What is Personal Injury Law?
“Personal Injury” law is the umbrella name for a wide variety of cases. Typical personal injury cases include cases where people get hurt in a car crash caused by another person, or are injured by the negligence of a doctor. Wrongful death is another type of personal injury case.
These are just some examples of “personal injury” cases-there are many others-but all personal injury cases share 3 basic requirements: 1) a person or company acted negligently (they did something no reasonable person would do or failed to do something any reasonable person would do); 2) the negligence CAUSED an injury; and 3) the injured person has damages.
Personal Injury Questions
There are common questions associated with the pursuit of a personal injury claim.
- What are the fees involved?
- How are the costs of the case handled?
- In a car crash, who pays for my medical bills and wage loss?
- What do you have to do to prove a case of professional malpractice?
If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact us, and we will promptly respond.
We usually work on a contingent fee basis so that there is only a fee for the atorney’s time and services if there is a recovery. We do not charge any fee unless money is recovered. If no money is actually recovered, you owe us nothing for our time. If there is a recovery, the attorney fee is a percentage of the total recovery. This percentage is set out in the “retainer” agreement, the contract that must be signed to authorize us to go to work for you. In most situations, the fee is 33.3% of the money beyond and above anything paid out by your own insurance carrier but this is subject to change depending on the circumstances of your specific case.
We usually advance the costs of your case. Costs are the out of pocket money that has to be spent to properly prepare your case and might include hiring an investigator to interview witnesses and gather information, ordering and paying for medical records, meeting with your doctor(s) and having reports prepared to prove your case, filing fees to the State of Oregon should a lawsuit have to be filed, the cost of having the law suit served on the defendant, the cost of a court reporter should there be depositions (sworn statements under oath) among others. At the end of your case, we get reimbursed for our actual out of pocket cost advances.
Your own car insurance company pays for your medical bills and wage loss for the first year after your car accident under the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) of your policy. PIP is legally required under every insurance policy sold in the state of Oregon and acts as a kind of no fault coverage to get you the medical treatment you need and the wage loss you incur right away and when you need it. Under Oregon law, any car crash that takes place after January 1, 2010, with a policy that has renewed after that date, provides for $15,000 in medical expenses for all medical bills caused by your accident. PIP pays these medical bills per the workers comp statutes so $15,000 in coverage could conceivably cover as much as $30,000 in bills because of the discount the law requires. PIP will also pay $3,000 per month or 70% of your wage loss, whichever is less, after you have missed 14 consecutive days of work, for up to one year. If you were not at fault in causing the accident, your insurance company will get its money back from the other insurance company when your case is over.
In any professional malpractice case, you must prove, through the testimony of another “similarly situated professional” that your doctor or lawyer screwed up, and that the screw up caused you to sustain an injury. So, if you are injured by a neurosurgeon, we need to find a neurosurgeon to say that the first doctor fell below the community standard of care and was negligent-did something no reasonable doctor would do or failed to do something any reasonable doctor would have done-and that the doctor’s negligence caused you to sustain an injury. Only after offering proof of negligence and causation by the same kind of professional as the one you are accusing of having committed malpractice, does a jury get to consider your damages.