Portland Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers
Shulman DuBois LLC
Portland, Oregon 97202
Law Firm Overview
Shulman Dubois, LLC is a personal injury law firm based in Portland, Oregon and providing aggressive representation and passionate advocacy to clients throughout the nearby areas of Oregon.
Shulman DuBois LLC - Providing services in the following areas of law:
Articles Published by Shulman DuBois LLC
Oregon drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists all believe they have a strong grasp, by and large, of the rules and regulations that govern the use of our roads and highways, as well as the traffic control devices designed to protect people at busy and dangerous intersections. Unfortunately, Portland police officers are often confronted by five myths in particular the people believe to be true but are, in fact, dangerous misconceptions.Read Article
Not being able to attend work after an accident can have a lot of financial consequences for a family. But if you were not at fault, you may be able to get your lost wages compensated. Sounds simple right? In many cases it is, but in some, like for those who are self-employed or contractors, it can be more complicated.Read Article
Most people believe that if they’ve been injured in an accident at work, their only viable recourse of recovering damages is through workers’ compensation. While this is true in many cases, it’s also true that a number of exceptions to this rule exist that would allow the worker to sue for damages by making a personal injury claim for an at-work accident.Read Article
After a bike crash, it's important that you don't do anything that could jeopardize your right to bring a personal injury claim if you need to.Read Article
There are many reasons to consider a wrongful death lawsuit after the death of a family member. Here we've outlined some of the most common so that you can begin to understand whether this may or may not be a good step for your family.Read Article
When a family member has been seriously injured, it is possible to bring a claim for yourself - to compensate you for the damage to your relationship and any loss of services. This is called a loss of consortium, and this type of claim is usually pursued by spouses.Read Article
Most car accidents are straight-forward and liability is easy to understand. But did you know that there are more factors than the two drivers? The accident could have been caused by a faulty car, or a poorly designed intersection, or even bad weather. Before contacting the insurance company, make sure you understand the real cause of your accident.Read Article
Not every case needs a lawyer. If your case is small, you may be able to negotiate with the insurance company yourself. We don't often recommend this, as it can be very difficult even with a small claim to work with the insurance company, but it is possible.Read Article
Getting your car repaired is usually not an option - you need your car! So after an accident, the repair process can seem slow and frustrating. Here's some tips on getting your car repaired, and making sure the at-fault driver's insurance covers the cost.Read Article
Let's face it - auto injury claims are annoying and time-consuming. But, if you've been in an accident with a truck, the claim is even MORE complicated. So, make sure you understand the difference and how to present evidence to ensure a successful claim on your behalf.Read Article
If you are filing bankruptcy and have a personal injury claim, you need to know what this means for your case.Read Article
Schools are supposed to be safe for our children, but it's true that children are prone to getting injured. When they do, who should be held responsible for the medical expenses? Who is liable? And how does one go about showing that a school was negligent in care of a child?Read Article
After a car accident, a lot of people are worried about their car - but shouldn't they be more worried about their health? Yes! And this doesn't mean worried about medical bills. Not getting timely and thorough medical treatment after an accident is the #1 mistake accident victims make for their personal injury cases.Read Article
Slip and fall accidents are among the hardest to prove of all the types of personal injury cases. A lot of people think that if they fall, and they are injured, they should be compensated - but this isn't the way the law works. To get compensation in a slip and fall accident, you will need to prove liability. This means you will need to prove that someone else's negligence caused the accident. There are several factors.Read Article
In Oregon, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident - and it's not just illegal to leave an injured person. It is also immoral because your time and assistance after a car accident could help save someone's life if they are hurt. Read more about how ORS 811.705 defines the duties of the driver, and what to do if you have been the victim of a hit and run.Read Article
Falling asleep at the wheel can be as dangerous as drunk driving, and causes several fatal crashes every year. Here's a quick guide to avoiding this common but dangerous driving error. Now, we are not advocating driving when you are tired. If you are tired, pull over. But if you feel you have to drive, here are some useful tips.Read Article
If you are bringing an injury claim after an accident, you are entitled to non-economic damages also known as pain and suffering. These damages are VERY hard to determine because there is a large number of factors that insurance adjusters consider when determining the worth of your case. Learn what constitutes non-economic damages and the details that could affect your claim.Read Article
Finding a lawyer is easy. Finding the right lawyer for you and your case can be hard. But if you need an Oregon personal injury lawyer, you should know the questions to ask to make sure he or she will meet your needs.Read Article
If your loved one has been killed in an accident, you can file a wrongful death claim. In Oregon, however, there are time limits as well as limits on who can file the claim, and what damages can be compensated. Who can bring a wrongful death claim? ORS 30.020 says that the following people (or their legal representatives) are entitled to bring wrongful death claims against the person who caused the death:Read Article
Shoulder injuries are common after an auto accident, but the shoulder is very complex and injuries are not always diagnosed in a timely manner because it can be difficult to determine the source of pain. But shoulder injuries need to be treated, and your treatments can be compensated through insurance.Read Article
There are several common causes of construction site accidents, and if you are considering hiring a personal injury lawyer, make sure they understand these causes and how to deal with them in a claim. There are thousands of construction sites, and hundreds of thousands construction workers, in the U.S. - and unfortunately, that means a lot of construction accidents.Read Article
In Oregon, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without stopping. As a driver, your duty is to remain at the location, and assist as needed. If you don't, the penalties under Oregon law can be severe. ORS 811.705 outlines the duties of a driver when someone is injured:Read Article
Losing a loved one is hard enough without having to fight the Oregon funeral home, crematorium, or cemetery. But many people every year are appalled by the actions of these businesses, and seek help from injury lawyers for guidance. But how do you know if you have a case?Read Article
If you've been injured by a bus, you may need help to file a claim and get compensation. Buses are usually public transportation, which can make filing a tort claim in civil court very difficult. Getting seriously injured on a bus or by a bus driver is rare, but it does happen. And if this has happened to you, there are several things you need to know to protect your rights.Read Article
If you've been injured, you can send a demand letter to the at-fault driver's insurance company to begin the negotiation process for compensation. This is a basic guide for what to include in the demand letter, although with cases where liability is an issue or there are major injuries, contacting a personal injury attorney to create a demand for you may be more successful.Read Article
Hit and Runs are among the most frustrating types of accidents because they can be difficult to prove, insurance companies won't want to pay, and there is no closure. But don't let yourself be taken advantage of - again. Read these steps for protecting your rights after a hit and run crash.Read Article
If you've been injured in a premises liability, winning your case will depend a lot on proving that the negligent party was really liable for your injuries. Your Portland premises liability attorney can help. Proving negligence in a premises liability claim can be complicated - Portland premises liability attorneys have to show several things:Read Article
Trucks are heavy, large, and their drivers are often overworked - there are many reasons to be more wary of trucks on the road. But if you've been injured in a truck accident, you may be okay as many truck companies have commercial insurance with higher policy limits than individual drivers.Read Article
Medical records are one of the most important factors used to determine the worth of a personal injury claim. They show your medical treatments, what you've told the doctor and pain, and how the injury has affected your everyday life. But, medical providers can charge for those records.Read Article
In Oregon, there are certain requirements for auto insurance that you need to meet. These minimums vary by state so be careful to get the correct insurance to avoid being fined, or find yourself vulnerable after an accident.Read Article
If you live in Oregon, you need to know that lead-based paint was used in many older houses and can still negatively affect the health of those living in older houses, especially children. If you notice signs of lead-based paint poisoning in your child, take immediate action. From ancient times, it has been known that contact with lead can pose serious health risks, yet civilization has found countless uses for this toxic substance.Read Article
If your insurance company has been extremely difficult to work with, has denied your injury claim, or just keeps giving you the run-around, you can do something about it - file a bad faith claim. You've been paying insurance premiums so that they'll take care of you, so make sure that happens.Read Article
If you have been in an accident, you need to seek medical attention. If you have a serious brain injury, the signs are not always obvious. Read about the signs of traumatic brain injury to understand if you might be suffering from head trauma that you cannot diagnose yourself.Read Article
If you've been bitten by someone else's dog, and you are considering filing an injury claim against the dog's owner, you need to understand Oregon dog bite laws and how to prove negligence. Dog bites can be serious injuries, and cause both physical and emotional harm. But a dog bite victim will have trouble getting compensation unless he or she can prove the dog's owner had reason to believe the dog was dangerous.Read Article
Auto insurance companies make money by denying claims. Learn the common reasons for denial so that you can prevent them from denying your claim. You deserve compensation after an accident, so don't let the insurance company take advantage of you.Read Article
If you have an elderly family member or friend that still drives, please be aware that many accidents are caused by elderly drivers who are no longer able to safely navigate the road - and for the safety of other people, it can be important to recognize the signs that they are being unsafe.Read Article
For accident victims, it is a big decision to hire an accident attorney - but it can be a good decision. Here are 5 of the most common fears about hiring an attorney, and the truth behind the myth.Read Article
If you have been in a car accident, and received a concussion, you need to be very careful. Concussions can be a sign of a more serious head injury. You will want to be examined for a more serious brain injury and make sure you receive all the medical treatment you need. A concussion is the term for when your head gets hit so hard that your brain moves back and forth within your skull.Read Article
If you have recently lost a loved one due to the actions or negligence of another, you may be seeking a wrongful death attorney for compensation. When a family member dies, there are emotional consequences but there are financial ones as well -and a wrongful death attorney can help ensure that the death does not cause a financial burden.Read Article
In Oregon, both UIM and PIP coverage are required for auto insurance policies. Learn why this coverage is required and how they can help if you have been in an accident.Read Article
While most personal injury cases result from negligent actions, called negligent torts, there are some that are intentional, called intentional torts. Know the difference and it can help you start to understand the personal injury process.Read Article
In Portland, people like to walk, bike, etc., but there can be horrible pedestrian accidents. As Portland personal injury attorneys, we want to help prevent serious injuries by educating everyone about safety measures. Here we've outlined some basics for pedestrians.Read Article
If you've been in an accident, you are only entitled to personal injury compensation if the accident was caused by someone else's negligence or actions. Learn how attorneys and insurance determine liability, or fault, after a car accident.Read Article
If you are on the fence about hiring an attorney for your accident case, keep reading. You should understand the benefits of hiring a lawyer to represent you before making your decision.Read Article
If you live in Portland, OR you need to know which intersections to avoid - the most dangerous intersections for accidents and injuries. According to a study conducted by the Pamplin Media Group, these are the top 10 most dangerous areas for driving in Portland.Read Article
If you've been in an accident, you might need to report it to the Oregon DMV (if you live in Oregon). Read the DMV's guidelines about who needs to report their accidents and who doesn't.Read Article
There are three types of product defects that can result in product liability cases: Design defects, Manufacturing defects, and Marketing defects.Read Article
Dealing with PTSD can be very hard, especially because it can be difficult to diagnose and symptoms can be different for everyone. PTSD is very common after a car accident, and if treatment is received, you may be able to get compensation for your treatment in a personal injury claim.Read Article
In many personal injury cases, an injured person like you may be scared to go to trial. But there are alternative dispute resolutions, and your attorney can help guide you to the best one for your case.Read Article
If you've been trying and trying to work with the insurance company to get compensation after an accident, and they haven't been working with you, you might need to try something new - a bad faith claim.Read Article
If you've been injured in a car accident, you need to seek medical treatment. Delaying treatment, even due to financial hardship, can jeopardize your personal injury claim and lead to lack of future compensation.Read Article
If you've been in an Oregon car crash, and don't know what to do, let us help. Here's a simple list of Do's and Don'ts to guide you.Read Article
Everyone has car problems at some point, so read these tips to make sure if you need to pullover that you know how to do so safely.Read Article
If you want to win your personal injury case, it's important to start noticing the language your attorney and adjuster use so that you can begin to understand the subtleties of meaning.Read Article
If you ride a motorcycle, read this article. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, read this article.Read Article
Hundreds of thousands of children are treated in the ER every year for injuries sustained while playing on the playground. As Portland child injury attorneys we know many of these accidents can be prevented if parents are aware of the dangers.Read Article
If you've been in an accident, you are probably trying to ensure that your property damage and medical bills are paid by the insurance company. Well, to do this you will need to work with the adjuster - which can be more difficult than you realize.Read Article
Trying to find a good personal injury lawyer? Here's a guide to help you find the best attorney for your case.Read Article
If you've been in an accident, it is important to get a copy of your police report. If you plan to bring a personal injury case to the other driver's insurance company, the police report can be an important piece of evidence for proving liability and damages. Read more about how to request this report.Read Article
In an Oregon accident case, there are four common ways to conclude a personal injury lawsuit: negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and trial. This article discusses all four and offers basic descriptions of each.Read Article
If you've been injured at a friend's house, seeking compensation can be more difficult emotionally. But you need to remember that you aren't filing a personal injury claim against your friend - you are filing against their insurance. And this is necessary if you want to pay your medical bills and get compensated for your lost wages.Read Article
If you're involved in a personal injury case, or considering hiring a lawyer to help you with an accident claim, you need to know: the attorney/client relationship is important, and should be open and communicative. Read this article for 5 things your personal injury lawyer will need to know during your case.Read Article
Personal injury protection (PIP) is the first resource you have to pay medical bills after an accident in Oregon. Learn how to use PIP and the advantages it offers over health insurance. This could save you money and reduce the stress of medical bills and treatments.Read Article
During the summer months, drunk driving accidents increase. Read here about how to help prevent these accidents by being a responsible drinker, looking out for friends, and reporting drunk drivers.Read Article
Dogs can be dangerous, but it is possible to prevent some attacks with simple precautions. As dog bite attorneys, we've seen serious injuries result from attacks, and we want to prevent this by teaching people about dog etiquette.Read Article
Videos Provided by Shulman DuBois LLC
7 Common Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Oregon Accident Case
After a Car Accident - Post-traumatic Stress
Buying Car Insurance in Portland
So you want to get the highest amount of insurance you can afford. And you particularly want to focus on your uninsured motorist protection and underinsured motorist protection. You want to call your agent and get at least $250,000 worth of unisnured and underinsured to protect you and your family in case someone who does not have enough insurance hits you.
When I was a kid and I first got a car, I was thinking about driving it without insurance. And I told my father this. And he said, "You can't do that, it's illegal." And I said, "Well, I'm not going to get caught." And he said, "Let me ask you something Josh. How are you going to feel if you run over a kid, and he needs to be in a hospital, and you don't have the money to pay for it?" And I thought, Oh. That's a really good point."
And the same principle applies to the amount of insurance you buy. If you hit someone, and they're really badly injured, you want enough insurance to pay for that. And, buying more insurance is going to cover you and your family and your loved ones, your friends that are in your car with you. So if you're driving along, and someone hits you, and they cause serious injury, you're in the hospital for months, you can't work anymore, and they only have $25,000 worth of insurance, you're probably only going to get about $25,000 from them. And that's not going to cover it.
How Long Will My Injury Case Take to Settle?
First, we send letters to insurance companies. We send a letter to your insurance company, to the all drivers' insurance company, to health insurance companies, and we let everyone know that we're your lawyers now and anything that they want to communicate they should communicate through us.
Once that initial flurry is done, then there is often a bunch of investigation that we have to do. We figure out what happened. Maybe we measure skid marks, take photos of things, then we talk to your doctors and help you through your medical treatment. But the question on the table here is: how long does your case take?
And the truth is a lot of that is going to depend on how your medical treatment goes because the true legal part of the case doesn't really start until you're medically stationary. Medically stationary can mean one of two things. It hopefully its means you're all better, back to 100 percent, back to where you were before you got injured. Often it doesn't mean that unfortunately. A lot of injuries never really completely heal so in that case medically stationary means when you're medically stationary. When you're about as good as you are going to get. For some people this might mean you're now in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. For other people it might mean your back's always going to hurt a little bit.
But once your medically stationary that's typically when we send a demand letter. So the demand letter is a detailed letter that we write to the insurance company for the person who hurt you and it tells the insurance company what happened, whose fault it was, why it was their fault, and about your injuries and how this has affected your life and finally how much money they need to pay if they want to make this go away. Once they get the demand letter the negotiations starts. That can go quickly or it can be really drawn out and take a long time. Sometimes a negotiation will involve a disputed fact that we need to actually go and hire an expert to convince them all so it can drag out.
If we settle it at the demand stage, then a typical timeframe would be three to six months after you become medically stationary. It's difficult to average. It can be quicker. It can be a lot longer. It really depends on circumstances.
If the case doesn't settle at the demand stage then we file a lawsuit and then if it goes all the way through trial the time to trial here in Multnomah County in Portland is typically just about a year. In other counties it can be different and there are a whole host of tricks that the defense can use if they want to (and they often do) to delay the trial. So in bigger cases it can be a lot longer. It can be two years to trial. Sometimes it can be three, four or five. Typically it's a year, to a year and a half. That's the typical timeframe to trial after the case is filed. So all told from the time you're medically stationary it can be anywhere from three months to two years. That's the typical time range.
How Much Car Insurance Do I Need?
So when you call up Geico or Progressive or one of the other cheap car insurance companies and say, "You know, give me the cheapest policy I can possibly get," -- they're telling you on their TV ads you're going to get $25,000 worth of coverage. That's coverage that you're buying for yourself if you hit somebody. It's also coverage if somebody hits you and they don't have enough insurance. So if you buy $25,000, and somebody else that hits you has $25,000.00 Oregon law says you're not going to get anything from your insurance policy.
You can add on hundreds of thousands of dollars of coverage (that will cover you if somebody hits you and doesn't have enough insurance to cover your bills) for pennies a year. It's cheaper than health insurance. I've seen people buy supplemental policies that are expensive and pay $50-$60 a month. You don't have to do that with car insurance. It's cheap to get above that minimum level. So I tell everybody this, and my friends and neighbors get sick of hearing me say it -- "Buy as much car insurance as you possibly can!"
If you, god forbid, end up hurting somebody else by not paying attention, you're going to have enough insurance to cover what you did. And if you don't, somebody can come after you for your house or your other assets so it's a great idea all the way around. It takes out that risk factor of some driver out there that's trying to scrimp and save that's not bought enough insurance. What I have, and what you should have, is as much as you can afford on your own insurance policy.
So if somebody hits me and really injures me, I have $1,000,000 in coverage because it's cheap once you get up that high. It's really cheap. I think I paid an extra $100/year bumping up from whatever I had before, $300,000 or something. so it's really cheap to get that much coverage. The other thing it does: if I hurt somebody on the street accidently it covers what I've done. So it's a great thing to have and it's not a place to save money. You just need to call up your insurance agent and say I want as much liability insurance as I can afford. I recommend $300,000. That will give you protection if you hit somebody, AND if you get hit by somebody who doesn't have enough insurance. You can't control how stupid people are on the road, and when they are careless and negligent and don't pay attention, but you can still protect yourself.
How Much Do Personal Injury Attorneys Cost? Can I Afford One?
We have two different fee structures in our firm. Some of our clients pay us hourly, so for every hour of work they pay us $275.00.
And other clients choose to wait until the end, and then pay us a percentage of the money we get for them. Most people who are injured choose the second way, the contingency fee, and how it works is you don't pay us any money up front.
1) You come to us.
2) We take your case.
3) We do all the work.
4) We get you a settlement or a verdict.
5) We get you money somehow and then you pay us a portion of that money.
That portion is usual one third, that's the typical amount. So if you're ever worried about having to pay for a personal injury lawyer out of your pocket, you really don't need to worry about that, because we, like most personal injury lawyers, are willing to work for you on the basis that we get a portion of the money we get you. So, if the case doesn't work out for some reason and we don't get you any money, then we don't get paid for our work. And that's a risk we take and we're fine with it.
So, every once in a while I get a call from someone who says, "Hey, I'd like to hire you guys, but I don't know how I can afford it." So this is the answer to that and, and this is why we do it. You shouldn't ever have to worry about that when you're thinking of hiring a personal injury lawyer. Because almost all of us, and certainly our firm, are willing to take your case and not get paid until the end. At the end you will have the money to pay us because we will have gotten you that money, and if we didn't then you don't have to pay us for our work.
How to Talk to the Insurance Adjuster After An Oregon Accident for an Injury Claim
The first thing you need to understand is that there are at least two insurance adjusters involved and the answer is different depending on which one you're talking to. The insurance adjusters can be pretty aggressive, so this is why we get calls: because people have gotten 12 calls over the course of week or two and they want to know what to say.
There are two insurance companies involved in any car crash. There is your insurance company, which provides you with personal injury protection PIP (sometimes called PIP) and there is the other insurance company for the driver who hit you. Now you deal with these two very differently.
Your insurance company: you need to cooperate with to a certain extent because they're going to pay up to $15,000 of your medical bills. But in order to do that, you need to fill out their forms and answer their questions. Now the one thing I would say with your own insurance company, even they're supposed to be on your side is, Don't give them a recorded statement. Now the reason for this is that a recorded statement can only be used against you. It can never been used in your favor.
Sometimes your insurance company is going insist on it. Some of them do that sometimes without real rhyme or reason, and if they do it puts you in a tough spot, because if you refuse they may stop paying your medical benefits. In fact with our clients, when that happens, we have a tough decision to make. What we sometimes do is say, "Okay, we will let our client give a recorded statement but I, the lawyer, am going be sitting in the room with them and if you ask them any inappropriate questions I'm going to put a stop to it and advise them."
If you don't have a lawyer you've got a tough situation, because they're going to use the recorded statements against you -- but if you don't give it, they're going to stop paying your medical bills. If you have health insurance that's not necessarily the end of the world, because if your auto insurance stops paying your medical bills (because you won't give a recorded statement) your health insurance will usually pick up the slack. If you don't have health insurance, you're really in a tough spot.
Now let's switch gears. If the insurance company for the person who hit you calls you up, my advice is just hang up the phone. You do not need to speak with them. I advise people who are going to try and settle the case themselves: Do as much of it as you can in writing. In particular, anything they say, get it in writing. If they make you an offer, get it in writing. If they threaten you, which they sometimes will do on the phone, get it in writing. If you insist upon talking with them on the phone, and negotiating that way, do not let them record you. I have seen cases ruined by recorded statements, and I know that you're planning to only tell the truth, but you have to understand these insurance adjusters have been doing this a long time; they know a lot of tricks and even though you think you're just going to stick to the truth, they will ask you tricky questions that you can't anticipate and you'll stutter and stammer and then you'll answer one way or another and then if they ever play that at trial it just it makes you look bad. So please, don't give a recorded statement to the other insurance company and don't give a recorded statement to your own insurance company unless you really have to.
Motor Vehicle Accident Victim
I was finally told that I would have to have a discogram, so I have an artificial disc placed in my neck. I was very educated on the process and what to expect. I was given paperwork when I left the very first day, and I knew what was ahead and I was informed the entire process. Everyone here has been extremely professional.
It is a waiting period but the wait is definitely worth it. I am very confident that behind the scenes everyone here was working on my case and in my best interests until the very end and I would strongly recommend this law firm.
The people here are just really friendly and I looked forward to the conversations and coming in. It was very much resolved to my satisfaction because it wasn't a one-time offer from this law firm. They went back again and renegotiated which actually ended up to my advantage.
Paying Medical Bills After a Portland Car Crash
Rear-End Accident Victim Talks About SDB
As I was getting acupuncture, my acupuncturist told me about Shulman DuBois. She said, "You know, we've heard really good things about them," and I came here.
Everything was very easy, simple, and everything's been taken care of. They not only educated me, they gave me accurate information that I've actually passed on to other people, that was used, and I've actually had other people call as well!
They had a very nice pamphlet and packet that they gave me, and I have called them to ask things because I had never been in an accident before. I would call them, and an hour later Josh would call me back. If you want it nice and easy, they'll make your life very easy. This is a good way to go. Very good.
Trying to Work With the Insurance Adjuster: Video
Devil Insurance Adjuster: I do not think I can help you.
AAV: But you are the insurance adjuster for the man who ran into my car.
DIA: Well...Have you filled out all the correct paperwork?
AAV: I don't know.
DIA: How much will all your medical treatments cost, in total, for all time?
AAV: I don't know.
DIA: Do you know anything about filing a lawsuit if I don't want to help you?
DIA: Then I do not think I can help you.
AAV: But I need help with my medical bills and I don't know what to do. Please help me.
DIA: Ok, I will offer you $1,000 dollars. But that is my final offier.
AAV: But my medical bills are over $8,000 and I am still in treatment.
DIA: Too bad.
AAV: If you don't help me, I cannot pay my bills. I need to pay my medical bills!
DIA: Too bad.
AAV: The other driver was texting on his phone and not paying attention to the road.
DIA: Too bad.
AAV: He ran a red light and hit my car. The car was totaled.
DIA: Too bad.
AAV: He broke two of my ribs.
DIA: Too bad.
AAV: I will get a lawyer to take my case, and they will get me the money I need.
DIA:...Oh....ok....I will help you now.
Visting an IME (Independent Medical Examiner)
I get questions about them all the time. I just got one today, and so I wanted to talk about it for a second. Here's the situation. You've been in a car crash, and you probably don't have a lawyer yet and your insurance, your PIP (Personal Injury Protection), the company that you bought your insurance from, is paying for your medical bills. You're going to the doctor and you're getting the treatment that you need, and then all of sudden they say, "Oh wait, we want to send you for an IME -- an Independent Medical Examination."
And the thing that you have to realize is there is nothing, absolutely nothing, independent about them. In fact we call them DME, or defense medical exams. And even though it's your insurance company, they're not doing you any favors.
They are sending you to a doctor for one reason, and that's because they hope that doctor will tell them, 'Oh you're fine, you don't need to treat any more for your car crash that you were in, you should be done right now, that's my medical opinion.' If that happens then the insurance company, your insurance company, can stop paying for your medical bills.
So what are your options? I get calls from a lot of people who say, "Do I have to go?"
And the short answer is "Yeah -- especially if you don't have a lawyer." Because if you don't go, the insurance company will say you're being uncooperative and by the terms of your contract with them you have to cooperate, and that's a basis for just denying your benefits right there.
There is recourse. There's things you can do, including suing your own insurance company to force them to pay your medical bills. So don't be fooled by the independent in the Independent Medical Examination.
How we deal with this issue is, we have a whole medical department who tracks your treatment from the beginning (so the earlier you come to us the better) and because we've got a whole team working on that we're sometimes able to get the medical exam canceled completely. Or if it happens, we keep your benefits from being denied. That's how it should be handled; proactively from the beginning, and when you're looking for a lawyer ask about that. Ask about what kind of staff they have on hand to deal with medical issues as they arise -- not a year later. If you find a good attorney from the beginning, who knows what they're doing in these types of cases, you've got a much better chance of having this not happen. So my suggestion is talk to a really good lawyer who knows personal injury work and is a specialist in it, who can help you figure out how best to handle it.
[My natural inclination is, any good personal injury attorney would do that and it's not true because most of them don't do anything about it.]
Wage Loss After an Oregon Accident
Now the thing you have to remember is they only have to pay a certain amount. Right now, as of July 15, 2009, it's $1,250 per month. That amount is about to go up, thanks to a bill passed by the Oregon legislature. It's going up from $1250 per month up to $3,000 per month. Well, what about the rest? If you make $5,000 per month, how do you get paid for that extra $2,000 per month?
That amount of money is included in the claim for damages along with all the other damages from your car crash. That includes your noneconomic damages (pain and suffering), your medical bills, and the lost wage amount that wasn't paid by your insurance. But that doesn't happen until the end of the case.
What if Someone Causes You to Crash, but Doesn't Actually Hit You?
So there's a problem with those claims, and the problem is that the insurance companies sometimes don't believe it. They think you just ran into a tree, and now you're making up someone else to make it look like it's someone else's fault.
You have to tell the police within 72 hours, and tell your insurance company within three days.
So hopefully there's a witness, some skid marks on the road can sometimes do it.
So, a phantom vehicle, if you're seriously injured in a phantom vehicle crash, it's a situation in which you probably want a lawyer, and you want him fast.
What is My Oregon Accident Case Worth?
We can figure out how much the damage to your car is worth, that's pretty easy, we have repair bills. We can figure out how much your wage loss is worth. Easy. Figure out how much money you would have made, that's straightforward. We can figure out how much your medical bills are.
But then there's the pain and suffering money, the money you get for inconvenience, for making your life more difficult.
There's hardly ever a trial. There's a trial probably less than 5 percent of the time; most of the cases we settle. But [lawyers] are all thinking about trial. We're thinking about what would happen in a trial, and that's the only way to get a value for your case. There's no easy answer.