Accident Attorneys

Frequently Asked Questions

Know your rights

What is Personal Injury?

The law protects everyone from enduring the financial effects from a physical injury caused by other people, which includes direct compensation for owed expenses (costs affiliated with medical aid), also as indirect costs, such as lost income and pain and suffering. Physical disabilities or disfigurations are compensative. You may compensate the loss of social, educational and family experiences because of the injury,in addition to emotional issues such as stress, embarrassment, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

The monetary compensation a complainant can anticipate from a successful lawsuit depends upon the facts of the claim, and the extent and nature of the injury. Severity is ascertained along these factors:

Pain intensityExtent of medical treatment neededNoticeable of injury (medical evidence is valued more than claimed symptoms)Length of recovery periodPermanency of injuriesTreatment thru physicians compared to physical therapy, chiropractic and other non-physicians

If you, the plaintiff, are discovered to be partly responsible for the injury, the award sum will in all probability be decreased. But partial fault doesn't necessarily do away with an award.

I need an attorney but don’t have any money.  What can I do?

Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis.  This means that the attorney gets paid when a settlement is made.  Many attorneys also advance costs for medical records and special reports that are necessary in developing your claim.  The attorney fees and costs are then taken out of the settlement.  Most attorneys charge 33% of the final settlement.  In the event that your claim does not settle out of court, a lawsuit may be filed and the costs and fees may increase.

How long will it take to settle my injury claim?

The statute of limitations on personal injury cases is two years in Oregon, except for minor children.  

This means that you must settle your claim or file a lawsuit within two years from the date of your accident.

The actual duration of a claim depends on the extent of the injury and the durations of the medical treatment.

Once a injured party has finished treating, settlement negotiations can begin. 


I was in an accident and my car was damaged. The insurance company does not want to pay to fix it and prefers to total the vehicle. What they want to pay me is a lot less than the vehicle is worth. Can I force them to pay me what the car is worth?

The laws in Oregon say the insurance company must pay you reasonable market value for the vehicle if that vehicle has to be replace. Determining reasonable market value is why you might want to retain an attorney.

In determining reasonable market value you have to prove what a vehicle, like your vehicle, sells for in your market. For example, if you live in Portland you would want to look in the back issues of the Oregonian at the library to determine what vehicles like your vehicle, see for and are being sold for. You have to document the date, page number and issue and name of the newspaper you got the information from, along with the phone number and details about the vehicle. You have to call the advertiser to find out what they sold the vehicle for, the mileage, the condition, the make, and the model of the vehicle.

It is important to get at least six (6) to ten (10) vehicles like your vehicle. You must do research on the value of your vehicle in order to be sure that the Insurance Adjuster does not underpay you. If you do not do market research on your own vehicle, you usually always will be underpaid.

If you have a problem with an automobile injury claim and property damage issues, we will help you with your car problem at no charge if we are representing you in the injury claim. You can reach us almost any day including weekends and evenings at 1-800-347-4269. We make house calls when indicated. There are no charges for our services unless and until the case is settled.

Clients frequently ask me • whether they have a claim for injury from a low impact accident?

A. Insurance claims adjusters ~ • on occasion will tell injured persons in automobile accidents that they could not be injured because of the minor body damage to their car and deny their claim. However, insurance adjusters must not assume that physical injuries have a direct relationship to the force of the impact or the damage to the vehicle. Blood abrasions and fractures are not all that is necessary for someone to be injured. Re search has shown that even in accidents where vehicles have been going as slow as 5 mph that the occupants' heads and necks were ex posed to great physical forces. One cannot assume that vehicle damage correlates directly to physical injury. There is no rational correlation between a crumpled bumper and a crumpled body. A person cannot predict physical injury by looking at the lack of car damage. If you have any symptoms of an injury after your car accident, no matter how minor the damage to your car go to your medical provider immediately. 


Fishermen and Seamen frequently ask me what their legal rights are when injured while working on a vessel?

Fishermen and Seamen have many legal rights when they are injured while working on a vessel. If you are injured you the the right to "CURE". Cure is the right to have your medical expenses paid by your employer. Your medical expenses will be paid until you have reached maximum medical recovery, you have the right to have "MAINTENANCE". Maintenance is the right to have your food and lodging paid to you at a per day rate. Usually your employment contract will specify the per day rate; otherwise, it is the employer's daily cost of food and lodging you would receive aboard the vessel while recovering from your injury or illness. An injured worker may recover unearned wages until the end of the fishing season, the end of the employment contract, or the end of the voyage. All of the above legal rights belong to you regardless of fault or unseaworthiness of the vessel. Call our law office anytime including weekends and evenings, and we can help you. Our number 1-800-FISHBOX (1-800-347-4269) We re[represent fishermen and seamen.


I was injured while working on a merchant ship. Do l have legal rights?

Yes. Crew members of fishing vessels, merchant ships, tugboats and processing factory fishing vessels are considered seamen under maritime law. Any employee on a ship is governed by federal maritime law and not State Worker Compensation law. The federal law allows the injured fisherman and seaman to sue the employer whereas under the worker compensation law the injured worker can not sue the employer but receives only certain monetary benefits. A seaman and fisherman who is injured or becomes ill while working is also entitled to a daily amount of money called maintenance to pay for daily living expenses. The seaman also has the right to medical care with out cost. This is called cure. The seaman is also entitled to wages for the period of time which he was unable to complete the specific voyage of the vessel or the fishing season or contract. This is called unearned wages. However, unlike state worker compensation laws there is no federal law that requires employers of seamen to carry insurance to pay for these benefits. If you have any questions please phone me at 1-800-347-4269, offices in Portland and Eugene. Appointments available evenings, weekends and in your home.


I work as a deck hand on a fishing boat. While the boat was getting repaired out of the water I was injured. Do I have any legal rights?

Yes. The legal issue is whether your rights will be defined by the federal law under the Jones Act and general maritime law, the federal law pertaining to Long shore workers or under the State of Oregon Worker Compensation laws. The difficult legal issue is whether your fishing boat is considered a vessel in navigation when you were injured. The Jones Act applies to injuries when the boat is on navigable waters. When an in jury happens while the boat is in the ocean, river or lake then the federal Jones Act law applies. If the boat is out of the water undergoing repairs and you were injured doing the repairs your rights may depend on whether the repairs were routing or minor repairs or major renovations. Minor repairs do not change your legal status under the Jones Act but major repairs may change your legal status. If you have any questions please phone me at 1 800-347-4269, offices in Portland and Eugene. Appointments avail able evenings, weekends and in your home.


I was injured while working on a fishing boat. l was told that I could sue my employer for my injury rather than file a state worker compensation claim. Can I sue it within 60 days or they will my employer?

Yes. Federal law known as the Jones Act provides fishermen and seamen with the same legal rights that railroad workers have under the Federal Employers Liability Act. The Jones act was named after Senator Wesley Jones of Washington State. A fisherman, seaman, railroad worker can sue their employer for their injury. The previous defenses of contributory negligence and assumption of risk were abolished under this law. The negligence of a seaman, fisherman and railroad worker only mitigates or reduces your damages. Under the Jones Act you must prove that your employer or one of its agents was negligent and that this negligence was a cause, however slight, of your injuries. If you have any questions phone me at 1-800-347 4269, office in Portland and Eugene. Appointments available evenings, weekends and in your home.


What laws regulate the safety and health of workers aboard a commercial vessel?

Federal law governs all commercial vessels. The primary federal agency which may have jurisdiction is the Coast Guard. Any time an employee on a fishing vessel or a seaman on a merchant ship is injured on the Coast Guard regulations found in 33 CFR and 46 CFR should be read. In addition, under certain circumstances the occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) may apply. The OSHA regulations are found in 26 CFR. Whenever there is a serious man time accident, the Coast Guard will conduct an investigation. An injured employee has the right under the Freedom of Information Act to get a copy of the report and findings. This should always be done. If you are injured aboard a vessel, do not sign any insurance documents until you have contracted a maritime attorney. You have specific legal rights that are unique to federal maritime law. Call our law office anytime, including weekends and evenings and we can help you. Our number is 1 -800-FISH BOX (1-800-347-4269). We represent fishermen and seamen.

What laws apply to a person who is killed on the high seas?

There are several. The ~- remedies for maritime deaths are found in the federal law called the "Jones Act", the "General Admirahy Common Law", and the federal law called the "Death on the High Seas Act", and a state's Unwrongful Death Laws". The federal death on the high seas Act is found in 46 United States Code Section 761. This law applies to all deaths of any person caused by the wrongful acts occurring on the high seas. It is not exclusive to employees but applies to anyone that is killed while on any vessel on the ocean more than three miles from a stanels shore. This law provides that, "whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect, or fault occurring on the high seas beyond a mastate...the personal representative of the decedent may maintain a Sun for damages in the district courts of the United States, in Admirahy, for the exclusive benefit of the decedent's wife, husband, parent, child or dependent relative against the vessel, person, or corporation which would have been liable death had not ensued." This law is named the "Death of the High Seas Act." (DOHSA). Call our law office any time, including weekends and evenings to see if we can help you. Our number is 1 -800-FISH BOX (1 -800 347-4269).


What are the insurance • rights of an injured motorcycle operator and/or passenger to have their medical expenses paid?

Oregon law does not require insurance company to provide personal injury protection benefits for medical expenses when injured on a motorcycle. In order for medical expenses to be paid to either the operator or the passenger, the insurance policy on the motorcycle must provide for medical protection benefits. This protection is an additional expense that is optional on motorcycle policies. If this medical protection coverage is not in the insurance policy on the motorcycle or on the operator of the motorcycle, then the passenger should contact their own automobile insurance company to see if their auto insurance will pay for their medical expenses. If you have any problems re regarding your account and want to discuss your case, please phone or write to the Automobile Accidents Legal Services at 1-800-347-4269 for assistance. You can phone eve evenings, weekends and during the week.



I was hit by a car while I was riding my bike. What are my rights?

Bike riders must obey all motor vehicle laws. If you were injured, your automobile insurance policy will pay your medical bills up to your policy limits under your personal injury protection coverage. If you have no auto insurance then the insurance company of the car that hit you will pay your medical bills under their personal injury protection coverage but only if you have no other private or public insurance. In addition, you have a claim for the damage to your bike and your injuries if you were not at fault for the accident under the adverse party's property and liability coverage. Insurance issues can be confusing. If you have any questions please phone me at 1-800-347-4269


My son wants to learn to fly. Who would be liable if he were killed or injured during a flying lesson?

Flight instruction is usually conducted under FAR 141 (Federal Air Regulations) that governs accredited flight schools, or under FAR 61 that governs individual or freelance instructors who may teach or tutor a student pilot in his or someone else's airplane. Both types of flight training can be equally thorough and comprehensive. Individual flight training with one flight instructor can be less expansive than enrolling in a Certified school. Normally Certified schools have adequate insurance.

When instruction is performed by an individual or freelance instructor, insurance coverage be comes a murky issue. A flight training accident may involve an instructor error even if the instructor was not flying with his student be cause the instructor may be held responsible for the errors of his student. Potential liability losses could even fall upon the student. Flight instructor liability insurance is difficult and expensive to obtain. Getting compensation for injury or death caused by training accidents would require expert le gal help to find liability. Our law firm is staffed by associates whose commercial and military pilot experience has involved all aspects of general aviation flight operations, including aviation insurance risk management. Please call my office with your concerns or questions about flying in small airplanes.

My husband, the father of three, flies on the company airplane. I know small airplanes aren't as safe as the airlines. If his plane crashed would there be sufficient insurance to provide for us?

Generally liability insurance coverage for small aircraft are written for $1,000,000 and sometimes for $2,000,000 and higher, and these policies often provide medical cost provisions of typically $3,000 per passenger. Victims in general aviation fatal accidents are people like your husband, a breadwinner of some means whose children are dependent. for their upbringing, good home, education, and chance to follow in their parents' footsteps. Consequently insurance companies now have to deal with average death settlement awards that can be as much as $ 1,500,000 per person. Settling aviation insurance claims can be difficult since aviation insurance is not policed by state insurance regulations. Variations of aviation insurance cover ages are legion, and aviation insurance policies can be laced with exclusions. Obtaining compensation for damages caused by small air craft is daunting, requiring the expertise of lawyers knowledgeable about the use and operation or general aviation aircraft. Our firm is staffed by associates whose commercial and military pi lot experience has involved with many aspects of general aviation flight operations, including aviation insurance risk management. Please call my office with your concerns or questions about flying in small airplanes.

Are there insurance • benefits for passengers of a small plane injured or killed by a pilot who flew his airplane into weather conditions he isn't qualified, trained or experienced to fly in?

By state insurance regulations. Variations in aviation insurance are legion, and aviation insurance policies can be laced with all kinds of exclusions. One of the most galling exclusions is where an insurance company claims it will not be liable for damages resulting from aircraft operations under conditions involving an infringement or violation of Federal Air Regulations. From a technical sense as it is almost impossible for an accident to occur without pilot violation of some regulation, since the F.A.A. charges the pilot in command with the ultimate and final responsibility for the safe operation of the aircraft. Especially troublesome for an injured passenger or the survivor of a deceased victim is the Oregon Guest Passenger law that attempts to preclude lawsuits against aircraft owners/operators unless the claim ant can show gross pilot/operator negligence. An injured passenger or his survivors will need expert legal assistance to gain compensation for pi lot negligence. Our law firm is staffed by associates whose commercial and military pilot experience has involved all aspects of general aviation flight operations including aviation insurance risk management. Please call my office with your concerns or questions about flying in small airplanes.

We recently bought a house near an airport used by small planes. l am concerned that if a plane were to crash and harm us, what would my family or survivors be entitled to?

Most general aviation or small aircraft are insured much like automobiles - liability coverage to pay claims for bodily injury, death, mental anguish, and damage to someone else's property resulting from the ownership, maintenance, or use of the subject aircraft. However, settling aviation insurance claims can be enormously difficult as much of aviation insurance coverage is not policed by state insurance laws or regulations. The variations of aviation insurance coverage are legion, and virtually every aviation insurance policy will be laced with all kinds of exclusions. Consequently obtaining compensation for damages caused by a small aircraft is daunting, requiring the expertise of lawyers knowledgeable about the use and operation or general aviation aircraft and familiar with aviation insurance. Our law firm is staffed by associates whose commercial and military pilot experience has involved all aspects of general aviation flight operations, including aviation insurance risk management. Please call my office with your concerns or questions about flying in small airplanes.


A frequent question I am asked is how do I place a monetary value on my claim for bodily injury?

It is not easy estimating the value of a bodily injury claim when someone is injured. An attorney must look at all available medical bills, medical reports, loss wages, jury trial awards for similar cases, years of experience and previous settlements. Sometimes even an attorney has problems evaluating a claim.

Some clients feel the medical bills are the most important and reliable method of prediction the value of a claim. Remember medical bills are only one of many components in determining the value of your claim.

A Automobile Accidents Legal Services uses an extensive computerized research data bank and software to analyze and value claims. We will give you a computer analysis of your claim when we represent you. The data bank we use in our computers has cases that help us place a value on your claim.

You should not rely on insurance claims adjusters to determine the value of your claim. The best way to obtain an accurate value for your bodily injury claim is to have an attorney on your side. Call the Automobile Accident Legal Services office any evening, weekend or regular business hours at 1-800-347-4269 for assistance in evaluating your claim.



I am asked by clients what rights a railroad worker has when injured while working.

The law that governs an employee who is injured as a railroad worker is called the Federal Employer's Liability Act. This is a federal law that can be read in 45 United States Code Sections 51-60. This law commonly referred to as "FELA" applies to all injured railroad workers who work for railroads that transport goods in interstate commerce. In addition an injured railroad worker has the protection of two other federal laws. The Federal Safety Appliance Act, 45 USC Sections 1-16 and the Boiler Inspection Act, 45 USC Sections 22-24.

These three laws protect an injured railroad worker by providing for money compensation for the worker's injury. This protection is a substitute for Oregon State Worker Compensation Remedy.

If you are injured do not sign any documents from the railroad's claim agent until you have contacted an attorney. You have specific legal rights that are unique to federal railroad law.

Call our law office anytime, including weekends and evenings. If you need a copy of the law please contact me. Our number is 1-800-347-4269.