To qualify as a “demand” under Oregon Revised Statute 20.080, your initial request must meet certain requirements stated in the statute. We can help you decide whether a “20.080” demand best meets your needs.
What information do I need to gather? What should I document?
In providing documents and other materials to your attorney, produce anything and everything that even remotely might be relevant. Sometimes small details that don’t seem important at the time can become crucial later. Document everything you can. Take photos of any property damage. If it is safe to do so, and the police have not done it already, take photos of the location where the injury happened. Take photos of visible injuries. As soon as possible make notes about any conversations you had with anyone at the time of the injury, particularly anything the at-fault person said. Document the medical care you have received and keep receipts of anything you bought to treat your injuries (such as ice packs, wound dressings, special medicines, special shoes, etc.). Keep receipts for services you had to hire others to do, which you would have done yourself if you had not been injured (such as yard work, in home nursing care, etc.). If specifically directed to do so by your attorney, keep a “diary,” “log,” or “calendar” to help refresh your memory later on. In such a record make notes about your pain and injuries and how they have interfered with your life, what doctors you have seen and what they have told you, and what doctors you can’t afford to see, anything. If you have had to give up a treasured activity (golf, tennis, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, camping, dancing, etc.), write down when and why you had to stop. If you have had to sell items of enjoyment (motorcycle, snowmobile, etc.) because you can’t use these things anymore, keep receipts and record the dates. Make notes periodically about how you’re feeling and anything new that has happened. Specific examples and dates are very useful later. Any of these records may become very important later on.
We can help you sort all this out at the appropriate time. It is almost impossible to provide us too much information. The more we know about what happened to you and how it has affected you, the more we can help you.
More than anything else, remember that your most important responsibility to yourself and to your family (and to your attorney as well) is to do all you can to get better and to return to work as soon as possible. Juries are more kind to people who get back up and keep going than to those who stop trying. Therefore, carefully follow your doctor’s advice and keep all your medical appointments. Do any home exercises prescribed. Do your best to heal and to get on with life. Doing so not only helps you physically and mentally, it also helps your case. While it is important to document your pain, do not become so absorbed in doing so that you begin to obsess about your injuries. You need to get back as much of your former life as soon as your can.
Do you handle property damage claims?
As a law firm, we generally do not handle property damage cases. We decline to do so for a very simple reason. It is easy for you to objectively verify the value of the damaged property. You usually do not need an attorney to do this. Because property damage is such a small part of a serious injury case and it is easy to separate the property damage from the personal injury claim, it makes sense not to pay an attorney to handle the property damage portion of most claims. Do not, however, take the property damage claim to any court (including small claims) because doing so will later bar your injury claim.
If you are not able to settle your property damage claim, we can of course add it to your personal injury claim and take both claims to court at the same time. If you have questions, please contact us.
Will I have to disclose my prior medical treatment?
“If you find that the plaintiff had a bodily condition that predisposed him to be more subject to injury than a person in normal health, nevertheless the defendant would be liable for any and all injuries and damage that may have been suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the negligence of the defendant, even though those injuries, due to the prior condition, may have been greater than those that would have been suffered by another person under the same circumstances.”
So if you have a prior medical condition, the law still protects you. There is no need to hide that condition from your doctors or the insurance company or us. In some cases the prior medical condition may actually be a strength in your case.
I’m in bankruptcy. How will that affect my claim?
When you make an injury claim, you are putting your medical condition “at issue.” This means that the other side has a right to look at your relevant medical records to see the state of your health before and after you were injured, and to see what kind of medical care you have received.
Many insurance companies overreach by trying to get all your past medical records, even for conditions that have nothing to do with your claim. We can protect your privacy from unwarranted snooping and prevent the other side from obtaining irrelevant records. Talk to us if you are concerned about your privacy.
What happens if I’m on Medicare or Medicaid?
Will my settlement be taxed?
By contrast, non physical injury damages awards are taxed. This means if your claim is based only on emotional or psychic damages without physical harm, any money received in compensation is taxable. Nearly all the cases we accept arise out of physical injuries, even though these cases also have elements of emotional loss as well. As long as the claim arises out of a physical injury there is no tax on any part of the award, even the emotional elements.