Legal Question in Personal Injury in Oregon

Auto Accident

I was in a pedestran versus motor vehicle accident. I Received left hip contusion, lumbosacral strain and SI dysfunction. The driver of the motor vehicle admitted she was in the wrong. Medical expense so far is $17,500. Persistent pain in right leg. What would be a reasonable settlement?

Asked on 1/30/04, 9:54 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Sam Hochberg Sam Hochberg & Associates

Re: Auto Accident

I'm asked this sort of question every day; "What's my case worth?" Unless it's a client for whom we'd put together a demand package to try to settle a case, I NEVER try to answer that question, because to do so would be VERY UNFAIR to you -- and probably legal malpractice, too.

Why can't a lawyer "just tell you?" Because I don't know. There are many, many factors that go into evaluating a case, and it's not just the basic sort of information you supplied.

Given that you were hit by a car, it sounds serious enough that you really ought to be working with a lawyer who handles personal injury law on a REGULAR basis. Most of us are happy to give free in-office or telephone consultations, to more carefully explain the process of how we go about doing what we do in a personal injury insurance claim.

By the way, you ALSO sound like you aren't yet medically stable, since you have persistent pain still. It's terribly important that you be sure you are fully diagnosed and have reached a medically stationary or stable status, such that a doctor can have a pretty good idea of what the future holds for you, as a result of this accident.

You don't mention when this happened. I presume it was in Oregon, and that you aren't a minor. If that's accurate, then you should know that the statute of limitations in Oregon is TWO YEARS. This means that if you haven't settled your case, you have to have already filed a lawsuit by the two-year anniversary of this accident, or you will almost surely be barred from bringing a claim past that.

Another point: I'd advise you DON'T DISCUSS this with the opposing insurance adjuster. They are very sneaky and manipulative -- and with the really good ones, you'd never think so. If you talk to them, they will end up manipulating what you say, and then throwing it in a lawyer's face after you finally get disgusted from dealing with the adjuster yourself. Save yourself a lot of grief and see a good personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. If you try to negotiate yourself -- and you CAN DO THAT, there's no law against it, it's just not wise in my opinion -- then it will probably be MUCH more difficult for a lawyer to get what you SHOULD get, than if you'd had a lawyer from the beginning.

I assume you already have talked to the opposing adjusters somewhat. Even so, if you stop doing it NOW -- especially if numbers haven't been exchanged yet -- then you will still be better off.

I'm sorry if I seem as if I'm lecturing, but I've just seen so many people burned by adjusters over the years.

If you have more questions, I'd invite you to go to my own website, which you can access via my LawGuru Profile, which should be a nearby click for you. If not, it's . The site has some Q's and A's about personal injury cases in general.

Best of luck to you. Let us know if we may help as well.


Sam Hochberg

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Answered on 1/31/04, 5:34 am
Matthew Kaplan Kaplan Law, LLC

Re: Auto Accident

I concur with Sam. It would be irresponsible for an attorney to evaluate your case based on the information provided. It sounds like you are not medically stationary at this point, so your claim is not ready to be evaluated.

I get a lot of people that come into my office who are professional types and think that because they are bright and energetic they can handle there own case. This is a big mistake. Your leverege is your right to sue the defendant, and the adjuster knows that you probably do not want to sue anyone if you are unrepresented. You do not have any leverege.

Of course the other argument is that the adjuster works for a party whose interest directly conflicts with your interest. His job is to give you as little as possible.

Anyway, good luck and good health.

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Answered on 2/01/04, 11:21 am
Todd Peterson Peterson Law Offices, PC

Re: Auto Accident

I totally agree with Sam!!!

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Answered on 1/31/04, 10:19 am

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