Archive for the ‘Oregon Legal Updates’ Category

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Help! I Crashed Someone Else’s Car – Will Insurance Cover this?

Posted by Sean DuBois on Tuesday, March 25, 2014

People often contact an Oregon car insurance attorney when they have been in an accident in which someone got injured. Thats common enough. However, considerable confusion and anxiety are often the byproducts of an accident where either the person driving the car didnt own it, or the owner of the car had loaned it to a friend, and the friend caused the accident. What happens then?

The insurance company for the person who is driving should cover damages first

Lets say your friend calls and says his car is in the shop for repairs. He needs to get to work and wonders if he can buy your car. What should you do? The first thing is to check your own policy to see what kind of coverage is in place. The second thing is to find out if your friends insurance will cover him to drive other cars.

Liability insurance follows the driver, not the car, so if your friend has this kind of policy and is in an accident in your car, then his policy should cover any damages, not yours. Therefore, you need to check what kinds of coverage are in place for both you and your friend. These types of cover could include:

  • Liability coverage Oregon, like most other states, requires liability coverage as a minimum. This is the cover that should allow your friend to drive your car, provided your friend actually has a policy in force when you hand him the keys. Oregon car insurance attorneys recommend phoning your own insurance company to get a rundown of your own coverage features, just in case.
  • Comprehensive and collision As the name suggests, comprehensive cover will pay for all damage done, but this type of cover applies to a car and not to a person. This type of cover is also typically more expensive than straight liability coverage.
  • Other drivers Only your insurance company can tell you precisely what level of cover will be in place if you allow someone else to drive your car and an accident occurs. Oregon car insurance attorneys say there are no definitive yes or no answers, regardless of whether you have comprehensive cover in place, so its best to ask first. (more…)

Can Your Laptop Plead the Fifth? “Testimony” in a Digital Age

Posted by Sean DuBois on Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Electronic Frontier Foundation always gets involved in interesting cases, and Leon Gelfgatt’s is no exception:

Mr. Gelfgatt was arrested and charged with forgery. Then the government got a search warrant and seized his electronics as evidence. But he had encrypted his files, and the government couldn’t break the encryption. So they asked a judge to order Gelfgatt to decrypt the devices. Is this legal? The Fifth Amendment states that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself . . .” The EFF filed a brief arguing that ordering a person to decrypt a computer file violates the Fifth Amendment.

“Pleading the Fifth” has a rich history in the United States. This amendment gets a lot of flack, for giving criminals a legal means to avoid giving information, but it is an instrumental safeguard against government overreach in criminal cases. (more…)

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…)

Lobbyists Hard At Work Helping Insurance Companies Rob You Blind

Posted by Sean DuBois on Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I am so sick of insurance companies getting away with screwing consumers! It’s happening again, right now. House Bill 3160 passed the Oregon House, but is being held up in the Oregon Senate by the forty-seven(!!!) lobbyists that are bending your Senators’ ears.

(ORS 646.605 – 646.656) makes it illegal for businesses to use “unconscionable tactics,” or “fail to deliver services as portland oregon insurance attorneypromised,” or “use deceptive representation,” and a whole bunch of other clearly awful and unfair business practices. The law is designed to protect Oregon consumers, and it works pretty well.

Right now, ORS 646.605 (6)(a) says that the law “does not include insurance.” Why not? Because insurance companies have amazing lobbyists. Is there any other reason that insurance companies should be specifically exempted from a law that would stop them from using “unconscionable tactics?” (more…)

ACLU vs. NSA: Protecting Rights to Privacy

Posted by Sean DuBois on Saturday, June 15, 2013

Everyone’s talking about Edward Snowden’s recent revelations of the extent to which the NSA has been tracking U.S. citizens. If you havent heard (where have you been?), Edward Snowden is a former National Security Administration contractor who, after leaving the NSA with classified surveillance information, has been leaking said information to show Americans how the NSA has violated their rights to privacy.basic rights lawyer Portland

And I’ve been asked several times some variation of “You’re a lawyer, can anything be done to protect our privacy, from a legal standpoint?” My stock answer is that this is a political issue, not a legal one. But then I saw the ACLU’s lawsuit and now I’m rethinking my stance.

There have been many legal problems with prior lawsuits against government monitoring, but one of the difficulties is that you need to show actual harm, not just a theoretical possibility of harm, in order to bring a lawsuit. This means you have to show that whoever you are suing has DEFINITELY negatively affected your life, not just that they COULD. (more…)

Should a Drunk Driver Be Allowed to Sue the Bar That Overserved Her?

Posted by Sean DuBois on Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The fearless lawyers at Pickett Dummigan brought an unusual lawsuit a while back regarding a drunk driving accident. They represent Ashley Schutz for extremely serious injuries that she received after she drank way too much alcohol and then caused a car crash. The suit is complex and has multiple defendants and causes of action, but in this post, I’ll be focusing on one small and very interesting part of the case, which involves part of Ms. Schutz’s claim against La Costita, the bar that served her the alcohol.

I can already hear the question: “But it was Schutz’s fault that she drank and drove; how could she sue the bar for a crash that was her own fault?” Read on, intrepid blog-reader! (more…)

Minors Can Get Counseling Without Telling Parents…But Can’t Tan

Posted by Sean DuBois on Tuesday, May 14, 2013

There is an interesting juxtaposition of bills affecting the rights of minors going through the Oregon legislature these days. One that gives minors more rights, and one that takes rights away. I’m in favor of both of them – giving rights with one hand, and taking them away with the other.

Senate Bill 491 – Teens Can Get Counseling

Senate Bill 491 passed the Senate 26-3, but has not been voted on by the House yet. This bill would allow children who are 14 or older to get mental health treatment for depression or other emotional issues, including drug addiction, without parental consent. Kids cannot get methadone treatment for their drug addiction under this bill, just counseling. (more…)

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