June 2016 Tort Tips

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Are You Missing Out on State-Mandated Auto Insurance Benefits?

Better auto insurance provisions for Underinsured Motorist (UIM) and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) are in effect, but only if your policy has been started or renewed after January 1, 2016. Those better provisions include “get what you pay for” UIM benefits (sometimes called “stacking”) and two years of PIP medical benefits (instead of one year). Some Oregonians are missing out on these improved coverages simply because they are still under their pre-2016 policies. If you or any of your clients are in that category, you might want to give your insurance agent or company a call.

Learn more about these new and improved coverages.

Brain Bucket Brigade: Bike Helmet Giveaways Continue

Corson & Johnson’s effort to help protect school children from head injuries while bicycling continues, with recent bike helmet giveaways at Meadow View Elementary School in the Bethel School District and at Adams Elementary School in the Eugene 4J District. We are working with the people at Bicycle Way of Life to provide bike helmets to children whose families may not be able to afford them. Each child is individually fitted for their helmet.

Anticipatory Release Law Still Evolving in Oregon

Many businesses attempt to immunize themselves from the consequences of their future misconduct by using language that attempts to give them a license to harm others without being held accountable. Sometimes those waiver or release provisions are on the backs of tickets or stubs.

Read more.

RECENT CASES

Pedestrian Injury Case Results in UIM Claim and No Medical Insurance Reimbursement

We represented an Oregon City woman who was struck when jogging in her neighborhood. She was at the corner of an intersection when a driver approached and appeared to look her direction. She then entered the crosswalk and was jogging across when the driver pulled forward and then accelerated into her. She suffered a knee injury. We settled her claim for the policy limits of the driver’s insurance, and also pursued a claim for her underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits with her own insurer, settling for the limits of her UIM coverage. As part of the negotiated settlement, she was not required to reimburse her insurer for the medical payments it had made.

The frequency of people being injured while using crosswalks prompted our firm to sponsor a public service announcement on this subject: https://www.corsonjohnsonlaw.com/a-drivers-guide-to-crosswalk-laws/

Wrongful Death Caused by Exhausted Tow Truck Driver

We recently completed a wrongful death claim for the family of a 46-year-old professional woman who was the single mother of four children. She was on her way to her eighth-grader’s graduation ceremony when an extremely sleepy tow truck driver crossed the center line, smashed into her car, and then hit a second vehicle behind her, injuring the family in that other car. The tow truck driver was so sleepy that his customer had offered to buy him a cup of coffee so he could stay awake on the road. The tow truck company carried adequate liability insurance for the cases to eventually settle for the insurance policy limits.

GEICO Insurance “Bad Faith” Trial Update

We’ve all heard, “15 minutes could save you….” If GEICO had paid its $100,000 insurance policy to protect one of its policyholders, it would have saved the company a lot. A successful trial against the insurance company for failing to protect its insured was in 2015, but post-verdict motions and negotiations continued well into 2016. After four mediations, the case for the insured driver against his own insurance company was resolved under a confidential settlement agreement.

Marathon Winner Prevails Against Negligent Driver and Insurance Company

An active runner and bicyclist was commuting by bicycle when a pickup truck ran a stop sign and drove into the bike lane. The truck struck the bicyclist, severely fracturing his forearm and causing permanent injuries. We settled the case against the driver for the driver’s policy limits, but that was insufficient to compensate the bicyclist for the full harm he suffered. We then settled a claim against the bicyclist’s own insurance company for the full UIM benefits available.

Absent collisions, bicycling is generally recognized as a healthy activity. And bicycle commuters cut down on fossil fuel use and pollution. But prejudices against bicyclists persist with some motorists, which prompted us to sponsor a public service announcement on Oregon bicycle laws: https://www.corsonjohnsonlaw.com/law-and-you-law-podcast/oregon-bicycle-law/