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Settlement for Passenger Injured in Collision With Telephone Pole

Our client in this Central Oregon auto accident case was the passenger in a car being driven by a friend.  His friend was driving above the posted speed limit and, due to his excessive speed, failed to successfully negotiate a corner, hit a curb, and drove directly into a power pole.  Our client was seriously injured as a result of the accident; his most significant injury was a fractured left leg.

Oregon Auto Accident Injury Attorneys | Oregon Car Accident LawyersOur client had no health insurance and was unable to pay for his accident-related treatment.  Although our client’s friend was clearly the party responsible for this accident and although he had insurance, he initially refused to turn the claim over to his insurance company or to provide our client with his insurance information.

Our client was reluctant to involve a legal representative since the at-fault driver in this scenario was a personal friend, but once he made the decision to do so he contacted Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC.  He knew our reputation for success and vigilant representation of our clients and was encouraged that our Oregon auto accident attorneys collectively have more than 80 years of experience in personal injury law.

We immediately contacted the at-fault driver and were able to get him to turn over the claim to his insurance company.  We ensured that the insurance company paid for all of our client’s accident related medical bills.  As soon as he had completed treatment for his accident-related injuries, we submitted a demand for to the insurance company to compensate him for his pain and suffering.  In the end, the insurance company made a full policy offer to settle our client’s claim.

Recovering Damages from Bicycle Accident Injuries

Serious bicycle accidents can take many forms, and the injuries that cyclist accident victims sustain will vary according to each collision’s details.  Given how these injuries are  accident- and victim-specific injuries are, it should come as no surprise that damage awards also span a spectrum.

Bicycle and Auto Accident Injury AttorneysDamage awards available to Oregon bicycle accident victims often include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitative therapy
  • Loss of income calculations
  • Disability or disfigurement compensation
  • Loss of earning potential from a disability
  • Pain and suffering awards
  • Other physical or mental injury payments

We highly encourage you to seek the advice of experienced serious accident and personal injury attorneys to determine what damages are recoverable in your individual case.  The experienced Oregon bicycle accident lawyers at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC will happily discuss the specific details of your accident and injuries.  Call for your toll-free consultation today: 541-617-0555.

These Driving Practices Can Lead to Accidents with Bicycles

Many dangerous, negligent (careless), or reckless practices can contribute to a serious bicycle accident. According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, some of the most common causes of bike accidents on Oregon’s roadways involve drivers of cars, trucks, and other enclosed motor vehicles.  These causes are:

  • Intoxicated drivers
  • Distracted drivers
  • Aggressive drivers
  • Fatigued drivers
  • Anxious or impatient drivers
  • Roads that are in disrepair

Bicycle Car Accident Attorney Portland OregonSerious bicycle accidents in Oregon can lead to permanent life changes that interfere with your ability to work, your relationships with friends, spouses, or children, and your general ability to enjoy and participate in life’s activities. When these simple pleasures are taken from a bike accident victim, it is both fair and reasonable that that victim should receive financial compensation for the injuries that he or she suffered.

A negligent driver cannot give you back your ability to walk or the joy of being able to carry your child on your shoulders, but he or she can provide the financial compensation for you can obtain the physical therapy and medical care you need to improve the quality of your post-accident life. The bicycle accident injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC are committed to vigorously representing our clients so that they can obtain the compensation they need to provide for their family despite serious and debilitating accident-related injuries.  Call us today toll-free if you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident: 541-617-0555.

Safety Practices Can Limit Your Bicycle Accident Injuries

As a means of helping to avoid accident-related injuries, it is important to keep some bicycle safety tips in mind. While our experienced and knowledgeable bicycle accident attorneys are prepared to represent you if you are injured in a bike accident, we would of course prefer that bicycle accidents and resulting injuries be entirely avoided.

Oregon Bicycle Accident Injury Attorneys | Safe Cycling PracticesSome basic steps that can reduce your risk of being involved in a serious bike accident include:

  • Wearing the proper protective gear: Helmets, shoulder, and knee pads are essential.
  • Properly equip your bike with safety equipment: Headlights, bells, and horns.
  • Be aware of your surroundings (bike defensively): Maintain a careful lookout for distracted drivers and try to catch their eye or slow down if they can’t see you.
  • Avoid drivers exiting their vehicles: When riding on the left hand side of parallel-parked cars, you should ride far enough to the left to avoid slamming into the door of a car if a driver suddenly opens the door in front of you. Moving cars can already see you as they are attempting to pass you, but drivers who have just parked may not be paying attention or looking for bicyclists as they climb out of their cars.
  • Never ride against traffic: This is an extremely dangerous bike-riding practice to be avoided at all costs. Every year Oregonian bicyclists are seriously injured or killed because they chose to ride the wrong way down the street.

It is important to be educated about all possible bike accident scenarios and to take proper precautions to avoid getting into those accidents. The bicycle accident and personal injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC believe that “minor bike accident” is a misnomer because bike accidents usually involve severe and even life-threatening injuries including brain injuries, neck and back injuries, and paralysis.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident anywhere in the state of Oregon, please call us toll-free to discuss your injuries and case: 541-617-0555.

Oregon’s Rules of the Road Extend to Cyclists and Protect Them

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s Rules of the Road operate as a driver’s manual for everyone driving or riding a vehicle on Oregon roadways. Bicyclists are treated like motor vehicle drivers under these rules in that they are expected to obey Oregon’s traffic laws as outlined for motorized vehicles.  Treating bicycles the same as cars, trucks, or sport utility vehicles seems fair and appropriate in our state, which is home to active bicyclist communities.  Portland, after all, has consistently ranked in the top three “bike friendly” cities across the nation.

Oregon Rules of the Road | Oregon Bicycle Accident AttorneysBut not all vehicles are equal and some kinds of accidents are more dangerous than others because of the vehicles involved. Drivers of cars, trucks and SUVs are required to follow a few additional guidelines and to undertake certain safety precautions that are designed to protect bicyclists due to cyclists’ heightened level of vulnerability on Oregon’s roads.

Some statewide precautions designed to protect Oregon’s bicyclists include:

  • Drivers of motorized passenger vehicles must yield to bicyclists in a bike lane.
  • Drivers of motorized passenger vehicles must yield to bicyclist on a sidewalk.
  • Prohibitions on reckless vehicular assault of bicyclists.
  • Drivers must drive to the left of bicyclist which they pass, at a safe distance, and only return to their original lane a safe distance away.

The bicycle accident injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss PC are dedicated to obtaining the compensation that our clients need to recover from serious bike accidents. Our personal attorneys handle a wide variety of bike accidents and our firm has a 98 percent success rate in representing those injured by the wrongful conduct of others throughout Oregon.  Call us toll-free today at 541-617-0555 if you have been injured in a bicycle accident: we can help you.

Settlement Negotiated for Driver Injured in Rear-End Collision

Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Personal Injury Attorneys recently settled another auto injury personal injury case without the need for cost- and time-intensive litigation.  Our client in the matter was a Central Oregon man who was driving his car along a busy street in downtown Bend when he was badly injured in a car collision.  While driving, our client noticed that the traffic ahead of him was coming to a stop, applied his brakes, and began to slow his car.  Unfortunately the driver behind him failed to notice what was happening on the road and slammed into the back of our client’s vehicle.  Our client was thrown forward by the force of this rear-end collision.

Experienced and Compassionate Oregon Auto Accident Attorneys | Oregon Auto Injury Attorneys

Our client sought immediate medical attention for his accident-related injuries and completed the course of treatment that his doctors recommended in under six months.  Despite the details of his case being straight-forward, there were problems when it came time for the at-fault driver’s insurance provider to pay our client’s medical bills.  Initially, the insurer refused to pay those bills because they were deemed to be too high.  It is true that our client’s cost of treatment had been extensive, but that was to be expected given the nature and extent of his injuries.

We had anticipated that the insurance company would try to reduce the amount of our client’s total medical bills that it was responsible for covering.  As experienced auto accident attorneys, we also assumed that this adverse insurer would argue that our client had been over-treated, but it overlooked this argument and did not.  This made the response we needed to provide very simple: we argued that our client was simply following his doctor’s orders and that he did nothing more than what was professionally recommended to him.

After several rounds of negotiation, the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier made an offer that was fair, that covered our client’s accident-related medical expenses, and which our client was happy to accept.

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.

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 Cherkoss 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 Cherkoss 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 Cherkoss 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 Cherkoss 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.

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