Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

The beautiful scenery across Oregon can be enjoyed in many ways, and viewing it aboard a motorcycle can be among the most satisfying methods. Unfortunately, motorcyclists and their passengers are among the most vulnerable on the road. When a car, truck, or SUV driver makes a mistake, the collision that results from that error has an elevated chance of causing the motorcyclist involved to suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries. If you have encountered that situation — or you’ve lost a loved one as a result of this type of crash — you inevitably have much on your mind, not the least of which is addressing the steeper financial obligations you now face. When it comes time to seek compensation from insurers or through the legal system, be sure you have a knowledgeable Oregon motorcycle accident lawyer advocating for you.

One of the most common types of major motorcycle accidents, which this blog covered recently, involves motor vehicle drivers who make left turns in front of oncoming motorcyclists.

While that is a common scenario, it isn’t the only threat to motorcyclists that can have deadly consequences, as a late 2023 motorcycle crash in Jackson County illustrates. The motorcyclist, a 66-year-old Portland man, was driving his Harley Davidson motorcycle on Highway 230 near Crater Lake when a Toyota Corolla crossed the centerline of the highway and slammed head-on into his motorcycle.

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When you’re seriously injured — or a loved one is killed — in an auto accident caused by someone’s negligence or recklessness, the legal system allows you to pursue restorative justice. What that means may vary depending on the specific facts of the crash. Was the at-fault driver merely negligent or was extreme recklessness involved? Are you entitled to seek punitive damages or simply pursue compensation for your economic and non-economic harm? If punitive damages are a potential option, should you ask for them or forego this claim? For answers to these and other essential questions, seek out advice from an experienced Oregon auto accident lawyer.

These questions (and their answers) are more relevant than ever as, in many parts of our post-COVID world, road-related injuries and deaths have shot up from the levels seen during the 2010s. In Nevada, for example, 385 people died in road-related injuries in 2021, a 15-year high, according to the New York Times. 2022 was nearly as deadly, with 382 fatal injuries.

According to the Times report, a surgery professor in Las Vegas knows why. Based on the data the professor reviewed, “drivers were speeding more, on highways and on surface streets, and plowing through intersections with an alarming frequency.” On top of that, fewer people were using seat belts and more people were driving while intoxicated.

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Thousands of motorcyclists die each year on American roads and highways. Many times, these crashes are the result of a car, truck, or SUV driver who failed to maintain a proper lookout and executed a left turn that directly led to the fatal crash. When that happens and you lose a loved one as a result, the law allows you to seek justice for your loss. Retaining an experienced Oregon motorcycle accident lawyer can provide your family crucial advantages as you undertake that legal process.

A recent fatal motorcycle accident in Lincoln County follows a factual pattern that tragically is all too familiar. A 27-year-old man from Toledo was traveling northbound on Highway 101 about 15 miles south of Newport.

According to the Oregon State Police’s preliminary investigation, as the motorcyclist passed through the intersection of Highway 101 and North Bayview Road, the driver of a Dodge Ram pickup truck turned left onto northbound 101 from Bayview Road. The motorcyclist was unable to avoid an impact and crashed into the truck. The motorcycle caught fire and the motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene.

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At a Portland City Hall rally earlier this month, a group of bicyclists sought not to accomplish a solely bicycle-oriented policy goal. Instead, the bicyclists focused on a larger objective: reducing the high number of traffic deaths in the city and making Portland’s roads safer for everyone, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. The bicycle accident lawyers at Kaplan Law LLC understand the incalculable human toll that traffic fatalities represent, and support policies that will make our area’s streets and highways safer for all.

According to KGW8’s coverage, the rally included signs honoring the lives of each person killed in vehicle incidents in Portland this year. As of the date of the rally, Portland had already logged 46 fatalities, a pace that could allow the city to surpass last year’s total of 63 deaths.

The protest was organized by BikeLoud PDX. A member of that group told KGW8 that the changes they desired were reasonable and modest goals. Those objectives included enhanced enforcement of speed limits, an increase in the number of traffic cameras (particularly on “high-crash corridors,”) additional infrastructure investment, and campaigns against impaired driving targeted at “bars, restaurants, [and] liquor stores.”

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The last few months have brought a rash of deadly bicycle crashes here in Oregon, including at least two this month (one in Clackamas County and one in Polk County.) The tragic stream of fatalities is a reminder of the extreme dangers bicyclists face when they’re on the road — be it here in Portland or a rural area. Discovering the truth about the bicycle crash that took the life of your loved one can sometimes be a complex, challenging process. An experienced Oregon bicycle accident lawyer can help you both with amassing the factual evidence you need, and utilizing that proof in an appropriate legal action.

Sometimes, the facts regarding a crash can be fairly straightforward. In the recent Clackamas County accident, the mountain manager of the Mount Hood Skibowl died in a two-vehicle collision just east of Government Camp. According to the Oregon State Police, the 48-year-old bicyclist was headed southbound on Highway 173 when the 71-year-old driver of a Hyundai SUV, who sought to turn left from Highway 173 onto West Leg Road, failed to yield the right of way and turned into the bicyclist’s path.

The impact was so powerful that it launched the bicyclist from his bike and into the roadway. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Pedestrian accidents are unique in certain ways. Unlike vehicle-versus-vehicle accidents, many vehicle-versus-pedestrian accidents leave little or no physical evidence at the scene. There may be a complete absence of skid marks or broken glass. In fact, the vehicle may endure no significant damage of any kind. That is one reason why retaining the right Oregon pedestrian accident lawyer to handle your case is so important. Once you’ve retained counsel, if that kind of proof isn’t available, your attorney can immediately get started pursuing other forms of evidence to make your case, like security camera footage, cell phone recordings, or other video/photographic evidence of the crash.

Recent news reports show that pedestrians are facing greater risks on Portland roads than ever before. City records revealed that 16 pedestrians died in 2019 and 18 in 2020. Last year, though, that number shot up to 28.

Shortly after midnight yesterday, another vehicle accident claimed the life of a pedestrian here in Portland. The incident represented the 44th traffic death in Portland this year. Of those 44, 14 have been pedestrians, according to OregonLive.com.

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A commercial truck can weigh anywhere from 17.5-40 tons (35,000-80,000 pounds.) When you compare that to passenger vehicles, which weigh only about 1-3 tons (2,000-6,000 pounds,) it is easy to see how an accident involving a big rig can do massive — and often fatal — damage. If you’re hurt — or a loved one killed — in a commercial truck accident, there may be multiple parties with potential liability, ranging from truck drivers to trucking companies to a host of insurance companies. Complex civil cases like these often are ones where a skilled Oregon truck accident lawyer can be especially helpful.

A Willamette Valley crash was one of the most recent examples of just how devastating the results can be when a trucker operates his vehicle unsafely. Due to the complexities and amount (and severity) of the injuries involved, this case will likely take years to conclude and for families to get closure.

The trucker was traveling on Interstate 5 between Albany and Salem and, according to prosecutors, “had been weaving on and off the road” as he headed northbound. As he approached the Santiam River Rest Area, he allegedly veered onto the east shoulder of the highway and slammed into a Ford Econoline passenger van, crushing it between the trucker’s rig and a parked semi. The Oregonian reported that seven van passengers died. In addition, four more van passengers were transported to a hospital via ambulance.

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Even as legislative bodies strengthen laws and police ramp up enforcement, people behind the wheel dividing their attention between driving and text messages, phone calls, email, social media, and so forth remain a very real problem in Oregon and across the country. Too often, the results are serious injuries or deaths. When you or your family is harmed by someone driving while insufficiently attentive, you owe it to yourself to contact an experienced Oregon distracted driving lawyer to discuss your circumstances.

Sometimes, no one is hurt as a result of drivers’ inattention and the stories can seem a bit ridiculous — like the Washington County driver who was sufficiently distracted by a cell phone last fall that they left the road, crashed their pickup truck into a silo, and pushed that silo into a nearby barn, or the driver spotted by the Oregon State Police on Interstate 84 with not one but two hands on their cell phone while they drove.

Too many times, though, the outcome is tragic rather than absurd. Distracted driving crashes resulted in 3,500+ deaths nationwide in 2021. Here in Oregon, the state logged more than 15,500 crashes with more than 24,000 injuries from 2016-2020, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

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Auto insurance coverage can be a huge benefit when your insurer performs as it should. Unfortunately, court dockets and opinions are full of instances where insurance companies refused to do what they should, either in violation of the contract they signed or in violation of the law. When you have suffered severe or catastrophic harm in a motorcycle accident, getting the full benefit of your insurance coverage can be crucial. When your insurance company isn’t performing as it should, an experienced Oregon motorcycle accident lawyer can provide invaluable aid.

Auto insurers can violate the law in several ways. Two common ones involve refusing to pay a claim that the policy required them to cover and writing a policy that violates state law. A recent motorcycle accident case from our local area is an example of the latter, and how the legal system was able to help.

S.C. was a Portland man who had just acquired a motorcycle. Eight days after making that purchase, S.C. fell victim to a circumstance that occurs to many motorcyclists: a vehicle driver negligently making a left turn into his path. The accident left the motorcyclist with severe injuries. As is often the case in serious motorcycle accidents, the totality of the harm S.C. suffered was greater than the liability limits of the other driver’s auto insurance policy.

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A motorcycle ride offers many benefits, including the release of endorphins (a/k/a “happy” hormones.) Unfortunately, riding a motorcycle carries some drawbacks, including a substantially higher risk of severe injury or death if you’re involved in a crash. That means that the harm your crash inflicts may permanently alter the trajectory of your life and/or those of your loved ones. If you have been seriously hurt (or a loved one killed) while aboard a motorcycle, you need the services of a knowledgeable Oregon motorcycle accident lawyer to ensure you receive restorative justice.

Less than a week into 2023, a motorcyclist in neighboring Clark County, Washington, lost their life. According to a KOIN report, investigators believed that the driver of a sedan in Vancouver “was turning southbound… from a parking lot when it collided with the motorcycle.”

A few weeks later, another motorcyclist died near Portland. This time, the site was Washington County. The crash involved a motorcycle and one other vehicle on an overpass to Highway 26 in Beaverton.

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50 SW Pine St 3rd Floor Portland, OR 97204 Telephone: (503) 226-3844 Fax: (503) 943-6670 Email: matthew@mdkaplanlaw.com
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