What to Do If I Get Into An Accident While Ride Sharing in Portland?

If you get into an accident while ride sharing, you have a potentially complicated legal situation on your hands. As a passenger, you weren’t responsible for causing the accident since you were dependent upon the driver to keep you safe. However, you need to know who exactly is responsible for causing the collision, as you should be able to pursue a case for compensation to recover for any losses. with-a-church-and-buses-3-1506485

What to Do If You Get into a Car Accident While Using a Ride Sharing Service

If you get into a car accident while using a ride sharing service, you should contact an attorney right away. You should talk to a lawyer as soon as practical so you can protect and preserve your rights and begin the injury claims process.

One of the most important things your lawyer will do is help you to determine who was at fault for the ride sharing accident. This could be the driver of the vehicle in which you were riding. Many people who drive for ride sharing services have to work long shifts. Some drivers will even drive for multiple different ride sharing services because this allows them to get in more hours. This can lead to situations where drivers are fatigued and suffer from delayed reactions and impaired judgment.

Since Uber and other ride sharing providers communicate with drivers via their smartphones, there is also a big risk that a ride-sharing driver will be paying attention to their phone and not the road. These and other dangerous behaviors can lead to drivers causing crashes. Your lawyer can help you to obtain police reports from the crash and other evidence which shows who actually was to blame for causing the collision to happen.

If the evidence shows the driver of the ride sharing service was the one responsible, your attorney can help you to decide who to actually pursue your case for compensation against. Most ride sharing services provide insurance. For example, Uber has provided up to a million per accident in liability coverage since 2013. Pursuing a case against the company facilitating ride sharing can make it possible to recover broader compensation.

Your attorney can deal with the insurer for the ride sharing company on your behalf. These insurers handle accident claims all the time, they know the ins-and-outs of settlement negotiations, and they often try to pay less than claims are worth. Your attorney can help to make sure this does not happen with your claim and that you get the compensation you deserve.

If the evidence shows another motorist was responsible for causing the accident, your attorney can also assist you in pursuing a case against that other driver. Whether you are making a claim against Uber, the ride-sharing driver of the vehicle you were in, or another motorist, your lawyer can help you to resolve your case inside or outside of court for the maximum about of compensation possible to cover your losses.

Causes of Halloween Pedestrian Accidents

Halloween pedestrian accidents are very common, with double the number of pedestrians dying in auto accidents on Halloween night as compared with on other days of the year, according to Safe Kids Oregon.  There are many different reasons why there are more pedestrian accidents on Halloween. Motorists need to understand the kinds of dangerous behaviors which cause pedestrian and car crashes, as well as the conditions which lead to an increase in Halloween pedestrian fatalities. neighborhood-kids-1384870

One common cause of Halloween pedestrian accidents is an increase in alcohol use before driving on Halloween night. According to Mix, 44 percent of the deadly accidents on Halloween involve a driver who has a BAC above the limit, and 23 percent of pedestrian deaths on Halloween occur in accidents with a driver who is intoxicated.

Just last year, Oregon Live reported on one such DUI accident which led to a tragic fatality. The incident occurred in North Portland. A driver who had consumed approximately three to four beers at a party got into a fight with his girlfriend and left the celebration. He saw a pedestrian who was halfway across the road as he was driving on North Lombard Street, and he tried to swerve to the right to avoid hitting the pedestrian but was not able to do so.

He ended up striking the pedestrian, who slammed into the vehicle by the driver’s side window. The driver tried to help the pedestrian, who had been spending time with friends and celebrating his 27th birthday which fell on Halloween. The pedestrian decided to leave and walk to the store but was struck by the car when he was on his way. Unfortunately, the driver could not help the pedestrian, and the pedestrian died of his injuries.  Friends did not discover what happened until the next day, as they thought he had simply run into other people on his way to the store and not returned.

Approximately two hours after the collision, the driver’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) was measured at .03, so police believe it was likely over the limit at the time of the incident. The driver also submitted an affidavit in which he rated himself a four on a scale of one to 10 when asked how comfortable he felt driving.  Police believe he was going around 40 to 50 miles an hour on the road when he hit the pedestrian.

Accidents like this one are far too common when people go to Halloween parties and then leave those parties too intoxicated to drive home safely. Drunken drivers, however, aren’t the only reason for elevated accident risks on Halloween. There are also more accidents simply because there are more cars on the road and more pedestrians out. Particularly after dark, there are many more children outside walking around then usual. If drivers aren’t prepared to watch for these kids, serious and sometimes fatal pedestrian accidents are the likely outcome.

Speeding Causes Deadly Portland Car Accidents

When drivers are traveling at higher speeds, there is a greater chance of accidents happening and there is an increased likelihood an auto accident will be a fatal one. A recent Portland car accident illustrates the tragic consequences which can occur as a result of drivers going too fast. speedometer-1449844

KATU reported on a high-speed accident which resulted in the death of a teen pedestrian. The accident happened when the teenager was crossing Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard at approximately 4:00 PM. She was hit by a gold Lexus, which was driven by a 20-year-old motorist.

The Lexus reportedly approach 43rd avenue and was in the center lane, rapidly going past other vehicles. The driver of the Lexus apparently came close to hitting other cars, according to witnesses who saw the accident happen. The driver was traveling approximately 60 miles per hour when he struck the teenager who was crossing the street.

Although the teenager was killed by the auto accident, the driver of the Lexus did not stop right away. He continued to travel west on Hawthorne at a high speed. He did, however, eventually return to the scene of the collision.

A witness at the crash scene administered CPR to the teenager who was hit by the vehicle. The witness told KATU the victim was only 15-years-old. She had left a coffee shop and was reportedly trying to get to the north end of Hawthorne. Her mother was with her, and was reportedly standing just a few feet away from her at the time when she was killed. The driver who hit her was driving on a suspended license, and he was arrested at the scene of the collision for reckless driving, hit and run, and manslaughter.

Unfortunately, this crash is one of many which occurs because of drivers who choose to recklessly speed. When a driver goes too fast, he significantly increases the chance of getting into an accident and he also increases the likely severity of the accident.

Automotive Fleet has reported on the risks associated with excessive speed. While the average driver has about a five percent chance of becoming involved in a car accident, each percent increase in speed results in a two percent increase in the driver getting into a crash.  Drivers who speed may lose control of cars and have a longer stopping distance, which helps to explain the added crash risks.

When accidents happen at faster speeds, the crash forces multiply, increasing the risk for serious injuries and fatalities. A one percent increase in speed transfers to a three percent increase in serious injuries occurring if the speeding car crashes and translates into a four percent increase in the chances the accident will be fatal.

Drivers should be aware of the tremendous risks and should make it a point to travel at or below speed limits so they are always traveling at a speed which is safe for the current conditions of the road.

Negotiating with a Portland Insurance Company

Victims of an auto accident should be able to make a claim to receive compensation from an auto insurer.  In Portland, drivers have to buy bodily injury liability coverage, property damage liability coverage, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection (PIP).  The broad minimum coverage requirements mean almost everyone should be able to recover compensation if they get hurt in a collision. Oregon Mutual, Grange, Amica, and Allied are among the insurance companies who make automobile insurance policies available to Oregon consumers and who will provide compensation to victims who get hurt in Oregon auto accidents. burning-ambulance-1398173

After you’ve been hurt, you need an experienced accident lawyer that knows how to effectively negotiate with a Portland insurance company to get the money you are entitled to following an accident.  Some of the challenges that occur during negotiation include:

  • Insurers aren’t on your side. Insurance companies want to pay as little to you as possible, in most cases. They’ll be looking for ways to deny your claim, trip you up and get you to change your story, or get you to accept less in compensation than you deserve. You need to be prepared to protect your rights, which usually means having a lawyer help you.
  • Different insurers cover different losses. If you suffered injury, regardless of who was at fault, but your injuries weren’t very costly or serious, you’ll make a personal injury protection claim with your insurance company. If you got hurt because another driver was negligent but that driver had no insurance or insufficient insurance, you’ll make an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with your own insurer. If you got hurt by another driver who had insurance coverage, you’ll make a claim with that driver’s insurer.
  • Insurers usually make low ball settlement offers. Your attorney should send a demand letter to the insurer to ask for an appropriate amount of compensation so you start negotiating based on a dollar amount you believe is fair. If the insurer counters back, you’ll negotiate back and forth until you reach a number that is reasonable- if the insurer is willing to be reasonable. If not, you may need to go to court.
  • A liability release is permanent. Before an insurer will pay your damage claim, you’ll have to sign a release of liability. You cannot change your mind once this happens.  Be sure your settlement covers your damages and that you know the full extent of your losses before agreeing to settle your claim.
  • Know how to respond if an insurer won’t be fair. If your own insurer denies legitimate claims or doesn’t treat you fairly, you’ll need to make a bad faith claim. If the other driver’s insurer won’t make a fair settlement offer, you’ll need to pursue a personal injury claim.

By keeping these key pieces of info in mind, you will have a greater chance at recovering the compensation you deserve.

What to Do After Hit-and-Run Pedestrian Accidents

A tragic accident left an Oregon pedestrian dead recently. Law enforcement officers reported to the scene of an accident and found the victim lying in the middle of the road. Statesman Journal indicated that law enforcement officers determined the victim had been hit by a car and the driver of the car had left the scene of the crash. Police were asking anyone with information to contact law enforcement to provide details. Law enforcement officers also asked for local repair shops to keep an eye out for cars which had unexplained vehicle damage. pedestrian-1528286

Pedestrian accidents which cause fatalities are always tragic and damaging for family members the victim left behind. Unfortunately, in cases where a hit-and-run occurred, the losses suffered by the family may be especially severe. This is because while most crash victims and their families can pursue a claim against the driver who caused the death, it is not possible to do this in a hit-and-run unless the driver can be found.

What to Do After Hit and Run Pedestrian Accidents

When hit-and-run pedestrian accidents occur, locating the driver responsible for the accident is a top priority, especially if the accident is a fatal one. Drivers are required to stay at the scene to provide identifying information and talk with law enforcement officers who respond to the crash. It is a crime for motorists not to stop, and police will seek community help in identifying the hit-and-run driver, as they have done in this case.

If the pedestrian survives the accident, they should try to provide as much information as possible to the police to help law enforcement officers find the driver who was involved. This could include a description of the car and any partial or full license plate numbers. Unfortunately, if the victim is deceased, as in this case, law enforcement often has limited evidence to go on to find hit and run drivers. Still, it may be possible for the driver to be identified.

If the driver who caused the hit-and-run pedestrian accident is found, family members of the deceased can potentially make a wrongful death claim. If a victim survives but suffers serious injury, the victim could also pursue a personal injury lawsuit. The victim would need to be able to show the driver who was identified as leaving the scene of the crash was, in fact, the motorist who caused the accident to occur.

If the hit-and-run driver is never found, it may be possible for pedestrian accident victims or their families to try to recover at least some compensation from the victim’s auto insurer. Oregon law requires extensive insurance coverage, including personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured motorist coverage, and uninsured motorist coverage. Insurance can provide some compensation to victims and their families when a hit-and-run driver is not identified.

Holding Drivers Accountable for Oregon Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents create a significant risk of death for those on motorcycles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates there is a substantially greater risk of death when involved in a crash on a motorcycle, as compared with in a passenger car.  Unfortunately, all too often, it is people in cars who make the unsafe choices which end up costing motorcycle riders their lives. motorcycle-1450689

Just recently, KVAL reported on one Oregon man who was potentially responsible for causing a motorcycle accident.

The alleged actions of this driver did not just result in one fatality, but actually may have killed three motorcyclists. The bikers were visiting from Germany, and notifying the families in a foreign country was creating complications for law enforcement.

Holding Drivers Accountable for Oregon Motorcycle Accidents

The actions of the driver from Oregon that allegedly killed the three German bikers have resulted in the driver being arrested and facing criminal charges.

The driver was 61-years-old and was driving a 2003 pickup truck. He was reportedly in the process of negotiating a right-hand curve on the road. He failed to negotiate the curve properly, according to Patrol Captain Tom Pritchard. As a result, the driver crossed into oncoming traffic.

The incident happened at around 12:15 PM. When the driver crossed the yellow line into oncoming traffic, he smashed into a large group of motorcycle riders. Two men and one woman on the motorcycles were killed. Three additional motorcyclists were injured, but said to be in stable condition at the hospital where they were transported after the incident.

The Oregon man who was arrested for hitting the bikers was being held at a detention center pending his first court appearance. It was not yet clear why he had crossed the center lane, but there was speculation he may have been taking pain medications after a recent abdominal surgery.

It remains to be seen if the Oregon man will actually be convicted of any criminal offenses for his role in the accident which led to the three deaths. In addition to criminal charges, it is also possible for drivers who cause motorcycle accidents to be held liable in civil court.

In civil court, victims hurt in motorcycle accidents (or surviving family members in situations where a motorcycle accident is deadly), can pursue claims against the driver who caused the collisions to occur. These cases are entirely separate from any criminal proceedings and the goal is for the victims of the accidents to be compensated for both economic losses and non-financial damages the crash has caused to occur.

The standard of proof and the process of making a civil case are very different than in a criminal case, and victims who wish to pursue a lawsuit in civil court to obtain damages should ensure they have a qualified legal advocate to provide assistance in making a case to obtain damages.

It is also possible for these cases to settle outside of court, if an agreement on compensation can be reached between crash victims and those responsible for providing compensation.

These Tips Can Help Portland Motorists to Avoid Getting Rear-Ended

Among the most common types of motor vehicle accidents, rear-end collisions can cause serious injuries or fatalities. Drivers have to be aware of the risks of rear-end crashes and of the top ways to prevent these accidents from occurring. When motorists make safer choices, crashes can be avoided. gps-driving-2-1353290

Tips to Avoid Getting Rear-Ended

In a typical rear-end crash, the driver in the rear vehicle is presumed to be the one who is responsible for causing the accident to occur. This is because the rear driver is expected to leave enough space in order to react to what the front driver does in the car. If the rear driver hits the front car, obviously he failed to leave sufficient space, and this failure was the likely cause of the collision.

While rear drivers are usually considered at fault, all drivers can take steps to try to avoid becoming involved in rear-end accidents. This includes trying to avoid being rear-ended. To reduce the chances your vehicle will be struck from the back, you should:

  • Use your signals. Don’t suddenly pull into another lane as another driver could end up rear-ending you. Use the turn signals to alert motorists to your intentions. Using your signal will also help drivers behind you to anticipate when you are going to slow down in preparation for a turn.
  • Don’t stop short if you can help it. When you slam on your brakes, you’ll be rear-ended unless the driver behind you is also able to slam on his or her brakes as well. If you can avoid stopping short, you reduce the danger. Be vigilant in paying attention to the road around you and try to look up as far ahead of you as possible so you can identify obstacles in plenty of time to avoid having to hit the brakes and stop suddenly.
  • Try not to vary your speed too much for no reason. If you are constantly speeding up and then slowing down, other drivers behind you may have a hard time anticipating your speed and reacting accordingly. When you slow down for no reason, the driver who is directly behind you may not notice or be able to slow down his own car on time.
  • Watch what other drivers are doing and leave yourself an escape. If you stop at an intersection, don’t pull right up behind the car in front of you as you’ll have no where to go if another car looks like it isn’t going to stop. Watch oncoming cars in your mirrors and make sure they are planning to brake when they approach your car.

Even when you do everything right, you cannot control what other motorists do. You need to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep yourself safe, but must also understand your rights if another driver rear-ends you despite your best efforts.

Portland accident victims should contact Zbinden & Curtis, Attorneys at Law, by calling 1-503-287-5000 or visiting http://www.zbinden-curtis.com.  Serving Portland, Hillsboro, Gresham and surrounding areas.

Pedestrian Death in Oregon Shows Dangers for Walkers

In Oregon, a police officer was on regular patrol when he observed a collision which caused the death of a young boy. The collision happened at 4:16 PM and the police officer responded immediately to render aid and try to resuscitate the young boy. The incident happened at an intersection which KOIN6 reported has been described as “treacherous.” There is a MAX train going east and west in the intersection, there is vehicle traffic at the intersection, and there is pedestrian traffic as well as children playing on the corner. pedestrian-crossing-sign-1445100

In this case, the 10-year-old boy who was killed in the crash was hit by a white vehicle which was headed east. It was not known whether the boy was in the crosswalk at the time of the incident. A neighbor told KOIN6 she had also witnessed a deadly pedestrian accident in the same location the prior November and she commented about the intersection: “It’s very dangerous, very, very dangerous.”

Unfortunately, many pedestrians die in Oregon each year, not only at this intersection but on roads throughout the state. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported pedestrians accounted for 48 of the 313 people killed statewide in car accidents over the course of 2013. This was 15.3 percent of fatalities statewide. Pedestrians and drivers can all come together to try to bring down death rates so tragic collisions like this recent deadly crash can be avoided.

Preventing Pedestrian Collisions in Oregon

NHTSA explains when and where pedestrian crashes are most likely to occur, and motorists and walkers can learn about these dangerous locations so they can make sure they are careful in high risk situations.

For example, NHTSA indicates 69 percent of crashes happen outside of intersections, compared with 20 percent at intersections and around 10 percent at other spots like on trails. Pedestrians must be cautious regarding walking on roads when outside of designated crosswalks. They should avoid stepping out in between cars, should cross at intersections whenever possible, and should try to avoid walking on road shoulders or other roads without sidewalks.

Drivers can also try to avoid striking walkers at non-intersections by avoiding high-risk behaviors like speeding and driving while distracted. It is a good idea for drivers to slow down when in residential neighborhoods, school zones, or other spots where there tend to be high concentrations of children. As summer comes and more children are outside, this will become increasingly important.

NTSA also indicated 72 percent of pedestrians who are killed are involved in accidents at night, while just 25 percent experience fatal collisions in daylight. Two percent of deadly pedestrian crashes occur at dusk and another two percent of daily pedestrian collisions occur at dawn.  Drivers have to be more careful to look for pedestrians when it has begun to get dark. Pedestrians can also take steps to protect themselves from these night collisions, like wearing reflective clothing so it is easier for drivers to see them after dark.

Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents Increase 27 Percent in Oregon

Motor vehicle accident fatalities soared 27 percent higher last year in Oregon. It marks the largest percentage increase of any state in the country, according to a recent nationwide study which revealed that fatalities nationwide caused by car accidents rose by the largest percentage in 50 years in 2015.

These alarming statistics were released by the National Safety Council (NSC), a non-profit organization that has been analyzing accident data each year since 1921.

As attorneys who see the devastating impact of car accidents, we view this report as a call to action for all drivers to stay focused behind the wheel. Avoid distractions. Remain sober. Too much is at stake to take unnecessary risks. If you or a loved one is injured, contact us immediately to know your rights.

The nationwide spike in car accident deaths

According to the organization’s latest study, motor vehicle fatalities increased by 8 percent nationwide in 2015 based on preliminary accident statistics. Overall, there were 38,300 fatalities and 4.4 million injuries in 2015 due to motor vehicle accidents. Such fatalities include people killed in accidents involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians and cyclists.

As for Oregon, the NSC simply noted on its website that traffic fatalities increased by 27 percent in 2015. No specific numbers were provided for the total number of deaths. But based on statistics for 2014 compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when 357 people died in motor vehicle accidents, a 27 percent increase would represent 96 additional deaths or 453 deaths total in Oregon in 2015.

Why did auto accident fatalities go up so much in Oregon?

The NSC cited several reasons for the increase nationwide last year in the number of motor vehicle accidents – a stronger economy, lower gas prices and an increase in the average number of miles driven by most drivers last year.

In Oregon, officials believe the increase in the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2015 can be attributed to speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving and not wearing seatbelts. Oregon transportation officials discussed traffic fatalities for 2015 on Sept. 30 last year, when statistics were released for the 12-month period ending Sept. 23, 2015.

During that 12-month period, the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents in Oregon increased by 31 percent overall. Pedestrian fatalities rose especially sharply, increasing by 64 percent during the same 12-month period, according to an article about the report published by The Oregonian newspaper. Amy Joyce, the legislative liaison for the Oregon Department of Transportation, called such statistics “pretty sobering,” according to The Oregonian.

‘What can I do to prevent a fatal car accident?’

The NSC offered several recommendations for making our roads safer and reducing the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents. Such suggestions include:

  • Avoiding cell phone use while driving
  • Not driving drunk (designate a sober driver)
  • Regularly wearing your seatbelt
  • Getting enough sleep and taking breaks if tired
  • Teaching teenage drivers safe driving habits

Oregon officials added that drivers should also not drive over the speed limit, especially on rural roads, according to The Oregonian article.

Even so, accidents can happen, no matter how safe or responsible drivers are in Oregon. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident due to someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, we can help. Our attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis have decades of experience working with accident victims in Portland and throughout Oregon. Call (503) 287-5000 and schedule a free case evaluation today.

Preventing Three Dangerous Types of Oregon Truck Accidents

Truck drivers are expected to exercise reasonable caution to prevent truck accidents in Oregon. Unfortunately, accidents can and do happen in spite of that expectation. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported there were 330,000 large trucks involved in accidents nationwide over the course of 2012. Truck drivers should be following the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), other rules of the road, and best practices for safety to try to avoid all types of truck collisions. truck-1427133

Accidents, however, unfortunately will continue to happen. While trucks can become involved in many different kinds of accidents, there are three common types of truck crashes that often cause serious injuries and deaths.

Three Common and Dangerous Types of Oregon Truck Accidents

Three of the most common types of truck accidents include:

  • Rollover truck accidents. Trucks are top heavy, which makes a rollover more likely. Unbalanced loads can exacerbate the risk, as can worn brakes.  Rollover accidents make up about 18 percent of truck accidents according to one paper published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  The death rate is disproportionally high compared with the total percentage of rollover accidents. About 35 percent of deadly truck accidents involve a rollover.
  • Underride accidents. Underride accidents happen because trucks are higher than surrounding cars. When a collision occurs, surrounding cars can actually get forced under the truck. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) warns that side and rear guards aren’t as effective as they should be for stopping underride accidents. In 23 out of 28 deadly truck accidents included in one study, there was significant underride, so much more needs to be done to protect the public.  As many as 432 people die on average each year because of underride accidents and around another 5,000 get hurt when their cars go under trucks.
  • Jackknife accidents. Wikihow indicates this type of crash starts with a skid. The trailer pushes out from behind the tractor as part of the skid, spinning and hitting the tractor and causing loss of control of the vehicle.

There are things that truck drivers should be doing to prevent these three common types of serious truck crashes.  Maintaining and loading the truck properly are two of the most important steps to prevent these types of accidents. Unbalanced loads contribute to the risk of a truck rolling over, while problems with the brakes can contribute to both rollover and jackknife accidents.

Jackknife accidents and rollover accidents are both more likely to happen around curves, so drivers need to be careful when going around a turn. Centrifugal force can lead the truck to start to tip away from the curve as the truck goes around it, while trying to hit the brakes quickly on a curve can cause loss of vehicle control leading to a rollover.

Truck drivers need to operate within the speed limit, maintain and load their vehicles properly, and avoid sudden braking to try to prevent all of these dangerous types of crashes from occurring. When they don’t, victims of truck crashes can and should hold them accountable.