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Small personal injury claims carry a big stick

ORS 20.080 is an Oregon statute which allows for quicker and more attentive resolution of minor personal injury claims.

In a nutshell, ORS 20.080 presently allows a plaintiff to demand up to $7,500 in damages. The defendant (insurance company) must respond in no less than 30 days from receipt of a demand. In the event the insurer makes a "lowball" offer, a plaintiff who then elects to litigate their case and beats the offer, either through a verdict or arbitration award, can then assess and collect additional attorney fees from the insurance company. At the conclusion of litigation, attorney fees are usually substantial when calculated at a rate of $200-$350/hour.

Theoretically, ORS 20.080 helps parties avoid costly and time consuming litigation by fostering earlier settlement. A plaintiff is less likely to overreach and the insurance company is more likely to make a "good faith" offer where there is a potential for high attorney fees to be assessed against insurers following litigation.

ORS 20.080 will further benefit plaintiffs in 2012 when the demand limit increases from $7,500 to $10,000. If you have been in a car accident or otherwise been injured, no matter how serious, do not hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle your case.

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