Mario F. Riquelme & L. Todd Wilson Partners At Elliott, Riquelme & Wilson LLP

If you have been injured in a car crash in the State of Oregon, you will likely have many questions.  One of the most common is: “Who is going to pay for all the medical bills?”.  Most people are surprised to see just how expensive medical treatment after a car crash can be.  An ambulance ride can cost hundreds of dollars, and even the shortest of hospitalizations can run into the thousands of dollars.  While some people may be lucky and have only mild soft tissue injuries which resolve in a matter of months, each human body is different; the same cervical, thoracic or lumbar strain which in one person resolved in three months for a couple thousand dollars in medical bills, could take a year or more to resolve, and require ten thousand dollars or more in treatment for the next person.  Keep in mind this is for soft tissue (commonly known as “whiplash”) type injuries.  Many car accidents will have additional injuries (broken bones, bulged discs, herniated discs, radiculopathy, post concussion syndrome, traumatic brain injury, etc.)  Depending on the extent of the injuries, the cost of treatment could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In most cases, your medical bills will be covered by the auto insurance of the automobile you were travelling in.  This is because most auto insurance policies sold in the state will carry PIP (Personal Injury Protection).  This type of coverage is mandatory per Oregon law in (ORS 742.520).  The benefit of this setup is that if you were injured in a car accident, you can see your doctor, and so long as the injury you are seeking treatment for is related to the motor vehicle accident, and the treatment is reasonable, PIP insurance will have to pay.

There are certain important limits to this coverage.  The two most important things to keep in mind are that the minimum limits are $15,000.00 per person, and treatment will only be paid for medical services rendered within two years of the date of the crash.  It is important to keep in mind that $15,000.00 is the minimum for policies issued in the state of Oregon.  Your actual policy may provide higher limits.  It is advisable to check the language of your policy carefully to see how much coverage you are entitled to.  If you cannot find this information, it would be wise to talk to a reputable personal injury lawyer.  Most knowledgeable attorneys who practice in this area will be happy to help you find this information, and most personal injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation.

Overindulgence is a common regret after the holiday season; however, some people might be facing serious consequences. Drinking “a few too many,” and driving often leads to legal issues. As discussed in our previous blog, DUI/DUII enforcement was stepped up in Oregon through the end of the New Year. You may have close friends or family members who were pulled over by law enforcement officers during over the past few weeks. If they were drinking, then they may have been arrested and charged with a DUI/DUII.

Penalties might surprise you

If a person has never been charged with a DUI before then it will be considered a first-offense. For a first-offense DUI conviction, someone may face both administrative and criminal penalties. Administrative penalties can include:

Law enforcement agencies around Oregon are stepping up their patrols over the holidays this year. County sheriff’s deputies are teaming up against drunk and distracted drivers during Christmas and New Years. Agencies around the state are participating in campaigns increasing the amount of police patrolling between December 15th and January 1st.

Holiday traffic and parties

More drivers are on the road during the holiday season, travelling to see their families. Holiday get-togethers add to the high volume of traffic. Christmas parties and New Year’s celebrations often involve excess fun, food and alcohol consumption. After a night of celebrating with friends and family, people are more likely to drive home after a few drinks.

During a car accident, you may suffer injuries that you do not feel until hours or even days afterward. While most delayed onset injuries do not pose serious threats to the life of a victim, delayed onset injuries to the abdomen are very serious and deserve immediate attention.

If you recently experienced a car accident and just began feeling pain in your abdomen, you should receive emergency medical care immediately. Internal injuries, especially those in your abdomen, can turn fatal quickly. Do not wait until tomorrow or until the next convenient time. If you do, you may not live to see it.

Once you receive professional medical care, you can consult with an attorney to determine whether or not you have grounds for a personal injury claim. An attorney works on your behalf to make sure that you receive all the care you need and keeps your rights protected. An attorney can also work with your medical care providers to ensure that you do not drown in medical debt while you wait for a fair settlement from the accident.

The thought of making a car insurance claim may be enough to make your stomach turn. This typically means that something has gone wrong on the road, such as being part of a motor vehicle accident.

While you don’t dream of the day when you can make a car insurance claim, you know that this could move to the forefront of your life at some point. If it does, you don’t want to wait around and hope that things play out in your favor. You need to take immediate action.

There are things that you absolutely need to do when making a car insurance claim. Consider the following:

If the time comes to make a car insurance claim, such as after an accident, you need to take all the right steps. Although you may think you know what you are doing, it’s easy to make a mistake that could harm your ability to receive the compensation you deserve.

One of the most important things to remember is that you have a contract with your car insurance company. You pay for coverage every month, so you don’t want to let your insurer off the hook if the time comes to make a claim.

Just as there are things you should do when making a car insurance claim, there are also things you should absolutely avoid. This includes the following:

Getting arrested and accused of drunk driving can have instant and severe consequences on your life — even before a conviction occurs. You could be suspended from your job or suffer other job consequences, you could suffer from a smeared reputation amongst your friends and you might experience difficulties in your family relationships.

That said, if a conviction happens, the consequences of a DUI become even more severe, regarding criminal penalties and suspended driving privileges. When the DUI charge also involves a fatal or injurious accident, a conviction could result in prison time.

Examples of drunk driving defense strategies

Just because you are part of a car crash does not necessarily mean you are able to receive compensation. However, if the other party was at fault, you need to learn more about your legal rights.

Many people are the “do it yourself” type, believing that they can navigate the legal landscape without professional assistance. While there is no law saying that you have to hire a personal injury attorney, it’s often in your best interest.

Here are some of the many reasons why you should consider consulting with an experienced legal team:

Soft-tissue injuries may not seem like they’re life-changing, but many can be, at least in the short term. Soft-tissue injuries range from strains and sprains to bruises.

Soft-tissue injuries are typically caused by sudden traumatic events like car accidents or trip-and-fall incidents. They can also be caused by overusing the areas of the body that suffer the strain, sprain or bruising.

How are soft-tissue injuries treated?

If you were injured because of someone else’s negligence, you know how difficult the aftermath of an accident can be. A traumatic injury changes your life. You can no longer get up and go to work in the morning like you used to. If you had a physical job, you may never be able to perform your job duties again. The healing process is often paired with exorbitant medical costs. Finding happiness may now be a challenge. All of this can take its toll on your family as well.

When this dramatic change in your livelihood was caused by another person, it is important to know that you have options. One of those options is to seek justice through a personal injury claim.

A personal injury claim allows you to hold those responsible for your injuries accountable by seeking compensation. In Oregon, there are two types of compensation available to victims of personal injury: economic and noneconomic.

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