Frequently Asked Questions

BEWARE SOCIAL MEDIA TRAP
Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc.) has grown immensely in popularity over the years. Unfortunately, it can have a negative effect on your case.

If you are participating in social media, we would advise that you immediately change the settings on your profile so that the public cannot view your social media page(s). It is best to not discuss your claim, injuries, or facts about the accident or incident on social media. Insurance companies and defense lawyers sometimes “cherry pick” social media posts and try to downplay your injuries or cast you as a “bad person.” Even if your social media is “private”, defense lawyers normally request the content of your social media pages as part of the discovery process. Some judges allow this and require that you turn over access to your accounts.

Once you make an insurance claim, it is likely an insurance adjuster will try to find you on social media. If your social media is “private” and unavailable to strangers, they may try to “friend” you. We suggest you do not “friend” people you do not recognize after you have made an insurance claim. These people can be employees of the insurance company trying to infiltrate your social media network.

Any photographs, videos, or posts that are sent out on social media are often reviewed by insurance companies and incorporated into the evaluation of your claim. Photographs posted after you have made a claim are also fair game for insurance companies. We have been involved in hearings and trials where insurance companies have used photographs and postings of our client as exhibits in an attempt to hurt our client’s case in front of judges and juries. Photographs showing you enjoying certain activities on certain dates often are utilized by insurance companies to contradict statements by you or your doctors of the affect that the accident has had on your life.

Even if you have restricted access to your social media, it is our advice that you never post anything regarding your claim. This would include comments about the claim, such as how you are feeling about the claim, how you are physically or emotionally feeling, etc.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your attorney for legal advice.

Personal Injury FAQs

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Claim
After an accident, it is imperative that the client contact their insurance company immediately to open a claim for Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) benefits. In order to open a claim, you will need to complete an Application for Personal Injury Protection Benefits provided by your insurance company. Once this is done, your insurance company will begin its investigation to obtain information so they can provide benefits due to you under your insurance policy. Once a PIP claim has been opened, you will be provided with a claim number. This is a very important number that you should carry with you whenever you seek medical treatment for injuries from your accident. You will give this number to any medical provider you treat with and that will allow the provider to bill the insurance company directly. All automobile insurance policies purchased within the state of Oregon must have a medical expense benefit that covers at least $15,000 of medical expenses incurred within 24 months after the accident. The most important thing for any victim of an automobile accident is that he/she receive the medical treatment they need to get better. As such, we urge you to make medical treatment a priority to help restore your health.

The second most important benefit you are entitled to under your insurance policy is the wage loss benefit. Under Oregon law, all automobile insurance policies purchased in the state of Oregon must provide a wage loss benefit in the amount of 70% of your gross wages earned up to a maximum of $3,000.00 per month. In order to become entitled to this benefit, it is required that you are totally disabled from your employment for a period of 14 consecutive days. At that time, you become eligible for this benefit. PIP wage loss benefits are a constant source of frustration for victims of automobile accidents. In order to issue your wage loss benefit, an insurance company needs two important pieces of information. First, a physician must declare that you are disabled from employment. Second, your employer must confirm that you were employed at the time of the accident, your expected schedule of employment, the amount of money you earned during your employment, and the dates you were unable to work.

In order to expedite payment of the PIP wage loss benefit, we strongly encourage our clients to get involved in their PIP wage loss benefit claim. We provide a form that you should have your employer fill out as soon as possible. Once your employer completes this form, you can either take it to your doctor’s office, or drop it off at our office and we will fax it over to your insurance company, so they have the information they need to issue payment. The PIP carriers generally issue payment within two (2) weeks after they receive verification from your employer. If you are not receiving your PIP wage loss benefit within this timeframe, you should verify with your doctor that they have sent your insurance carrier proof of your disability. If this has been done, then contact your attorney who will follow-up with your PIP carrier to ensure payment is processed.

Medical Bills
Medical providers sometimes fail to properly bill a client’s PIP carrier. When this occurs, it is important that you take immediate action by forwarding the unpaid bill to the PIP carrier and a copy to your attorney. The PIP carrier will pay the outstanding bill and prevent the medical carrier from potentially sending the bill to collections. If the PIP policy is no longer bound to pay your medical expenses, you must bill your health insurance carrier. If you do not have health insurance or your health insurance carrier does not cover the treatment(s) you seek, consult your treating doctor as to your options. Some medical providers will continue to treat you with the understanding that the outstanding medical expenses will be paid when your case settles.
Property Damage
After an accident, the insurance companies involved will commence investigations to determine who was at fault for the accident. If it is determined the other person is at-fault, their insurance company is obligated to pay for any damage caused to your vehicle or other personal property. Before an insurance company will pay your property damage, they will require a damage estimate and will need to inspect your vehicle. We allow our clients to handle their property damage claims directly with the insurance company. In order to expedite your property damage claim, you will need to take your vehicle in for property damage estimate as soon as possible.

  • We encourage our clients to take their vehicle to a reputable collision center for a free property damage estimate. You will want to provide a copy of the property damage estimate to the insurance company and to your attorney.
  • Set up a time and place for the insurance adjuster to inspect your vehicle. If your vehicle is inoperable and at a tow yard, the insurance adjuster will need to know where it is located.
  • After you have completed the above two steps, the insurance adjuster will arrange to have your vehicle repaired at an auto repair shop. You can select the repair shop of your choice.
What if My Vehicle is “TOTALED”?
If the amount of damage to your vehicle exceeds the value of your vehicle, then your car is declared a total loss. Insurance adjusters generally refer to the vehicle as “totaled.” If your vehicle is declared totaled, the insurance company will owe you the fair market value of your vehicle prior to the accident. In this situation, it is important that you have an idea of what the fair market value of your vehicle was prior to the accident. There are a number of ways that you can do this. First, you can talk to a car dealership about your vehicle. You will need to provide the year, make, model, mileage, and condition of your vehicle to the car dealership. Another way is to check sources such as the Kelly Blue Book value or Edmunds. These resources can be accessed on the Internet at www.kbb.com or www.edmunds.com. Minimum property damage coverage in Oregon is $20,000.00. Minimum property damage coverage in Oregon $20,000.00. For additional information about your totaled vehicle, click here.
What if the Defense Insurance Carrier Declares That I Am at Fault?
If the defense carrier declares you to be at-fault for the accident, they will not pay for your property damage. If this is the case, you can turn your property damage claim into your own insurance company, if you have coverage. The process is the same as above, however, you will have a deductible amount that you must pay. Generally, it is $500.00.
How Much is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?
This is probably the most frequent question we are asked at Dunn & Roy, PC during the initial interview. There are various factors that determine the value of your claim. An attorney or insurance company are unable to evaluate your claim until all these factors are taken into consideration. This usually occurs after you are done with your medical care. At that point in time, our office will obtain all the pertinent information pertaining to your claim and your attorney will evaluate your claim.
What is Happening on My Case?
The personal injury claim process generally takes a number of months to conclude. During that timeframe, our firm will be monitoring your medical treatment progress. We will not start negotiating with the insurance company on your case until you are declared medically stationary or have stopped treatment. Therefore, it is important that you tell us when your doctor releases you from medical treatment. At that time, your attorney will contact your doctors and discuss any limitations that you may have and be in a position to begin the evaluation process.
Can I Cancel My Insurance or Change Companies?
Yes. There is nothing obligating you to continue with the same automobile insurance company after an automobile accident. If you cancel your insurance or change companies, it will have no impact on your existing insurance claim.

Workers’ Compensation FAQs

Who is Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Oregon?
It is a fact of life that people get injured at work. Sometimes injuries happen quickly and unexpectedly, like a slip in the bathroom or a crash of a delivery truck; other injuries take years to develop from the continuous strain of carrying heavy loads or other intense activities. Whatever the case may be, Oregon law requires most employers to carry insurance to benefit workers who are injured on the job.

It is important to know that there is no fault to prove or disprove in the workers’ compensation laws. For the purposes of receiving workers’ compensation benefits, it does not matter if you are at-fault or your employer is at-fault or if any third-party is at-fault. All that matters is whether your injury is work-related. However, if a third-party is at-fault (someone not from your own company), then you may have a lawsuit against that third-party as well.

Oregon law states that “subject workers” are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Oregon. The vast majority of workers in Oregon are “subject workers.” Being a “subject worker” implies that you are employed by a company or individual for a salary or hourly wages. It does not matter how long you have worked at your job. Independent contractors are not “subject workers.” However, in some instances, a worker may have been improperly categorized as an independent contractor by the employer. In these cases, the worker is entitled to benefits under Oregon’s workers’ compensation laws.

When Do I File an Oregon Workers’ Compensation Claim?
A workers’ compensation claim should be filed as soon as possible after a workplace injury or death. Workers who have developed a disease (as opposed to an acute injury) should file a claim as soon as they have reason to believe the disease is related to their employment. Common “occupational diseases” include: hearing loss and carpal tunnel syndrome. A worker usually learns his or her disease is work-related after being informed by their physician. If you are concerned you may have developed an occupational disease, seek the counsel of your physician or a workers’ compensation attorney.
How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Oregon?
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is a straightforward process. Many hospitals and doctor’s offices are familiar with work-related injuries and have the forms on-hand. You can also read below and follow the links to download the forms that you need, or you can request them from your employer.

In Oregon, a workers’ compensation claim should be filed with either an 801 Form or an 827 Form. An 801 Form is usually completed by the worker and the employer. An 827 Form is usually completed by both the worker and the worker’s physician. Both forms require the worker’s signature in order to constitute a legal claim under Oregon law. Links to the 801 and 827 Forms can be found here. Your employer, physician, or an Oregon workers’ compensation attorney can also help you obtain these forms. If you have any question about which forms to file, do not hesitate to contact us.

Dunn & Roy, PC

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