Medford Wrongful Death Attorney
When a loved one is killed due to the carelessness of another, no legal remedy can fill the void. There’s no equating money with the loss of life. Money damages can serve some healing purposes though, such as paying for the firewood that a deceased father once cut to warm his family, hiring daycare for the toddler who lost her parent, and installing an alarm system for the family whose protector is no longer there. So while the void will always remain, the law requires that insurance make up for the losses to the extent possible (i.e., “help what can be helped” – Ball On Damages); the problem is insurance companies rarely “volunteer” the true value of that loss.
Our goal in these cases is to act as a shield for the decedent’s family to the abuses of insurance companies, and to leverage a full and just settlement for them short of trial if at all possible. This is crucial, because psychologists say that a trial can revive the whole mourning process again; those same emotions loop back with all of their original force.
So this a battle waged short of trial if the insurance company can be forced to act fairly. But insurance lawyers know what the psychologists say, too, so sometimes the only viable option is going to court to get justice.
Ironically, many bad drivers who have caused the death of another actually want their insurance company to pay out a fair settlement. But that decision is not in their hands; rather, it’s left to a “committee” to make, that’s located hundreds of miles away in some high rise, where they don’t have to see the flesh and blood they’re affecting. Where the loss of a loved one is a file folder or on computer screen. And where it’s easier to minimize and brutalize from afar. “Nothing personal” (at least not to them); it’s just an “insurance claim.” Sadly, when adjusters settle death claims “on the cheap” they might even get a bonus or a raise.
Years ago insurance lobbies pushed through a $500,000 cap on death claims in Oregon on pain and suffering damages. No matter how much agony the deceased victim suffered before passing, those damages have an artificial ceiling. That sadly includes the family’s “loss of consortium” damages, which is the loss of society, emotional support, and family and marital relationships.
This unjust law has been on the books in Oregon for a long time now. It’s another example of how the system tips in the favor of insurance companies. Insurance companies already got their big discount years ago from the Legislature, so it’s crucial that they don’t get another financial break in the case of your loss.
Fortunately, hard damages are not a part of this legal cap; that means that the decedent’s lost wages over the expected work life, loss of services he/she provided, and other measurable damages are paid out at the actual amount, not using some legal fiction as a measure.
We can settle most wrongful death and accidental death cases for fair and just payment without going to trial. But either way, with or without a trial, you have just the one chance to get justice, and insurance companies know it. They will pull out all the stops.
The system is truly lopsided, in favor of insurance companies. If your loved one was killed due to the fault of another, we can help level your playing field. Insurance companies have experts on their side; you need an expert on yours. We can stand for you against them. We know their weaknesses from an insider’s vantage point. Click About Us.
In one of our wrongful death cases, the staff at a rest home carelessly placed our client’s paralyzed wife so that she could fall out of the bed, then compounded the problem by leaving her bed guard rail in the down position. Worse yet, her nursing care gown had strong-ties around the neck versus Velcro straps. Later that night her legs gradually slid off the bed while her gown remained hooked to the bed frame, which strangled her to death.
How did the insurance lawyers respond?“It was probably a suicide.” This is just another example of how extreme and underhanded insurance companies are in dealing with valid injury and wrongful death claims. In our case, they ignored that our client couldn’t move any part of her body, so that it was physically impossible for her to commit suicide. But the truth didn’t matter; they defended their money interests at all costs, even to the extent lying about the deceased woman.
And in case you might think this “suicide” argument is unusual, another insurance attorney tried to do the same thing in a cross walk injury case, based on nothing more than speculation. We were successful in getting the judge to block this ridiculous attempt. Many such adjusters and attorneys stop at nothing to keep from paying a fair amount.
In another case, A driver struck and killed our clients’ child with his car. He claimed the child “jumped out” in front of him. The only witnesses to the contrary were little children – the child’s playmates – who were all adamant that their friend was crossing the roadway safely when he was struck. The first attorney the parents hired just dropped the case. He gave up on them.
Then the parents came to our office and asked for a second opinion before giving up hope themselves. We got the police photos. Something was strange in the pictures: In one photo of the interior of the car, a newspaper was turned so that it could be read by the driver; later in the stack of photos, that newspaper was “gone.”
Through depositions, we discovered that it was the driver who had removed that paper when the investigating police officer went to the other side of the car with his camera. It didn’t take much to put two and two together: The driver was reading the newspaper headlines when he struck the child.
We don’t give up so easily.
Let us help you assess your losses and chances for success. We guide you through the process of picking up the pieces so you can start to rebuild a life without your loved one. Call us at (541)772-3266 for a FREE initial in-person consultation at your home with your family to discuss your options.
Or you can click here to be taken to an on-line inquiry page, and we can set a time that’s best for you to talk – including nights and weekends. We are here to be a legal counselor to you and your family.
BEWARE — POSSIBLE SHORT-DEADLINE ALERT: If the property or vehicle that caused your loved one’s death was owned/operated by any governmental entity/personnel, then you have a much shorter deadline than normal, often as little as 180 days! Consult with us to protect your rights or you could lose automatically.