A recent national study of nursing home care hours released by the Center for Public Integrity (“CPI”) shows reason for concern in Oregon. The study found a consistently wide discrepancy between staffing levels reported by nursing homes across the country and actual staffing levels shown in cost reports made annually to Medicaid and Medicare programs.

The CPI study examined data from the publicly available Nursing Home Compare website, which is promoted and operated by the government for comparison shopping and reflects staffing levels self-reported by nursing homes during a two-week period before annual federal inspections. Numbers were then compared against the same data categories in Medicare and Medicaid annual cost reports. Medicare-certified institutional providers like nursing homes are required to submit an annual cost report with information such as facility characteristics, utilization data, cost and charges by cost center, Medicare settlement data, and financial statement data. CPI’s website referenced a 2005 statement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”), the federal agency responsible for overseeing nursing homes, that cost reports are a more accurate source of information than Nursing Home Compare.

CPI found that nationally Data compiled for Medicare showed lower levels of care than the Nursing Home Compare consumer website. Karuna Law analyzed the CPI data specific to Oregon, which included 65 Oregon nursing homes. We found that Oregon nursing homes reported an average of 13.11% more hours per resident than their cost reports supported.

According to the CPI, the “discrepancies in reporting means that family members . . . believe their loved ones are receiving one level of care, when they may be receiving less of it.” The data included Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, and certified Nursing Assistants. The CPI’s analysis found that reporting differences “were particularly high for registered nurses, the most skilled and highest paid workers.” This is consistent with the study’s data on Oregon nursing homes. Nursing Home Compare Oregon Registered Nurse daily hours per resident were an average 64.83% greater than cost reports. In contrast, Oregon Certified Nursing Assistant hours reported to Nursing Home Compare averaged only 8.169% higher than cost reports.

Registered nurse hours are particularly important because numerous peer-reviewed, academic studies have shown that the amount of care provided by registered nurses is strongly connected with residents’ quality of care. Lower levels of care are associated with a higher likelihood of injury and even death.

The CPI study indicates that nursing home neglect and abuse continues to be an alarming problem. If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of elder abuse or neglect in an Oregon nursing home, you should immediately submit a formal complaint of neglect or abuse to the Oregon Long-Term Care Ombudsman at (800) 522-2602 or (503) 378-6533. Because important time limits and strict deadlines apply to personal injury and wrongful death claims, you should also promptly contact a qualified Oregon elder abuse and neglect lawyer to evaluate any potential case.

Related Elder Abuse and Neglect Attorney Resources

Center for Public Integrity, Analysis Shows Widespread Discrepancies in Staffing Levels Reported by Nursing Homes

It’s easy to understand how someone who’s been injured in a car accident wants to know how much money might be available to fix and make up for all the hurt. Unfortunately, the only quick answer is that it depends on important facts, including the facts of the crash, the extent of the injuries, and he effect that they have on the injured person’s life.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can evaluate those critical facts. He or she can gather the medical and other evidence to prove them and present the case for compensation that reflects the harm done fairly. Without a car accident lawyer’s help, an injured person is essentially at the mercy of insurance companies. Not an ideal position by any measure.

That’s why if you are hurt by someone else’s carelessness, your focus should be on finding the best lawyer for you. Ask about his or her experience and readiness to take your case to trial. Ask whether you can reach the lawyer directly or whether you’ll have to go through legal assistants and paralegals when something about your case concerns you. Ask yourself whether you’re comfortable talking with the attorney who’s going to stand up and speak for you to a jury. Concentrate on getting answers to those questions, and you’ll have the best chance of recovering the most compensation.

Portland Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a car accident or other motor vehicle collision, contact our Portland injury law office immediately. Call us toll-free at (800) 714-3204 for a free collision attorney consultation.

Medical bills after a personal injury caused by someone else’s negligence can be as frightening as they can be high. Many people worry about how to pay for medical expenses for care that becomes necessary after a car accident, a fall on a slippery floor, or another unplanned circumstance. In this post, we hope to give a brief but helpful explanation of how doctor and hospital bills get paid when another person or company causes harm.

Medical Bills in Collision Injury Cases
Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) coverage is generally available to pay medical costs and lost wages up to $15,000.00. PIP covers medical treatment received in the first year after an Oregon car crash regardless of which driver is at fault. Oregon law says that if you are hurt in an injury “arising out of the use, maintenance, or occupancy of a motor vehicle,” then your own insurance pays for your medical treatment under the minimum PIP that must be included in your policy by law. If you paid a higher premium for coverage above $15,000, your limit will of course be higher than the legal minimum.

Along with paying medical bills for treatment after the crash, PIP will also pay lost wages up to a maximum of $1,250.00 per month. You must have missed at least 14 consecutive days of work due to your injury.
After the $15,000 in PIP is used or the full year has passed since the crash, your own medical insurance should begin to pay for related medical bills. If you recover money in a personal injury settlement or trial, some will likely go to reimburse the money paid by PIP and health insurance.

Medical Bills in Slip, Fall, and Trip Injury Cases
Homeowner’s insurance may be available to pay medical costs after a dangerous stairway, slippery floor, or broken sidewalk hurts someone. Most homeowners and some renters have both liability insurance coverage and medical payment coverage (“Med Pay”). Med Pay covers some of the injured person’s medical bills whether or not the homeowner was negligent. It is usually limited to about $5,000 or $10,000. If medical expenses after a fall injury are greater, then liability of the homeowner’s part must be proven before they can be recovered under any liability insurance coverage.

Medical Bills in Product Liability Injury Cases
As with fall injury cases, doctor and hospital bills in injury cases involving defective and dangerous products will not be paid unless liability is likely to be proven. Unfortunately, medical expenses in this type of case can be crippling. Insurance companies may request immediate payment of medical bills regardless of the fact that the product, not the injured person, was at fault.
Without Med Pay- or PIP-type coverage, the injured person may struggle under financial obligations that cannot possibly be carried. Under Oregon law, someone who suffers personal injury or property damage as a result of a product sold or leased in an unreasonably dangerous condition may recover damages for these bills.

Portland Injury Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured or have other questions about paying medical bills after an injury, contact an Oregon injury lawyer immediately. Call us toll-free at (800) 714-3204 for a free attorney consultation.

As personal injury lawyers, we interview many potential clients in cases involving car accidents, falls, and negligence of many kinds. But not all of these interviews result in acceptance of the case. It can be confusing to a person hurt by someone else’s fault that the fact of injury may not be enough to make a case feasible to pursue. Here are some of the factors that we consider in deciding whether we can represent an injury accident case successfully:

Can we prove that a defendant was negligent? For example, did a driver fail to keep a proper lookout at traffic ahead, a retail store leave a spill after being told about it, or a medical provider not meet a professional standard of care?

Can we prove that the defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in bringing about the injured person’s harm?

Can we show that the defendant’s negligence resulted in a serious personal injury?

Is the defendant capable of assuming financial responsibility for the damages allowed by a jury?

Even if we can answer the above questions affirmatively, we continue to evaluate injury accident cases. Other factors are also important and can be critical. If, for example, the injured person was also negligent in some degree, the law may prevent recovery of damages entirely or reduce it significantly. If the injuries were catastrophic but one or more of the above factors are unknown, the case may warrant further investigation by an expert consultant before a decision to accept or reject it can be made.

Importantly, any attorney’s rejection of an injury accident case does not mean that there is not a valid claim, or that other lawyers may not be able or willing to pursue a claim. It means simply that a particular case does not fit within those that a particular lawyer has chosen to pursue.

Portland Injury Accident Lawyer
Our Oregon injury law firm may be able to help if you or a loved one has been hurt by the carelessness of others. Contact us toll-free at (800) 714-3204 for a free attorney consultation.

A car accident, a medical mistake, a dangerous product or building, or even a “simple” dog bite may leave you with as many questions as serious injuries. As Oregon injury lawyers, we want to demystify the process of a personal injury claim or lawsuit. We’re starting a new series of articles on our Portland injury law firm website that we hope will help answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

Thinking about having to file a lawsuit to get full compensation for injury or wrongful death can be daunting. A lawsuit typically involves a plaintiff filing a Complaint with the appropriate court, and then serving a copy upon a defendant to provide them notice of the impending court case. The defendant then files an Answer within a prescribed amount of time. The parties then engage in various methods of discovering information about the case. One or both sides may try to end the case by using various pretrial motions to the court. The other side will do its best to oppose such efforts. If the parties cannot reach a fair settlement, they will proceed to trial or arbitration.

Every point in the process described above can be extremely confusing to someone whose only concern should be on getting better or helping a family member recover. As we add to our personal injury articles, we hope that they will become a helpful guide. If you or a loved one are facing a serious personal injury or wrongful death situation, please call us for an accident attorney case evaluation at no cost.

Rear-end collisions cause soft tissue injuries of the neck. The severity of these injuries depends on the degree of movement of the head and neck on the torso and the acceleration. Injury severity does not depend on whether a bumper looks dented or whether a repair estimate is over a certain dollar amount.

Despite these medical facts, insurance defense attorneys often argue incorrectly that if a vehicle involved in a collision has little visible damage, a vehicle occupant must have little or no injury. These arguments exploit the common misconception that vehicle crash damage in a collision provides a direct correlation to occupant injury. This is a false generalization that can nevertheless be used quite effectively against an injured person. Many auto insurance companies promote the myth that collision injuries correlate to external vehicle damage and costs of repair. An insurance adjuster might, for example, refuse to authorize payment for treatment in a claim where there a repair estimate shows only $1,000 worth of damage to the vehicle. Insurance defense attorneys argue to juries that plaintiffs injured in so-called “minor impact soft tissue” car accidents deserves little or no compensation.

The conclusion that the more vehicle damage, the more chance that a driver or passenger is injured cannot be made. The assumption that injury risk relates to external vehicle damage in all types of crashes has no reputable scientific basis. As Oregon lawyers for people hurt in car accidents, our job is to explain why that assumption is false reasoning. We work to prevent negligent defendants from using “junk science” to evade responsibility for the harms that their carelessness behind the wheel causes.

Portland Car Accident Lawyer
Our Oregon injury attorneys may be able to help if you or a loved one has been hurt in a rear-end collision or other car accident. Contact us toll-free at (800) 714-3204 for an initial consultation at no cost to you.

Oregon cyclists should know of a new recall of bicycle forks manufactured in Taiwan for Surly Bikes, of Bloomington, Minn., a wholly-owned brand of Quality Bicycle Products, Inc. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the bicycle fork can bend above the disc brake mount, posing a fall hazard to the rider.

The recall involves Surly Pugsley 100mm and 135mm bicycle forks made of tubular chromoly steel. “Surly” is printed on both legs of the fork. “Pugsley” is printed on the fork’s packaging and on the frame of bikes with the recalled forks. Surly Pugsley 100mm bicycle forks were sold individually only. They are black, have triple water bottle mounts on each side, rack/fender mounts on the top and bottom, and date code 2012 03 20 stamped on the steerer tube. Surly Pugsley 135mm bicycle forks were sold individually and as part of 2013 model year complete bicycles. The 135mm forks are black, yellow or red and are stamped with date code 2012 06 19 on the steerer tube. Model number FK3175, FK3181 or FK0706 is printed on the packaging for forks sold individually. Surly Pugsley bicycle models FM3110-3114, FM3175-79, BK3110-14 and BK3175-79 were sold with the recalled forks as original equipment. The bicycle’s model number is printed on the bicycle’s packaging.

Product recalls are an important tool for protecting the public from dangerous and defective products. The fact that a product has been recalled does not mean that a person injured by the product does not have a claim. Our Portland injury lawyers investigate product liability claims to find out whether we believe we can prove that the product was defective when it left the the manufacturer and that the defect caused injury. If so, we may be able to recover compensation and make the product safer for others.

If a dangerous or defective product has injured you or someone you know, contact an Oregon products liability lawyer. Our Portland accident injury attorneys offer free initial consultations and handle defective product cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that there is never an attorney fee unless we resolve your case successfully.

Related product liability information
Consumer Product Safety Commisson Recall Summary

An Oregon motor vehicle accident in the form of a semi-truck crash closed Oregon 58 for several hours on Sunday, according to Oregon State Police. Authorities reported that the semi-truck left the roadway and landed on its side, blocking all lanes. The driver was wearing a seat belt, and no injury was reported. We may be Portland injury lawyers, but we much prefer writing about such relatively fortunate results when a serious motor vehicle accident occurs.

Almost fifty such tractor trailer rollover accidents are reported every day in the United States. Trucking accidents are among the most serious motor vehicle injury cases. The Center for National Truck and Bus Statistics reports that an average of about 5,061 trucks are involved in a fatal traffic accident each year. Tractors pulling one semitrailer are the most common truck configuration involved, accounting for about 59% of all trucks involved in a fatal accident. An average of 362 pedestrians and 87 cyclists (bicycles, unicycles, tricycles) are killed each year in traffic accidents involving trucks.

The most common type of tractor trailer accident is a rear-end collision. Common truck accident causes include speeding, driver fatigue due to an hours-of-service violation, overloaded trailers and load shifts, and improperly adjusted brakes.

Truck accident injury cases like these involve unique factual and legal issues, and they contain complexities that may not be apparent to attorneys. Federal safety regulations, for example, apply to trucking company and truck driver operations. Unlike auto accident injury cases, truck collisions require lawyers to become familiar with these regulations and many other aspects of trucking procedures and equipment.

Large trucking companies already have rapid response teams of experts that they can deploy to truck accident scenes quickly. Critical evidence can disappear by the hour or even by the minute after a collision with a tractor trailer truck, and lawyers who wait until a truck accident injury client arrives in the law office to begin preparing for the case will likely be at a serious disadvantage. Our Portland injury law office understands the need to identify potential truck accident experts in advance so that critical time is not lost. We will work with truck accident reconstruction experts, truck safety experts, human factors experts, and others to prove your case and maximize compensation.

Oregon Truck Accident Lawyer
Our Portland injury attorneys may be able to help if you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident caused by a semi truck. Contact us toll-free at (800) 714-3204 for an initial consultation at no cost to you.

Related Injury Resources
University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute Center for National Truck and Bus Statistics

Michael Bamsberger, Oregon State Police Investigate Semi-Truck Rollover near Oakridge on Sunday, The Oregonian, May 5, 2013.

Rear-end crashes cause significantly more minor-to-moderate injuries than other types of car accidents. Each year nearly 3 million people sustain a whiplash injury. About 10% are permanently disabled. About half are left with some chronic problems.

As a Portland car accident law firm, we know that even if strains, sprains, disc injuries, contusions, fractures, mild head injuries, and other soft-tissue injuries are not fatal or permanent, they are often painful and debilitating. They put people off work and prevent them from doing normal living activities, often for substantial periods of time. So it makes sense to do whatever you can to reduce the risk of injury in a rear-end collision.

Studies show that only about 25% of automobile head restraints are adjusted correctly to prevent whiplash injury. The head restrain should be positioned as close to the head as possible, level with the top of the head. This is the most important way to prevent head and neck injury in a rear-end impact.

Seating position is the next most important injury prevention factor. Most occupants are unaware of the impending collision and are not braced for the crash. If they become aware, they may turn the head or brace incorrectly, increasing the likelihood of a more severe injury in the moments before impact occurs. If you are about to be hit from the rear, these tips may help keep you safe or reduce your injuries:

  • Sit fully back against the seat and head restraint;
  • Shrug your shoulders slightly to limit neck movement;
  • Look straight ahead;
  • Brake firmly if already stopped; and
  • Place your hands flat against the steering wheel if in the driver’s seat.
  • We hope that you and your family never have to use these rear-end crash injury prevention tips. If a car accident happens, we are here to answer questions and discuss your potential case. Portland injury lawyer Dane Johnson offers free initial consultations, is available for evening and weekend appointments, and can come to your hospital or home if needed. We handle Oregon car accident cases on a contingency fee basis and are conveniently located in downtown Portland near the Multnomah County Courthouse. We don’t charge attorney fees unless we obtain monetary compensation for you after a collision. Call (503) 975-8298 or (800) 714-3204.

    After a car accident, you will likely be shaken up and confused. Here ae some tips that may be useful:

    Get medical help first. Even if you believe you were not hurt, see a physician as soon as possible. Injuries may be serious even if not immediately apparent. A delay in seeking medical attention is not helpful either medically or legally. Let the doctor tell you that you don’t need treatment.

    Once any necessary treatment has started, we suggest that you talk with an injury lawyer. You may or may not have a case, but you should not be pressured into releasing any rights to a case until you have the medical and legal information needed to make that decision.

    Pressure is likely to be applied by insurance companies for the at-fault driver who want you to agree to an offer as quickly as possible, sometimes when you are still in the hospital. Talking with an experienced car accident lawyer before you speak to an adjuster can help you deal with the insurance company and preserve your ability to seek full and fair compensation. This may be true even as to your own insurer. If the collision involved an uninsured or underinsured motorist, then your own insurance company is likely to have an interest in reducing any compensation paid. Many insurance companies try to minimize their costs by denying claims or underpaying UM/UIM claims.

    You must also comply with Oregon laws regarding collision reporting. You  must file an Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report (Form 735-32) with DMV within 72 hours when:

  • Damage to the vehicle you were driving is over $1,500;
  • Damage to any vehicle is over $1,500 and any vehicle is towed from the scene as a result of damages from this accident;
  • Injury or death resulted from this accident; or
  • Damages to any one person’s property other than a vehicle involved in this accident is over $1,500. 
  • Always remember to keep a copy of your report for your own records. Ignore the offers that some drivers who are in accidents make to fix the damage if you agree not to file a report. If you agree to do this, you are breaking the law if the amount of damage is more than $1,500. If you do not report an accident when required to do so, your driving privileges may be suspended. 

    A police report does not satisfy or remove your requirement to file an accident report with DMV. You must do that yourself. You must also notify law enforcement by the quickest means available if you are a driver involved in an accident meeting any of the same criteria that require a DMV report.
    Use a non-emergency contact number to notify law enforcement.  If the accident results in a serious injury or death, and the driver calls the emergency reporting system 9-1-1, then no additional notification to law enforcement is required. 
    If the driver is physically incapable of giving notice to a police officer or a law enforcement agency as required, then the occupant of a vehicle involved in the accident is responsible to notify law enforcement. Failure to report an accident to law enforcement when required to do so may result in a citation.

    Portland injury lawyer Dane Johnson offers free initial consultations, is available for evening and weekend appointments, and can come to your hospital or home if needed. We handle Oregon car accident cases on a contingency fee basis and are conveniently located in downtown Portland near the Multnomah County Courthouse. We don’t charge attorney fees unless we obtain monetary compensation for you after a collision. Call (503) 975-8298 or (800) 714-3204.