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Personal Injury FAQs

What is a Personal Injury claim?

A personal injury claim refers to a potential claim you may have if you were injured due to the negligent or intentional act of another person or entity. Personal injury claims may arise in a variety of ways. Most commonly, people may have a viable personal injury claim if they were injured in a motor vehicle accident. Other common personal injury claims involve being injured by slipping and falling due to a hazard on a premise, or injuries due to negligently designed or manufactured consumer products.

I was hurt at work. Do I have a personal injury claim?

Short answer: probably not. If you are injured due to the negligence of your employer or your co-worker, you cannot sue your employer for your personal injuries. Rather, your sole and exclusive remedy for any such injuries is the workers’ compensation system. However, there are some notable exceptions to this “Exclusive Remedy” Doctrine, such as:

  • Intentional injuries: if your injuries were due in substantial part due to the willful and unprovoked aggression by a co-worker or employer, then you may sue that person for an intentional tort.
  • Red-tagged equipment: if OSHA if has posted a red warning notice on a machine, device, apparatus, or equipment, and your employer requires you to use it before they make it safe, then you may be able to bring a personal injury action against your employer.
  • Non-complying employers: if you were injured while working for an employer that was not carrying required workers’ compensation insurance, you can not only bring a personal injury claim, you can also file a workers’ compensation claim.
  • Third-Party Claims: if you were injured at work by some negligent third-party who is unassociated with your employment, a viable third-party personal injury claim can be filed.

What is a Third-Party Claim?

A third-party claim is a personal injury claim in the event you get hurt while on the job due to the negligence of someone other than a coworker or employer—i.e., you got injured due to the negligence of some third party unaffiliated with your employment.

Most commonly, it is possible to file a third-party claim if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident while you were on the clock for your employer. Other common third-party claims involve being injured due to negligently designed or manufactured equipment used in your job or injuries due to the negligence of another person who is engaged in a common enterprise with your employment, such as a subcontractor.

What do I do if I get into a car accident?

Getting into a car accident can be very scary and it will likely be hard to think about what to do when you’ve just experienced such an event. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation:

  • Call 911 if there are injuries.
  • Stay safely out of the way of further harm. Stay in your car if that is the safest place, or if moving may further injure you.
  • You can move your car to a safe location if your car is obstructing traffic or otherwise creating an unsafe situation. Just don’t leave the scene of the accident.
  • Swap insurance information with any other drivers involved in the accident.
  • Get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
  • Call your insurance company and follow any instructions given to you by your insurance representative.
  • Take photos of the accident scene, including any vehicle damage, and any personal injuries you suffered.
  • Seek medical treatment immediately and document your providers, your recovery, out-of-pocket costs, and any lost-wages due to inability to work.

What is PIP coverage (Personal Injury Protection)?

Every auto insurance policy issued in Oregon must carry PIP coverage. PIP is part of your auto insurance policy that provides payment for medical treatment and a percentage of your lost wages due to injuries suffered as a result of using, occupying, or maintaining your vehicle. Your medical providers should bill your PIP policy for any treatment caused by a car accident in the following days, weeks, or months. Keep in mind that PIP coverage only lasts for one year from the date of the accident is subject to maximum limits dictated by your particular insurance coverage.

If you received PIP benefits due to the negligence of another motorist, you may have to pay PIP back should you elect to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist and receive a settlement or judgment.

What is liability coverage?

Liability coverage is part of your auto insurance policy that provides payment to a person or entity that was injured due to your fault. If you are the injured party, you are going after the at-fault driver’s liability coverage; if you are the at-fault party, the injured party is going after your liability coverage. Liability coverage is subject to maximum limits dictated by your particular insurance coverage. If the damages caused by an at-fault driver exceed the maximum liability coverage limits, the injured party has a choice to either pursue the “excess amount” directly from the at-fault party in their personal capacity or pursue more coverage provided under your underinsured motorist coverage.

What is UIM coverage (Underinsured Motorist)?

UIM coverage is a part of your insurance policy that provides payment to you as the injured party should the total damages stemming from your motor vehicle accident exceed the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. Your UIM policy stacks on top of the liability policy and provides another source of recovery aside from pursuing excess amounts directly from the at-fault party’s personal finances.

For more information about personal injury matters in Oregon, contact our Salem personal injury lawyer at Elmer & Brunot, PC and request a free consultation today.

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