Written by attorney Jennifer Lee Coughlin

I only had minor injuries from my car accident...Do I need an attorney?

The short answer is that it never hurts to speak with an attorney to get an opinion. Most personal injury attorneys (our firm included) offer free initial consultations. A consultation can serve as a guide to whether or not an attorney would add value to your situation.

The longer, more detailed answer is that Oregon has enacted a law, ORS 20.080, which is perfectly tailored for small personal injury claims.

The law states that if an injured person sends a settlement demand to a at-fault driver's insurance company, and that company either ignores the settlement demand or makes an offer lower than what you believe your claim is worth, you can file a lawsuit for $7,500 or less. If the ultimate amount you are awarded is greater than what the insurance company offered you, the insurance company must also pay your attorney fees. This is a great law to help plaintiffs with small injury claims, because if attorney fees were not involved, these claims would often not be in the client's or the attorney's best interest to pursue. Because of this law which allows for attorney fees, more people have access to the civil justice system to ensure that they receive adequate compensation for their injuries. Additionally, be aware that there are timelines involved with ORS 20.080 that your attorney will ensure are met.

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