Personal Injury Lawyer Portland – FAST, PERSONAL ATTENTION
Most people do not know how to protect their rights and get fair compensation for their auto accident, truck accident, wrongful death or malpractice claim. As an experienced Portland, Oregon Personal Injury Lawyer, I help folks through their claim and the legal system, personally ensuring that we get the best result as quickly as possible.
~ Jon Friedman, Attorney at Law
The Law Offices of Jon Friedman in Portland opened in September 1984. Since then, we have represented thousands of people in obtaining fair resolutions of their claims against wrongdoers and insurance companies.
Focused on Personal Injury, Auto Accidents, Wrongful Death Lawsuits and Professional Malpractice, we pride ourselves on helping people who have been victimized by an accident or incident in getting a fast and fair result. Most people have never had to bring a claim and can be easily misled by an insurance company. Our comfortable family environment makes the legal process simpler and less stressful.
Our goal with each case is to provide fast and personal attention to assist you from the first meeting through the end of your claim. We ensure that you understand where you stand from the start of the case, and keep you informed throughout the processing of the claim.
Not many people have had to deal with a personal injury case. This makes them an easy target for the experienced insurance companies, their adjusters and their attorneys, who are trained to finesse details to avoid liability. For over 28 years, we have helped thousands of victims obtain a fast and fair settlement against wrongdoers and insurance companies. We help make the legal process seem less intimidating and more understandable. Throughout the entire case, you will know exactly where you stand so you can keep your focus on recovering.
What is a Personal Injury?
“Personal injury” law covers a broad spectrum of cases. This could include an injury caused by a car or truck accident, a physician or a lawyer’s negligence or an injury due to unsafe property conditions (known as premises liability case-which are called slip and fall cases by the insurance companies in an attempt to put the blame on the victim). In any viable personal injury case, the victim must prove liability. The main areas of personal injury law we focus on include:
For more information on personal injury claims, click on the links above or check out our FAQs.
Do You Have a Injury/Accident Case?
The first thing you need to know is whether or not you have a case. To determine this, you will need to establish three things:
Negligence - You will have to prove that the person responsible for your injury was negligent. Negligence is defined as someone doing something no reasonable person would do or failing to do what a reasonable person would do. This may mean that the other party acted negligently, carelessly or recklessly so as to cause a jury to conclude that it was the other party’s fault.
Causation - You must prove that this negligence directly caused your injury. You are only entitled to damages if you can prove negligence and causation. Causation includes any new injury caused by the event or an aggravation of a pre-existing condition. Both are compensable under Oregon law.
Damages - In Portland, Oregon, “economic damages” consist of past, present and future medical bills and wage loss. “Non-economic” damages refer to past, present and future pain and suffering as well as interference with your ability to lead your normal day to day life including but not limited to the loss of abilities that you had prior to the accident. This could include inability to participate in your favorite sports, failing to work at the same pace you did before the incident with regard to your everyday activities or even bending over to pick up the newspaper. The bottom line meaning of noneconomic damages is that you are legally entitled to recover for every way an incident adversely impacts your life.
When a personal injury case is started, we instruct the insurance companies to direct any dialogue to us. In the appropriate case, we will hire a private investigator to help put the facts together so we can get a complete understanding of your case. The facts we are able to develop through our investigation could result in a quick and fair settlement of your claim without the need of filing a lawsuit.
Helping You Recover From Your Portland Injury
At The Law Office of Jon Friedman, we offer free legal advice and initial consultations to discuss the details of your claim. We offer personal attention to each case. We have the experience to get you a fast and fair settlement. We have built a solid reputation in the state of Oregon helping thousands of clients obtain fair resolutions for their personal injury claims.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact us for a free, no obligation meeting over the phone or in person at our Portland office .
We are readily available by phone or email should any questions or concerns arise during the course of your case. Feel free to contact us with any question or to receive free legal advice.
It is surprising how many people fail to understand that they have a legal right to make a personal injury claim against the person or persons who have caused them some sort of harm, whether this is in an automobile accident or due to wrongful diagnosis in a hospital.
This failure to contact an experienced personal injury attorney at the earliest opportunity allows the guilty party and their insurance companies to offer the minimum amount of redress in the hope that this will resolve what could be an expensive exercise on their part.
If you have had an accident of any type or have experienced professional malpractice or negligence which has affected you adversely in any way you should contact one of our personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Jon Friedman to arrange a free and frank initial discussion of your situation.
If you or a loved one is in need of a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney in the Portland area, please contact the Law Offices of Jon Friedman now at 503-242-1440 for your free, confidential assessment.
Q & A With Jon Friedman
Jon Friedman: I’ve been here in this very suite since September 14, 1984 practicing law. It’ll be thirty years this year.
Christina Penza: What kind of cases do you handle?
Jon Friedman: I primarily focus on car crashes – and professional negligence, which means that either a lawyer or a physician has made an error in treating their patient or client.
Christina Penza: When does a case become personal injury?
Jon Friedman: Every case is dependent on a variety of variables. First, you must prove liability, which means that the other person was the one who is responsible for the accident having happened. You’ve got to prove that the accident resulted in injury, and that the accident caused those injuries. And then, one has to determine what the damages are associated with those injuries. You need liability, causation, and damages to have a viable lawsuit.
If you get creamed and your car is totaled, but you walk away without a scratch, you have a property damage claim for the fair market value of the car that has just been destroyed. You don’t have a personal injury claim because you sustained no personal injury.
In terms of when does a lawyer get involved, that depends on your facts. After you get into a car wreck, you may go to an emergency room and see a doctor for one or two visits and be back to 100 percent inside 30 days. In that instance, I can guide you through the process and give you some direction. I will give you that over the telephone as a courtesy. It is not a case that warrants a lawyer getting involved. It is something that should be resolved with the injured person simply communicating with the bad drivers’ insurance carrier, and I can tell you what to say.
The more involved the injury, the more involved the treatment, which is one way of showing how significant the injury is. A whole bunch of doctor appointments, physical therapy appointments, X-rays, support a more significant injury. The more involved the case becomes, the more likely you need a lawyer to help you with your case.
Christina Penza: How injured does a person have to be to have a claim?
Jon Friedman: It’s, in part, a question of how much treatment one requires. If somebody resolves without any treatment, even though they honestly report hurting for a week or two, the claim is worth very little because the person has sustained very little injury. The scale can go from what I just described to all kinds of horrific things. So, when does it make sense for a lawyer to get involved? If you’re treating for several months and you’re not seeing any resolution of your injuries or if you know early on, “Oh, dear I’m going to have a long-term road of recovery and I have a lot of doctor appointments, a lot of interactions with medical providers,” then likely the claim is big enough to get a lawyer involved to assist you.
Christina Penza: How important is it for someone in an accident to get medical attention?
Jon Friedman: A lot of people find themselves involved in a motor vehicle accident through no fault of their own. A lot of people, because we as a society promote the notion when asked “How are you doing?” you say, “I’m fine.” Sometimes, folks get themselves in trouble for saying that. Sometimes, they get hurt and they feel like, “Well my neck and back is killing me, but it will go away in a day or two or maybe it will go away if I give it a little more time,” and sometimes people go four, six or eight weeks before they seek medical attention. That becomes a problem. That gives the insurance defense lawyer the argument, “Gee, buddy! If you hurt so bad why didn’t you go see a doctor?” and your answer is a legitimate one which is, “I was hopeful that I wasn’t very seriously injured and so I thought with the passage of time things would get better. Things didn’t get better, so I saw a doctor.”
That’s part of the reason it’s good to talk to a lawyer early on, even if the lawyer doesn’t formally come on to represent you. The idea is that a lawyer can at least say, “Look, you need to get yourself checked out.” You need to talk to a doctor and you need to fully and honestly report everything that’s bothering you. Again, it goes back to this notion that a doctor walks in the examination room says, “Hey, how you doing?” And you go, “Hey, I’m doing good.” Instead, you need to report honestly and accurately everything that has been effected by this wreck from head to toe, and you don’t want to exaggerate or maximize or turn this into something that it’s not. You speak in proportion and you report what’s hurting, and then how it hurts and how that limits you, but you make sure that you cover everything because if it’s not in the doctor’s chart note, it’s going to give the insurance defense folks something to hang their hat on.
Christina Penza: What criteria does an attorney use to determine if a client has a case?
Jon Friedman: There are three issues in every personal injury claim. The first is was somebody negligent. And negligence is just a legal way of saying, “Did somebody do something they shouldn’t have done, that no reasonable person would have done, or failed to do something any reasonable person would have done?” If you have negligence, then the question becomes did that negligence, did that bad act cause injury? That is “causation”. If your answer to that is yes, then the question is: “What are the injuries?”
You need negligence, causation and injuries, and in terms of saying, “Yeah, let’s collaborate and be a partnership and I’ll come work with you,” all three issues drive a decision as to whether or not you hire a lawyer. If you have fantastic liability, clear causation, but virtually no injury, I’m happy to walk you through the process on the telephone and tell you what works, what will have the greatest impact on an insurance adjuster.
If, however, you have the injuries that are substantial, then it is likely that you’re going to need help. You’re going to need help because insurance carriers are not in the business of paying out fair compensation. They are in the business of maximizing profit, which is not evil, and it’s what capitalism is about. Insurance companies are looking to cost effectively resolve the claim and close the file as cheaply as possible.
Some insurance carriers are known to try and attempt to resolve a claim within a week of a wreck, where it’s clear that their insured was at fault. If the other driver is clearly the one at fault, you might get a call inside three, four, or five days saying “We’ll pay for all your medical bills and we’ll pay you $5,000.” That’s probably a little high in today’s market. Maybe they’ll say $1,500 or $2,000. And they’ll say, “We’ll also pay for your medical bills up to $15,000 incurred within one year of the wreck.”
A lot of people rightfully think a couple of thousand dollars is a lot of money, and so some accept the offer. What they’ve done in accepting $1,500 or $2,000 offer is guaranteed that’s the most money they will ever see out of it, even though they may discover a week or two after they signed the release that they have a far more serious problem than they knew about at the time they signed the release. When that happens, people can be in a lot of trouble because typically a release is going to be upheld by a court unless you can show it was signed under duress.
So, a lawyer considers negligence, causation, and what injury was caused by the wreck. You need to consider all three issues to determine the value of a claim and whether to hire a lawyer.