Bend Personal Injury Attorney
Personal injury cases address a wide range of incidents that cause injury. One commonality among all accidents within the personal injury umbrella is that they are all caused by third-party negligence. Suffering injuries as a result of someone else’s mistakes can be difficult to process. Depending on the severity of the experience, an individual could suffer from life-changing injuries, which understandably comes with a heft emotional toll.
Bend’s personal injury attorneys, like Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC, help their clients recover compensation for all types of damages caused by instances of personal injury. Though some individuals might initially feel hesitant to pursue legal recourse, this option can effectively compensate for the injuries and emotional scarring caused by accidents.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Though personal injury cases span a variety of different accidents, a small group of multiple types of incidents occur most commonly:
- Car accidents – Car accident cases are the most common form of personal injury lawsuit. In many cases, some form of distracted driving is to blame for causing the accident. Careless driving is grounds for a plaintiff to file a claim if the accident caused injury.
- Medical malpractice – Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of health-related injuries in the country. Malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional fails to provide agreed upon and/or safe services to their patients. This can cause infection and life-threatening injury, making it a severe form of personal injury.
- Slips and falls – Slips and falls are often associated with premises liability cases, in which a property’s owner fails to keep it within safe, legal regulations. Faulty equipment (ladders, scaffolds, etc.) in the workplace also commonly contribute to falling incidents.
- Premises liability – Premises liabilities pertain to all accidents caused by unsafe environments that the property owner does not warn against. For example, an accident that occurs in an establishment’s swimming pool could fall on their shoulders if they did not properly place guidelines and signage explaining safety procedures.
- Dog bites – Dog bite cases are also a type of personal injury that can address both the owner and the animal itself if the plaintiff involves animal control. Dog bite injuries can be severe and can cause infection if the bite breaks the skin.
- Wrongful death – Any of the negligence-based incidents discussed above can escalate to wrongful death. In these cases, a family member of the deceased victim files a lawsuit on their behalf. Family members can recover damages in the same way a typical personal injury claimant could.
- Product liability – This occurs when a company sells items they claim to be safe, when in reality they cause injury. When this happens to one specific item often enough, the company typically recalls the product. Individuals who use the item and sustain injury can press charges against the manufacturer.
What Is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law includes the different guidelines necessary to file a lawsuit against a third party for damage they caused. Negligence law is at the heart of all personal injury cases. This means that all cases follow the same general cause-effect timeline when addressing burden of proof.
Each claimant is responsible for proving their case is viable. In negligence-based cases, this means proving the defendant’s guilty stature by providing evidence that supports the following criteria:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to provide safe services and/or products.
- The defendant breached this duty in some way (negligence).
- This breach of duty directly caused the incident that injured the plaintiff.
- The plaintiff sustained verifiable injuries from the incident.
The claimant in each case possesses the burden of proof – after all, defendants are not guilty in any legal context unless valid evidence supports a plaintiff’s claims. Skilled personal injury attorneys, like Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC, understand negligence law and can guide your case to success.
For instance, some claimants might not realize their ability to file depends on their state’s statute of limitations. Each state establishes different timeframes in which an individual can file a claim to initiate different legal processes. In Oregon, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years.
Oregon’s Comparative Negligence System
Oregon operates under comparative negligence guidelines when addressing personal injury. This means that all parties must retain full responsibility for their contribution to the incident. Each party possesses a percentage-based fault rating. This fault rating determines whether an individual can file a personal injury claim outside of an insurance claim. Only individuals with a fault rating of less than 50% can file a claim. So, although Oregon assigns unique ratings to each party, they still clearly designate a plaintiff and defendant in each accident.
This answers the question of who is liable for the costs associated with an accident. Because Oregon is fault-based, the party who is most to blame pays for the damages associated with the incident. In car accidents, this is regardless of whether the plaintiff decides to pursue a personal injury claim on top of an insurance-based claim. Consulting with an attorney after an accident often provides insight into the options you have, considering your fault percentage and the context of the accident.
Attorney-Aided Settlement Negotiation
A skilled attorney investigates your case and helps you determine which damages to claim when you file a lawsuit. Claimants in personal injury cases can claim the following damages:
- Immediate medical expenses (ex. emergency services, examination, surgery, treatment)
- Recurring medical expenses (ex. prescription medication, physical therapy, medical equipment)
- Lost wages
- The diminished ability to earn (caused by permanent disability)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Embarrassment and humiliation
These damages contribute to the settlement figure that your attorney helps create before going to negotiate a settlement.
Personal injury lawsuits do not immediately go to court. Instead, attorneys generally encourage their clients to try to settle out-of-court before seeking a trial. This prevents the claimant from having to pay court-related fees. The negotiation process is also less formal than the court setting and allows both parties to negotiate rather than remain at the mercy of the court’s ruling.
Attorneys are extremely useful during the settlement negotiation process. In most cases, lawsuits involve the other party’s insurance company. The insurance company assigns claims adjustors to your case – these are the individuals with whom you negotiate. Insurance adjustors are notoriously unaccommodating when it comes to offering settlements. Skilled attorneys like Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC know the initial offers that adjustors make are generally lower than what they know you could claim.
Hiring an attorney on to your case ensures that the defendant’s claims adjustors do not take advantage of you while negotiating. Moreover, a lawyer in your corner will advise you on what to say and what to omit while speaking to these individuals. Babbling and/or bringing up unnecessary details could cause issues for you in the long run; an attorney will remind you how to keep yourself covered through the whole process.
This information also applies to insurance-based claims that you pursue within your own insurance company rather than through your local small claims court. Though these types of claims differ in the damages you can recover, claimants can still bring their insurance-based case to court if settlement negotiation is not successful, or if they wish to claim additional damages.
Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC is a refutable firm with years of experience in personal injury law. We are client-centered, making sure to provide high quality legal services to all who seek our counsel. Utilizing our firm means obtaining access to all of our resources on top of the invaluable knowledge that we impart throughout the claims process. When seeking legal recourse for a personal injury case, Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC are here to advocate for you.