Oregon Small Injury Case Trial Verdict Using ORS 20.080

On May 2, 2013, a Clackamas County Jury returned a verdict in favor of my client in an Oregon small injury case where liability was disputed in a motor vehicle collision where both drivers filed suit against each other claiming damages. Prior to filing the action on behalf of my client, I had made a written settlement demand for $10,000 under ORS 20.080. The other driver and his insurer, Allstate Insurance Company, denied liability and failed to make a settlement offer within 30 days after receiving the written demand. After a three day trial, the jury awarded my client the full $10,000 in damages we sought. The jury also compared the fault of the two drivers for the collision and assigned 70% to the other driver and 30% to my client. Under Oregon law, if a party is over 50% at fault then they lose and get nothing. My client’s damages will be reduced by 30%, his portion of fault, leaving him with $7,000. However, because he prevailed at trial and beat Allstate’s pre-filing settlement offer, which in this case was nothing, he is entitled to mandatory attorney fees and court costs under ORS 20.080. The attorney fee petition and cost bill have been filed with the court and are pending. Stay tuned to see what the judge awards as court costs and legal fees in this Oregon small injury case.

Benefits and Advantages of using ORS 20.080 to settle an Oregon Small Injury Case?

ORS 20.080 was enacted to provide incentives to both insurance companies and injured parties to fairly define and negotiate settlements to Oregon small injury case claims. In an environment where insurance companies provide small, “take it or leave it” offers of settlement without adequately compensating victims, ORS 20.080 provides a means for the “small guy” to seek and obtain legal representation without diminishing their settlement compensation. ORS 20.080 provides injured parties with the following benefits:

  1. Claims are taken more seriously by insurance companies when legal representation is involved. An insurance company will handle your Oregon small injury case differently when they understand you have an experienced attorney representing you.
  2. The overall time frame for resolving a Oregon small injury case may be substantially reduced because the mandated time frame for at-fault parties and insurance companies to respond is limited to 30 days. This can eliminate the “negotiating dance” that insurance companies often use as a tactic to delay and frustrate the settlement process.
  3. The injured party must substantiate their Oregon small injury case with supporting facts and substantiated expenses, including medical records, medical bills, and estimates to repair personal property damage. If these records are not provided, then attorney’s fees may not be recovered. This provides an incentive for the parties to get the facts on the table.
  4. Chances are the settlement offer will be much closer to meeting your expectations because of the potential litigation costs and risks involved for the insurance company. If the insurance company fails to make a fair and reasonable offer, then they run the risk of paying not only their legal costs to defend the lawsuit, but your legal costs to pursue the lawsuit. This reduces insurance company incentives to “low ball” an offer in a Oregon small injury case.
  5. Settlement awards from an arbitrator or jury are 100% kept buy you – no legal fees or court costs are paid out of your award. Legal fees and court costs are paid by the at-fault party in addition to your settlement.
  6. ORS 20.080 provides an effective means for injured parties to obtain legal representation in Oregon small injury cases where it would not normally be cost effective to retain a lawyer.

You can read more about effectively using OSR 20.080 to reach a settlement in your Oregon small injury case by visiting our FAQ’s on settling Oregon Small Personal Injury Cases, and additional blogs about ORS 20.080 at “The Power of 20.080” and “Oregon Personal Injury Clients can Seek $10,000 and their Attorney Fees under ORS 20.080 Effective January 1, 2012”.

If you were injured in any kind of accident, including a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver’s negligence, and received soft tissue injures or whiplash, your case might be perfect for ORS 20.080. You may have a better case than you realize! Even if you have a smaller case, you should speak with a lawyer to help you determine if you need an attorney. Because I work on contingency fee (meaning: I don’t get paid unless you do), and I do not take cases unless I think we can win, and I provide honest evaluations. My initial consultations are always free, so call me at (503) 444.2825, or email at travis@mayorlaw.com.

Travis Mayor, Oregon Personal Injury Attorney

I represent accident victims in the Portland Metropolitan Area, Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties, and throughout the state of Oregon. I provide this Blog as an educational and informational service for Oregon residents – it is not intended to be legal advice, as every case is unique and should be accurately evaluated. If you or a family member have been in an accident and would like a FREE professional consultation with an attorney, call me at (503) 444-2825, or email at travis@mayorlaw.com to learn more about your legal rights.


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