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Personal Injury

Fierce Advocacy For Injured People

Our Portland-based trial attorneys have a winning track record in jury trials representing injured individuals, families of the impaired, and the loved ones of those who’ve been critically injured or killed in accidents.


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Winning Track Record: Portland Personal Injury and Death Cases

Our trial attorneys have a winning track record in personal injury cases in Oregon. We try cases for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and motorists injured in motor vehicle collisions, people injured at work, people injured by medical mistakes, and people who are injured by defective products. We try cases for the children, parents, and spouses of those who die because of another’s fault.

We represent people with every conceivable type of injury: sprains and strains, fractures, de-gloving injuries, burn injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, birth injuries, and more. See, our Representative Cases.

Individual Attention

We give each client personal and individual attention. We are accessible to our clients by phone, email, and for in-person meetings; and we communicate with them regularly. We enjoy working with our clients. We believe that when our clients understand the litigation process and are fully engaged in it, their case is less frustrating and more rewarding for them and ultimately ends in a more favorable result.

Highly Experienced Litigation Staff

Our skilled trial lawyers are assisted by support staff who are among the most experienced and capable in the business. They are professionals. They assist with coordination of payment of medical bills by automobile insurance companies (PIP) and health insurance companies. They help ensure that the correct insurance company is paying the bills, that our clients are not sent to collections, that medical providers are charging authorized amounts and that lien holders are not including charges unrelated to the case. Our staff also helps us recover PIP income loss for our clients who cannot work.

We Coordinate Efforts for Maximum Benefit

Sometimes our personal injury clients have other cases and problems and need a workers’ compensation or social security lawyer too. When that happens we have lawyers who specialize in workers’ compensation and social security disability law who can help. And, because we work closely with them here at TCNF, we can work together in several courts and legal arenas at the same time to ensure out clients get the best possible results.

Our appellate work is excellent and our record on appeal, in both state and federal court (including the U.S. Supreme Court) is outstanding. See, our Representative Cases for more case examples.

What You Can Expect

A personal injury claim is often a long and difficult process. Even a simple claim almost always takes more than nine months. Most claims take 12-23 months from the date of the accident to resolve. Cases which involve a lawsuit can take longer than two years to resolve. Cases that involve trials and appeals take several years.

In Oregon, an injured person has two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. Loved ones have three years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. When appropriate, we work to get our clients a pre-litigation negotiated settlement. Many times, this is not possible and we file a lawsuit (or complaint).

After we file suit, litigation and discovery begin. Discovery involves exchanging documents and taking depositions (questions and answers under oath in front of a court reporter). We will work with you to provide documents under the discovery rules. We will prepare you fully for your deposition.

We prepare every case for trial. However, after discovery is complete, many judges encourage the lawyers and parties to discuss pre-trial settlement. Many cases do settle, but some don’t. When that happens, we try the case–-as lawyers with our firm have since 1982.

Personal Injury

Will the Insurance Policy Limits be Enough Money to Pay My Damages?

Is there enough insurance to pay all of your damages for personal injury after a wreck? Fairness requires that you be given an honest answer about how much insurance there is to pay for your injuries. But insurance companies are not required by law to tell you how much the responsible party has in insurance coverage. And for all you know there may be a million dollars of coverage as part of a comprehensive Auto/Personal Liability Umbrella policy package, or as little as $25,000 which is the Oregon minimum bodily injury insurance limit that is required by law. But $25,000 barely pays for an overnight stay in the hospital. If you ask an insurance adjuster for the policy limit available to pay your damages the usual answer you will receive is a vague reference to whether it is a small limit policy or something like “The policy limit should be adequate to pay your damages.” Well what does this mean? If you press for an answer you are usually told that this information may only be released with the consent of the insured party. If you say to ask the insured to release the limit information in the majority of cases the information is still not released. In our office we tell the claims adjuster that when this happens we cannot advise our client to settle without knowing what sums are available to pay damages. We always succeed in forcing the insurance company to release policy limits information because we tell the insurance company to tell their insured that if the policy limit is not voluntarily disclosed we will file a lawsuit, likely for an amount above the policy limit, and force disclosure because the Oregon Rules Of Civil Procedure (ORCP 36(B)(2) requires disclosure of insurance limits available to pay the damages claimed in a filed lawsuit. We tell the insurance company that by failing to persuade the insured to voluntarily disclose the policy limits they exposed their insured to a possible “excess verdict” above the limits of their insurance. After hearing this analysis it has never been our experience that the policy limits were held back. Knowing the policy limits in advance of negotiation gives us the information we need to properly evaluate the amount of “skin in the game” this insurance company has, and to give us advance warning that insurance limits may be insufficient to cover the full damages and that we need to conduct an asset investigation of the at fault party to find out if they have the financial ability to contribute funds or assets to any settlement

Should I give a statement to an insurance company after I was hurt in a collision?

Whenever someone is hurt in a collision with an at fault insured driver there is a standard protocol automobile insurance companies follow in having a claim adjuster contact the parties and witnesses to find out what happened, usually just a few days after the collision. The purpose of the investigation is to attempt to determine fault and set the “reserves” on a personal injury case. What most folks are not told when they get one of these calls is what information from witnesses, other parties, or the police the insurance company has already collected. Further, before the call is made for an interview the insurance adjuster will usually examine the applicable legal requirements from the state traffic law. Thus, the “interview” is not an informed interview or one that is a fair and complete exchange of information. Instead it is a chance for the insurance company to subject the victim of a collision to a cross examination without the benefits of a full briefing of the applicable laws and legal issues in advance. While a person has a right to decline one of these interviews, most folks try to be cooperative and provide their side of the story.

It is our advice to follow the same applicable considerations experienced witnesses or participants in traumatic events are usually advised to obtain and consider before an interview:

Applicable Considerations Before An Interview

1. obtain a briefing on the applicable law before the interview

2. find out what other witnesses have said

3. review the police reports

4. do not give an interview when you are still in pain or upset from the wreck, and not when you are under the effects of any pain medication

5. find out whether you can delay the interview until after you have adequately prepared yourself

6. find out what happens if you decline to give an interview

In our experience after we find out about the applicable considerations we often decide that an interview of our client will not have an effect on the insurance company’s decision on liability as they have already concluded our client was mostly at fault. In that instance the interview only gives the insurance company another point of attack in a case they are not intending to settle any way. Other times, after reviewing the applicable considerations, we decide that our client can contribute to a favorable liability determination and we help to set up the interview. Even where we see a likely valid situation for an interview we usually agree to participate only on the condition that the interview not be recorded. Most insurance company interviewers do not tell the witness that the interview does not have to be recorded. Instead the insurance company interviewer can take notes and use those notes to summarize what the party says in a report to the company. This way the interview recording will not be later used against the witness in court.

And the interview process exists for the benefit of the insurance companies, not the injured parties. If it were otherwise then the insurance would not refuse to share their interviews of other witnesses and other parties with the person making an insurance claim. Our requests for witness interviews of others are almost always met with a “Work Product” based refusal to share. We are able to obtain any interviews of our own clients, but not other witnesses or other parties, even when we are not able to have access to the folks the insurance company has already interviewed.

The one exception is when the collision victim’s own insurance company conducts interviews of the injured person. Not only will the injured person’s company release their interview, but usually the insurance company for the hurt person will also release the interviews they conducted of others.

At the very least every person should have the benefit of a briefing of their rights and the applicable facts and laws before an insurance company interview.


Get In Touch

(503) 228-5222
Personal Injury

Representative Cases

Mesothelioma Victim v. Marine Pump Manufacturer 2016

Category:
STCN appellate lawyer Jim Coon represented the family of a mesothelioma victim who had been exposed to asbestos fibers in his work with marine pumps on Navy ships during and after World War II. The pump manufacturer argued that it…
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Parents of Drowned Child v. Public Pool Operators 2016

Category:
STCN trial lawyer Ray Thomas brought a case against the operators of a public swimming pool for permanent brain damage suffered by a six year-old girl due to inattentive life guards and insufficient safety procedures. The current operator and others…
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Cyclist v. Driver and Passenger Car Doors 2012

Category:
When the driver and passenger of an SUV parked on a busy NE Portland neighborhood bikeway and suddenly swung open their vehicle doors, they collided with a 50-year-old cyclist and small business owner who was out on a weekend leisure…
Learn More
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Thanks & Praise

Testimonials

  • I am so glad
    that a member of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance referred me to Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton. I felt so much relief after the first time I met Cynthia and Kristin. Thank you.
    Emily, Portland
  • Cynthia,
    thank you so much for handling my case in an efficient and extremely competent manner. It was a real pleasure working with you all.
    Lauren, Portland
  • Cynthia Newton helped me
    get proper medical attention when I needed it in the form I needed, chiro/massage. You helped me deal with the complexity of bills and insurance companies. I could have never gotten through this without the three of you! I am very thankful and very much in awe that the fee came to so little, and that I will be able to either fix or repair my bicycle.

    Thank you!
    Shen, Seattle, WA
  • Cynthia and Amanda
    were a critical part of putting my life back together. I don’t know what I would have done without their help.
    Kelly P., Portland, OR
  • As I’m Japanese
    I’ve never thought of doing this and having a favorable result. It is because of your great support. Thank you very much indeed. To Amanda-san, I always appreciate your prompt reply and support. I am working at the law firm, but I have never done such things, so I wanted to clarify several things. Always, always, always Amanda-san replied me back promptly and helped me out. Thank you indeed. Hope it won’t happen again like this, but I will definitely ask you guys to help me out again.
    Miho, Tokyo, Japan
  • I love the people at this firm.
    I felt like they had known me forever by the way I was taken care of.
    Emily R., Portland, OR
  • In an instant my life changed.
    My name is Jeff; an electrician by trade. What I thought to be just another ordinary work day changed in a split second. While working near the top portion of my eight foot ladder, a careless forklift driver backed through my ladder. The impact threw me onto the roof portion of the fork lift, then onto the cement floor dislocating my shoulder. While at the hospital, x-rays showed the seriousness of my injuries. It would take shoulder surgery along with extensive therapy to discover a partial permanent injury to my shoulder, one that would take my career as an electrician away. At fifty-five years old I was permanently injured, scared, frustrated, and out of work. What now? What was I going to do?

    By the grace of God my path crossed with Cynthia Newton an attorney with Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton, Attorneys at Law. Cynthia became my voice in a very difficult and vulnerable time in my life. Cynthia’s knowledge of the law along with her calm demeanor helped me and my wife through the frustration and mental fatigue of a lawsuit such as this. The attorneys that helped me with this accident were the reason I was able to win a fair settlement. Chris Frost handled the Worker’s Compensation portion of this lawsuit. Chris has knowledge of law that would impress anyone; her attention to detail while keeping me up to date with any changes made a difference with this case and made both my wife and I feel as comfortable as anyone can feel that is going through something like this. Kristin Kidd and Rosemary Anderson are two of the best paralegals a law office could have. Both helped me with questions and details again giving me peace of mind. Ray Thomas’s legal savvy and presence was an enormous influence with settling this case. My wife and I were very happy with the agreed settlement that we were able to receive. We would have never been able to receive what we did without the help from this fabulous legal team. When a person chooses the law firm of Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton they receive a complete team of professionals that are dedicated to their clients. I hope I never need to hire another attorney, but if the need should arise, I will use Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton again simply because my belief is that they are the best of the best.
    Jeff, Sherwood
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