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Keizer OR 97303

Personal Injury Compensation in Keizer, OR

NOTE: THIS PAGE IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL LEGAL ADVICE! This webpage is intended to answer basic questions from people who have been been injured in car accidents due to the negligence of other drivers. However, the litigation process is complex and if you intend to pursue an injury claim, we recommend you speak with an attorney. If you have been recently injured in a car accident, contact Walsh & Associates for a free initial consultation.

What should I do in the event of a car crash?

If you are involved in an automobile accident it is important to get the contact and insurance information of all parties involved. This includes getting the driver's license number of all drivers involved. If you have a phone with a camera, it is also recommended to take pictures of any property damage or damage to the vehicles so you can validate any claims. You are obligated to submit a report to the DMV within 72 hours if there is more than $1,500 of property damage or if anyone sustains injuries.

Before giving a recorded statement to anyone (even your own insurance company), it is often helpful to first speak to a lawyer.

Who is responsible for my medical bills?

In the state of Oregon, all reasonable and necessary medical bills related to your accident are initially processed by your own insurance company. This is part of your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. By state law, all insurance policies are required to cover all medical costs up to $15,000 for up to a year after the crash, regardless of who is at fault. This time period to make claims has been extended to two years for claims on policies issued or renewed after January 1, 2016 for injuries that also occurred after January 1, 2016.

To apply for PIP coverage, you will need to contact your insurance company and complete a PIP application form. Your insurance provider will supply you with a claim number which you can give to your medical provider when seeking treatment. It is important to seek adequate medical treatment as soon as possible after your collision.

If your insurance company refuses to cover your medical expenses, you can challenge the decision in a PIP arbitration. For any issues regarding the PIP application, medical billing, or PIP arbitration, you can contact the legal experts at Walsh & Associates.

Will my lost wages by recovered?

Yes, all of your lost wages can be recovered from the negligent driver's insurance company when your case is finally settled. In the meantime, if your disability lasts longer than 14 days then you are also entitled to collect 70% of your lost income (up to a maximum of $3,000.00 for 52 weeks) from your own insurance company. This will help you pay your bills while you are recovering from your injuries.

What should I expect to be compensated for?

Each case is different, but in general, someone who has suffered injuries through the fault of another party should expect to be compensated for:

  • Medical Bills
  • Property Damage
  • Lost Wages
  • Trauma (Physical & Emotional)
  • Physical Disability
  • Mental Disability

Contact our attorneys for a complete breakdown of what you are entitled to in your situation.

What is my case worth?

Traditional wisdom used to estimate cases to be worth 3 to 5 times your medical expenses. However, these types of “standard formulas” are no longer widely used. Today insurance companies use a wide range of factors that affect how cases are valued. If you bring the specifics of your claims to us for a free consultation we will be able to give you a much better idea of what your case may be worth in your particular case.

What is the time frame for settling a personal injury claim or taking legal action?

In general, the deadline for filing seeking legal action (or statute of limitations) for a car accident in Oregon is 2 years. For most cases, if you do not settle your case or file litigation within two years of the crash then all your rights to compensation will be lost. However certain cases have differing timelines. For instance cases involving minors, public entities, wrongful death, or which involved underinsured or uninsured claims have a different statute of limitations and deadlines to consider. One of the first steps to take if you are intending to pursue a claim is to check with your attorney for the specifics timelines applicable to your case.

What should I do if there has been a death or serious injury?

When there is a death or serious injury, the stakes for both parties are generally much higher. This means that most insurance companies will be willing to expend more resources to hire expert lawyers so they can minimize or defeat the claims. Cases that involve death or catastrophic injuries also often include multiple family members, probate issues, unpaid medical expenses, contractual and statutory liens, proof of loss of earning capacity, and other complicating factors.

These factors place many individuals in an unfair and disadvantaged position when fighting against the enormous resources and experience of a large insurance company. At Walsh & Associates we use our expertise and experience to even the playing field for you.

What if the insurance company says I only have soft tissue injuries?

Soft tissue injuries are generally considered injuries that are not clearly verifiable by MRI, X-Rays, or other irrefutable electronic or imaging tests. These injuries usually reside in muscles, ligaments, or tendons and are felt as strains, backaches, neck/shoulder pains, or pulled muscles.

Many insurance companies undervalue these types of injuries in an effort to dodge financial responsibility. They know that juries often have a hard time believing in injuries they cannot “see.” On the other hand, at Walsh & Associates we know that soft tissue injuries can often last longer than broken bones and in many cases can be far more painful and devastating. We know that soft tissue injuries can also be extremely stressful and having an insurance company challenge these types of claims often adds to your stress. Don't let an insurance company deny you from the fair compensation you deserve. At Walsh & Associates, we do not shy away from advocating for clients with these types of claims. We have a solid record of helping our clients receive substantial settlements and awards for all types of injuries, including soft tissue injuries.

What if the responsible party does not have insurance?

If the responsible party does not have adequate insurance, you can still receive full and fair compensation from your own insurance company under the policy provisions dealing with uninsured motorist (UM) or under-insured motorist (UIM) benefits. The UM or UIM benefits you receive are usually no differently than the benefits you would receive if the driver at fault had been fully covered. After paying your claims, your insurance company may then pursue a claim against the negligent driver to recover their costs.

The insurance company has offered me $1,500 plus PIP. Should I accept?

Often, in an attempt to reach a quick settlement, insurance companies will make offers of around $500-$1,500 “plus personal injury protection (PIP).” Because these offers are made immediately after the crash, there is usually very little time for anyone (you or the insurance company) to know the true value of your case. At such an early time no-one knows how much treatment you will need or how long you will be suffering pain. Despite not really knowing what your case is worth these early offers are routinely made by insurance companies because “on average” they save the insurance company money in the long run by settling some cases for far less than what they are worth. There is no way to know if the offer they are making you is fair or if you are being taken advantage of unless you are completely finished treating and cured from your injuries before accepting any early settlement offer.

Furthermore, an offer to “keep your PIP open to pay your future medical bills” does not guarantee that your future medical bills will be paid. Your insurance company can still deny any expenses they deem not "reasonable" or "necessary" or any bill presented after the PIP insured period has expired.

While the initial offer an insurance company makes might sound like a good deal, you may be getting significantly less than what you deserve or need. Once you accept an offer you cannot ask a higher amount later if you later realize that the settlement was not fair. Therefore before accepting any offer given to you, it is to your benefit to first seek professional legal advice for your specific case.

What is the process and how long will this take?

A typical claim usually has up to four stages.

1. Medical treatment/crash investigation phase;
2. Medical evaluation phase;
3. Negotiation and resolution phase;
4. Litigation phase (if needed).

First and foremost you need to seek out medical treatment and get well. This phase will last as long as it takes for your body to become well or to “get as good as your going to get.” It is important to wait until you are well before settling your case in order to ensure that you are being fairly compensated for all the costs, damages and pain and suffering that you were forced to endure due to the negligence of the other driver. This period of time can last a few weeks or it can take years, depending entirely on YOUR course of recovery. During this initial time period your lawyer will be working with the insurance carriers to answer their questions and to deal with any disputes that arise. At the same time your lawyer will also be working on the investigation of the crash to help determine the forces of the impact and the fault of the other driver. Witness statements may also need to be gathered and accident reconstruction experts may need to be contacted. The goal of the legal team during this initial medical treatment/investigation phase is to do all we can to protect your interests so that you do not have to worry about anything except getting well.

After you are medically stationary, the second phase involves gathering all your medical records and bills and reading and evaluating the records. If needed, medical reports from treating physicians are often requested to clarify injuries during this time. Medical providers vary greatly in the time they take to provide records and respond to questions but it usually takes at least a month from the time the patient is medically stationary to the time we have all the documents we need to compile a demand letter. After the documents are assembled, they are organized copied and duplicates are removed. They are then analyzed and a demand letter is written summarizing all your injuries, pain and suffering, and your course of treatment. During this process we will be able to evaluate our opinion of the case value. We will then sit down with you to go over the demand letter and our opinion on value and obtain your authority for a settlement demand. The demand letter will then be sent to the insurance carrier insuring the responsible driver.

The third phase is the pre-litigation negotiation phase. This is the time we are actively working to settle your case with the insurance carrier. This period of time usually is completed within about 60 days after the demand letter is sent to the insurance carrier. At the end of that time it is usually apparent if the case will settle or if a lawsuit needs to be filed. Sometimes the insurance carrier will ask for additional information which can cause some additional delays. In any event, the case will either be settled or litigation will be commenced before the statute of limitations date (which is two years from the date of the crash).

The fourth and last phase is litigation. This involves filing a lawsuit and pursuing the case to trial. This phase (which often includes discovery, motions, depositions, mediations, arbitrations, independent medical examinations, etc) will only occur if you refuse the final offer from the insurance carrier and decide to file a lawsuit. If you decide to pursue litigation we will advocate for you in court. Although times vary widely, this phase usually takes about a year from the time of filing the lawsuit until we have an enforceable verdict or award.

What are the advantages of having an attorney for a personal injury case?

Visiting with an experienced lawyer offers many benefits. Even if you only have an initial, free consultation with a lawyer, you will receive invaluable advice that will help you understand if you are optimizing your compensation. Some specific services that an attorney can offer you include:

1. Helping you navigate through PIP paperwork and deal with your insurance carrier for issues such as medical expenses and wage loss.
2. Assisting you and protecting your interests during recorded statements.
3. Reviewing your medical records and bills and verifying outstanding balances for medical providers that need to be paid.
4. Advising you on litigation deadlines and laws regarding the statute of limitations and other statutory obligations.
5. Pursuing contractual claims for UM or UIM benefits if applicable
6. Speaking with your medical providers to understand and document their opinions.
7. Coordinating a team of experts that may be needed to verify your claims.
8. Helping refute any adverse insurance medical opinions.
9. Assigning a value to your claim based on all the evidence and medical opinions gathered about your case.
10. Writing a demand letter to the insurance company with proof and full documentation.
11. Negotiating settlements with carriers to ensure you will get a fair deal.
12. Filing needed paperwork for litigation or motions.
13. Taking the case to trial in the case where no settlement is reached.
14. Appealing a case or defending against any appeal as appropriate.

Why Should I Choose Walsh & Associates?

When it comes to personal injury and auto accident claims there are many different firms to choose from, but not all firms are equal. At Walsh & Associates we bring objectively one of the most experienced teams in Northwest Oregon. Our record speaks to this, as we have consistently helped our clients achieve fair compensation for their injuries from insurance companies both in trial and through settlements. For any type of casualty from soft tissue injuries to death cases, Walsh & Associates has the solution to help you obtain every penny you deserve.

Both Richard and Eric have demonstrated, through their involvement in the community and their successful careers, what it means to be compassionate and effective attorneys. Together they form a team that delivers results to their clients, and in turn, their clients rate them with glowing reviews. At Walsh & Associates, “We know that no two cases are alike. This means that no matter what your situation is, we will help determine the right plan of action for you. Call us today to schedule a free, no-worry consultation.