QUESTION: Last week my friend and I got into an auto accident. We were both drunk when she drove 86 mph into a telephone pole. We were taken by ambulence to the hospital. I had a severe concussion and whiplash. It is less than a week, and I am in severe pain still. I have been thinking about getting an attorney to help me out. I would just like to know anyones opinions on using an attorney. This accident happened in Oregon. They driver (my best friend) was charged with a DUII.
ANSWER: Do you really want to sue your friend? Afterall, you WERE a willing participant by getting into a car with your friend who you knew was intoxicated. You say you're best friends....do you think you'll remain friends afterward? I guess you have to decide what's more important to you, friendship or money. If money is more important to you than friendship.....hire a lawyer if you like. Let him/her tell you how much of a jerk your friend is for drunk driving (believe me, she already knows), let him/her convince you to "listen to them" to get the maximum amount allowed under the policy and by law. And then give at least 33% of it to them for doing what? The same darn thing YOU can do on your own which is settle your claim. But here is what you MAY want to consider talking to an attorney about....the laws on DUI vary from state to state and these laws can have a DIRECT impact on your ability to make a claim against your friend. Also, there's a possible defense your friend has against any claims made by you, and it's as I already mentioned...you KNEW (or should have known) the RISK of voluntarily getting into a vehicle with someone who you had reason to believe was intoxicated....in some states this is a VALID and LEGAL defense to deny any claim you may bring against her. The technical terminology is "assumed risk," or "assumption of risk." My personal opinions about attorneys....unless one is killed or seriously injured (internal bleeding, amputation, coma) they are useless and you are just giving away money.
QUESTION: Hello, I was involved in an auto accident and my car was totaled. The other party and his insurance company assumed liability and paid off my car. Since I had to go to the hospital there is now a medical claim. I am not used to this so I am bewildered by the process. The other insurance company sent a respresentative to my house to talk to me. She offered me $500 to close the claim. I said no since I have follow up doctor appointments. I need to make sure my neck is fine before settling. She also asked me to consider what I want to settle the claim. I didn't know that I could ask for an amount. Anyway, before I confer with a lawyer, I am curious what compensation, including pain and suffering, I should expect. Also, what should my points be in stating the reasons for asking for an amount? Thanks
ANSWER: No one can determine the worth of a personal injury claim without knowing a lot of variables. Age, general health, prior injuries, occupation;' and the list goes on. PI attorneys know how to settle cases for what they are worth and it is statistically correct that even with paying attorney's fees the injured party will get more in the way of a settlement with an attorney than without one. Insurance adjustors are trained to tell injured persons that they don't need an attorney; that they will get more without one, etc., because they want you to sign that release as soon as possible. Do not talk to the adjustor again so you won't say anything that will hurt your case later. Get thee to an attorney.
QUESTION: I was in an accident on Oct 12, 2003 in Salem Oregon, a little under 4 years ago. I was driving and was rear ended causing my vehicle to be pushed into the vehicle in front of me. My 2001 Dodge Neon which was totaled. I had severe whiplash had to seek medical attention and couldn't go to work. I had liability insurance and my insurance paid me NOTHING (I had Country Insurance) but paid out the other parties. They told me I was at fault, because in Oregon if you rearend someone it is automatically your fault. I still have pain in my neck and was involved in a similar accident recently BUT I was the person in the front and my insurance (Farmers)told me the party that was liable was actually the vehicle that initially caused the whole accident the car in the end. SO I called Country insurance to see who was liable for the accident in 04 and they said me! I explained to them that this wasn't correct. Should I get a lawyer. How long do I have to reopn the case? HELP
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QUESTION: I was rear ended about a month ago, a young man about 17 hit me and my son while we were on the street already backed away from a drive way. The hit clearly states that we were NOT backing away when we were hit. Both insurances have placed the blame on me, but i have a witness that saw it unfold from beginning to end. She states that any sane human being driving would of either honked, BRAKED, swerved or anything to avoid collision, she also said that he looked distracted my guess was he was texting. After the accident happened when we both started to talk he was nervous and his mom came over and tried to assign blame on us. My company and the young mans FAILED to call her (the witness) and almost intimidately assigned blame to me without even investigating. I am a minority, and i have reason to believe that i was discriminated. After calling his insurance i confirmed that they did not call the witness, but why not? We received a letter saying that "based on the statements" (more than one) we were at fault. My insurance (a small insurance in oregon) offered to pay 80% of his damages, without even making a proper investigation. What are my option? I am contacting a lawyer. But id love to know if any people working in insurance have any light to shed on this.
ANSWER: With over 15 years in the auto insurance business, I'll try to help. I've seen this exact scenario over over a hundred times. Forget the minority thing, the race card isn't going to help you. The people making those decisions didn't know or care about the colour of your skin. The insurance companies looked over both statements, from you and the other driver, and they're thinking the same thing I'm thinking: You were backing out or had just backed out of the driveway when it happened. Maybe you had just shifted from reverse to a forward gear, but your vehicle probably wasn't dead straight in the lane yet and you weren't moving forward. You mentioned the driveway yourself, plus you mentioned that any sane person would have braked or honked, and that tells me you had just backed out of the driveway into the street. I don't even need to look at the other driver's statement, I know it says you backed out in front of them. With those two statements put together, nobody needs a witness. This accident was your fault. You inadvertently admitted it, in fact. You can get a lawyer, but you'll be wasting your money. You're trying to use the angle that you were no longer moving in reverse to turn this into a rear-end accident, and it's not going to work. I've seen lots of people try, and every one of them have failed AND still had to pay their lawyer.