Car Crash Overview – Attorney, Jonathan M. Friedman
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident in the Portland area, contact an experienced attorney. Get the personal attention you need for your recovery and a fast and fair resolution to your cl…
In Portland, Oregon we are no strangers to the rainy Northwest weather and the effects it can have on our roadways and environments. Even the most seasoned automobile drivers find themselves in unfortunate situations. Car accidents can be serious and traumatic events, and can have a lasting impact on your life. As an experienced auto accident law firm, we try to minimize the long term impact of an auto accident by offering you the understanding and know-how to protect your future.
Same thing if you don’t seek regular and consistent medical attention. So by that, I mean if you go and see your doctor, they set you up with a physical therapist, you do a couple of sessions of that, and then you completely cease interacting with all medical providers for two months, the same argument is given to the insurance carrier, which is: “What’s the deal? You went months without seeing anybody, and then you started to go back. We have a hard time believing that your complaints were caused by this wreck.” So getting the medical attention you need and doing it on a consistent basis and, in my view, through a doctor with whom you’ve already got a relationship, who knows what kind of medical condition you had before the wreck, is the preferable way to go about treating these things.DO YOU NEED TO HIRE A LAWYERIn the event you come to me and you’ve already had medical treatment that’s consisted of your doctor or whatever, but you’ve been interacting frequently with medical Providers for a couple months, sometimes less, depending on what you already know about your future, at that point, it becomes a balancing test as to whether it’s appropriate for you to hire a lawyer or not.
Our Attorney’s Approach
After the initial meeting our attorney will advise all parties and insurance companies to no longer have any direct contact with you. All contacts will have to come through our law firm. We will – when appropriate – conduct an investigation and order all medical records, police reports, property damage documents and photos.
Dealing with Accident Injuries in Portland
Auto Accident Legal Process – Jonathan Friedman
If you were in a car wreck, contact the lawyer as soon as possible. If the accident was caused by another person’s negligence, I can help guide you through the legal process so you can focus on recove…
Any car accident injury must be properly diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Injuries may not become visible or even painful for days or weeks following an auto accident. If you are not correctly diagnosed, it will be difficult if not impossible to get you fair compensation for your injuries.
So people will ask: If I hire you, how does this process work? Initially, what I’m going to do is send out a letter of representation to your insurance company, your own car insurance company, and the bad driver’s insurance company. Those letters will say pretty much the same thing. I represent you. No more contacts at all to you. So the moment I formally represent you and get those letters out, they can no longer legally contact you.I’m also going to gather your medical records and your medical bills. Depending on the nature of the accident, I may hire a private investigator to go out and lock down who was at fault. It depends. If it’s a situation where it’s a clear rear ender and you’ve got a whole bunch of witnesses, there’s no point in spending money unnecessarily, but if it’s a close call, you want to insure that liability is tended to.Once liability is established, then the lawyer is in the back seat really, and the medical professional(s) and you need to work through to get you as well as you’re ever going to be. So for a time, while you are treating for your injuries, there’s not a lot for the lawyer to do. What the lawyer is waiting for is for the doctor to say you’re medically stationary which simply means you’re as good as you’re ever going to get. And at that point, you’re back to where you were before the wreck or you’re as good as you’re going to get, and I know what future problems you’ll have. Then and only then, can I assess the value of your claim, because that’s when I know the full extent of your injury.
So once that happens, more often than not, I’ll send out a demand letter, and we’ll talk before that demand letter goes out, and I’ll tell you how I value the case, what the range of value is on the case. I’ll tell you what I recommend we demand to resolve the case. You have to give me authority to send that out or it won’t go out. It’s a collaborative process. I’ll give you my 30 years of experience in assessing why I think the case is worth what it’s worth, and ultimately,
we’ll get a demand letter out.
And more often than not the case will settle at that time. If it doesn’t, then we’ll file a lawsuit. If we end up filing a lawsuit, typically your involvement will be limited to a deposition, which is simply a sworn statement under oath, typically in my conference room.
The defense lawyer hired by the insurance company for the bad driver will simply ask you questions under oath. That’s what a deposition is. The lawyers will also exchange paper, requests for production, medical records, medical bills.
And then most cases settle before a trial. A few go all the way to a trial. One has to prepare for every case as though it’s going to go to trial even though more than 95 percent of them resolve without a trial.
Our Experienced Lawyer Can Maximize Results
Car Accident Attorney Portland | Do I Need a Lawyer?
Jonathan Friedman provides the best legal representation in Portland, OR. Call to find out why you need an attorney to handle your case and help you move on with your life after your car accident (503…
Rest assured that our Portland auto accident lawyer will pursue all the evidence to seek a fair and full recovery. The heart of our success lies in our auto accident experience. We have developed a pattern and practice of litigation to maximize the likelihood of your getting fast, fair and complete compensation for your injuries.
Automobile accidents do not happen without reason. Somebody is normally responsible for accidents out on the highway. It may be because they are affected by over confidence, exhaustion, illness, drugs or alcohol. Whatever the reason for bad driving, it can unfortunately mean that innocent people are maimed or killed when an accident occurs.If you have been involved in an auto accident which was due to somebody else’s bad driving or sheer negligence, then you should contact the Law Offices of Jon Friedman here in Portland, OR to make a claim for damages against the person at fault.
A reasonable question for any prospective client to ask is do I even need a lawyer, and the considerations that go into that are: How seriously were you injured? Are you needing regular medical attention? If you’ve treated a few times but you’re all better inside a few weeks of a car crash, you probably don’t need a lawyer. And you’re welcome to call me, and I’ll give you some free advice, and I’ll tell you what words you should use to maximize the recovery the insurance carrier will give you if they perceive that you know what’s going on.If your case is more involved, more medically involved, then oftentimes you ought to be seeing a lawyer. You should be calling a lawyer as soon as possible after a wreck. The worst thing that will happen is you’ll get some free advice and get an understanding of what it is that you have to do, and who you are responsible to talk to.WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE IN A CAR ACCIDENT
You have absolutely no obligation and I discourage people from talking to the at-fault insurance carrier, because they have nothing to offer you. In fact, all they’re doing is trying to take your statement to undermine your claim and suggest that you’re the one who is at fault in having caused the wreck.
Instead, under Oregon law, your own car insurer is the one who is responsible for your medical bills and wage loss in the first year after a wreck. So under Oregon law, your own car insurer will pay up to $15,000 in medical bills necessarily caused by the wreck.
Also if you miss more than 14 consecutive work days, they’ll pay your wage loss up to 3,000 a month or 70 percent of what you otherwise would have made, whichever is less.
So a lot of folks think well, I got rear ended. I don’t want to talk to my car insurer. It might effect my rates. It won’t, but they have that concern. And then they talk to the carrier who is responsible, who insures the bad driver, and they give them statements, they give them medical releases, without realizing that the insurer for the bad driver isn’t going to do anything for them until it comes time to fully resolve the claim. So all you’re doing is helping the carrier for the bad driver pay as little as possible down the road. That insurance company might seek medical records which have nothing to do with your injuries from this wreck.
So one needs to be careful, and one really ought to seek legal advice. I’ve been doing this every day for 30 years now. A lot of people have never been involved in a car wreck, so if nothing else, you can pick my brain and get a free steer as to where you’re going and what the steps are in the process to insure that you protect yourself.
If it’s appropriate for you to come in and visit, we’ll do that. There’s no cost associated with doing that. If not, I’ll tell you what it is you should do, and I’ll suggest you give me a call back. In certain instances, it’s apparent that the accident is of such severity and the injuries are so bad that you clearly need a lawyer. And in that situation, I’ll tell you that, and we’ll meet. And if we get along and like one another, I’ll sign you up, and I’ll go to work for you.
Auto accidents are taken very seriously
Our personal injury attorneys take auto accidents very seriously and will pursue a just case for damages aggressively on behalf of any of our clients who have been injured through no fault of their own.
Car accidents can have tragic consequences, which can affect the injured person and their loved ones for the rest of their lives. Even minor accidents can cause psychological trauma and loss of confidence in driving, let alone the actual physical injuries.
All accidents can be a financial burden on the victim. Immediate medical costs and the loss of income as a result of time off work or being unable to run one’s business effectively are the initial expenses. The cost of additional infrastructure or equipment that might be necessary on a long term recovery basis and future, unknown medical costs – these will all cost money and need to be part of an adequate compensation package.
A legal right to seek damages for Your Portland Car Accident
Car Crash Lawyer Portland | Do I Have a Case?
If you were injured in an accident, contact a lawyer to find out if you are entitled compensation for your pain and suffering. Find out more about how an attorney can help you with your case (503) 242…
Accident victims are entitled to claim damages from the person responsible for their accident as long as that person can be positively identified as at fault. Our Portland auto accident attorneys have had years of experience assessing and pursuing automobile accident cases and will not leave a stone unturned to help win a just claim for damages on behalf of our clients.
A lot of people wonder what are the elements of a claim, and in any kind of a car accident, you have to prove three things: Negligence, which means simply that the bad driver did something no reasonable driver would have done or failed to do something any reasonable driver would have done; then you must prove that that negligence, that act of bad driving by the bad driver caused injuries; and then the question becomes what are your damages. So you need three things: negligence, the negligence caused injury, and then what are those injuries and what are the injuries worth, your damages.DAMAGESDamages in Oregon are comprised of two Things: Economic damages means past, present and future medical bills and wage loss; non-economic damages means past, present and future pain and suffering, and what I think is a more important element to the claim and is part of the jury instruction on this issue, which is past, present and future interference with your ability to lead your normal, daily life. So anything you used to be able to do that you cannot do anymore or anything you used to do that you have to do in a different way, that’s compensable.
And to the extent you sustain a left shoulder injury or a left neck injury, which means for the rest of your life every time you’re driving, when you look over your left shoulder to look for traffic, that causes problems, that could be a portion of the non-economic damage of your claim.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, your first priority should be to receive adequate medical care. In fact, having a complete medical dossier on your injuries and the treatment that you have had or intend to have to make a full recovery will become a vital component in presenting a successful case against the person who caused the accident.
When you feel you are able to do so, make an appointment with one of our attorneys here in Portland to discuss your situation. We provide a free initial consultation and we will be able to give you a confidential assessment of your chances of making a successful claim.
Any evidence which you are able to provide at the time of the appointment or information which will allow us to research the circumstances of your accident would be valuable. Usually, the sooner a claim is made after an accident the more likely it will be successful. Witnesses can be contacted more easily, memories are fresher and physical evidence such as automobile wreckage and road signs can be used to help make a sound case in your favor.
If you or a loved one is in need of a skilled and experienced car accident attorney in the Portland area, don’t hesitate in contacting the Law Offices of Jon Friedman now at (503) 242-1440 for your free, confidential assessment.
Q & A With Jon Friedman
Christina Penza: What is the next step after establishing grounds for a case?
Jon Friedman: Once I am retained to help somebody out on the claim, I send out letters of representation to both my client’s insurance carrier and the bad driver’s insurance carrier stating I represent my client, and all contacts with regard to this matter now come through me.
I’m going to help to insure that my client is doing the appropriate thing, which basically means going to see your doctor and doing what your doctor tells you to do. Some folks are really reticent to seek the medical care they need and that slows their healing and the legal process.
We sometimes do an investigation. It depends on the case. I’ve got a private investigator I work with on a regular basis, so if liability is going to be contested, I gather all the witnesses’ and people’s statements. If they are saying that my client caused the wreck or is more than 50% at fault in causing the wreck, I need to fix that, and I want to do that as quickly as possible, which is another reason why somebody involved in a wreck should call a lawyer sooner rather than later. The idea is that I have my investigator talk to the witnesses while it is still fresh in their minds. If liability is taken care of, we can solely concern ourselves in getting you well.
Thereafter, I gather medical records and I keep in contact with my client. I like to have my clients check in with me every few weeks just to let me know what’s going on. I get to know my clients better, I get to understand what impact this had on their lives, and that’s useful to me because ultimately the client gets better or they get as good as they’re going to get, and when that time comes, we know the range of value of the case. It’s impossible to say what a case is worth until the client fully recovers, or is determined to be as good as they will get and we can know what problems they will face in the future.
So, once all better or medically stationary, I typically send out a demand letter and many times we can resolve claims without having to file a lawsuit. If we are unable to settle it, I file a lawsuit to preserve the claim.
Christina Penza: What are the different types of damages?
Jon Friedman: In Oregon, there are two kinds of damages. There are economic damages, which consist of your past, present and future medical bills and wage loss. If it’s a future wage loss, it’s called an impairment of future earning capacity, but simply means you’re going to lose income in the future because your injuries have impaired your ability to work in the future. In other words, in the future you’re going to have a problem making the same money you made before the accident.
The other component of damage is non-economic damages, which basically means past, present and future, pain and suffering, but as importantly, interference with your ability to lead your day-to-day life. Basically, every which way the accident has impacted you in leading a normal life is compensable, and ultimately it’s the jury who decides what a fair value is for the harms that have been caused you.
Christina Penza: Why do people need a lawyer?
Jon Friedman: I think the real reason, now that I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years, that people need a lawyer is because there are a lot of nuances that folks who have never been involved in a car wreck simply don’t know. People sometimes try to make it sound better than it is. Sometimes, people will say to their physical therapist, “I feel great today,” because they want to be upbeat and not feel like they are whining or complaining. In doing so, when it’s not true, they actually harm their legal claim. People need to be completely honest with medical providers, but many sugar coat things and it is not helpful. For example, a lot of times people won’t seek the medical attention that is appropriate. Also, people don’t have a good sense of value in a claim. They’ve never done this before. They don’t know what to do at each step of the proceeding to insure they get the best recovery.
A lawyer is going to seek fair compensation to adequately compensate the person for the harms he/she suffers as a consequence of somebody else’s negligence.
Christina Penza: What will a lawyer do for you?
Jon Friedman: What I do as a lawyer is interact with the insurance companies to insure that my client has nothing to do but work on getting well. I’m going to take care of all of the bills. I’m going to take care of the personal injury protection benefits. I’m going to do an investigation to insure that liability is clarified and locked down as quickly as possible. I’m going to check in on a regular basis with my client to insure that they’re doing what they ought to be doing, getting proper medical attention, not trying to push themselves too hard or too fast, but doing what they should be doing.
People still have to make a living, even though they get involved in a car wreck. There are life’s events we still have to deal with and we do the best we can in guiding our clients through the system based on 30 years of having done this every day. We counteract the expertise of an insurance carrier to get you fair compensation for your injury.
Christina Penza: What should a person do if they are in a motor vehicle accident?
Jon Friedman: If you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should exchange information. Get the other person’s driver license, copy down all of the information on it, get the license plate number, on the car that the other side is driving, the make and the model, note where the accident happened. If you have any witnesses, get their names, get their telephone numbers, and get their addresses. Get as much information as possible. In Portland, police are not going to respond to a 911 call unless there is a really serious injury, generally necessitating an ambulance ride and sometimes, even getting an ambulance ride to check out a neck or back will still not get the police to show up. It’s up to you to get every bit of information you can get about the other person while you are at the scene. It can often be recreated later, but the more information on the person who hit you, the better.
Christina Penza: When should a person who has been injured in an auto accident consult an attorney?
Jon Friedman: My preference would be that they contact the lawyer as soon as possible. I think if they have an injury the best thing to do is to go see their doctor. I think they should go see a medical doctor and they should go see their primary care physician with whom they have got a long established history. I recommend that people see their own medical doctors. Then, if I’m fortunate enough to get a call a few days into it, I should have enough information to tell you if you even need a lawyer or whether we should meet.
If we meet, my private investigator can go and get taped witness statements. I do not take witness statements myself because if I get a witness who tells me something happened and then we end up in a trial and that witness says something different happened, I become a witness and my client has lost a lawyer and gained me as a witness.
We’re going to keep the insurance carriers at bay and in line in terms of personal injury protection benefits. I keep the bad driver’s insurance carrier away completely. I tell them we have nothing to talk about, diary it for 60 or 90 days and give me a call then. In the interim, the client continues to treat and focus on getting better.
Clients sometimes get pretty upset by having to talk to insurance carriers. It’s a distraction and it’s a worry because they don’t really know what is going on and they’re trying their best in an uncertain world where all of the cards are stacked against them. The insurance carriers have been doing it forever and they have lawyers and they’ve got managers who are running the show. The client has a serious disadvantage if that person hasn’t at least spoken to a lawyer.
Christina Penza: Is it okay to be tape recorded by an insurance company?
Jon Friedman: Once I’m involved, the carrier cannot even contact the client. If somebody has not got a lawyer, you bet that the bad driver’s insurance carrier is going to call and ask to get a recorded statement. I discourage that. In fact, I would never allow my client to do that. Once I get involved it’s very rare where I would allow my client to give a statement. Typically, I will offer, if the carrier, in writing, waives the right to take any kind of statement thereafter to make my client available to give a statement. That always ends the dialogue.
Christina Penza: Isn’t my insurance provider on my side?
Jon Friedman: As a general proposition, the insurance carrier, regardless of whether it’s your own, or whether it’s the bad driver’s insurance carrier, their primary interest is their own bottom line.
Christina Penza: What should you do when contacted by an insurance provider after an accident?
Jon Friedman: If you get into a car wreck, you have a contractual responsibility to contact your own insurance company and report it. In Oregon you have what’s called personal injury protection, also known as PIP, and that pays for up to $15,000 in medical coverage necessarily caused by the accident so long as it is incurred within one year of the wreck. Moreover, personal injury protection benefits give wage loss of up to $3000 a month or 70%, whichever is less for up to one year.
So, when your own company calls, you certainly should talk to them because you have contractual responsibilities if you want your personal injury protection benefits. As to the bad driver’s insurance company, I advise people not to speak to them at all.
The bad driver’s carrier, has no responsibility to do anything for you until it’s time to totally resolve the case. It’s not time to totally resolve the case until one of two things happens. One, you are all better. You are back to where you were the day before the wreck. Or, you’ve gone through all of your medical treatment and your doctor says you’re medically stationary, which basically means you’re as good as you’re going to get, and is prepared to tell me what permanent residuals you’re going to experience in terms of future pain, future limitations and your ability to do your daily living activities.
When one of these two events occurs, then and only then can you assess the full extent of damages. Until then, an insurance carrier is going to try and push you to try and settle a case without any clue of the real value of the case. Nobody has got a crystal ball as to whether the injuries you sustained are permanent or not. The insurance carriers call us to get you to settle as quickly as possible because once you’ve settled it doesn’t matter to them what you later learn about the state of your health.
Christina Penza: Should I contact an attorney if contacted by an insurance provider?
Jon Friedman: I think it’s always a good idea to talk to an attorney. I talk to anybody who calls and I’m happy to give free advice. Typically, what they need is some guidance and a steer as to what they should do. The primary goal is getting well. So you want to focus on getting the medical attention they need to insure they get well as quickly as possible. The legal side of this is the tail end of the dog, but sometimes you need both a doctor and a lawyer to be trying to help you at the same time.