Car Accident Lawyers in Portland
Car crashes are one of the most common causes of personal injuries. One of the worst things about many of these accidents is that they could have been avoided if the driver who caused the crash had been more careful. If your accident was caused by another driver's negligence, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your damages, from medical bills, lost earnings from your job, property damage, and pain and suffering. If you want to pursue these types of compensation, you should consider talking to an experienced attorney who can guide you through the entire process.
The Portland car accident lawyers at Rizk Law have helped many car accident victims who suffered damages because of negligence. Our attorneys have decades of combined experience and have recovered more than $15 million in compensation for personal injury victims in Portland. Our founder - Richard Rizk - spent many years as the inhouse counsel for various insurance companies and as such, has a comprehensive understanding of how insurance companies approached damages claims.
Our knowledgeable Portland personal injury lawyers are ready to go to work for you, pursuing the maximum compensation you deserve to help you move forward with your life. Our office is located at 0434 Iowa Street, just minutes from Interstate 5, the Willamette River and Willamette Park.
Do I Have a Case?
Determining negligence is an important part of building a personal injury case. As there are many factors that can contribute to an automotive collision (driver negligence, weather condtions, vehicle maintenance issues, defective parts and so on), it's important to hire a lawyer that has the knowledge and experience to full investigate your claim.
Accident victims are often unclear about the benefits of working with an attorney, and even if they think it might help, they worry about how much it will cost. Before making a decision about working with an attorney, it's important to consider why it may be an advantage to having a legal team on your side, and how the contingency fee arrangement works – it greatly benefits accident victims as they do not have to worry about affording legal services.
No Fees Unless You Win
The car accident lawyers in Portland at Rizk Law do not charge for representing you unless you receive compensation for your claim. In other words, we do not get paid unless and until you get paid. This means you do not have to worry about money when you consider hiring an attorney.
Managing the Legal Process
The legal process can be complicated and intimidating for accident victims. Our lawyers understand this and that is why we are ready to manage every aspect of the process on your behalf. This includes negotiating with the insurance company, building a case, investigating the accident and consulting medical experts and accident reconstruction experts if necessary. This allows you to focus on what is most important: recovering from your injury. We are veterans of the legal process and know what to expect and what it takes to succeed.
Our founder and senior lawyer Richard Rizk has years of experience working for insurance companies authorizing payment of large loss claims and defending injury claims as an insurance defense lawyer. He is able to use the insights gained from working for the other side when working with injury victims.
Filing a Lawsuit if Necessary
Unfortunately, the insurance claims process is not always successful. The insurance company for one reason or another may be unwilling to offer any compensation or an amount that fairly compensates you for the losses you suffered.
When this happens, you need a Portland car accident attorney who is prepared to go to court and fight for your rights. Our attorneys will always be prepared to go to court, even while we are negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf. This allows us to ensure your lawsuit is filed before the statute of limitations expires.
Schedule a free legal consultation to learn more about the advantages of having an attorney help you with your car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Contact Rizk Law right now at 503.245.5677.
Car Insurance Coverage in Oregon
Like many other states, Oregon follows a fault-based system when assigning responsibility for damages from a car accident, such as medical expenses and lost wages. This means the at-fault party is financially responsible for these damages. The victim has three options for pursuing fair compensation:
- Filing a claim with his or her insurance company – the company will likely try to obtain compensation from the other driver's insurance company
- Filing a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver
However, while filing a lawsuit is an option, many situations are resolved by filing an insurance claim. In Oregon, every driver is required to obtain certain coverages to pay other drivers' damages in case of an accident, including:
- Bodily injury coverage worth $25,000 per person and $50,000 for two people who are injured or killed an accident caused by the policyholder. This pays for the medical expenses of victims.
- Property damage coverage worth $20,000 to cover damage to the other driver's vehicle.
Car accident victims can also pursue compensation from certain coverages in their own insurance policies, such as personal injury protection coverage, which takes care of medical expenses and other out-of-pocket costs.
If you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance, you may be able to obtain compensation from your uninsured motorist coverage. However, this coverage does not pay for damage to your vehicle, just medical expenses. Both personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage are required under state law (Oregon's Financial Responsibility Law).
One thing to remember about car insurance companies after an accident is that they are focused on paying out the least possible amount of compensation, even your own insurance company. This is why many accident victims choose to be represented by a Portland car accident lawyer.
It is also important to note that if there is property damage in the accident that exceeds $1,500 OR if any person is injured in the accident, it MUST be reported to the DMV within 72 hours of the collision taking place. If you are not sure of the value of the damage caused, you should report the accident by completing an Oregon Traffic Accident report, a copy of which can be found on the Oregon DMV website.
At Rizk Law, we know how insurance companies like to handle these situations and we know how to pursue your best interests. We will not accept unfair offers because we will determine a fair valuation of your damages.
Examples of Portland Car Accidents
There are many different auto accidents that occur because of one driver's negligent or careless actions behind the wheel. According to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), there were 12,588 car accidents in Portland resulting in 8,767 injuries and 42 fatalities in 2016.
Some of the more common crashes that we see in Portland include:
These are often deadly accidents, particularly when they occur at high speed on busy roadways, like interstates. These occur when one vehicle crashes into the front of another vehicle. Sometimes this results from one driver going the wrong way. No matter who causes these accidents, the occupants of both vehicles are at risk for serious injury or death because of the force of the impact.
These are accidents involving multiple vehicles. Occupants of these vehicles can sustain a variety of injuries because these crashes often involve multiple impacts. These accidents are often a chain reaction from one collision – one car hits another, that hits another, that hits another. Often, once the first impact occurs, other drivers in the area are unable to avoid a collision.
These are accidents that occur at intersections, whether there are stop signs or traffic lights. One car crashes into the side of another, often as the car with the right of way is passing in front of the car without the right of way. These are often caused by drivers running stop signs or red lights because they are speeding or simply not paying attention.
The sides of cars are not as capable of protecting occupants from a side impact as they are from a rear or frontal impact. This is why these accidents could cause devastating injuries, from broken bones to internal bleeding and organ damage.
These types of accidents often happen at intersections when one car crashes into the back of another that is stopped. These crashes are sometimes referred to as fender benders because people believe the injuries from these accidents are usually not that serious.
However, these injuries can be more serious than people realize. When a car gets hit from behind, the driver's head can be jolted forward. The driver's neck causes this forward motion to stop abruptly and the driver can develop whiplash, which can affect you for weeks or months and cause considerable pain.
Despite increased awareness of the dangers of drunk driving, it still happens far too often and often results in dangerous crashes. Drunk drivers have impaired judgment, reaction time and vision, making them increasingly likely to operate their vehicles in a dangerous manner that increases the risk for accidents.
There has been increased attention on distracted driving in recent years because so many drivers operate their vehicles while distracted. Common distractions include texting and driving, talking on the phone while driving, using GPS devices, talking to passengers or adjusting settings on the radio or air conditioning.
Taking your eyes of the road even for a second or two puts you at risk of hitting another car or driving right into danger without realizing it.
Our Portland car accident attorneys have seen many different kinds of accidents in the Portland area. No matter what happened, if you believe negligence was involved, you should seriously consider contacting us to find out if we can help you.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today to learn more about what we can do for you.
Most Dangerous Intersections in Portland
Intersections are one of the most dangerous places for collisions and injuries. The Portland Bureau of Transportation has identified 30 intersections with the highest number of reported collisions between January 2012 and December 2016. The top five from most dangerous to less dangerous are:
- Southeast 122nd Ave. and Stark St. – The city plans to add bike lane extensions and address other conflict areas surrounding the intersection.
- Southeast 82nd Ave. and Powell Blvd. – ODOT is expected to complete $110 million in safety improvements to outer Powell before transferring responsibility to Portland.
- Southeast 122nd Ave. and Division St. – Significant projects are expected to begin in 2019 and continue until 2021 on Division.
- Northeast 122nd Ave. and Glisan St. – There are plans to install new street lights at the intersection by 2020.
- Southeast 92nd Ave. and Holgate Blvd. – In 2019, the city is planning to upgrade the traffic signals at this intersection.
A known trouble spot may be a factor in a car accident lawsuit. Having evidence of similar collisions over time at the same intersection may help bolster your claim for damages. A Portland car accident lawyer at Rizk Law is ready to review your accident to determine the factors involved.
Call 503.245.5677 now for our free consultation.
How to Handle the Aftermath of an Accident
When a car accident occurs, do you know what to do?
Unfortunately, many accident victims are unsure about the appropriate steps to take. Even if they have an idea about what to do, they are shaken up from the crash and struggle to think clearly and avoid being confused.
The car accident lawyers in Portland at Rizk Law understand what victims are thinking and feeling after an accident because we have talked to many victims soon after a crash. We know there are certain steps you can take to help protect your health and safety and help preserve your claim for compensation. These steps include:
Your accident may very well have been caused by negligence and you may be entitled to compensation. While it is crucial to deal with that aspect of the accident quickly, the first priority is to get your injuries treated by qualified, competent medical professionals. This is the only way you will have a chance at making a full recovery, if a full recovery is possible. Medical professionals are the only ones who can accurately diagnose your injuries and provide the appropriate treatment.
Getting medical attention right away is actually part of the process of pursuing compensation. It helps to link your injuries to the accident and makes it more difficult for insurance companies and at-fault parties to make the case that your injuries were caused by something other than the accident.
Make sure to get a copy of your medical records that detail your treatment after the accident and the progress of your recovery. These are essential pieces of evidence – without them you will have a lot of trouble getting compensation.
Search for and Gather Evidence
One of the advantages you have over accident victims in years past is that you have a cellphone with a camera that allows you to take high-quality pictures at the scene. You should try to take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the other driver's vehicle, along with any of your visible injuries, property damage and anything else you think might be relevant.
There is no such thing as taking too many pictures after an accident because you never know what might be useful later on in building a case.
Another thing you should do is look for witnesses to the crash, such as other drivers, pedestrians or business owners or customers if the accident happened near any businesses. Ask these people what they saw and take notes or record a video on your smartphone, with their permission. Make sure to get their names and contact information so you or your Portland car accident lawyer can contact them in the future.
Contact the Police
Sometimes, such as with extremely severe accidents, police will be dispatched to the scene without the victim or at-fault driver calling them. However, sometimes it will be up to the victim or other driver to contact the police. Even if you do not think the accident is that serious, you should call the police.
The Portland Police Bureau will investigate the accident if it involved one or more of the following:
- Fatality or possible fatality
- Serious physical injury
- Hit-and-run incidents
- Hazardous material spills
- Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Beyond the above criteria, you are also required under Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (DMV) reporting requirements, to notify the police about any accident that resulted in:
- More than $2,500 in damages to any vehicle
- A vehicle being towed away
- Death or injury
- Property damage of more than $2,500
The officer who comes to the scene will complete an accident report after surveying the scene and talking to you and the other driver. This is a vital piece of evidence in your personal injury claim because it is an official record of what occurred, including any traffic citations issued to the other driver. The report may also have the officer's opinion on who is at fault.
Visit the Portland Public Records Request website to find out how to obtain a copy of the police report on your accident. Unfortunately, it could take up to four weeks to obtain a report and there is also a fee for all records requests.
File an Accident and Insurance Report
Even if an officer files a report, drivers are still required to file an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report with Driver and Motor Vehicle Services within 72 hours of any accident that had the results mentioned above. If you do not report this type of accident, your driver's license will be suspended.
Continue Your Treatment
It is absolutely essential that you follow the doctor's instructions about your treatment and recovery. Attend follow-up appointments and avoid any activities the doctor tells you to avoid. If you do not continue your treatment as ordered, your personal injury claim could fall apart. The insurance company could argue that you are not really hurt or try to devalue your claim.
Our Portland car accident lawyers can explain your options and the steps you should take after an accident to pursue compensation. We have been through this process many times and know what to expect and how to build a strong case.
Call our firm now for a free, no obligation legal consultation. 503.245.5677.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
Sometimes the insurance company will not offer fair compensation for your damages. When this happens, your only option for obtaining compensation may be to file a lawsuit.
Our Portland car accident attorneys know that for most people, the thought of going to court brings a lot of anxiety. This is why we keep our clients informed throughout the legal process to help put their mind at ease. We explain what to expect and what they can do to help their case, like continuing treatment or keeping a daily journal documenting their pain and suffering. We will handle building a strong case as we try to prove the other side was negligent and this directly led to your injuries and damages.
Our attorneys can handle all legal filings on your behalf, represent you in the courtroom and negotiate for compensation if the other side is willing to do so.
However, there is a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit because of the statute of limitations. This law sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit – if you do not file a lawsuit before the clock runs out, you can no longer do so. In Oregon, you have two years from the date of the negligent act that caused your personal injury to file a lawsuit (Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 12 Section 110(1)).
This time limit is why you should contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. This gives us the maximum amount of time to build a strong case and defend your best interests.
What if I am Partially to Blame for the Crash?
Sometimes victims are partially at fault for an accident. Maybe you were breaking a traffic law just before a negligent driver hit your car. Some victims think this disqualifies them from receiving compensation.
However, this is untrue. Your ability to obtain compensation depends on your amount of fault for the accident. Under Oregon's contributory negligence law, if your percent of fault is 50 percent or less, you can still receive compensation. Your compensation award will be reduced according to your percentage of fault. This means your compensation award would be reduced by 40 percent if you were 40 percent at fault.
This law is applied in the courtroom but may also be applied by insurance companies. This is why it can help to have an attorney representing you. An experienced lawyer can work to ensure the law is applied fairly in your case and you are not assigned more blame than you deserve.
Our Portland auto accident lawyers want you to receive all the compensation you deserve. We understand how important it is to be compensated when you are injured because of another driver's negligence.
Complete our Free Case Evaluation form today.
Contact a Portland Car Accident Lawyer Today
Car accident injuries can be devastating, causing long-term health problems that some people never fully recover from. At Rizk Law, we know what traffic accident victims go through because we have helped many of them in the Portland area and throughout Oregon.
We are ready to review your accident in a free, no obligation legal consultation to determine your legal options moving forward. If the accident was caused by negligence, we are prepared to represent you on a contingency fee basis to pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.
We have detailed knowledge of the legal process and what it takes to prove negligence occurred. We will launch a comprehensive investigation to determine exactly what happened and the value of the damages you suffered.
Contact Rizk Law today to speak to a trusted Portland car accident attorney. Call 503.245.5677.