Keizer, OR, Car Accident Lawyers
Operator mistakes, such as speeding and driving while intoxicated, cause about 98 percent of car wrecks in Oregon. We all make mistakes, and we should all accept responsibility for those mistakes. Occasionally, tortfeasors (negligent drivers) step forward and do the right thing. They voluntarily compensate car crash victims for their tangible and intangible losses. However, such incidents are few and far between.
When tortfeasors skirt their responsibilities, the dedicated Keizer, OR car accident lawyers at Strong Law step into action. Our legal team quickly evaluates your case and connects you with essential providers, like mechanics and doctors. Then, we collect evidence that supports your claims and refutes insurance company defenses. Finally, we never stop fighting for you when your claim goes to court.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident, contact one of our Keizer, OR car accident lawyers at Strong Law at 206-741-1053 for a free case evaluation and assistance in dealing with insurers.
Our Team Gets Results for Our Clients
Find Out Why So Many People Trust Strong Law
Our Keizer, OR, car accident team works hard to get results for our clients. We take the time necessary to investigate your car accident case to the fullest extent. We leave no stone unturned so that we can represent your interests to the best of our ability.
The legal system is complex; if your car accident case has more than one person at fault, it becomes even more complicated. Count on our experience, strategic and negotiating skills, and knowledge of the law. We make sure insurance companies and other defendants do not violate your rights. We will make sure that you get all the compensation you deserve. Some of our results include:
- A client was rear-ended while sitting at a stoplight. His neck surgery forced him to stay in a rehabilitation center for two months. We recovered $1.1 million for him.
- A drunk driver crossed the center line, causing a head-on collision with our clients. We recovered $1 million for them.
- A vehicle hit our client as the client was crossing the street. His injuries required surgery on his knee and shoulder and caused him to be out of work for over a year. We recovered $900,000 for him.
- Our client was a passenger in the vehicle driven by an acquaintance. Unbeknownst to our client, the acquaintance was drunk. The driver crashed into a tree, causing our client to suffer neck injuries that required surgery. We recovered $875,000 for our client.
- Three young children were riding in a T-boned car while the driver was making a left turn into a parking lot. The three children suffered injuries in the wreck. We recovered $680,000 for the children.
Each matter is unique, and your results may vary.
Proving Liability in a Keizer, OR, Car Accident
Our Experienced Attorneys Know How to Show Who Was at Fault
Compensation is available if a Marion County car accident lawyer proves negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
Many driver mistakes are not technically illegal. Driving while fatigued and non-device distractions, like eating or drinking while driving, are two good illustrations. In such situations, a Keizer, OR, car accident lawyer must establish the following:
- Duty: Most drivers in Oregon have a duty of reasonable care. They must drive defensively and avoid accidents whenever possible. Uber drivers and other commercial operators usually have a higher duty of care.
- Breach: Most, but not all, driving mistakes are a breach of duty. If Mike was speeding 5mph over the limit, that’s probably not a breach of duty. If Mike was speeding 15mph over the limit, that’s different.
- Cause: The breach must substantially cause the damages. Bad weather might contribute to a car wreck, but driver negligence, like the failure to slow down on a rain-slick road, substantially causes that wreck.
- Damages: If the victim sustained any personal injury or property damage, however slight, a Marion County car accident lawyer can obtain compensation for those losses, as well as noneconomic losses.
Occasionally, the negligence per se rule applies. If an emergency responder gave the tortfeasor a ticket, and that safety violation substantially caused the wreck, the tortfeasor could be liable for damages as a matter of law.
Evidence in a car accident case usually includes witness statements, medical bills, and the police accident report.
The evidence immediately available at the scene often is not enough to obtain maximum compensation. Witness statements are a good example. For various reasons, most people do not loiter at crash scenes so they can give official statements to police officers. A Keizer, OR, car accident lawyer knows how to dig deeper and locate additional accident witnesses who strengthen the victim’s case.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Keizer, OR
In many cases, your injuries could prevent you from doing anything after a car accident. However, if you feel that you can move around without causing additional harm to yourself, you should take the following steps after a car wreck:
- Call first responders and check on others involved in the wreck.
- Obtain the other drivers’ contact information, insurance information, and registration information.
- Speak to witnesses. First, obtain a good phone number from anyone who witnessed the accident. You can also ask a witness what he or she saw. If you do, be sure to take notes about which witness said what.
- Allow the emergency medical technicians to check you over, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Some injuries will not manifest for hours or even a day or two.
- After the police release you from the scene, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Let the medical personnel know that you were in an accident and that you want to ensure that you do not have any injuries that have not manifested yet.
- Contact our car accident lawyers in Keizer, OR.
Recoverable Damages after a Car Accident in Keizer, OR
In Washington, you can recover economic damages and non-economic damages. You cannot recover punitive or exemplary damages for a car accident in Oregon, even if the at-fault driver’s actions or inactions were grossly negligent.
Economic damages and non-economic damages are compensatory damages. The court orders these types of damages in an attempt to make you whole again. While the money does not bring back a loved one, it reduces financial stress for family members and the accident victim who might not be able to work again.
Special damages, usually referred to as economic damages, have a monetary value. They include:
- Past and Future Medical Expenses: Past medical expenses are those you incurred because of the accident and prior to a trial award or a settlement. You expect to incur future medical expenses after you settle or win a trial award. Medical expenses also include any therapy you might need, such as cognitive and other psychological therapies, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.
- Past and Future Lost Wages: Past lost wages are those you lost from the time of the accident through the time you settle your case or win a trial award. Future lost wages are those you expect to continue losing after a settlement or a trial award. If you are able to work but your disabilities prevent you from making the same hourly rate or salary as prior to the accident, you could recover partial future lost wages.
Economic losses also include property damage. These damages sometimes have an emotional component as well.
General damages, usually referred to as non-economic damages, are more difficult to compute in monetary terms. They include:
- Pain and Suffering: This general category usually includes emotional distress, for those who suffered injuries in a car wreck. Money cannot relieve emotional pain and suffering. But it is the only remedy available under Oregon law.
- Lost Quality of Life: Some accident injuries cause disabilities that might require medication or the use of ambulatory aids for the rest of your life. You could recover compensation for loss of quality of life if the accident injuries caused such life-changing changes.
- Loss of Companionship: If your car accident injuries cause long-term or permanent disabilities that preclude you from enjoying family events and activities, you could recover extra compensation.
- Loss of Consortium: If the car accident injuries caused a long-term or permanent disability that precludes you from having a physical relationship with your spouse, whether those injuries are physical or emotional, you could recover extra compensation.
To determine a reasonable amount of non-economic losses, most Keizer, OR car accident lawyers multiply the economic losses by two, three, or four, mostly depending on the facts of the case.
There Is No Fee Unless Our Keizer, OR, Car Accident Lawyers Win
Our team works on a contingency fee basis. Our valued clients do not pay any legal fees upfront. Instead, our Marion County car accident lawyers only take a small portion of your final recovery.
The same rule applies to accident-related costs, like medical and vehicle repair costs. We partner with providers who likewise charge nothing upfront, at least in most cases. So, instead of settling for the medical care an adjuster is willing to pay for and the cheapest possible car repair, accident victims get what they need, when they need it.
To win the compensation you deserve, contact our Marion County car accident attorneys at 206-741-1053 for a free case evaluation as soon as possible.
Keizer, OR, Car Accident FAQs
When should I contact a car accident lawyer in Marion County?
You should contact our Keizer, OR, car accident lawyers as soon as possible after the accident. Even if you are in the hospital, we can still meet with you for your initial case evaluation. We can visit you in the hospital or conduct a case evaluation over the phone or via video call.
If you are not able to meet with us due to your injuries, a loved one may contact us on your behalf. We will let your loved one know what steps to take.
My accident was not in Keizer, and the at-fault driver and I live in another city. Do I have to use your Keizer office?
No. You can work with our car accident lawyers in our office in Tacoma, WA, or even in Portland or Eugene, OR. We also have an office in Salt Lake City, UT. Because of jurisdiction and venue laws, you should visit the office closest to where you or the defendant lives or where the accident occurred.
The insurance adjuster for the defendant’s insurance company keeps calling me. What should I do?
Ask the adjuster to contact our office. If you have given the insurance adjuster this information previously, tell the adjuster not to call you again. Additionally, let our office know that the insurance adjuster continues to reach out to you. We will also inform the insurance adjuster that he or she should not contact you.
I need to have my car fixed before my case settles. How do I get it fixed?
We will contact the insurance company on your behalf to get information about repairing your vehicle. Once an investigation has been completed, you can take your car in for repairs. In many cases, insurance companies have separate departments for property damage and personal injury claims. You can discuss getting your vehicle repaired with the property damage department, or you can ask us to obtain the information you need for the repair shop to submit expenses.
If the driver who hit me was on the job, can I also collect from his or her employer?
If the employer is found to have some fault in the accident, you can also sue the employer’s insurance company. For example, if the investigation finds that the brakes failed on a delivery car and the employer knew that the brakes were malfunctioning but told the driver to drive the car anyway, the employer could share in the responsibility for your damages.
If I caused an accident because of a defective part on my vehicle that the manufacturer would not recall, can I sue the manufacturer?
Yes and no. Generally, manufacturers are strictly liable for the injuries their defective products cause. However, if you knew about the defect and did nothing to make your vehicle safer, the manufacturer could use that inaction as a defense.
Strict liability is a higher standard than negligence. A defective product, like a defective tire or an ignition issue, could seriously injure thousands of people. There are basically two kinds of product defects in Washington law:
- Design Defect: The 1970s Ford Pinto is an example of a design defect. To make the car lighter and cheaper, designers put the Pinto’s unlined gas tank behind the rear axle. As a result, it was overly prone to rupture and explosion, even in a relatively low-speed accident.
- Manufacturing Defect: 1990s Takata airbags are an example of a manufacturing defect. To cut costs, the manufacturer replaced a stable and expensive chemical propellant with ammonium nitrate, which is unstable and cheap. Ammonium nitrate is basically the same compound Timothy McVeigh used in the Oklahoma City truck bomb.
The unforeseeable use doctrine is basically the only legal defense in a defective product claim. Manufacturers are not liable for damages if individuals misuse a product, and that misuse causes injury. The misuse must be extreme, like using racing tires to go off-roading in the Cascades.
Is it possible to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder after an accident?
Absolutely. In fact, it’s also possible to suffer from PTSD-like symptoms, and obtain compensation for them, even if you were not otherwise injured.
About half of car crash victims suffer from PTSD. Going through a stressful event, like a car wreck or combat firefight, alters brain chemistry. The amygdala (part of the brain that controls emotional responses) enlarges, and the cerebral cortex (logical responses) shrinks. This imbalance causes effects like depression, anger, flashbacks, and other symptoms that make it difficult or impossible to function in everyday life.
Furthermore, the additional stress parents feel when they see their children injured triggers a special legal doctrine, called the zone of danger rule. Therefore, parents in these situations are entitled to compensation for bystander injuries. This compensation could include both the economic and noneconomic damages mentioned above.
What if the accident was my fault?
Tragedies like car crashes often have multiple causes. So, both drivers could well be partially responsible for the wreck. However, there are two important things to remember in this area.
First, there is a difference between fault and legal responsibility (known as “liability”). An insurance adjuster, who will have the insurance company’s interests as their focus instead of yours, usually determines fault based solely on the immediately available evidence. If your case goes to trial, a jury or judge determines liability based not only on the evidence at the scene, but also on electronic and other subsequently available evidence.
Additionally, even if you were partially responsible for the accident, compensation is still available. Oregon is a modified comparative fault state. So, even if the victim was 51 percent responsible for the collision, the negligent driver is liable for a proportionate share of damages.
“Excellent attorneys and staff!! My attorney, Peter, and his paralegal, Katrina, went ABOVE & BEYOND to get me a settlement that was even higher than my own personal bottom line. I highly recommend Strong Law for all your personal injury claims. I would not have been able to navigate this 3-year long journey without them! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!”