Interviewer: How long may a case last?
There Has to Be Enough Time to Establish the Full Extent of Your Injuries
Daniel Hoarfrost: That’s a question that almost everyone wants to know and it’s impossible to answer. But the general parameters are if you’re making an injury claim you really can’t resolve it until the doctors are finished treating you. This is because you don’t know the full extent of the injury.
So what we look for is when client’s condition reaches what’s known as medically stationary. Medically stationary means you’re either back to normal or you’re as good as you’re going to get and there’s no need for further treatment. And at that point then we can assemble the medical information and determine the full extent of injury. We obtain an opinion from the doctor if it’s necessary and put together an evaluation of the claim.
Car Accidents Are Not Typically Resolved for at Least Six Months
Typically, in a car accident scenario for example, we don’t like to resolve the case earlier than six months from the incident. This is because you just don’t know what the full extent of the problems are until some period of time has passed and you can tell whether you’re either healed are will suffer from lasting conditions.
Injury Claims in Oregon Are Subject to a Two-Year Statute of Limitations
In cases where you have ongoing medical issues as a result of the injury then you’re damage claim just keeps accruing. So the one proviso is that in an injury claim, you have what’s known as a statute of limitations, which in Oregon is two years from the date of injury.
If you haven’t resolved the case by that time you need to either file a lawsuit or lose your claim. So typically the case is going to run anywhere from several months to several years. It’s difficult to predict.
If your Lawsuit Is Resulting from an Auto Accident, Is It Filed against the Other Driver?
Interviewer: What happens when you file a lawsuit? Do you file a lawsuit against the other party if it’s an auto accident?
Daniel Hoarfrost: Yes, your legal claim is against the other driver. Even though the claim involves an insurance company, you don’t get to sue the insurance company. You sue the person who caused the injury.
Before the suit is filed, you meet with your attorney to go over the facts of the case. You have all the factors and evidence well in hand and you can make an intelligent determination of what action is best to take. They worst possible thing that a claimant can do is wait until right before the statute of limitations and then go talk to an attorney.
What If You Feel You Have Recovered from Your Injuries before Your Case Is Resolved?
Interviewer: Let me give you two different scenarios. I’ve received an injury. I start working with you. It’s been maybe about six months.
But then after that I’m starting to feel a little bit better. What do you tell that client in that situation?
Daniel Hoarfrost: That actually happens all the time. It’s a question of whether the doctor agrees with you and that you don’t need further treatment. Then you can make a determination as to whether you’re back to where you were before the injury or maybe at least resolved with a little bit of residual disability.
In that case you gather up the medical records and make your evaluations depending on what the doctor has to say about your medical diagnosis and prognosis.