder of these notice procedures, then the claim will not be barred if it is submitted after 180 days.

After proper notice has been given to the ski area operator where the injury occurred, Oregon law requires that the injured party or his/her representative either settles the claim or files a lawsuit within two years of the date of injury.  As with all personal injury claims in the state of Oregon, there is a two-year statute of limitations on these types of cases: if you snooze, then you lose your ability to recover damages for your ski or snowboard injury.

There are several exceptions to this general statute of limitations rule.  First, claims brought on behalf of minor children and mentally disabled individuals have a longer statute of limitations because these classes of individuals are protected.  Second, if someone injured in a ski resort accident dies before two years have elapsed after the time of their injury, then an action may be commenced by that injured party’s representative within one year of that person’s death.

Oregon case law provides examples of scenarios that do not fit within skiing’s “inherent risk” as defined by Oregon’s Legislature as well as other examples that fit squarely within the definition.  For example, assume you are riding a ski lift when it breaks, sending you crashing to the ground.  You are severely injured in this accident and later you learn that the ski lift had not been regularly maintained in the months preceding your accident.  The ski area operator in this scenario is negligent and you have a good claim: falling off of an unmaintained lift is not an inherent risk of skiing even if riding a lift is.

The bottom line in ski resort accident and personal injury cases is that they are fact-specific and that it is difficult to prove a third party’s fault since skiers and snowboarders assume certain risks when they decide to hit the slopes.  That said, if you or a loved one has been injured in a ski resort accident and you believe that the negligence of another skier or the ski resort itself is primarily responsible for your injuries, then contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately.  The personal injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC can evaluate your ski resort injury case and advocate on your behalf with adverse parties and insurers.

Large Winter Weather Slip and Fall Settlement Obtained for Central Oregon Woman

It had been snowing on and off for several days at the time of this Central Oregon slip and fall incident. Our client had just returned home to her Bend, Oregon, apartment complex after a day at work.  She was walking along an outdoor pathway from the parking lot to her building when things got messy. Quite unfortunately for our client, the apartment complex’s management had decided not to sand or put deicer on the pathway along which she was walking, leaving it slippery very difficult to navigate.  To make matters worse, fresh snow had fallen on the pathway obscuring the treacherous black ice that lay beneath.

Our client walked toward her apartment exercising care, but her foot slid on a patch of snow-covered ice and she fell into her stairway head-first.  Her two front teeth were knocked out and she received a deep laceration on her upper lip.

This client made contact with the apartment comlex’s insurance company immediately following her accident.  The insurer agreed to pay for her accident-related medical expenses, but it never did.  When she couldn’t get the insurance company to live up to its word, she hired the experienced premises liability injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss to represent her and to secure her medical reimbursement.

Once hired as her lawyers, we immediately went to work contacting and negotiating with the insurance adjuster.  We faxed over copies of the bills that needed to be paid along with the anticipated cost of future medical care that our client would need based on injuries that she sustained in this slip and fall accident.

After several rounds of negotiation, all of our client’s bills had been paid in full and we were able to secure her a settlement that fully compensated her for her pain and suffering as well as for the future cost of her medical care.  Our client was happy with the ultimate outcome in this matter.  Additionally, she informed our personal injury law firm that the apartment complex’s management now routinely puts sand and deicer down along all of the complex’s pathways during wintertime to avoid further slip and fall accidents like this one.

Premises liability is that area of personal injury law which concerns landowner liability for accidents and injuries that occur on their premises.  In the state of Oregon, landowners have responsibilities to members of the public who come upon their land.  These responsibilities differ depending on the kind of visitor you are on their premises: an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser.  Premises liability is a complex and nuanced area of personal injury law, so if you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall accident, you should contact an experienced and competent premises liability attorney at once.  The lawyers at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC can help you develop and present your premises liability personal injury claims and to maximize the settlement that you are offered after being injured in a slip and fall injury.  Contact us today – we can help you.

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 Cherkoss 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 Cherkoss PC.

 

Generous Insurance Settlement Reached Despite Low Policy Limits

The details of another successful Dwyer Williams Cherkoss 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 Cherkoss 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.

Safety Precaution Recommendations for Motorcyclists

It is common knowledge that motorcycle drivers are at a heightened risk of accident-related injuries and death than drivers of cars, trucks, and other passenger vehicles.  Motorcycles generally travel at the same speeds as enclosed motorized vehicles, often overtaking those cars, yet motorcycle drivers and passengers have virtually none of the protections that drivers of enclosed vehicles possess.  Car’s frames and air bags protect drivers and passengers at the moment of impact during a car accident.  Motorcycles provide no such insulation to riders when they crash, skid, or collide with another vehicle.

In 2011 there were a whopping 17 percent more Oregon traffic crashes involving motorcycles than there were in 2010 and 95 percent of those accidents resulted in injury or death to the motorcyclist or to a motorcycle passenger.  Given the dangers inherent to riding, it is vitally important that Oregon’s motorcyclists know the rules of the road that apply to them (see my last post on the subject) as well as what safety precautions to take so that they may protect themselves while riding. Here are some general precautions that riders should take.

  1. Always wear a helmet.  Helmets are mandated under Oregon law and they really do save lives. Head injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes.  Motorcyclists who fail to wear a helmet while riding are 40 percent more likely to die of a head injury and 15 percent more likely to suffer nonfatal injuries than those who wear helmets.
  2. Never speed and slow down in poor weather.  A 2009 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute report found that 48 percent of motorcycle accident fatalities involved speeding.  Riding above the speed limit is reckless: speed limits were predetermined based on road conditions and general principles of safety.  Motorcyclists should also always reduce their speed and proceed with caution when visibility is limited due to inclement weather.  If you cannot see what you are riding into, then you cannot see who or what else might be on the roadway and you are asking for there to be a collision.  Furthermore, if visibility is poor because of fog, rain, or snow, then the road conditions may also be negatively affected.  Traveling at full speed on slick or icy roads will almost inevitably increase stopping time for vehicles in motion and it invites loss of control of your motorcycle.
  3. Never drink and ride.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers had blood alcohol concentrations above the legal limit of 0.8 percent in 42 percent of recent motorcycle deaths.  If you ride a motorcycle, you need to be alert and on the lookout for objects and vehicles on the roadway.  Any intoxication threatens your alertness and your ability to react to conditions and occurrences on your drive.
  4. Have Health and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance.  PIP provides medical benefits, loss of income, and essential service insurance of up a set amount for all automobile drivers involved in collisions.  Whether or not you are at fault in a collision, you can recover PIP benefits if you are injured as the result of a vehicle collision. The state of Oregon requires that PIP is included in all automobile insurance policies, but it makes no similar requirement for motorcycle insurance policies.  Protect yourself against financial disaster from accident-related medical expenses by paying for PIP benefits in addition to your health insurance.

A certain volume of motorcycle accidents will continue to occur despite riders’ and drivers’ best intentions and safe driving practices.  If you or a loved one is involved in a motorcycle accident in Oregon, you will have a much better chance at being fairly and fully compensated you if you retain an experienced motorcycle accident injury attorney.

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 Cherkoss 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.

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.

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