Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:
Q: What type of personal injury claims do you handle in Oregon and Washington?
A: I handle all types of accident cases and personal injury claims, car vs. truck accident cases, semi-truck accident cases, airline aviation accidents, private aviation accidents, commercial aviation accidents, auto injury accidents, motorcycle injury accidents, bicycle injury accidents, dog bite injuries, ATV injury accidents, boating injury accidents, and any other case where someone else causes you personal injury.
Q: When should I call you after my personal injury accident?
A: You should call me now. Consult with me or another lawyer before you provide a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company. I will promptly return your call or email. In 15 minutes or so, with a few questions, I will help you understand what insurance coverage is available to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Q: What is my personal injury case worth?
A: The value of an injury case will depend upon the injuries, treatment, and time it takes to reach maximum medical improvement. In severe cases, where there are permanent injuries or death, the value is obviously much greater. Call me to discuss the details of your case and I may be able to provide a range of value for the worth of your case.
Q: Should I accept the offer that the insurance company has given me?
A: Oftentimes I can get insurance companies to substantially increase the amount of their personal injury settlement offer. If you have already received an offer for your injuries, contact me and I will let you know if I think it is a fair offer. I will not charge you for this consultation. If I do not beat their original offer to you, I will not charge you an attorney fee.
Q: Can I still get money when the driver that hit me had no insurance?
A: Yes, you can recover money for medical expenses and pain, suffering, and inconvenience If you have uninsured motorist coverage.
Q: Does my car insurance policy medical coverage (PIP) cover me when I’m walking or on my bike?
A: Yes, most car policies cover you when injured in a bicycle accident or as a pedestrian.
Q: How do I know if I have a good auto accident or personal injury case?
A: You need to call me to discuss the details of your case. My initial consultation is free for all personal injury claims.
Q: How long do personal injury cases usually take to settle?
A: It will depend upon the circumstances of your injury case. I routinely settle smaller cases within a few weeks of the end of your medical treatment. When there are small policy limits, those cases can also settle very quickly when the value of your case is close to the policy limit. In large injury cases where there are catastrophic injuries or in wrongful death cases, they can take more time to settle. Smaller cases under $10,000 can also settle quickly because of an Oregon law provision that allows me to collect attorney fees directly from the insurance company.
Q: If I pursue a case with you will it require a lot of my own time and energy?
A: No, in fact very little. I have had some cases settle with no more of my client’s time than filling out the initial paperwork and keeping me aware of their recovery with a few emails. I know your time is valuable, so I will not waste it. Even when your case is in litigation and I have to file suit, you will likely have to do little more than spend a few hours at a deposition. Obviously, a trial requires a larger investment of your time.
Q: If I hire a lawyer, will we have to have a trial?
A: No, over 90% of my cases settle and do not go to trial. All of my cases are pursued as if they are going to trial, however, to maximize the value of your settlement.
Q: Why is it so important to hire an experienced trial attorney to handle my case in Oregon or Washington?
A: Most personal injury cases settle before trial, but you want to maximize your settlement. If you hire a personal injury attorney who has little trial experience, oftentimes they will be afraid to go to trial. Insurance companies know who these lawyers are, and they oftentimes offer them less than the case is worth. When I used to represent insurance companies, we knew who these lawyers were, as they would often settle personal injury cases for pennies on the dollar rather than go to trial. I have 10 years of courtroom experience and I have tried well over 100 cases. I have had much success in the courtroom and I will not advise you to settle for less than I believe your case is worth.
Q: Do I need a personal injury lawyer?
A: In order to settle your personal injury and auto accident cases you will have to deal with insurance companies. Their goal is to pay you as little as you will take. It is tough for someone who is not familiar with personal injury cases to know what a fair settlement amount is. An experienced Oregon personal injury attorney or Washington accident lawyer can help you to determine that amount and reach a fair settlement. The insurance company has an attorneys, you need one too.
Q: How do I pay for attorney fees?
A: Because I handle Oregon and Washington accident cases on a contingency fee, you will not owe me an attorney fee unless I win money for your case. SO THERE IS NO FEE, until I recover money for you.
Q: If you file suit, will your attorney fee increase?
A: No. Most personal injury lawyers in Oregon and Washington fees go up to 40% if suit is filed, and often 50% for a trial. My clients do not pay more for filing suit. The attorney fee remains at one third. Only in the case of a trial or arbitration do my fees increase to 40%, with the additional 6.67% intended to compensate for the time and effort required to try your case. That happens in 5-10% of my cases. Make sure to ask any other lawyer whether they charge an increased fee after filing suit.
Q: Are there fees for recovering my medical bills?
A: No. While most attorneys compute the one third (33.3%) fee from the total amount of the settlement, I do not. I compute my fee on the amount left after the unpaid medical bills are paid. For example, If your case settled for $150,000, most attorneys would charge $50,000. Then if you had a $50,000 medical bill, you would get the $50,000 left over. With my fee structure, I would charge the one third fee after the medical bills were paid, resulting in an additional $16,666.67 in your pocket. Make sure to ask whether a potential attorney charges their fee on the gross amount, or the amount left after medical bills are paid.
Q: Do you charge any other fees or hidden fees?
A: No. There are no hidden or additional fees for things like phone charges, parking, copies, postage, etc. The attorney fee covers all of those office type expenses. Other lawyers charge for all of those things, which can add up quickly. The only costs other than the attorney fee are the checks that I write to cover the litigation expenses, such as the cost to obtain your medical records.
Q: Lawsuits can be expensive, will it cost me any money up front for filing fees, court costs, expert witness fees, and any other costs?
A: Filing a lawsuit, paying court costs and expert witness fees can be very expensive. I know that most people cannot afford these costs up front, so I forward these costs up front in every case I take. Spending a few thousand dollars on a good expert witness can make the difference between getting thousands of dollars and getting nothing for your personal injury claim. You will not have to pay those costs until your case is concluded. Before you hire a lawyer, make sure that they are willing to forward the money to adequately pursue your personal injury case. Otherwise, you may be forced into taking a minimal settlement if you cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars to pursue your personal injury claim.
Q: The other driver was very nice. What happens to them if we file a lawsuit?
A: When I file the complaint, the lawsuit will be against the other driver, but we are not going after them, just their insurance company. The insurance company is required to pay the settlement or judgment, and hire an attorney to defend the other driver. So they rarely pay a dime. Even when the other driver’s policy is too small to cover the settlement or verdict, either your policy or his or her insurance company will still cover the loss.
Q: What qualifies Tom Patton to handle airplane accidents?
A: In addition to being a skilled personal injury and car accident attorney, I am also an experienced aviator. I am a retired Lt Col who served in the Air National Guard for 30 years, and I flew Air Force cargo and rescue planes for 11 years. I was a C-130 Navigator, and have over 2,500 flying hours under every condition, including combat. I have lost close friends an military co-workers due to aviation accidents. I know how hard it can be to handles these types of losses, but know that I am exceptionally qualified to do so and will fight tooth and nail for you to win your case and get the maximum settlement possible from those at fault.
Q: What kinds or accident cases do you take?
A: I have handled all types of cases in Oregon injury cases, Washington injury cases, wrongful death cases, and products liability cases involving cars, trucking accidents, plane crashes, helicopter crashes, bikes, motorcycles, scooters and mopeds, pedestrian and wheelchairs, as well as slip and fall and trip and fall cases where a store, hotel, restaurant, casino, or even a city was at fault for the accident.
Q: Where do you handle cases in Oregon and Washington?
A: I am centrally located near Portland, Oregon, in order to handle case throughout the northwest in both Oregon and Washington.
Q: What parts of Oregon do you handle cases in?
A: Although I am located in Portland, Oregon, I am licensed in both Oregon and Washington
and I will handle cases throughout the state including the following cities and counties:
Cities in Oregon:
Portland, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard, Tualatin, West Linn, Gresham, Troutdale, Hood River, The Dalles, Salem, Monmouth, Eugene, Medford, Bend, Springfield, Albany Aloha, Corvallis, Keizer, Grants Pass, Milwaukie, McMinnville, Oregon City, Woodburn, St. Helens, Vernonia, Yamhill, Roseburg, Pendleton, Ontario, Astoria, Seaside, Umatilla, Cottage Grove, Lincoln City, Central Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon, Oregon Coast
Counties in Oregon:
Multnomah County, Clackamas County, Washington County, Yamhill County, Columbia County, Hood River County, Wasco County, Marion County, Linn County, Lane County, Josephine County, Jackson County, Douglas County, Clatsop County, Tillamook County
Q: What parts of Washington do you handle cases in?
A: Although I am located in Portland, Oregon, I am licensed in both Oregon and Washington, and I will handle cases throughout the state of Washington including the following counties and cities:
Counties in Washington:
Adams County, Asotin County, Benton County, Clallam County, Clark County, Columbia County, Cowlitz County, Franklin County, Garfield County, Grant County, Grays Harbor County, Jefferson County, King County, Kittitas County, Klickitat County, Lewis County, Lincoln County, Mason County, Pacific County, Pierce County, Skamania County, Thurston County, Wahkiakum County, Walla Walla County, Yakima County.
Cities in Washington:
Aberdeen, Battle Ground, Benton City, Bingen, Bucoda, Burton, Calama, Camas, Campbell Lake, Castle Rock, Cathlamet, Centralia, Charter Oak, Chehalis, Cosmopolis, Crawford, Curtis Lake, Eatonville, Ellsworth, Ellsworth, Felida, Fern Prairie, Fisher, Gig Harbor, Goldendale, Good Hope, Grandview, Granger, Green Lake, Hazel Dell, Hoquiam, Ilwaco, Ireland, Kalama, Kelso, Kennewick, King Corner, La Center, Lake Shore, Lewisville, Little Elkhorn, Livingston, Long Beach, Longview, Lucia, Mabton, Montesano, Moxee, Naches, Napavine, Ocean Shores, Olympia, Pasco, Pioneer, Proebstel, Prosser, Ranier, Raymond, Richland, Ridgefield, Rye, Sacajawea, Salmon Creek, Sara, Scotton Corner, Seattle, Selah, South Bend, Stevenson, Sunnyside, Tacoma, Tenino, Toledo, Toppenish, Tumwater, Twin Harbors, Union, Vader, Vancouver, Venersborg, Wapato, Washougal, West Richland, Westport, White Salmon, Winlock, Woodland, Yacolt, Yakima, Zillah.
STOP! Contact me directly for a free phone consultation to find out how and if I can help with your personal injury case. Remember, you don’t owe me a fee, unless I recover money for you.
• Lake Oswego & Portland: 503-546-3357
• Vancouver: 360-213-0399
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8 N State St., Suite 301
Lake Oswego, OR 97304
Portland Personal Injury Attorney/Lawyer Thomas C. Patton, JD.
Free initial legal phone consultations: 503-546-3357