Medford, OR, Car Accident Lawyers
Our Medford, OR, car accident lawyers understand that car accidents can be traumatic, even if injuries are not serious. With mounting medical expenses, car damage, and less income coming in because you cannot work, the time after an accident is stressful. You might even lose the ability to enjoy family events and activities, or you might have lost a loved one in a car accident.
Additionally, car accident claims can be complex, especially if more than one party is responsible for your injuries or the death of a loved one. Insurance company representatives will take every step to cut costs and encourage you to settle for the lowest amount possible. An experienced attorney with deep knowledge of Oregon laws can address every element of your claim to ensure you get the compensation you are due.
If your Medford car accident claim becomes a lawsuit, the level of complexity increases. Even when the car accident involves you and just one other person, there may be the defendant, his or her insurance company, the defendant's attorney, and the insurance company's attorney involved in the case.
Do not leave your future to chance. Get the best possible outcome and all the compensation you deserve. Call our Medford, OR, car accident lawyers at Strong Law at 206-741-1053 for a free case evaluation.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Medford, OR
Sometimes after a car accident, your injuries prevent you from doing anything. However, if you can move around without causing further injury, you should take several steps while you are still on the scene:
- Take photos of the accident scene. Be sure to get pictures from all angles, and be sure the images are clear. Also, get photos of any damage to the road and nearby property.
- Obtain contact information from others involved in the accident, including passengers. Obtain the driver’s insurance and registration information.
- Obtain a good contact number and/or email for any witnesses. You can also ask witnesses what they saw. Be sure to take notes. Their initial observations could be helpful to your case.
- Let the emergency medical technicians check you over, even if you think your injuries are minor.
Once the police release you from the accident scene, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, you should get them examined. Some injuries do not manifest for hours or even days after the accident. Also, there is a document you must file with the state. In Oregon, you must file a Traffic Accident and Insurance Report within 72 hours of most types of car accidents.
Do not wait to contact our Medford, OR, car accident attorneys at Strong Law for a free case evaluation. We will explain what you should and, more importantly, what you should not say to insurance company representatives. Once you set up your appointment, you can also contact the insurance company to notify it that you were in an accident. Only give the insurance company your name, the other driver’s policy number, the date and location of the accident, and your attorney’s contact information.
After the accident, if you are able, you should retrieve a copy of the police report and any medical records. If you can bring them to the free case evaluation with our Medford car accident attorneys, we can better evaluate your case.
After the case evaluation, we will help you obtain ongoing medical records, speak to witnesses, and investigate your case so that we can represent you to the best of our abilities, whether you decide to attempt settlement negotiations or litigate your case.
Recoverable Damages after a Medford, OR Car Accident
Our car accident lawyers in Medford, OR, can help you recover damages after a car wreck. We will negotiate skillfully on your behalf to get you all the compensation you are due for your injuries and losses. If the settlement amount is not appropriate, we can take your case to trial. In a car accident case, the court orders compensatory damages – economic and non-economic damages – in an attempt to make you whole again. The court orders punitive damages to punish the defendant’s grossly negligent or intentional actions or inactions.
Special damages, sometimes called economic damages, have a monetary value and include:
- Past medical expenses for those incurred in the accident and before a settlement or a trial award.
- Future medical expenses for those incurred in the accident and after a settlement or a trial award. Past and future medical expenses also include costs for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and cognitive and other psychological therapies.
- Past lost wages for those you lost from the time of the accident until you settle or receive a trial award.
- Future lost wages for those you lost because of accident injuries or disabilities that continue after a settlement or a trial award.
- Replacement or repair of destroyed or damaged personal property, including personal property inside your vehicle that suffered damage, such as computers and clothing.
- Funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses.
General damages, sometimes referred to as non-economic damages, do not have a monetary value and include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Loss of quality of life if your injuries cause long-term or permanent disabilities that require medications, ambulatory aids, or other medical changes for the rest of your life.
- Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy family time, including family events and activities.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Loss of use of a body part such as a hand or a leg.
- Loss of use of a bodily function such as your bladder, bowels, or eyesight.
- Amputation of a limb or digit.
- Excessive scarring and/or disfigurement.
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do chores such as grocery shopping, home maintenance and repair, lawn maintenance, and house cleaning.
Punitive Damages in a Medford, OR, Car Accident Case
To collect punitive damages in Oregon, which is a punishment for the defendant, you must show that the defendant’s actions or inactions were grossly negligent or intentional. While asking for punitive damages increases the time you need to wait to obtain compensation after a car accident, sometimes it is worth the wait. This is especially if your doctors expect your injuries to cause long-term or permanent disabilities. While the court does not order this compensation to cover specific costs, nothing states that you cannot use it for medical expenses and other expenses related to the accident, including lost wages.
If you believe you should recover punitive damages, you should retain a car accident attorney in Medford. The process of proving gross negligence or intent is complicated and requires detailed knowledge of Oregon laws. Our team in Medford, OR, can skillfully argue why your case merits punitive damages and will ensure that you receive full compensation for all damages related to your car accident.
Recovering Future Damages Related to Your Car Accident
In some cases, people try to represent themselves in settlement negotiations. Once the insurance company gets you to settle, you can no longer go after the insurance company for additional medical expenses. In some cases, it might take two or more surgeries to repair injuries from a car accident. If you sign a settlement with the insurance company, you might not have enough money to cover the additional surgeries. This is why it is important to work with our car accident lawyers in Medford, OR, to help you with your case.
Our car accident attorneys have years of experience reviewing medical documents and helping people with similar injuries. We work with medical professionals to understand whether you might require additional medical care and what the associated costs may be. We also work with medical professionals to help determine whether you will require physical therapy, occupational therapy, or even cognitive and other psychological therapies because of car accident injuries.
If you are receiving therapy now, your therapist can give us a good idea of how long you will require these therapies, which helps us determine a fair and reasonable settlement amount. Additionally, if the type of injuries you suffered in the car wreck typically require physical and/or occupational therapy, we can also have medical professionals testify as to the average length of time people with the same types of injuries need to recover.
Determining future medical expenses is difficult, at best. If you try to settle a case on your own, you have a high risk of not getting the compensation you deserve, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact our experienced car accident attorneys in Medford for help to be sure you get all the compensation you deserve. Call our team at Strong Law today at 206-741-1053.
Proving Negligence in Your Medford Car Accident Case
When someone is not careful enough and causes a car accident, his or her actions or inactions could be deemed negligent. A negligent person that causes accidents has a legal duty to pay for the injured person’s damages. An example of negligence might include running a stop sign and causing an accident.
Gross negligence is when a person has a reckless disregard for the safety of others. Examples might include driving under the influence or speeding through a street with lots of pedestrians or bicyclists. Even driving while distracted, such as texting while driving, could be considered gross negligence.
Our car accident lawyers in Medford, OR, understand how to prove that another’s actions or inactions were negligent. Negligence has four elements:
- The defendant had a legal duty to others.
- The defendant breached his or her legal duty to others.
- The plaintiff – you – suffered an injury as a result of the defendant’s breach.
- The defendant’s breach caused you to suffer damages.
Communicating with Insurance Companies
Many people are tempted to either settle their cases themselves or to give the insurance company a statement. However, insurance companies are in business to make money. Every claim they pay out, regardless of how small, decreases their profits.
Insurance companies have several strategies they use to try to blame you for the accident so they can deny your claim – or offer a pittance that might not cover your medical expenses, never mind the rest of the damages that you deserve. They may twist what you tell them to make it appear you were at least partially at fault for the accident.
Your best option is to talk with our Medford car accident lawyer before you speak with the insurance company. We can handle the communications on your behalf and prevent issues that arise related to any statements you could make to them.
Another advantage of working with our team is that you are more likely to get a settlement offer that is appropriate. Insurance companies know we do not shy away from litigation. If they do not give you a settlement offer that compensates you fairly for your injuries and losses, we will take the insurer to court rather than take a lowball settlement. When an insurance company has to defend a case in court, their costs increase quickly, so it is in their interest to negotiate fairly and give you the compensation you deserve in a settlement offer.
Our skilled Medford car accident lawyers will negotiate strategically on your behalf to ensure you get the best settlement possible. Give our Strong Law team a call today at 206-741-1053 to talk about your case.
Common Questions Asked of our Medford Car Accident Attorneys
Do you have offices in other cities and states?
Yes. We have offices in Medford and Portland, OR, as well as Tacoma and Everett, WA, and Salt Lake City, UT.
How much will it cost for you to represent my interests?
The initial case evaluation is free. We work on a contingency basis, which means that you only pay attorneys’ fees if we win your case. We will discuss costs associated with your case during your initial case evaluation. We will also discuss the percentage we take for attorneys’ fees once we win.
Do I always have to go to court after a car accident?
No. If the at-fault driver’s insurance offers a fair and reasonable settlement, you will not see the inside of a courtroom. However, if the police ticketed you in the accident, you could be required to attend a traffic court hearing or pay a fine, depending on what the police report accuses you of doing. You should never admit fault because there is a range of causes that could have led to your accident. For example, vehicles can have manufacturing defects. They also have parts that were replaced by auto technicians, and those parts or the installation process could be what caused the wreck.
Do I have to report an accident to anyone other than the police?
Yes. You must report an Oregon accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 72 hours of the wreck.
What do I do if I believe the accident is my fault?
Never admit fault. Most laypersons do not know the intricacies of the law. While you might be partially at fault, the other driver could also share in the responsibility. Moreover, the other driver could actually be wholly at fault even if you think the fault was yours. Let our car accident attorneys in Medford identify who is at fault; by saying the wrong thing, you could cost yourself the compensation you deserve.
The other driver was not cited. Can I still file a claim?
Yes. The citation is but one piece of evidence showing fault in a vehicle accident. While it is a strong piece of direct evidence, the police do not always see everything. We will investigate an accident scene to look for other direct evidence and circumstantial evidence to help prove the other driver’s negligence.
The insurance company is pressuring me to sign a medical release and provide a statement. What do I do?
Insurance companies routinely put great pressure on car accident victims to sign statements and releases. If you sign these documents, you sign away your right to maximum compensation.
Most victims have no legal obligation to sign statements. But many do so anyway. Adjusters are trained to seem affable, like Jake from State Farm or Flo from Progressive. However, these carefully worded statements only protect the insurance company’s financial interests. They do not uphold your legal or financial rights in any way, shape, or form.
On a related note, never give an oral statement to an insurance company. Corporate lawyers can twist these statements into damaging admissions. Let your Medford car accident lawyer handle all interactions with an insurance company. It is illegal for adjusters to directly contact victims who have lawyers.
The same thing applies to medical releases. Usually, these releases only account for past medical expenses. Frequently, they do not even account for all expenses, which means the victim could be financially responsible for them. A Jackson County car accident lawyer ensures that a final settlement accounts for not only prior medical expenses but also future medical expenses.
As outlined above, this compensation also includes money for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
How do I pay medical bills until I get my settlement or win a trial award?
Medical bills for a broken bone, head injury, or another serious yet non-life-threatening injury case, usually exceed $50,000. Most Oregon families live hand to mouth. So, they can’t possibly pay these costs. Furthermore, group health insurance companies usually deny coverage, for liability reasons.
Our Medford car accident lawyers charge nothing upfront. So, car crash victims aren’t saddled with another bill they cannot pay. Additionally, our professional team connects victims with doctors and other accident-related providers who likewise charge nothing upfront. Therefore, when you partner with us, you typically do not pay anything upfront.
Additionally, a lawyer is a good negotiator as well as a good litigator. Therefore, we usually speak with doctors and other providers, so they’ll reduce their bills. Because of Oregon’s complex collateral source rule, that could mean that victims keep more of their settlement money.
On a related note, if funds are still a problem, our Medford car accident lawyers may be able to connect victims with lawsuit loan/cash advance providers. These arrangements have some significant pros and cons, so always talk to your lawyer before you make any such arrangements.
When should I make initial contact with car accident lawyers in Medford, OR?
The sooner the better. Generally, insurance companies immediately hire lawyers and other legal professionals to protect their interests. These lawyers search for legal loopholes they can use in court to reduce or deny compensation.
Most of us know how difficult it is to come from behind in a football, baseball, or other sports game. The same thing applies in this realm. The biggest difference is that maximum compensation in a car crash case is no game.
So, as soon as you reach out to our Medford car accident lawyers, we hit the ground running. To build the strongest possible case, we diligently collect evidence that supports your claims and refutes insurance company defenses. We also thoroughly research the ever-changing law, to give you an edge when your case goes to court.
We use this same approach in every personal injury claim we handle, up to and including wrongful death claims.
What do I do if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover all of my damages?
We get this question a lot. Oregon has one of the lowest auto insurance minimum coverage requirements in the country.
Many victims have UM/UIM (uninsured and underinsured motorist) riders. Generally, the coverage amounts are high, and the premiums are low. If Bill hits Ted, Ted’s damages are $100,000, and Bill only has a $50,000 insurance policy, Ted’s UM/UIM policy often covers the extra $50k.
Other victims have other alternatives, mostly vicarious liability theories. Respondent superior employer liability is one of the most common ones. Employers are financially responsible for damages if their employees are negligent during the course and scope of their employment. Also, defective products, mostly bad tires, cause many car crashes in Oregon. Generally, manufacturers are strictly liable for the injuries their defective products cause.
Causes of Car Accidents in Oregon
While you try to avoid car accidents, sometimes it is just not possible. Some drivers are distracted, some may have medical emergencies, and others drive aggressively and recklessly when upset or simply do not pay attention.
It is important to understand how the cause of your Medford, OR, car accident may mean you have a valid claim to receive compensation for injuries in your accident. Talk to our attorneys to find out how the causes of your accident could impact the amount of a settlement or lawsuit.
Causes of Oregon car accidents include:
- Excessive speeding. Whether a driver is just speeding because he or she is in a hurry or because they’re running from the police, excessive speeding usually causes wrecks. The speeding driver does not have as much time to make decisions. Also, the states’ departments of transportation put up speed limit signs for a reason – these signs tell you the safe speed for that road when conditions are excellent.
- Reckless and aggressive driving. Reckless driving is when someone constantly changes lanes in an attempt to get out of traffic or drives in a breakdown lane. Aggressive driving is when a driver speeds excessively, tailgates, or cuts in and out of traffic leaving so little room that the driver he or she cut off has to slam on the brakes.
- Tailgating. If a driver drives too close to the vehicle in front of him, he risks crashing into that vehicle should it have to stop suddenly.
- Medical emergencies. When a person has a medical emergency, they could lose control of the vehicle, whether they are awake or passed out. If the driver inadvertently pulls on the steering wheel or presses harder on the accelerator, the actions are instant, and it is hard to get out of the way, especially in traffic.
- Driving under the influence of legal and illegal prescription drugs, alcohol, drugs, and other illicit substances. Additional criminal penalties and punitive damages could apply if a driver has a blood alcohol level of over 0.08.
- Driving while distracted. Even looking at the kids in the rear seat or glancing down at the radio to change the station is distracted driving. Any time you take your eyes off the road to look at something else, you could be ticketed for distracted driving if you cause a wreck. If a driver was found texting while driving, he or she could face additional civil penalties. Depending on the state’s laws regarding texting while driving, the driver could also face additional criminal penalties.
- Vehicle defects. Always check for recalls on your vehicle, even when it is brand new. Sometimes a recall takes several years to come out. In some cases, you will have no warning that something might fail – that’s why it is always a good idea to check for recalls.
- Aftermarket part defects. Just as a vehicle might be defective from the manufacturer, aftermarket parts could be defective. The auto technician won’t always see a defective part. For example, if a brake pad looks fine on the front and back, but the bond between the pad and the backing plate is defective, the auto technician will not see that since it is hidden.
- Improperly installed parts. In some cases, the part is fine, but the auto technician does not install it correctly. In that case, you could have a claim against the technician.
- Snow, rain, ice, and even the sun shining in a person’s eyes. Sometimes when people wreck because of the weather, they are doing everything correctly. However, others drive too fast for the conditions. It can be difficult to avoid a wreck caused by the weather, especially if snow or ice caused the crash. The person that slid into you – or the person that caused another person to slide into you — could be responsible for your injuries.
- Poorly maintained roads. If a poorly maintained road caused an accident, you might recover from the municipality responsible for maintaining the roads.
- Poorly maintained vehicles. The owner of the vehicle could face a goodly amount of compensation just for not keeping his or her vehicle maintained.
Our Medford, OR, car accident attorneys have experience fighting for clients whose accidents were caused by negligent actions of others, whether they were drivers, manufacturers, or trucking companies. Call us today at 206-741-1053 to find out whom we can hold responsible for your injuries.
Injuries You Could Suffer From Because of a Car Accident
Car accident injuries vary widely and depend on several factors, including the size and weight of the vehicles involved, how a vehicle hits you, and how fast the vehicle hits you. A hit at 5 miles per hour might push you a short distance, but an impact at 50 miles per hour could push you many feet. All of these things affect the severity of personal injuries and damage to your vehicle that can happen in an accident.
Your injuries also depend on whether you are wearing a seatbelt, have loose items in your vehicle, and whether your vehicle flips over. Car accident injuries could include:
- Face and eye injuries
- Simple and compound fractures
- Sprains and strains
- Torn muscles, pulled muscles, and other soft tissue injuries
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Crushed bones
- Amputation of a digit or limb.
“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!!”