Should I hire an attorney after a car accident

Should i hire an attorney after a car accident

Oregon Car Accident Attorney FAQ


No matter where it happens in Oregon - Portland, Medford, Eugene, Bend, or elsewhere - being involved in a car accident because of somebody else is a reasonably frustrating event! And one that is full of complicated insurance and legal rules, many of which are on a short timeline. Considering an attorney is more than appropriate when faced with such a situation. Make no mistake, understanding Oregon's car accident liability laws is incredibly complex, especially when you are injured and under stress from being in a vehicle accident!

For example, although you might think it is indisputable that the other party caused the accident, you may still need to prove your innocence. You'd be shocked how often the car insurance companies blame the victim! And it doesn't stop with whose fault it is, either, as the insurance adjusters routinely blame the injured person's symptoms on prior injuries, their age, etc., or argue that they or their doctors haven't followed appropriate medical treatment protocols.

Rather than stressing over such allegations, you should only worry about healing and health following the car accident. To that end, we at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys will find ways to care for you.

Indeed, even if you do not want to take things to court, a lawyer can guide you in reaching a fair settlement. Call our 24/7 number at (800) 285-8678, and we would be happy to analyze your car accident case and lay out your options. We can also set up a free consultation to explore whether litigation is appropriate considering the circumstances of your personal injury claim.

What do I do after getting involved in a car accident because of somebody else?

Our seasoned car accident attorneys - with offices conveniently located in Portland, Eugene, Medford, Roseburg, Grants Pass and Bend - are happy to discuss how we can assist in helping you with your case, whether that be through settlement or trial if necessary. But to best enable you to get fair compensation for your car accident claim, a few steps are always recommended:

  1. First, ensure that you have not created traffic barriers by pulling over. Both drivers have a legal obligation to stop even for minor car crashes.
  2. Ensure you and all other parties involved are alright. If not, call 9-1-1 and seek police and medical assistance.
  3. Exchange contact information with the other car's driver. If you plan on making an auto insurance claim, ask for the other driver's car insurance company information.
  4. Seek medical attention as quickly as you can. Even if you think you are just sore, severe injuries from accidents are not always immediately apparent. You could have whiplash, disc injuries, joint injuries, nerve damage, soft tissue damage, or even brain damage.
  5. Remember to take pictures of all the damage you have experienced. Document the damage to your property and car in clear photos. Also, if you have visible injuries (even bruises), be sure to take clear photos of those injuries and their healing.
  6. Obtain a police report and statements from willing passersby who witnessed the car accident.
  7. Ensure you are working with your doctors to keep a consistent record of your injuries. Be complete and honest when reporting your injuries and symptoms, and follow their suggestions to the best of your ability. An injured person has a legal duty to do so! This will be essential not only for your recovery but also for your personal injury case.

Why should I document everything in an auto accident, even if it is not my fault?

Your percentage of liability essentially means how "at fault" you were for the auto accident. This percentage assists in determining what fair compensation would look like. The other driver's negligence in this accident is what your attorney will have to prove to maintain this was not your fault. These elements include proving:

  1. A Duty of Care: The other driver owed you a duty of care by being a responsible, non-negligent driver on the road.
  2. Breach of that Duty of Care: That driver breached their duty of care by creating an avoidable crash.
  3. Causation: That crash caused injuries, property damage, and other losses to the non-breaching driver.

Our personal injury lawyers will help you obtain maximum compensation by creating a strong case of causation. Without causation, the other party could try to claim you were negligent and, therefore, liable, too. In Oregon, if you are found up to 50% liable, your recoverable damages are reduced by that percentage. If you are found to be more than 50% liable, you lose outright and cannot collect for your car accident injuries!

Again, medical records are vital to prove that the car accident, and not something else, caused your injuries and symptoms. Establishing an accurate and complete medical history following the car crash makes it impossible for the auto insurance carrier to prove it was due to some other factor, even if they wrongfully claim such nonsense as is usually the case. Indeed, without direct evidence, the other party's insurance company could successfully say you had a pre-existing condition.

Should I be talking to the other party's insurance company?

No! It is natural to want to answer their calls, give them information, or even apologize to speed up the process. However, auto insurance adjusters are trained to trick you into saying things that can be twisted in their favor, and against your own interests. Do not say "sorry" to the liable party or their car insurance company, even if it feels polite. After retaining a personal injury lawyer, you can inform them that your attorney will speak with them instead. Once that occurs, they are obligated to communicate only through your attorney, saving you time, hassle, aggravation, and a potential misstatement that could hurt your case.

Again, car insurance companies frequently attempt to twist your side of the story to make it seem that you are more liable than their client, weren't injured as bad as you were, or otherwise are not a deserving victim of their insured's negligence. A car crash is so stressful for all parties involved that it is only reasonable that you might have the instinct to apologize or admit it was partially your fault - don't do that! Especially when you are not trained in legal fault or causation as an attorney is! Insurance companies are experts at trying to settle for the lowest amount they can. Our personal injury lawyers know how to handle these talks for the best result in your case so that you don't leave money on the table.

Should I hire a lawyer just for a settlement?

Yes! Most Oregon car accident cases settle out of court. If you decide not to litigate, the resources we offer do not suddenly become irrelevant. Our attorneys are still eager to help guide you through a fair settlement with your insurance company, which almost inevitably results in more money in your pocket than had you gone it alone.

Make no mistake: auto accidents and related settlement negotiations are not simple. When you are anxious, tired, and injured, you may forget to read between the lines. More likely, you do not know your rights or how to preserve claims to other avenues of recovery, including personal injury protection policies, umbrella policies, additional liability policies, or underinsured motorist policies. An experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney can handle combing through these documents and agreements for you to leave no stone unturned!

You should call a locally reputable, experienced lawyer to discuss each of your options following a car accident in Oregon. Even if it was only a fender-bender with no significant injuries, and you want to work towards a settlement rather than a lawsuit, we can lay out your options and explain the process in our free consultation - even if you decide not to hire an attorney at the time.

How long do I have to file this type of lawsuit in Oregon?

After seeking medical attention, consider finding a car accident attorney immediately. State laws have "statutes of limitations," which is a given time frame to settle a claim or otherwise file a lawsuit. If you are late, you lose all rights to your claim and will be left with nothing! The statute of limitations in Oregon generally allows you to bring a car accident injury within two years. ORS 21.110(1). However, this rule has limited exceptions that generally apply only to children.

For wrongful death claims, the victim's estate must settle or file a claim against the at-fault driver within three years of the accident. ORS 30.020(1). However, this, too, has exceptions, and if other insurance policies might be involved, the timeline might be shorter than three years. For example, an underinsured motorist claim requires that you file or settle your direct claim within two years, and you also must have the underinsured motorist's written approval of any settlement of that claim!

Gathering proper evidence concerning liability, injuries, and damages can take months. Since you generally have only two years in which to settle or file your claim in court, it is in your best interest to consult with car accident attorneys as soon as possible.

What can a car accident attorney help me achieve?

So, why should you hire a personal injury attorney for a car accident? In short, we want to help you get the maximum compensation you deserve. Rest assured, going through an auto accident and all the injuries it causes is no easy feat. Neither is settling your case for maximum compensation - especially when up against a multi-billion dollar insurance company trained in minimizing claims. That's why our personal injury lawyers at DWC have the experience to easily guide you through the process and maximize your results.

In short, Dwyer William Cherkoss are experts in assisting you obtain maximum compensation for:

  1. Past medical expenses,
  2. Future medical expenses,
  3. Lost wages when being unable to work,
  4. Impairment of your capacity to work,
  5. Property damage and vehicle repair costs, and
  6. Noneconomic damages (pain and suffering, emotional distress)

Understanding your rights and Oregon law is vital in a car accident. However, you cannot become an expert overnight! That's why we've specialized in this area for decades. Look no further than DWC in finding qualified lawyers in the area to trust so we can properly guide you through your situation.

Will my personal injury attorney bill me monthly?

No. For your auto accident case, our personal injury attorneys will work on a contingency fee basis. This means that we only get paid a percentage of what we are able to recover on your behalf. It also means that we have the same interests - in obtaining a settlement as quickly as possible while, at the same time, maximizing your recovery! And, with our expertise and experience at your disposal, we almost are almost always able to net our clients more money than they could if they tried to negotiate their car accident claim on their own.

We understand that auto accidents create injury, stress, exhaustion, and financial anxieties. We are happy to offer free consultations to determine whether you even need a lawyer, and if you do, help you obtain the compensation you deserve!

Whether you want to hire an attorney or speak to our team about your options, we are here for you. Call Dwyer Williams Cherkoss about your car accident today at (800) 285-8678.

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