In this Blog category you will find articles about your rights if you are involved in an accident that results in injury and personal losses . Personal Injury suits and insurance claims may require the help of an attorney. A good lawyer can protect your rights under the law.

Dump Truck Runs Over Flagger at Construction Site

Flagger Sign

For the second time in only a month a flagger was struck and killed in Happy Valley, Oregon. On June 23rd, a flagger directing traffic at a construction site off the intersection of Southeast 132nd Avenue and Rose Meadow Drive was accidentally run over by a dump truck. Both driver and flagger were with the crew that was working to repair a natural gas leak.

On June 23, 2017 just after 4:12pm, Deputies with the Happy Valley Police Department responded to an injury traffic crash near the intersection of SE 132nd Ave. and SE Rose Meadow Dr. in Happy Valley. Initial reports indicated that a construction flagger had been struck by a dump truck. Personnel with the Happy Valley Police Department, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Clackamas Fire District, and American Medical Response arrived on scene and pronounced the flagger deceased.

Dump Truck Rolls Backward Killing Flagger

Crews with Northwest Natural Gas were at the scene of a natural gas leak, and had Southeast 132nd completely closed to traffic. A dump truck driver who was there to help crews with the gas leak experienced mechanical problems, and was trying to remove his truck from the construction area. According to police reports, the flagger in this tragic accident was helping the driver move his stalled truck out of the road. The driver placed the truck in neutral, and the truck rolled backward while the flagger was behind. The truck hit the flagger and then ran over him.

Proving Driver Negligence with Vehicle Malfunction

While this tragic accident was unintentional and due to truck mechanical failure, one could argue that, had the truck been properly maintained, it might not have malfunctioned. The truck driver would therefore be considered negligent. All drivers owe a duty to properly maintain their vehicles so that mechanical issues within their control don’t cause an accident. Because an accident is too serious not to consider every possible factor, a typical accident investigation will examine the accident scene, police reports, and current condition of the vehicle involved. A proper investigation will also examine the truck’s maintenance records.

Accident Reconstructionist Determines Cause and Contributing Factors

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Reconstruction and Forensic Team (CRAFT) responded to the scene and assisted in the investigation. In cases that involve fatality and personal injury, an accident reconstructionist conducts collision analysis to identify the cause of a collision and contributing factors, such as the malfunctioning vehicle, the roadway, and the role of the driver.

By |July 2nd, 2017|Personal Injury|

Portland No Longer Feels Safe on TriMet

In a span of just 4 weeks, those who rely on TriMet’s transportation services have endured considerable uneasiness while using Portland’s public transportation system. An incident in which three men stood up to a white supremacist bullying two teenagers on a Northeast Portland MAX train made national headlines after two of the men were tragically killed and one fatally injured. The story of the TriMet Heros has been featured on dozens of news sites, yet it is not the only incident that has passengers concerned for their safety.

A Recent Timeline of TriMet Threats

Several dangerous scenarios have played out on TriMet transportation trains in the span of just a few weeks. These are the top 4 scenarios that have travelers fearing for their safety as of late:

Woman Stabbed at Lloyd Center

On May 19th, just a week prior to the MAX stabbings, a woman was stabbed on the Lloyd Center MAX platform in front of dozens of witnesses by an unknown assailant. The woman, in her early 20s, was with a pair of friends when the assault took place around 4 pm. She engaged in a brief conversation with her assailant before the assailant stabbed her. The woman fell onto the tracks while the train operator left the doors wide open, yet the assailant allegedly did not mount the train. The victim was eventually transported to a local hospital by ambulance to treat traumatic injuries. The suspect was taken into custody shortly afterward. According to an update by the Oregonian, the victim is expected to survive. The suspect, a man in his early forties, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault and menacing. He is being held on $252,500 bail.

TriMet Stabbings

May 26th marked the fateful day in which three brave Portland men stood up to a transient white supremacist and risked their lives to protect a teenage girl and her Muslim friend from harassment on a MAX train that departed from the Hollywood Transit Center. The man was yelling insults at the girls, ranting and raving about religion and shouting anti-Muslim hate speech when two men tried to get him to calm down. Sadly, these men were the target of a vicious stabbing. A third young man intervened

By |June 18th, 2017|Personal Injury|

Portland Has a Dog Bite Problem

It is no secret that the Pearl District beams dog fever; it is not uncommon to see packs of dogs and their owners enjoying brunch at a local café any day of the week, or to see dog owners pacing up and down the aisles of health food grocery stores with their unlicensed “therapy dogs.”  While Portlanders enjoy their pooches, the city has a serious dog bite problem. Portland ranks twelfth in the country for the number of dog attacks on letter carriers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is also ranked fourth in the country for pet ownership.

Dogtopia

Many hail Portland as an ideal model for the modern lifestyle. The city draws tens of thousands of new residents a year; from July 2014 through July 2015, the city grew by 111 people each day. Oregon was ranked as the most popular state to move to three years in a row from 2013 to 2015, and many are moving to Portland from other states. It is the top destination for young, college educated people — the very people who like to own dogs before starting a family. Portland is so dog-friendly, many businesses leave water bowls outside so they can cool down. There are bakeries that make treats exclusively for animal consumption, and tons of dog parks everywhere. It’s no wonder that people with pets are drawn to Portland.

The city has invested millions in infrastructure to facilitate an active urban life, and a big part of that is accommodating its thousands of residents who are pet owners. There are 5.7 dog parks per 100,000 residents, which is more per capita than any other city, according to USA Today. While Portland welcomes dogs of all sizes, not everyone in Portland is thrilled about the seemingly lax culture surrounding pet ownership.

With over 600 complaints about animals in food stores received by the food safety division of the Oregon Agriculture Department, some may take pet ownership too far. Dogs have been observed shopping alongside their owners in popular grocery chains despite store efforts to disallow animals that are not trained to help the disabled. Dogs present a health and safety threat when they urinate or defecate in stores, yet many able-bodied owners insist on taking them

By |June 10th, 2017|Personal Injury|

“Loss of Chance” Becomes a Cause of Action for an Oregon Medical Malpractice Claim

hospital waiting roomIf you have ever suffered at the hands of doctors who denied you better treatment options, you may now have a valid medical malpractice case. The Oregon Supreme Court ruled this month that patients can bring medical malpractice cases in situations when the negligent care denied them a treatment or procedure that could have had a better outcome than the treatment that was given. This takes medical malpractice beyond cases of simple negligence-induced injury.

Naturally, physician groups protested. The Oregon Medical Association and the American Medical Association filed a brief asserting that allowing loss of chance cases would drive up the number of malpractice lawsuits, medical malpractice insurance premiums, and push doctors to practice what is called “defensive medicine.” Are these concerns genuine?

Defensive Medicine and the Rise of Healthcare Costs

I will prescribe regimen for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.”

Defensive medicine is a natural enemy of dedicated physicians who uphold the Hippocratic Oath. This approach to medicine is one in which physicians and other healthcare providers consider the possibilities of litigation in their methods. The purpose of defensive medicine is to avoid litigation; when treatments and procedures are done with the consideration of a possible lawsuit rather than the patient’s best interests, we have a problem. Actually, defensive medicine gives rise to three big problems:

  • Increased health risks to patients
  • Increased price of healthcare
  • Degradation of trust between healthcare professionals and their patients

When patients are subject to defensive medicine, there is the potential for unnecessary treatments and procedures. Doctors may run unneeded tests, prescribe medications when they are not necessary, and perform invasive procedures without an absolute need. They also may be prone to needlessly hospitalize patients to give the impression that they are doing their jobs. All this unnecessary medical attention could easily drive up the costs of healthcare for individuals.

At the same time, defensive medicine can swing the other way and deny patients options that could really benefit in the long run, as in the case of Joseph Smith, whose medical malpractice case is the one on which the state Supreme Court’s new ruling

By |May 12th, 2017|Personal Injury|

Medical Malpractice is the 3rd Cause of Death in America

gavel and stethoscopeIf medical error were considered a disease by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it would be the third leading cause of death in America, falling behind only cancer and heart disease. The two doctors who published the article in the British Medical Journal conservatively estimated an alarming 251,000 people die each year as the result of medical errors or improper medical care. Of all the errors that pave the way for medical malpractice lawsuits, perhaps the most common lies in the medical practitioner’s failure to properly diagnose a condition.

Roughly 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed each year, according to a study published in the BMJ Quality & Safety Journal. This means that 1 out of 20 adult patients are misdiagnosed, or 5% of the total outpatient . Of these misdiagnoses, nearly half (47%) lead to serious disability. It is estimated that nearly every individual will have a medical condition misdiagnosed at least once in her lifetime. Misdiagnosis alone may be the cause of 40,000-80,000 of the deaths that medical error brings annually.

Misdiagnosis Spurs Malpractice Claims

Patients may be misdiagnosed in a variety of settings. Recent research shows that in addition to being misdiagnosed in a hospital, more patients are being misdiagnosed in outpatient clinics and doctor’s offices. There are several reasons for misdiagnosis, the most common of which are:

  • Issues arising when ordering diagnostic tests
  • Patients failing to disclose an accurate medical history
  • Doctors misinterpreting test results

Diagnostic errors are the most common mistakes made by the medical community that lead to malpractice suits. Such errors are the most likely to result in disability or death. Between 1986 and 2010, these errors cost $38.8 billion in malpractice claim payouts. These errors are also largely preventable.

Those in the medical community have a number of challenges to reducing the rate of diagnostic errors, yet medical professionals suggest there are a number of things patients can do.

What Should Patients Do?

In Oregon, 8,579 adverse actions were taken against healthcare providers between 2005 and 2015 as the result of

By |May 8th, 2017|Personal Injury|

How Forced Arbitration Can Ruin your PI Claim

It wasn’t very long ago that General Mills — manufacturer of dozens of familiar food brands such as Cheerios, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury — raised hell when it changed the legal terms on its website requiring all disputes related to the purchase or use of any of its products to go through mandatory arbitration for resolutions. Consumers were outraged that engaging with the company online– whether by using their website, joining their online community, subscribing to email newsletters, or even downloading a coupon– could make them lose their right to sue General Mills for any future wrongdoing.

After copious pressure, General Mills caved. They reversed their position, but still hundreds of large corporations are subjecting consumers to forced arbitration in their terms and conditions. Clauses are even present in employment contracts.

What is Forced Arbitration?

Arbitration is an alternative method of resolving legal disputes in which two or more parties present their sides of a complaint to a “neutral third party” or “neutral panel” outside of a courtroom. There is no judge or jury; it is this “neutral” party who then decides, after hearing both sides, what the proper course of action should be. There is also no way to appeal the decision reached.

Many cases of arbitration involve parties that all mutually agreed to the arbitration. It is increasingly common for personal injury complaints to be resolved this way; it is just one of several avenues you can take to resolve your case, provided you are given the option.

Forced arbitration clauses are present in the fine print of contracts for everything from car loans and student loans to leases, credit cards, checking accounts, insurance contracts, and even nursing home agreements. If you have ever purchased on Amazon, Groupon, paid a Netflix subscription or obtained cell phone service through any of the big providers, you have signed an arbitration clause and may not even know it.

Effects on Consumers

Proponents of arbitration always try to spin it as a low-cost, informal alternative to lawsuits. They purposely mislead consumers by emphasizing there is no requirement for their representation by an attorney. Surely, a company like General Mills could afford to and would bring their own attorneys to arbitration had they

By |April 28th, 2017|Elder Abuse, Personal Injury, Protecting Oregonians|

Nursing Home Sexual Abuse in the United States

Imagine that you are helpless in bed, relying on another’s care for survival. One day, as you are being fed or bathed or changed, your caregiver turns against you and forces you to perform sex acts on him or takes advantage of you while you are sleeping. Now, imagine that you are elderly and that the likelihood of anyone believing what you have experienced is slim simply due to your age or other disability. These are the experiences of thousands of senior citizens and mentally or physically incapacitated patients throughout the country who reside in residential care facilities, assisted living centers, and other long-term care facilities.

Elder care sex abuse is not an issue most people are familiar with or have ever even conceived. It is not an issue that should ever have been conceived, yet the thought has crossed the minds of dozens of unfit caregivers, and many have acted upon them. As horrifying as it sounds, elder care abuse is barely on the radar. It is not even a priority for most law enforcement agencies and officials. But it is a serious issue that is gaining more awareness, as instances of abuse are on the rise.

A Hidden Problem

Throughout the United States, incidents of sex abuse toward those who are in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes have increased. Residents are assaulted by caretakers, facility personnel, other residents, and sometimes, even the owner himself. Sadly, there are currently no reliable national data due to a lack of organized data collection regarding these statistics. Just one organization — the Administration for Community Living based in Washington D.C. — has compiled any kind of data: approximately 20,000 complaints in a span of 20 years. This works out to about 3 complaints per day; this statistic excludes incidents of resident-on-resident sex abuse. Realistically, the numbers are likely much higher.

The issue is rampant and yet plagued by unawareness, apathy, and sheer neglect. No one really “believes” that elderly or incapacitated persons could be the victims of rape or other forms of sexual abuse. Victims may be too embarrassed to speak up, or they don’t think anyone will believe them. Families and friends who visit may suspect abuse but don’t wish to believe it or don’t want to get involved,

By |April 16th, 2017|Personal Injury|

Is Your Burger Wrapped in Toxic Chemicals?

The fast-food burger and fries you eat may be doing more than adding fat and calories to your body. According to scientists, the packaging they come in might be bad for you too.

Laurel Schaider, PhD, of the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Massachusetts reported that, of 407 fast-food packaging samples tested, 33% had detectable levels of fluorine, in a class of chemicals known as PFASs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), known to cause numerous health problems.

Previous scientific research has linked PFASs with cancer, thyroid disease, immunotoxicity, low birth weight, and decreased fertility. Nearly half (46%) of paper wrappers tested, such as burger wrappers and pastry bags, and 20% of paperboard samples, such as boxes for fries and pizza, tested positive for fluorine.

Damaging Chemicals from Packaging Remain in Body

While PFASs are used in food packaging for their water- and grease-resisting properties, research has shown that they can leach into food, and once ingested can stay in the body for days, weeks, even years. Our bodies accumulate PFASs from many sources. Microwave popcorn bags and pizza boxes as well as stain-resistant carpets and waterproof clothing may also contain PFASs.

As many as 80% of adults over the age of 29 eat fast food monthly, with about 50% eating fast food at least once a week. Of particular concern is the frequent exposure to these chemicals of children, whose developing bodies are more vulnerable to toxic chemicals. Approximately one-third of U.S. children eat fast food every day.

PFASs Banned In US but Still Found in Packaging

Research samples high in fluorine showed various types of PFASs, including long-chain PFASs. Due to health concerns, long-chain PFASs were phased out in the U.S. from 2000-2015, though they are still manufactured in other parts of the world, and may be finding their way into current packaging through recycled paper.

By |March 13th, 2017|Personal Injury|

Biomarkers Provide Evidence in Toxic Tort Cases


A toxic tort is a particular type of personal injury case involving exposure to a chemical or toxin that has caused medical injury. Because injuries in a toxic tort case might not occur immediately or be visible and the duration and amount of exposure may be unclear, they tend to be more complicated than other kinds of personal injury cases. Biomarkers that measure the effects of toxic exposure on the human body provide evidence of both cause and effect in these types of cases.

A plaintiff in a toxic tort case may have suffered health problems from exposure to one of the following:
• Contamination of groundwater or soil from dumping of wastes and chemicals
• Contamination of air or environment from release of noxious gases or toxins
• Mold (particularly black mold)
• Asbestos
• Lead paint

A toxic tort case may be brought against a company that dumped pollutants in the groundwater, a manufacturer of asbestos, a landlord who didn’t make sure an apartment was free from mold or lead paint, or the manufacturer of a dangerous drug.

Causation One of the Biggest Hurdles in a Toxic Tort Case

The most challenging part of any toxic tort claim is proving and measuring damage suffered by the plaintiff and determining the cause of that damage. Proving cause may involve:
• Medical testimony from experts linking the toxin and the illness
• Evidence of the exposure
• A high incidence of similar illnesses in people who suffered similar exposure
• FDA or other product recalls or public warnings about the dangers of a product

How Do Biomarkers Measure Toxic Exposure?

Biomarkers are indicators of molecular changes in blood or tissue that can show an abnormal condition or disease. A biomarker can be measured and quantified, such as blood pressure, presence of certain chemicals in blood, or genetic mutations.

Outcomes of toxic tort cases frequently are based on measurement of biomarker data, which may reveal exposure to a toxin, such as cigarette smoke, benzene, and asbestos, as well as aid in the diagnosis of disease caused by that exposure. In this way, biomarkers measure both cause and effect.

Cancer Biomarkers Indicate Genetic Damage

A cancer biomarker is a substance or process that will indicate the presence of cancer in the body. It may be a substance secreted by a tumor or a specific response of the body to the presence of the cancer, such as a genetic mutation.

Advances in gene

By |March 10th, 2017|Personal Injury|

How Can Alcohol Affect my Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Claim?

Many unsightly injuries and devastations occur at the hands of alcohol. Just last year, approximately 10,265 people died in a drunk driving incident, up 3.2% from 2014 statistics. If alcohol was a factor in your personal injury case, you may be interested in knowing whether or not that can affect your claim.

Besides suing the alcohol-impaired driver who caused the accident, depending on the circumstances around your case you may be able to file a claim against the bar, bartender, or server who did not utilize discretion when serving the driver alcohol. In Oregon, “dram shop” laws are laws that place liability on the entities that sell alcohol for the negligent and reckless actions of their impaired patrons. Almost all states have some type of dram shop protections for victims of drunk drivers.

What is “Dram Shop”?

The term dram refers to a unit of measure by which alcohol used to be measured. A dram shop was an establishment in 18th Century England that sold gin by the spoonful, or “dram.” In the time before dram shop laws, courts did not usually allow parties to sue businesses that sold alcohol for over-serving, since the serving itself did not cause the injury or death. Today, 43 states and D.C. have at least some dram shop law in effect for which an injured party or the family of an injured party are able to sue alcohol vendors or retailers for monetary damages.

Put simply, dram shop cases are those in which businesses that sell and serve alcohol are sued for serving a patron too much to drink. There are third and first party dram shop cases in which an establishment can be partially liable for a personal injury or wrongful death.

A first party dram shop case is one in which the inebriated patron is also the injured party. In this case, the intoxicated person sues the establishment for serving too much to drink. This type of dram shop case is not permitted in most states as people should be held accountable for their actions. In some states, only minors are allowed to file a first party dram shop lawsuit. First party cases are extremely difficult to pursue because it’s tough to persuade a jury to sympathize with someone who should have known when he or she was not fit to drive.

Throughout Oregon, the most commonly pursued

By |February 28th, 2017|Personal Injury, Wrongful Death|