Portland Car Accident Attorney
Car accidents are the leading cause of personal injury claims in the United States. Every year, thousands of Americans suffer serious injuries and some lose their lives in dangerous highway collisions. Unfortunately, many of these accidents happen because drivers are reckless or irresponsible.
Our Portland car accident attorneys have the experience needed to help you through this entire process. We will handle difficult insurance carriers and at-fault parties to ensure you are looked after and that you secure the compensation needed to recover. Do not hesitate to call our team today.
Why Choose Our Team?
- We are a boutique law firm at Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC. This means we excel at what we do because we care about what we do – personal injury law.
- Our lawyers have extensive experience handling complex injury claims in Portland and throughout the state of Oregon, and we have recovered significant settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of clients.
- We are selective about the number of cases that we handle at any one time, which enables us to provide every client with individual attention throughout the entirety of their case.
Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC was named to the list of “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News in the practice area of personal injury litigation – plaintiffs. We have been recognized for excellence in pursuing justice for car accident victims.
Top Verdicts From Our Team
We have been able to secure many successful settlements and verdicts for our clients involved in auto accidents
- Our client was awarded $1.3 million after his wife was killed and he lost a leg in a head-on semi-truck accident.
- Our client suffered a severe brain injury in an accident caused by poor highway maintenance. Our client was awarded $1.2 million.
- Our client was awarded $1.1 million after sustaining a brain injury in an auto accident.
- Confidential settlement for a passenger injured when a driver was over-served and visibly intoxicated at a bar
- $7.3 million for a motorcyclist hit by a falling object from a commercial vehicle severely injuring motorcyclist
At Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC, we believe that reckless and careless drivers should be held responsible for the damage they cause. To us, “liberty and justice for all” is more than a phrase; it is a mandate. Our Portland car accident lawyers work hard to provide serious advocacy for the individuals we represent, and we trust that our hard work will be to your benefit.
What causes car accidents?
Far too many accidents are initiated by reckless driving behaviors. Other collisions occur when drivers fail to adhere to basic rules of the road or drive while distracted. Drunk drivers pose another huge risk to motorists on the road. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 1 in every 5 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime.
Some common types of accidents include:
- Texting Driver Accidents
- Auto Product Liability
- Hit and Run Accidents
- Fatal Car Accidents
- Rear End Accidents
Types of Injuries We Seek Compensation For
While many vehicle crash injuries may seem minor, it is important to point out that even minor injuries can lead to major medical expenses. It is not uncommon for our Portland car accident lawyers to help clients suffering from the following injuries after a crash:
- Spinal cord injuries. Injuries to the spinal cord can significantly affect a person’s life. Complete spinal cord injuries can lead to total paralysis below the site of the injury, and individuals with this type of injury will likely need lifelong care. Additionally, incomplete spinal cord injuries can still lead to significant levels of paralysis that still require significant care. The total cost of a spinal cord injury during the first year of medical care can range anywhere from approximately $250,000 to more than $1,000,000, and each subsequent year of care will likely reach significant dollar amounts as well.
- Traumatic brain injuries. There are varying levels of traumatic brain injuries, ranging from concussions to severe TBIs. Individuals who sustain a traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident could suffer from significant physical and cognitive impairments.
- Broken or dislocated bones. Individuals can break any of their bones whenever a vehicle accident occurs, and the more severe an accident, the more likely a broken bone will happen. Broken bones take time to heal, and they can lead to permanent disabilities.
- Loss of or damage to a bodily organ. Severe vehicle accidents can lead to internal trauma. This trauma can occur as a result of penetrating wounds as well as blunt force trauma that affects the body. Internal organ damage can cause massive internal bleeding and typically requires surgery to repair.
- Dismemberment or amputation. Catastrophic vehicle accidents can lead to a person losing a limb. This can include hands, feet, arms, or legs.
- Significant disfigurement. Individuals can sustain significant scarring and disfigurement due to vehicle accident injuries. This can include scarring as a result of lacerations or burns caused by the accident.
- Other injuries that inhibit a person’s day to day life. Any type of vehicle accident injury, including ones that would be seen as relatively “minor,” can affect a person’s day-to-day life. This can include whiplash, concussions, lacerations, puncture wounds, and more.
In addition to these traumatic physical injuries, individuals can also suffer from a range of non-visible emotional and psychological trauma. The vehicle accident, the injuries, and the recovery process can all lead to a person suffering from feelings of anxiety, sleeplessness, fear, stress, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even though these injuries may not be as visible, they are certainly just as real. Car accident victims deserve compensation for their visible traumatic injuries as well as any unseen emotional and psychological injuries.
These injuries all require significant medical attention and possibly long recovery times for victims. In many cases, a Portland car accident victim cannot work while they recover, or they may be disabled and unable to return to work at all. This could result in them losing the income they need to afford both their medical and regular household expenses. Car accident victims and their families are often put into serious financial jeopardy.
Oregon Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
What is the statute of limitations for an Oregon car accident?
All states put time limits in place, called the statute of limitations, that dictate how long a person has to file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident. This statute of limitations does not apply to a car insurance claim, which is the way that most people receive compensation after a crash. However, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit if the insurance carrier denies a claim or does not offer a fair settlement.
In Oregon, the statute of limitations for a car accident claim is two years from the date the accident occurs. If someone dies as a result of the crash, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is three years from the date of the crash.
If a lawsuit is seeking compensation for only property damage to the vehicle, then a person has six years to file a lawsuit.
Regardless of which deadline applies to your case, if you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has passed, the case will likely be dismissed.
Please note that you should not wait long to file a claim with your insurer of the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. All insurance companies require you to make a claim, or at least give notice of an incident that could trigger a claim, within a short amount of time after an incident occurs.
What is comparative negligence in an Oregon car accident?
In many cases, both parties are at fault in an accident. Suppose you are injured in a Portland car accident and take the other driver to court. After hearing the evidence, the jury agrees that the other driver was to blame, but they also think you were partially at fault as well. In this case, Oregon’s “modified comparative negligence” law will be in effect. This means that you can still recover damages for your injuries, but these damages will be reduced according to your share of the negligence in the accident.
For example, suppose you get into a car crash and sustain $10,000 worth of medical bills. If you take the driver to court and the jury finds that the other driver was 90% at fault and you were 10% at fault, you will not receive the full $10,000 in damages. Instead, you will receive $9,000 (that is the $10,000 minus the $1,000 that accounts for the 10% you were at fault).
If your level of fault exceeds the fault of the other party (or parties) involved, then you are barred from recovering any compensation under Oregon law.
Determining fault is one of the most important parts of a car accident case. By working with a Portland car accident attorney, you will gather the necessary evidence to prove the other side’s fault.
How do you report an Oregon car accident?
Reporting a car accident in Oregon is almost always necessary. According to the Oregon Driver & Motor Vehicle Services, drivers have to file an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report within 72 hours after a crash if the following occurred:
- The damage to any vehicle or other property exceeds $2,500 (even in a single-vehicle crash)
- If any vehicle is towed from the scene of the crash
- If there are any injuries or fatalities as a result of the accident
In most cases, you will need to call 911 after a crash and let police and EMS come to the scene. By doing so, you could be helping your case by ensuring there is a police report to use.
What should you do immediately after an accident?
Once you call 911, there are several steps you should take. Remain calm and check on other drivers who may be injured if it is safe for you to do so.
- If you have a phone or camera, take photos of the entire scene, including all damages, injuries, traffic patterns, weather conditions, causes of the crash, and more.
- Gather the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses to the crash.
- Ask the police how to obtain an official copy of the accident report.
- Seek medical attention for any injuries you sustained. Even if the injuries seem minor, please know that the signs and symptoms of many car accident injuries do not appear for hours or days after a crash. By going to the ER or your doctor, you are establishing a link between the crash and your injuries as well as looking out for your health.
Who is liable for a car accident?
There may be various parties that can be held liable after a vehicle accident occurs. Typically, accidents are caused by the careless or negligent actions of one or more drivers on the roadway. Determining liability involves gathering evidence, and this typically begins right after the crash occurs. At the scene of an incident, law enforcement officials will investigate the crash and fill out an accident report. Additionally, individuals may take photographs using their cell phones or other types of cameras. Statements from eyewitnesses will be taken, and these eyewitnesses may need to testify at a later date.
In some cases, the evidence gathered at the scene is not sufficient enough to prove exactly what happened. It may be necessary to gather mobile device records, vehicle black box data, and proof of citations issued at the scene. There are times when accident reconstruction experts are used to piece together exactly what happened and show their findings in the form of computer or 3D models.
Proving negligence requires gathering as much evidence as possible. Additionally, having a skilled lawyer by your side with experience handling these claims will certainly help. An attorney can use their skills to handle all communication with other parties involved. If necessary, your lawyer will argue the case in front of a jury, because the jury is responsible for determining liability and awarding compensation.
Should I accept an insurance settlement?
Very soon after an accident occurs, you will likely be contacted by the insurance carrier for the other party, particularly if the other party was at fault for the incident. It is not uncommon for insurance carriers to offer initial settlements relatively quickly after the incident occurs, and this may be tempting to take. If you need money for your injuries and property damage, a settlement offer will certainly be enticing.
However, please understand that initial settlement offers are likely far below what you should receive for your car crash in Portland. One of the most common tactics that insurance carriers use is to lowball the initial settlement offer and try and pay as little as possible at any point throughout the claim. You need to negotiate. An initial settlement offer should be met with a demand letter asking for the appropriate amount of money, and this will typically kick off negotiations between the parties involved. We strongly encourage you to have an attorney handle this process for you because they will understand this negotiation process and will not be bullied into settling for a low amount.
How much will an attorney cost?
Portland car accident victims often worry about how they will afford an attorney, but that does not need to be a concern. Most reputable car accident lawyers in Oregon will work on a contingency fee basis. This means that crash victims do not have to worry about paying any out-of-pocket or upfront costs related to their claim. In fact, crash victims will not have to pay a dime and legal fees until after their attorney successfully recovers the compensation they are entitled to. Under a contingency fee arrangement, the attorney will take a certain percentage of the final settlement or jury verdict award as their legal fee.
This means that, even though the attorney will take a percentage of the final settlement or jury verdict, the injury victim will typically end up with more compensation than they otherwise would have working by themselves.
Will your case have to go to court?
- The reality is that most individuals do not want to have to go to court. The good news is that most car accident claims in Portland and throughout Oregon are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. However, insurance carriers are notoriously difficult to deal with, as we have mentioned above. They have one goal in mind, and that is to pay as little as possible in compensation to you.
- Insurance settlements can take time, particularly if liability is in question. In some situations, insurance carriers may refuse to offer a fair amount of compensation, or they could deny the claim altogether. When this happens, it may be necessary to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in order to recover the compensation you are entitled to.
- When you file a personal injury lawsuit, this does move the case into the civil court system. However, even though a claim is filed in the court system, it does not necessarily mean you have to go to court. Most of these claims will still be resolved through settlements with the insurance carriers and the at-fault party. During the discovery process, evidence will likely be uncovered that pushes one or both sides towards a settlement before a trial becomes necessary. Only if the at-fault party and the insurance carrier still refuse to offer a fair settlement will it be necessary to go to a jury trial. This means you would have to go to court. However, getting to this point often takes years.
What are the Oregon car insurance requirements?
Oregon has required minimums for car insurance coverage. Failing to carry the following is illegal and could result in legal trouble:
- $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident
- $50,000 liability coverage for total bodily injury or death in an accident
- $25,000 liability coverage for property damage per accident
- $15,000 in personal injury protection, per person
- $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person and $50,000 per accident
What kind of compensation is available for an Oregon car accident?
There are several types of compensation available after a car accident in Portland. When you are struck by another driver, you could be entitled to both economic and non-economic compensation, including the following:
- Your medical expenses related to the accident
- Rehabilitation costs related to your recovery
- Lost wages and benefits if you cannot work
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of personal enjoyment damages
In some cases, you may be entitled to punitive damages if another driver’s gross negligence was to blame for your injuries. This could be the case for drunk and distracted driving incidents.
It is important for those injured in a crash to know that the first settlement made by an insurance carrier will likely be much lower than you truly deserve for the incident. Work with a Portland car accident lawyer when negotiating with insurance carriers. It may be necessary to file a lawsuit in order to get the compensation you deserve.
Discuss Your Case with Our Portland Car Accident Attorneys
Please call Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC today for the legal help you deserve. Begin by scheduling a free case evaluation to discuss your situation.
Our Portland personal injury lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for car accident victims, including numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts. We have the necessary resources to prepare all car accident cases for trial, should going to court be necessary.
Whatever it takes, we are committed to securing the most favorable result possible for our clients.