Steve Smucker, Esq., is a lawyer for people who’ve been injured through the negligent or irresponsible acts of others. The injuries may involve automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, or bicycles; dangerous situations on someone else’s property; civil assault and battery; or vicious dog attacks. He helps people get closure on accident and insurance claims through negotiation, mediation or trial – whatever it takes.

Automobile Accidents Insurance Claims

home1Insurance companies have the claims management process down. Adjusters are experts. They call you up; know what to ask and how to ask it. As far as you’re concerned, some of the questions are off the wall. That’s because their goal in doing the interview (often taped) is different than yours. Be careful relying on them for advice about your claim.

Bicycle Accidents and Personal Injury

Portland is bicycling nirvana for the nearly 20,000 cyclists who commute everyday to work. There are dedicated bike lanes, green bike boxes, traffic signals for bikes, and a new bike friendly bridge, the Tilikum Crossing, set to open in October of 2015. Portland’s motto could easily be: “Go By Bike”

Riding to work, school, or the grocery store is easy and safe, as long as everyone pays attention and follows the law. You probably already know traffic laws for cars apply to bikes. See ORS 814.400 (application of vehicle laws to bicycles).

What you might not know is – if you are on your bike and hit by a car – who pays your medical bills? This is how it works in Oregon: (1) if you are on your bike and you have an insured car at home, your auto insurance is first in line to pay your medical bills under personal injury protection (PIP); (2) If you are on your bike and you don’t have an insured car at home, home2but you have health insurance, then health insurance is next in line to pay your medical bills; (3) If you are on your bike and you don’t have an insured car at home and you don’t have health insurance, then the driver’s insurance company is required to open a PIP claim to pay your medical bills – even if you were at fault.

Two bicyclists on the Spring Water Corridor were in a bad crash last year. One cyclist failed to keep a proper lookout. The other had no time to react. The insurance issue was whether the negligent cyclist’s homeowner’s policy covered the injured cyclist’s losses.

Uninsured Motorists and Hit and Run

It’s the weekend and you’re out for a drive when, WHAM! Before you have time to react, you’ve left the road and your car is on its side in a ditch. The guy takes off. Do you have uninsured motorist coverage?

Or, the guy stays but his insurance lapsed a week ago. Are you covered?

What if the guy – a phantom driver – is coming at you in your lane and you swerve to avoid a collision, but lose control and crash, and he vanishes? Do you have uninsured motorist coverage?

home3What is uninsured motorist coverage?

Under ORS 742.502, every motor vehicle liability insurance policy issued in Oregon must contain certain provisions. All policies must offer (and almost all contain) uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM & UIM) coverage for bodily injury or death, which would apply in the first two examples cited above, and the third would depend on independent evidence.

In these situations, your auto insurance company is required by law (paid for with your premiums) to afford you protection. This doesn’t mean the insurance company is now your ally – it’s not. The adjuster acts on behalf of the company.

Uninsured motorist coverage will take a GIANT step toward fairness in Oregon starting January 1, 2016. Stay tuned for more on this later – just to be on the safe side, put on your calendar a note to yourself to renew your auto policy effective January 1, 2016, and protect yourself from a gap in UM coverage that could seriously affect your options should something catastrophic happen.

Other claims

Imagine: (i) a hotel manager rents a room to an unsuspecting family knowing the room is infested with bedbugs; (ii) an apartment owner hires a rapist to be in charge of the night desk; (iii) a strip club employs a murderer to be its bouncer; or home4(iv) a trucking company puts an alcoholic with a spotty past behind the wheel of a big rig.

It is foreseeable that these types of actions will cause harm to innocent people. One way to get them to stop so they don’t do it to someone else is to call.

If something’s happened to you, a family member or friend, call Steve Smucker, Esq., an “AV rated” plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer, with an office on the MAX in downtown Portland. Licensed in Oregon and Washington.

 

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Oregon Attorney Steve Smucker
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