a lawyer can help with personal injury claims as a result of a traffic accident
This is the first post in my weekly blog series: Personal Injury Claim Value: Key Variables. During the past 25 years I have quantified claims big and small–as a large loss claims analyst (1996-2000), an insurance defense attorney (1990-1996) and since 2000 as a plaintiff personal injury attorney. I dedicate the series to my past clients, adversaries and their insurers whose now resolved disputes laid a pattern of lessons learned.
When it comes to personal injury claims ultimately there is really only one question: “How much is my claim worth?”
The short, quick answer is a simple number. A number answer is understandable, plentiful at cocktail parties and easily generated from online injury calculators. The downside to quick injury claim quantification is huge– quick quantification is usually wrong.
In reality, claim value depends on several key variables. Notice the word “variable”. Just a tiny variable tweak can bring huge differences. Hold that thought. Now consider this. Variables constantly change and differ from place to place. Jurisdictions differ; each fact pattern has nuisance. Thus, this blog series is potentially infinite.
To make sense of this mess, each blog post focuses on one key variable only. I start with the most important variable of all—YOU. Your injury claim is all about you, or more accurately perceptions about you. You are NOT the person you are perceived as.
Perception of YOU
You are a trustworthy, hardworking person who was seriously injured by someone else’s mistake. But you won’t get a dime if the decision maker (however unreasonable) sees you as a cheater, slacker or injury faker.
In the personal injury claim context, “who you are perceived as” is more important than who you really are. Mindfulness of other lenses of perception is crucial to successful injury claim resolution. The best you can, clear your mind of your point of view. Then ask yourself: “How might others view me, my injuries, my story my actions in the context of this injury claim?” Your honest answers will lead toward better decisions and more effective testimony.
Decision makers spontaneously and unconsciously pre-judge based on individual life experience, attitudes and beliefs. During jury selection jurors will reveal personal experiences. Listening carefully will provide useful clues to juror paradigms. To add a sour twist, some jurors consciously conceal true biases during jury selection. Your lawyer should ferret out potential jurors with life experiences that may cause prejudgment of you.
You will never know exactly how the decision maker perceives you. You
Oregon State Police (OSP) and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) urge all travelers to remember that proper safety restraint usage is the single most effective way to protect against injuries or death in a motor vehicle crash.
On March 27, 2014 at approximately 11:37 p.m., a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban driven by a female, age 38, from Salem, was eastbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 234, west of Meacham in northeastern Oregon, when she lost control on black ice. The vehicle rolled several times crossing through the median before coming to rest on the westbound shoulder.
The Suburban was occupied by six family members. A 5-year old boy was not properly restrained and was ejected from the rolling vehicle, coming to rest seriously injured in the westbound lanes. The child was initially transported by air ambulance to St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton. He was then taken by air ambulance to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland for treatment of serious injuries.
Seat Belts Save Lives
The greatest danger to unbelted children and adult occupants is ejection from the vehicle, and an unbelted or improperly restrained occupant is five times more likely to be ejected than one who is belted.
The odds of not surviving ejection are estimated at one in four, compared to a one in two hundred fatality rate for occupants who remain inside the vehicle. Ejection is the principal reason that minors are prohibited from riding in an open bed of a pickup truck.
Adults should place lap belts low across hips with the shoulder belt crossing the center of the chest over the collarbone, free of slack and lying flat with no twists or knots. The shoulder belt should NOT be placed under the arm or behind the back – this can cause serious internal injuries or ejection in a crash.
How to Buckle in Your Child
A child weighing less than 40 pounds must be properly restrained in a child safety seat. A child under one year of age or weighing less than twenty pounds must be restrained in a rear-facing child seat. A child over forty pounds but under age eight or less than 4′ 9″ tall must be restrained in either a child seat with harness system or in a booster seat that raises the child up, so that a lap and shoulder belt system fit correctly.
For help with child seats, refer to the seat manufacturer’s instructions, vehicle owner’s manual,
Once again, a deadly combination of heavy fog and icy roads contributed to multiple commercial motor vehicle crashes on Highway 84 east of Pendleton Sunday night, March 2nd, claiming the lives of two men.
After 16 hours of crash scene investigation by OSP troopers and collision re-constructionists from the Pendleton and La Grande offices, with the assistance of ODOT’s Motor Carrier Transportation enforcement officers, the following report was issued:
According to Lieutenant Mike Turner, on March 2, 2014 at approximately 7:30 pm, OSP troopers, ODOT and local emergency responders were dispatched to reports of numerous traffic crashes in the area of Interstate 84 near milepost 221. Several crashes occurred in reported heavy fog on icy roads, involving commercial motor vehicles.
Updated information indicates a 2005 Volvo truck pulling a semi-trailer driven by a male, age 38, from Portland, was westbound when the driver lost control on ice and crashed on the side of the road with the trailer partially resting on the roadway. A series of crashes involving three other commercial trucks occurred associated with the initial crash.
After the secondary collisions, another driver, age 51, from Richland, Washington, was found deceased inside the 2009 Peterbilt truck he was driving. He was pulling two empty milk trailer containers.
A second male victim, age 51, from Houston, Texas, was ejected from the 2003 Western Star truck he was operating. The flatbed trailer pulled by the driver’s truck was loaded with metal. His body was found about 3/4 mile west of the crash scene after he was dragged by another vehicle. Investigators are working with the State Medical Examiner and OSP Forensic Services Division, along with speaking to any witnesses, to corroborate what vehicle may have caused the victim to travel that distance from the scene.
An ongoing investigation looked into the possibility that an ODOT snow plow coming through the area after the collision may have accidentally pushed the victim down the road to where his body was found. An ODOT snow plow was examined for any evidence to confirm if this vehicle was involved and then released back to ODOT.
The fourth involved truck driver was identified as a male, age 36, from Tacoma, Washington. A 50-year old co-driver/passenger was also in the vehicle transporting US mail.
To say that by having Richard Rizk adjudicate an insurance claim was a serendipitous event is an understatement. My wife, a registered nurse, was seriously injured. Three attorneys, upon separate accounts over several years, failed to achieve monetary compensation. One attorney, who knows Richard......