Archive for the ‘Catastrophic Injury Accidents’ Category

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Do I Need a Portland Personal Injury Lawyer?

Posted by Sean DuBois on Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It’s a universal dilemma, and one that thousands of Oregon motorists have asked themselves after being injured because of another road user’s negligence: “Do I really need a Portland personal injury lawyer to look after my claim?”

What kind of answer would you expect to receive on an injury attorney’s blog? Well, it may shock you then to hear that the real answer is you may not need to hire a lawyer in some situations. It depends very much on the myriad of details surrounding each individual’s case.

The main reason people elect not to use the services of an attorney is because they simply don’t want to “share” their compensation. Contingency fees (a fee that is charged only if and when you win your case) of 33% are about average, and that might seem like a lot. However, you should also consider the many reasons you should retain the services of a personal injury lawyer. (more…)

Why File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Posted by Sean DuBois on Monday, April 14, 2014

When a terrible accident has claimed the life of a loved one, between the grief that you are struggling with and the care that you have to provide to your family, it is undoubtedly a difficult time for you to even consider thinking about wrongful death lawsuits. However, if you wish to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and obtain justice for your lost loved one, you have a limited time to do so. In Oregon, surviving family members typically only have three years after the date of the injury that caused the death in order to file wrongful death lawsuits, though sometimes the time limit is much shorter, like a year for cases against public bodies. The sooner that you can contact a personal injury attorney with experience in wrongful death cases, the better it will be for your family and your future.

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“McDonald’s Coffee Case” . . . Again

Posted by Sean DuBois on Tuesday, October 29, 2013

“Stella Liebeck: The woman who spilled McDonald’s coffee on herself.Oregon lawsuits, Oregon injury lawyers, punitive damages

The “Stella Awards”: Awards given every year to mark particularly absurd lawsuits, named after her.

“McDonald’s Coffee Case”: A term that has become shorthand for “our civil justice system is broken because people sue over events that were their own fault and make millions.”

We’ve known for years that the true story of Stella Liebecks injury and lawsuit is decidedly more complicated. Well, now the New York Times has finally weighed in with an even-handed reporting of the facts.

I’m so excited about this because, despite some people saying the Times is “liberal,” everyone who is sane agrees that in their reporting, the Times does not make up facts. So it’s nice to know that there is a short, 12-minute video out there, by the most reputable news organization in the world, for anyone who wants to know the actual facts of the McDonald’s Coffee Case.

By the way, those “Stella Awards? They have an interesting history. The chain email that makes its way around regularly is not only full of made-up lawsuits, it’s also not even the real “Stella Awards!”

The real Stella Awards stopped in 2007. In that year, there were three cases cited: One was an insurance company that sued a little old lady. One was a drunk trespassing veteran who died and who’s family sued the owner of the place into which he trespassed And one was the judge who sued a dry cleaner for about $65 million for ruining his pants. The Stella Award website does not tell us what happened to any of these cases. So, yes, in 2007 apparently there were at least three lawsuits brought that may have been frivolous. And all three of them were most likely thrown out of court. That is not news; it’s sensationalism.

For actual news, check out the NYT video. And then next time someone starts talking about “tort reform” and brings up the “McDonald’s Coffee Lady,” you can have an opinion about it that is informed by facts.

Do Personal Injury Lawsuits Make the World Safer?

Posted by Sean DuBois on Thursday, September 19, 2013

Personal injury lawsuits are supposed to serve several different purposes:

  1. They’re supposed to compensate someone who was injured due to another person’s carelessness.
  2. Theyre supposed to make the person who actually caused a loss to pay for that loss.
  3. Theyre supposed to help prevent injuries from resulting in bankruptcy, if the injury was not your fault.
  4. And they are supposed to help make the world safer.

Unfortunately, the last one is very hard to measure. And even though many lawsuits have resulted in changes to procedures and laws intended to make the world safer, enforcement can be a huge issue.

Recently, in Portland, we saw a lawsuit intended to protect the safety of Portland public transportation riders and pedestrians fail when it came to real-world application. The lawsuit against TriMet and their bus manufacturer that was recently settled for $4 million should have made the world (or Portland at least) a little bit safer. (more…)

Little Known Law Creates Injustice for Workers Injured on the Job

Posted by Sean DuBois on Saturday, June 1, 2013

Whatsoever you have done unto the least of these men, you have done it to me.

I learn new things every day. Today I was taught something by a 25-year-old man with broken bones in his back who has required three surgeries so far. His medical bills are about $500,000 so far, and he’s not done yet. He was driving his car when he was hit by a snowplow that was driving in the wrong lane. It’s an open-and-shut case. But not the way you think.Portland personal injury accident lawyer

This is a story about Workers Compensation and the Oregon Tort Claims Act. Quick background first: Workers Compensation insurance will pay your medical bills (and a small amount for any permanent disability) if you are hurt while on the job, and it doesn’t matter who’s fault it is. Your employer has been paying the insurance premiums for this. In return, you are not allowed to sue your employer for your injury.

The Oregon Tort Claims Act allows you to sue the state of Oregon (and cities, counties, municipalities, etc.) if a public agency or employee negligently injures you. But tort claims have some conditions, some traps. For example, even though the statute of limitations in Oregon is supposedly two years, if you sue the state you have to get a “tort claim notice” to the entity you are going to sue within 180 days of your injury. Or you can lose your claim forever. (more…)

Do Gaps in Treatment Lead to More Injury Trials?

Posted by Sean DuBois on Saturday, May 18, 2013

One of the duties of a lawyer is to tell people the truth, even when it hurts. To tell people that their actions, however well-intentioned and justifiable, may have certain unfair consequences. No lawyer enjoys it, but it is part of our job. So don’t shoot the messenger.

Let me give you an example of one such hard truth.

We got an email recently that I wish everyone would read when they get into an accident. The email was from a woman who was rear-ended and suffered a whiplash injury, which outlines her experience with a personal injury case. She did not go to doctors’ appointments constantly for two very good reasons: first, her physical therapist suggested she continue with home exercises for a while, which she did, and so she had a “gap in treatment” while she exercised at home; second, her husband had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, which understandably took up a lot of her time and may have seemed more important at times than her neck pain.

This happens all the time: An honest, well-meaning person, for completely understandable reasons, gets intermittent and inconsistent treatment for very real injuries. This is referred to as a gap in treatment.

Here’s what happens next: the insurance company suspects the person of fraud, or of exaggerating her symptoms, or of simply being a hypochondriac/whiner. And so the settlement they are willing to offer goes way, way down. A big gap in treatment can reduce your settlement by a lot more than you would think.

The insurance company’s argument sounds reasonable: “If you were really hurt, you would be getting treatment regularly. If there is a month-long gap between treatments, how do we even know that this new treatment is related to the car crash? Maybe you fell down your steps in the meantime.” (more…)

Oregon to Participate in Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Posted by Sean DuBois on Friday, April 26, 2013

The National Safety Council has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month and has challenged drivers to go online to the Council’s website and sign a pledge promising to refrain from cell phone use (texting or talking) while behind the wheel during the month of April. Oregon car accident attorneys at Shulman DuBois LLC encourage drivers in Oregon to participate in this nationwide effort, and hopefully come to the realization that cell phone usage while driving isn’t necessarily as important as some people might think. Waiting those few minutes required to get to where you are going before using a cell phone could save your life or the life of another – a practice well worth the safety benefits gained. (more…)

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