General Questions

Civil law cases are pursued separately from criminal cases, and the law may differ federally, state to state, or from one county or city to the next. Each case is different, but it is important to remember to be patient when pursuing a civil claim. The legal process is long, slow and dictated by many various steps. Below are some commonly asked questions in regard to civil claims in general. To see a list of areas in which I practice, please see the Practice Areas page. If you have any additional questions or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. at 503-546-0461 or jpl@pdxinjury.com.


Why should I hire The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.?


Any lawyer can file a lawsuit and settle your case for what the insurance adjuster offers. That might be good for the lawyer because it involves very little time and effort. It is certainly good for the insurance company, because their goal is to minimize the amount of money they pay on every case. That means their offers are often far less than the true value of a case. I will not advise you to settle your case until making a determination you will receive maximum compensation while minimizing your risk, by not going to trial. If I feel the risk of trial is still worth it, I will advise you to proceed. During my 12 years as a deputy district attorney, I tried more than 100 jury trials and successfully negotiated thousands of cases. You can be confident that your personal injury case will be handled with the experience, care and attention it demands.

 

Why should I pursue a civil claim?


In addition to seeking justice, a civil claim is sought to punish wrongdoers for their actions and involves damages, or monetary compensation, which if recovered, are awarded to the plaintiff, victim or victim’s family.


What exactly are damages?


Damages are the amount of money involved in a claim, and are separated into different categories. Economic damages are the actual costs you incurred due to your injury, including lost wages, medical expenses, property damage and out-of-pocket expenses. Noneconomic damages compensate for pain and suffering, and unlike economic damages, are not a concrete amount. Instead, noneconomic damages are intended to pay you for any emotional distress, mental anguish or loss of quality of life your injury caused. Punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault party by forcing them to pay more money. A personal injury lawyer will know what type of expert witness to hire to best prove your damages.


What is my case worth?


The value of each case depends upon the severity of the injury, the type of medical treatment received, the prognosis, the permanency of the injury, the necessity of future medical treatment needed, current and future medical bills, the extent of the emotional trauma and the length of time needed to heal. A case is worth what a jury is willing to award the plaintiff based on the above factors and on how much they like the plaintiff. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to give you an estimate as to how much they think your case is worth based on cases they have had in the past, but no two cases are the same, so that is all it is – an estimate.


How much will this civil claim cost me?


I handle most of my personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning I don’t get paid unless you do. Every personal injury client is entitled to a free constulation to evaluate the merit of the case. If I am successful in pursuing your claim, my payment is generally one-third of the total awarded. During the pursuit of the case, I also front all of the costs, including ordering medical records, fees for filing cases, hiring investigators or expert witnesses and other costs. You do not have to pay these costs until the resolution of the case and I am able to recover money for you.


What is a personal injury lien?


A personal injury lien is money owed to a third party that has paid out money or benefits for the client in a claim. It is crucial to be aware of any liens that exist and pay them once the case settles. Some examples of liens include hospital and medical bills, disability or workers compensation payments, insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, ERISA, welfare, among others.


What is a tort?


A tort is a wrongful civil act, separate from criminal law. All personal injury cases are torts, and there are many different types of torts. Some torts involve negligence—or unintentional or reckless behavior—while others occurred due to an intentional act. Each tort has its own specific elements that must be proven in order to substantiate the claim.


What are depositions?


Depositions are taken several months after filing a lawsuit. They are question-and-answer sessions taken under oath in front of a court reporter of the parties involved in the claim. Other people can be deposed as well, such as witnesses, if they are involved in the claim. Depositions are taken in every single case that is filed. They can take just a few hours or up to a few days.  Depositions are useful because they allow the attorneys to assess the content of the testimony given by the parties and witnesses, thus enabling the attorneys to evaluate the impression these witnesses will make on a jury.


Will I have to go to trial?


Not likely. These days, many civil cases don’t often go to trial; in fact, only about 1% do. Preparing for trial once a lawsuit is filed may take up to a year, plus they are expensive. Between the preparation and gathering of information, paying to hire expert witnesses and creating exhibits to use, the dollars quickly add up. Not to mention, the court system is already slow. If every case that’s filed went to trial, the courts would be booked with a never-ending queue of cases.