Q: What if I cant afford an attorney?
A: All personal injury cases within our firm are based on a contingency basis. Meaning our firm covers all expenses of the case, and then when the case is resolved, we receive our expenses back as well as a percentage of the amount recovered. If we are unsuccessful, then you do not owe us anything.
Q: What if the other person was uninsured?
A: If the other person was uninsured, then your car insurance under-insured/uninsured motorist (UIM) policy will take effect and will cover the cost of your injury. This is a complicated process and I strongly urge you to retain an attorney to walk you through the process.
Q: What types of insurance should I have on my own vehicle?
A: The highest amount of bodily injury coverage you can afford is what I tell my clients. Having high limits will insure that you will be covered in the event that you are severally injured by a minimally insured or uninsured driver. Your insurance will cover the difference. It is extremely important to know your policy limits and how they work. If you have policy limits of $50,000/$100,000 (individual/accident) and are injured by a uninsured motorist, the maximum amount you will receive from insurance is $50,000.00. If you and your family were severally injured by an uninsured motorist, then the combined family would only receive $300,000 maximum. This is a complicated area of the law and I highly recommend that you seek counsel to walk you through the process.
Q: Can I handle my own personal injury case?
A: Yes, but you risk conveying information that will negatively impact your case to the insurance adjuster as they are trained in ways to devalue your case and will record everything you say to them. They are interested in settling your case as quickly and cheaply as possible, not in developing your case. If you want to maximize your recovery, the only way is to hire experienced counsel.
Q: When should I hire an attorney?
A: As soon after the accident as you can. I do not recommend trying to deal with the insurance companies on your own. Our office (or that of another attorney) will assist you with developing your case as quickly as we can. This not only relieves the burden of having to deal with the adjusters, but it also preserves all aspects of your case and allows our office to fully investigate the accident as soon as possible. This includes taking pictures of the vehicle, hiring an accident reconstructionist, if necessary and talking to all witnesses.
Q: What is Personal Injury Protection?
A: Oregon law requires that all automobile insurance policies have what is called “Personal Injury Protection”. This is a no fault insurance that will pay for all reasonably necessary treatment from the accident to policy limits. Most vehicles have minimum limits of $15,000 or within one year of the accident. Some policies have greater limits. This is offered through your insurance policy. Once PIP limits have been exhausted, then your health insurance will cover the excess charges. If you do not have health insurance, then you will have to pay out of pocket for the costs incurred.