Oregon Personal Injury
James F. O’Rourke, Jr., is an Oregon Personal Injury Attorney who makes and litigates claims on behalf of persons who are injured due to the fault of others in the following types of cases:
OREGON PERSONAL INJURY ACCIDENT CLAIMS INVOLVING VEHICLES
Examples of the most common Oregon vehicle accident claims:
High Speed and high impact collisions:
Most freeway collisions involve rear end collisions. Injuries in freeway collisions are often severe because of the speeds at which vehicles travel on freeways and because trucks and large trucks become involved in these accidents.
Unfortunately, bus and over-the-road truck drivers work long hours in vehicles with limited visibility and are often at fault in causing collisions resulting in serious injuries to our clients.
A slow moving heavy object, like a large truck transfers an enormous amount of energy in low speed collisions. At high speeds, the impact is frequently devastating in effect.
Children are particularly vulnerable to high energy collisions because their musculo-skeletal systems have not developed to the extent that they can protect them from injury in these types of accidents.
Most of us do not think about how much we trust drivers in oncoming traffic to stay in their lanes. When they do not stay in their lanes, head on collisions occur.
For example, client is driving in the far left or “inside” lane when another driver in the oncoming lane decides to pass another car and pulls out in front of client. The impact is at the combined speed of both vehicles. So if you client is going 50 and the other vehicle is going 50 the impact on our client is at 100 miles per hour.
While auto safety systems reduce injury in head on collisions, still, due to the force of the impact, we often see serious injuries in addition to soft tissue injuries. Many people receive injuries to the face and jaw including burns, lacerations, concussions and TMJ when their air bags deploy. People struck by air bags often lose consciousness. Many persons receive injuries to their knees, hips, clavicles, rotator cuffs, shoulders and chests from their seat belts and shoulder harnesses.
This is perhaps the most frequently occurring vehicle collision.
For example: Client is stopped in traffic. A person driving another vehicle is speeding or fails to keep a lookout for other cars and does not stop his vehicle before driving it into the rear end of our client’s vehicle.
During the collision, the client’s body, which is supported by the seat, is pushed dramatically forward and the head and neck, which are not well enough supported, fly backward. The neck naturally flexes forward with ease but is not designed to extend very far backwards which in a rear end collision results in injuries to the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints of the neck.
Besides injuries to the neck, clients in rear end collisions suffer other soft tissue injuries, including back and spine injuries and commonly referred to as “whiplash” injuries.
Often there is little apparent vehicle damage, and we have to overcome the adverse insurance company argument that minor impacts do not cause injuries. As Oregon personal injury attorneys, we have been successful in proving that our clients have been seriously injured in apparently minor impact collisions.
Clients on motorcycles often receive severe injuries in rear - end collisions both from the initial impact and from striking objects and the ground after being thrown from their motorcycles.
Fault in intersection collisions is determined by applying the rules of right of way.
Most auto safety systems head rests, shoulder harnesses, lap belts and air bags only minimize injury in “head on” and “rear end” collisions. In “T Bone” collisions, persons often suffer serious spinal and soft tissue injuries to the head, shoulders and hips from hitting the drivers side door or other objects or persons in the car or from trying to hold on to the steering wheel during the impact.
In many head on, rear end and intersection collisions the vehicles meet at their “corners.” In these cases, the forces from the collision cause a persons body to be twisted as well as thrown forward and backwards. The twisting can cause soft tissue injuries and spinal injuries. Head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, legs, knees and ankles are often injured when they collide with the interior of the vehicle.
As Portland injury attorneys we see a lot of intersection collisions where persons collide when one or both persons are trying to make a turn on to another street.
Other claims where the at fault driver has failed to obey a traffic control device or to yield the right of way.
Collisions with vehicles making improper turns.
Collisions with vehicles entering the road from driveways.
Collisions with vehicles making improper lane changes.
Collisions with drivers talking or texting on cell phones or using laptops.
We have seen many collisions where the driver at fault was using a cell phone and one where a woman was working on a computer while driving on the freeway. Like other cases where at fault drivers are breaking the law, these cases may have extra value.
PEDESTRIAN INJURY ACCIDENT CLAIMS
Pedestrian collisions often involve serious, catastrophic and sometimes fatal injuries.
Most frequently, our client is a pedestrian crossing a street in a crosswalk with a “walk” light when a driver fails to keep proper lookout and makes a turn or drives straight ahead through the crosswalk hitting the pedestrian.
We have seen cases where a car is stopped waiting for a pedestrian to finish crossing when another vehicle drives into the rear of the stopped car pushing it into the pedestrian.
We have represented pedestrians who are walking on sidewalks or on the shoulder or the side of a road when they are struck by a vehicle.
We have represented a number of people who are struck by vehicles in parking lots.
We have represented persons who were pedestrians in school, construction and safety zones at the time they were injured, including construction workers and flaggers.
There are challenging insurance issues in pedestrian cases. Oregon personal injury lawyer James F. O’Rourke, Jr., knows how to deal with these issues.
PASSENGER INJURY CLAIMS
Client is injured in a vehicle where the driver of the vehicle in or on which client is riding is not at fault in causing the collision.
We also have had cases where our client is a passenger in a vehicle which is involved in a collision with another vehicle or object like a tree, which is due to the fault of the driver of the vehicle in which client is a passenger. Often the driver is a relative or friend. In those cases we can limit our claims to the driver’s insurance company. We understand that people do not want to make a claim against a relative or friend, but the claim is against the insurance company and the reason the relative or friend bought PIP and Liability Insurance in the first place was to have money to pay medical expenses and compensate client for client’s injuries in case there was an accident.
We usually resolve cases with the insurance companies without causing bad feeling among friends or family members.
BICYCLE INJURY COLLISION CLAIMS
Generally, bicyclists have the same rights as pedestrians when crossing streets in crosswalks. We have seen a number of cases where clients are riding through a crosswalk with a “walk light” when a driver fails to keep a proper lookout and proceeds to make a turn or cross the intersection hitting client in the crosswalk.
We see cases where client is riding in a bike lane and a car drives into the bike lane and strikes client. Unfortunately, many drivers do not know the rules regarding right of way concerning bike lanes.
We have seen cases where client is riding on the shoulder of the road or in a bicycle lane next to stopped traffic and a vehicle makes a left turn through the stopped traffic and strikes the bicyclists or turns in front of client and client has no chance to stop and runs into the vehicle.
MOTORCYCLE COLLISION INJURY CLAIMS
Most motorcycle accidents occur when drivers are not keeping a proper lookout or are driving while distracted or under the influence of intoxicants.
For example, client is riding a motorcycle and stopped for a light and the driver of a car is not paying attention and drives into the rear of the motorcycle.
We see a lot of cases where the drivers of automobiles and trucks are not keeping a proper look out and pull out in front of or collide with motorcycles when making turns, entering the roadway or changing lanes.
Passengers on motorcycles can have claims against drivers of other vehicles and/or the operator of the motorcycle on which they are riding.
Mr. O’Rourke has enjoyed great success as an Oregon motorcycle accident attorney on behalf of his clients.
UNINSURED DRIVERS AND RESPONSIBLE PARTIES
There are thousands of persons driving without insurance in Oregon and Washington.
In cases where the at fault driver in a collision is uninsured, we make a claim under the uninsured motorist coverage section of our client’s own automobile insurance policy. This applies to clients who are drivers in their own vehicles, passengers in an uninsured vehicle or pedestrians.
Uninsured motorist coverage also comes into play where there are “phantom drivers.” For example, a phantom driver would be the driver of another vehicle which caused an accident but did not have any direct contact with any other vehicle and left the scene and can not be located or identified.
UNDER INSURED DRIVERS AND RESPONSIBLE PARTIES
Many times the value of our client’s claim exceeds the amount of insurance coverage provided by the responsible parties’ policy. In those cases, we are often able to make a claim under our client’s under insured coverage in their insurance policy
CASES WHERE MEDICAL EXPENSES EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF AVAILABLE INSURANCE
In cases where the medical bills exceed the amount of available insurance, we are often able to get money for our client and get the medical providers to accept less than the full amount of their bills as full payment for the medical expenses.
DRIVERS WHO COMMITTED OR WERE CHARGED WITH Violations of the traffic code IN COLLISIONS CAUSING INJURY OR DEATH
Violation Of the Basic Speed Rule ORS 811.100 which is evidenced by exceeding the posted speed.
Failure To Yield The Right Of Way ORS 811.275 - 290.
Failure To Drive On The Right ORS 811-295 - 300.
Improper Turns ORS 811.335 - 365.
Improper Lane Use ORS 811.370 - 375.
Failure To Properly Signal ORS 811.390 -405.
Improper Passing ORS 811.410 - 425.
Careless Driving ORS 811.135.
Speed Racing ORS 811.125.
Operating With Unlawful Equipment ORS 815.100.
DRIVERS CHARGED WITH CRIMES IN COLLISIONS CAUSING INJURY
When you are injured by persons committing crimes, in addition to your civil rights to collect money from the parties at fault or their insurance companies, you have certain rights as a victim in the criminal proceeding which are called victim’s rights. We assert those rights for you. We combine our decades of experience as Oregon Criminal Defense Attorneys with our decades of experience as Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys to get maximum use from the criminal proceedings in resolving your civil claims against the defendant and the defendant’s insurers. Often we are able to collect money directly from the defendant in the criminal proceedings over and above the money we get from the defendant and his or her insurance companies in the civil claim process.
We help certain clients get medical expenses paid through a Crime Victims Compensation Fund.
We work with the Deputy District Attorney assigned to your case and we will prepare you for any court proceedings at which you appear. If you are required to testify, one of us will appear at court with you. We often attend the court proceedings to advocate for you in areas and in ways which Deputy District Attorneys will not.
We do this work as a courtesy to our personal injury clients and in the vast majority of cases do not charge for this service.
In vehicle collision cases, we see at fault drivers charged with various crimes based upon the nature of their driving, their condition when driving and the extent of damages and injuries to the victims.
The most common situations in which we see criminal charges arising from or connected with vehicle collisions and accidents are as follows:
Hit And Run Drivers
Failure To Perform The Duties Of a Driver Involved In An Accident is charged in Oregon injury accidents and property damage accidents when a driver of a vehicle leaves the scene of the accident without stopping to render aid to injured persons or to exchange information in both injury and property damage only accidents.
The duties of Drivers involved in injury and non injury accidents are set out in ORS 811.700 and 811.705
Some hit and run drivers are not found and we are not able to go after their insurance. The good news is that in Oregon, automobile insurance policies are required to provide uninsured motorist coverage, which provides insurance coverage for the driver of the other vehicle who fled. So we make a claim under the uninsured motorist coverage section of our client’s policy.
In many cases, hit and run drivers are found or they turn themselves in to the police. If there are criminal charges, we can sometimes get some compensation directly from the hit and run driver through the criminal proceeding over and above the money we obtain through insurance coverage.
The fact that the person left the scene may be evidence that they were at fault in causing a collision in cases where fault is being contested by their insurance company. Leaving the scene of an accident without checking to see if anyone is injured, particularly in a high impact collision, and not exchanging information tend to make jurors more inclined to award larger verdicts in favor of our clients.
There are thousands of hit and run property and injury collisions in Portland every year.
The Portland Personal Injury Attorneys at James F. O’Rourke, Jr And Associates are successful in recovering compensation for our clients who are the victims of Hit and Run drivers.
Reckless Driving is charged when a person drives a motor vehicle on a public highway or premise open to the public in an manner that endangers persons or property.
A person acts “recklessly” when they are aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that their conduct will cause harm. The risk itself must be one that a reasonably prudent person would avoid.
We at James F. O’Rourke, Jr. and Associates are successful as
Drivers Attempting To Elude Police Officers
Attempting To Elude A Police Officer is charged when a person driving a motor vehicle knows that a police officer in a marked police car has given the person a signal to stop and they attempt to use the motor vehicle to get away from the police officer.
This is often shown in the chase scenes in movies and television programs like “Cops.” From watching these chase scenes, we see that a lot of innocent persons get injured in the high speed chases.
We represent the persons who are injured in these chases.
Assault charges arise from causing physical injury or serious physical injury to another person. The degree of injury, the manner of the driving and the person’s mental state determine the severity of the charges.
There are three relevant levels of criminal assault in Oregon. The least serious in terms of injury and punishment is Assault In The Fourth Degree. The most serious is Assault In The First Degree.
Assault In The Fourth Degree is charged when a person is at fault in causing physical injury to you while driving recklessly or in a criminally negligent manner.
Most often, we see Assault In The Fourth Degree charged where the at fault driver was Driving Under The Influence Of Intoxicants at the time of the incident which caused injury to you.
Assault In The Third Degree is charged when a person is at fault in recklessly causing serious physical injury to you.
Assault In The Third Degree is also charged when a person is at fault in causing physical injury to you under circumstances which show extreme indifference to the value of human life.
Assault in the Second Degree is charged when a person is at fault in recklessly causing serious physical injury to you by means of a dangerous or deadly weapon, like an automobile under circumstances which show extreme indifference to the value of human life.
These cases present special opportunities for Oregon Personal Injury Lawyers. We at James F O’Rourke, Jr. and Associates know what to do with those opportunities to achieve excellent results for our clients.
DUII is charged when a person operates a motor vehicle on a roadway, or other premises used by the general public, at a time when their mental or physical abilities are perceptibly impaired by the use of alcohol or drugs. A person with an blood alcohol concentration is over .08 is presumed to be impaired.
We have many cases where our client in injured due to the fault of a person Driving Under The Influence Of Intoxicants including drugs and alcohol. This is a common situation. Drunk drivers injure persons in all types of collisions. We see cases where persons Driving Under The Influence Of Intoxicants drive into buildings and injure occupants. Most often they injure other drivers, their passengers and pedestrians.
It is a simple fact that alcohol is a drug that impairs judgment and is addictive.
Due to our extensive experience representing drunk, DUII and DUI drivers as Oregon DUII, DUI and Felony DUII Defense Attorneys, we know how, when it is available, to get extra compensation for out clients through the criminal process which is over and above what they receive from their insurance companies.
Dram Shop Case is an old term used to describe a claims made against “licensed premises” including bars, restaurants and taverns which serve alcohol to the general public. Recent developments in the law extend liability to others who serve alcohol to persons such as social hosts, private clubs and charities. The essence of the claim is that the defendant has served an individual who is visibly intoxicated at the time they are served.
For example, a patron at a local neighborhood tavern is over served while it is visibly apparent to the wait staff that he is intoxicated. On patron’s way home he runs a red light and drives into our client causing him severe injuries.
There are limitations on a person’s right to bring a dram shop claim including notice requirements to a defendant licensed premises and social host.
If you think you have a Dram Shop Case, be sure to consult with an experienced
Persons Who Serve Alcohol To Minors
Licensed premises and social hosts who do not check identification or accept obviously false identification and nonetheless serve alcohol to minors are liable for injuries to persons harmed by the conduct of those intoxicated minors.
For example, a social host serves alcohol to a minor who causes a collision injuring client. The social host is responsible for the injuries to client.
Drivers Charged With Crimes Resulting In Death - WRONGFUL DEATH
We represent the estates of persons and the families of persons who are killed due to the negligence or recklessness of others.
Negligent Homicide is charged when a person causes the death of another person through criminal negligence. ORS 163.145
Manslaughter In The First Degree is charged when a person is at fault in recklessly causing the death of another person under circumstances which show extreme indifference to the value or human life.
Manslaughter In The First Degree is also charged when a person is at fault in recklessly or with criminal negligence causing the death of another person by means of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants where the person has certain prior criminal convictions.
Manslaughter In The Second Degree is charged when a person is at fault in recklessly causing the death of another person with a motor vehicle.
Aggravated Vehicular Homicide is charged when a person is at fault in causing the death of another person recklessly, with criminal negligence or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life with a motor vehicle where the person has certain prior criminal convictions.
PREMISES LIABILITY CASES
We often see case where stores, restaurants and other establishments have failed to remove slip hazards such as spilled liquids or ice or have allowed trip hazards to exist on floors, aisles, stairways, hallways and parking lots resulting in injuries to clients.
Injuries on premises may also result from poor lighting, inadequate handrails and broken or missing safety equipment or stairs.
Many visitors and passersby are injured near construction sites where inadequate measures were taken to protect the public. For example, a client was injured while passing by a road construction site when he fell into a trench which was unmarked and uncovered, causing him serious injuries.
Children get injured when they are attracted to hazards such as pools, wells, ladders, refuse piles and excavations and the landholders have not taken adequate steps to protect the children from these hazards.
INJURIES CAUSED BY ANIMALS
We have represented numerous persons who are injured by animals. Most often our clients are victims of attacks by dogs.
Recently, we are seeing persons injured by exotic pets including venomous reptiles, snakes, big cats , wolves and wolf hybrids.
THIS PAGE IS STILL BEING DEVELOPED AND MORE INFORMATION WILL BE ADDED OVER TIME
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CALL US IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT A CLAIM