When you are involved in a car accident which is not your fault, you need to be prepared to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. This is not always the easiest thing to do, especially in Oregon, given our statutes lay out a modified comparative negligence rule for personal injury cases. As a result, it is important to have expert witnesses available to help build a more solid case to present to the insurance company, or when necessary, to be heard by a jury in the event the insurer refuses to offer you a reasonable settlement.
What is Oregon’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule?
Comparative negligence means more than one person is responsible for something. In the case of car accidents, this often means some portion of the blame for the accident could be assigned to both drivers involved in an accident.
In modified comparative negligence claims, should one driver be able to prove you, the person who was injured, bore at least 50 percent of the responsibility for the accident, then you would be unable to collect any damages, even if you went to court. This is one reason having an expert in accident reconstruction is so important to your case.
Accident Reconstruction Experts Bolster Your Claim
When you are involved in a car accident and there are injuries involved, police must be notified. However, a police report may not always contain all the information needed to assess the accident, primarily because there were no law enforcement officers present when the accident occurred.
When your personal injury lawyer needs help determining more finite information than what might be contained in an accident report, they will contact an accident reconstruction specialist. These specialists are trained to recreate accidents after they occur. They will work with eyewitnesses who provide information, you as the victim, photographs and other evidence which may be collected at the scene of the accident. Using this information, they can focus on the cause of the accident, help determine fault, and determine the extent of the damage.
When Medical Experts May Be Necessary
Depending on the type of injury a victim suffers in a car accident, the personal injury law firm in Central Oregon representing the victim may need to contact a medical expert. Victims can suffer lingering pain and complications from spinal cord injuries suffered in an accident. Only a doctor can provide credible testimony regarding a victim’s injuries. Medical experts can also address potential recovery and explain the treatment a victim will need to recover from their injuries.
Other medical experts, such as someone specifically trained in dealing with mental health issues, can help by explaining about the mental health issues which victims are often forced to live with following a car accident in which they suffered a serious injury.
Obtaining Guidance from Economic Experts
It is common for a personal injury lawyer in Bend to contact experts with a background in economics when someone is going to be forced to remain out of work permanently due to injuries they suffered in a car accident. For example, many victims who suffer traumatic brain injury (TBI) will be unable to return to work after a car accident. The economic losses that a family must face can be devastating.
By hiring the right financial experts, they can help your personal injury lawyer provide a comprehensive picture of the losses your injuries have caused. They can look at raises you will miss out on, other job opportunities you will lose access to, and the losses associated with other benefits, including pension plans.
Rehabilitation and Vocational Experts May Also Be Needed
Long-term physical and emotional problems often must be dealt with following an injury suffered in a car accident. As a personal injury law firm in Central Oregon, we have dealt with clients who have been unable to return to their prior jobs due to their injuries. In some cases, victims can retrain for other professions, although in some instances, this is not possible.
Rehabilitation experts often work with a victim’s medical team to determine the overall physical impact of an injury and help determine what limitations the victim will have to live with for the rest of their lives.
These experts can often help by providing statements explaining what retraining is appropriate, how long the training would take, and what limitations the victim will have in a new role, particularly if victims must take on a new profession.
Vocational experts will collaborate with medical teams and with rehabilitation teams to help insurance companies, or juries understand the impact of your injury on your ability to work, the impact on your earnings over time, and other pertinent information.
Stronger Case With Expert Witnesses
When you hire a personal injury lawyer in Bend to represent you following a car accident, they will discuss with you the potential need to hire experts for your case. While an insurance company may agree you were not responsible for the accident, they will still want to pay as little as possible to you for your claim.
One reason insurance company adjusters often encourage accident victims to avoid contacting a personal injury lawyer is that they know that most attorneys understand when an expert might be necessary to bolster a claim. They also know that, as an individual, you may not have the knowledge or connections to hire those experts on your own.
Remember, while there is an expense in hiring such a witness, the strength of your case may require one or more witnesses to assist your personal injury lawyer in Bend in providing clear proof that the injuries you sustained will cost more than the insurance company is willing to offer.
Contact Our Offices Today
Licensed to practice in both Oregon and Washington, Nathan Steele is prepared to stand by you and find the right experts if needed. Consultation is free. Contact Steele Law Firm our law firm today to discuss your case.