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Distracted Driving Is No Joke: Robin Lopez and the Portland Police Bureau Should Know Better

Posted by on Dec 8, 2014 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Attached is my letter to Robin Lopez, the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Portland Police Bureau. It saddens me to have to write this as I’m a fan. I’ve seen too many people hurt by distracted drivers. Let me know what you think?
20141208LTRRobinsonToLopezTrailblazersPPB

Devin Robinson on KATU to Discuss Public Safety Matter

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

1601158_10201239552781865_478509265_nOur attorney, Devin Robinson, was a guest of Anna Canzano of KATU News in Portland on January 24, 2014. The topic was a local contractor that Portland’s TriMet hires to drive “Lift” buses, a shared-ride public transportation service for people who are unable to use regular buses or trains due to a disability or disabling health condition. The contractor is First Transit, LLC.

In 2012, Law Offices of Devin Robinson, P.C. brought a lawsuit against First Transit, LLC. The Complaint alleged that the Plaintiff was injured as a passenger on a Lift bus operated by First Transit when the driver missed a driveway to a shopping center and decided to “hop over” the curb instead of turning around or finding another entrance.

First Transit is currently in hot water for an incident involving allegedly leaving a 92-year-old woman at a store that was out of business, with no way to get home. Obviously, if these allegations are true, this company appears to have some issues with either its hiring, training, or instruction of drivers.

Watch the story HERE.

New Year Means New 2014 Laws

Posted by on Dec 31, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

New 2014 laws

Happy New Year! Law Offices of Devin Robinson wishes you and your family and friends a happy, healthy New Year. Below, I note a handful of new 2014 laws for Oregon, Washington, and California, that regard your health and safety. These aren’t all the new 2014 laws, just ones of interest to me.

OREGON’S NEW 2014 LAWS

TOBACCO

Adults will no longer be allowed to smoke in an automobile while kids are occupying it. The ticket for the first offense is $250.00 and for a second offense is $500.00. Likewise, cigarette taxes will climb 13 cents to $1.31 a pack.

We here at the firm are big fans of personal freedom, but we’re also big fans of tobacco cessation and preventing tobacco-related diseases. As an attorney who has represented numerous people with lung cancer, and who lost his law partner to (granted, not tobacco-related) lung cancer, this is an issue that resonates with me. Weighing it all out, these are good laws that will hopefully prevent children from breathing in harmful second-hand smoke in the cramped confines of their parents’ cars and make smoking too expensive for many to start.

If quitting smoking is your New Year resolution, please check out some of the helpful tips here: http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/

Distracted Driving

I signed up a new client the other day, a nice young lady who suffered two leg fractures when a driver who was using a cell phone and not paying attention crashed into her and threw her from her motorcycle. Our distracted driving laws lack teeth, as the fines are miniscule. Thankfully, the Legislature has taken note and the fines are going up.

Starting on the first, standard fines for using a cellphone while driving will increase $50 to $160, and judges will be allowed to go as high as $500 — double the current maximum. So far in 2013, Oregon State Police troopers have nabbed 3,500 people for such violations and issued another 1,600 warnings, Lt. Gregg Hastings said. That’s up from 2,151 citations and 1,878 warnings last year.

Read more about how you can stop distracted driving from the fine folks at End Distracted Driving: http://enddd.org/

WASHINGTON’S NEW 2014 LAWS

Marijuana

Washington is currently set to allow marijuana sales at some point in the middle of the year. While I personally couldn’t care less about what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes, I worry that with more readily available potent marijuana there may be more impaired driving. If you choose to partake, please don’t drive while under the influence. Further, marijuana usage is still against Federal law so know that you are putting yourself at risk of arrest for possession or use of marijuana in Washington. Using marijuana in public is still against the law, as well; don’t risk arrest.

CALIFORNIA’S NEW 2014 LAWS

Medical Leave

The state is expanding family leave rights up to six weeks if you have a new baby or to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, domestic partner, or parent. Beginning in 2014, California is extending the paid family leave rights to enable workers to care for siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and even in parents-in-law. This is a great  expansion for workers to be able to take care of health matters without worrying about losing their jobs.

My work New Year’s resolution!

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on My work New Year’s resolution!

As a busy lawyer, I sometimes don’t get to sit down with my clients as much as I’d like. My staff, Alena and Jose, do a fantastic job of keeping in touch, answering non-legal questions, and getting needed information to and from clients. Lest I be thought a lazy attorney, I review all of the files in the office on a regular basis, so I know what is going on, and contact clients on all legal questions/issues. However, I miss spending good chunks of time with the nice folks I am privileged to represent. Most of my clients are ordinary folks looking for some guidance through a tough, confusing, and scary situation. I am honored to have such great responsibility.

This week, I had an opportunity to visit a client and her father in the family home. We checked in with each other and discussed how her car collision has affected her and the family dynamic. As a plus, I also got to play with their cute kitty cats so it was a day well spent. I enjoy these visits and am reminded of how all of us lawyers representing people should do it more often. As an aside, I really enjoy pets.

As I sit here today, full stomach from the staff Xmas lunch, reflecting on the year, my only regret is that I don’t get to do this more often. My work-related New Year resolution is to try and visit the home of each of my clients at least once.

Warren Zevon: Mesothelioma from Bystander Exposure to Asbestos?

Posted by on Jan 24, 2013 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

ZevonToday marks what would have been Warren Zevon’s 66th birthday. Zevon, a singer-songwriter famous for his songs Werewolves of London and Lawyers, Guns & Money, died of mesothelioma. Interestingly enough, though the only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, Zevon could not pinpoint anywhere he was exposed to the deadly carcinogen. Despite being a heavy smoker, tobacco smoke exposure has never been linked to mesothelioma.

My parents were big fans, so I was raised on much of his music. I still regularly load an album or two of his on my iPhone, especially on road trips.

Mr. Zevon likely contracted mesothelioma via “bystander exposure” to asbestos. Sadly, asbestos has taken its toll on children and spouses of those working with asbestos who brought it home on their clothes, as well as those who at one point or another occupied a building where some asbestos dust was present.

Our office assists those affected by asbestos-related diseases, including those who contract mesothelioma via “bystander exposure.” One of our most recent filings alleges “bystander exposure” as the cause of mesothelioma. Should you have any questions about asbestos exposure, mesothelioma or “bystander exposure” feel free to call our office.

Acupuncture and Injuries

Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Acupuncture and Injuries

Many of our clients have tried just about everything to alleviate they pain they are in from injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. A new study from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom shows that acupuncture is a legitimate treatment for chronic pain associated with chronic back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, shoulder pain, and chronic headache. The researchers followed 17,922 participants in 29 randomized trials that took place over a number of years.The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, shows acupuncture’s pain relief benefit was statistically superior to both usual care and placebo acupuncture. If your healthcare provider thinks it may be right for you, Personal Injury Protection, MedPay and Workers Compensation benefits usually allow for acupuncture treatment.

For a link to the study, visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3654

Dog Bites/Attacks/Injuries

Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Dog attacks represent some of the most gruesome personal injuries that are suffered, particularly where a child is involved (as is often the case). In its most recent study, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that at least 27 people died as the result of dog bite attacks (18 people in 1997 and 9 in 1998;

Of 27 human dog bite related fatalities (DBRF), 19 (70%) were children (1 was 30 days old, 3 were between 7 and 11 months old, 9 were between 1 and 4 years old, and 6 were between 5 and 11 years old), and 8 were adults (ages 17, 44, 64, 70, 73, 75, 75, and 87). It is important to teach children to be safe around dogs to prevent these catastrophic events from occurring.

OREGON has a strict liability dog bite statute that states that the owner of a dog is liable for damages inflicted by his/her dog if it bites a person who is either in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.

If a stray bites you, you have little legal recourse because you must file your claim against a dog’s owner or keeper. Your municipality is not responsible for the dog, even if you have called the animal warden several times to pick up the stray.

In all dog bite cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the incident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of a dog bite, call Law Offices of Devin Robinson at 503-228-7020.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function such as mobility or feeling. Frequent causes of damage are trauma car accidents, gunshots, falls, or disease (polio, spina bifida, Friedreich’s Ataxia, etc.). The spinal cord does not have to be severed in order for a loss of functioning to occur. In fact, in most people with SCI, the spinal cord is intact, but the damage to it results in loss of functioning.

  • Almost 11,000 people in the U.S. sustain a traumatic spinal cord injury each year, resulting in temporary or permanent sensory deficit, motor deficit, or bowel or bladder dysfunction.
  • In this country, nearly 200,000 people live with paralysis caused by SCI.
  • More than half the people who sustain an SCI are between 16 and 30 years old.
  • More males than females sustain this type of injury – the ratio is more than four to one.
  • The most common cause of SCI is motor vehicle crashes, accounting for at least 36 percent of these injuries (broken down as follows: no restraints used, 20%; restraints used, 13.7%; motorcycle 7.4% accidents involving pedestrians, 5.2%; other, 2.1%).
  • Violence-related SCIs have been steadily increasing over the past two decades, and today, violence is associated with 29 percent of SCIs.
  • Falls and sports cause 21 percent and 7 percent of SCI cases, respectively.

In spinal cord injury cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, review the medical procedures in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate the accident record and injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of spinal cord injury, call the Law Offices of Devin Robinson at 503-228-7020.

The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the
statute of limitations.

It goes without saying that the nature of spinal cord injury is such that the amount of damages that may be recovered against a party responsible for causing such injury is substantial. The average out-of-pocket cost of coping with a spinal cord injury in the first year can be as high as $741,000 for the most severe injuries. For each year after that, the average cost is approximately $132,000. The figures below do not include any indirect damages such as lost in wages, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish, which averaged $60,000 in 2006. All of these damages continue throughout the life of a victim.

In spinal cord injury cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, review the medical procedures in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate the accident record and injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of spinal cord injury, call the Law Offices of Devin Robinson at 503-228-7020.

Insurance Bad Faith

Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

When an insurance company fails to honor the obligations in your insurance contract, or fails to perform some other responsibility it has to you pursuant to the insurance you purchased, you may have a case against the insurance company for “bad faith.” It is important to note that bad faith cases arise from disputes between you and your own insurance company – if another driver’s insurance company is refusing to pay money to you, that is not bad faith since there is no insurance contract between you and another person’s insurance company. Examples of bad faith can include all kinds of insurance, from health and dental to automobile and homeowners. Other examples may include failure to provide for a defense as required in the event you are sued, or failure to follow contractual procedures in the event of a dispute as to the amount of compensation to be provided to you under your own coverage after an accident.

Insurance companies have years of legal experience litigating the terms of their contracts – contracts written by skilled lawyers which have been carefully upgraded as new decisions are handed down by appellate court. Coverage attorneys incorporate new case law into policies and regularly re-write their contract. Terms that may appear to a consumer to be simple English may have their origin in a legal opinion and may have been given a special interpretation that consumers are not familiar with. Because companies make it their business to know how standard terms have been defined by judges, insurance carriers have the upper hand in drafting policies and selecting the language they find most advantageous for making a profit.

Interpreting Insurance Contracts

Insurance law routinely provides that should there be an ambiguity or uncertainty in a policy, an uncertainty in choice of wording or ambiguity in meaning would be resolved in favor of the policyholder and against the insurer. In the absence of a misrepresentation regarding coverage or exclusions, if the language of the policy is clear and explicit, the clear meaning will be enforced.

Insurance contracts are interpreted by judges and courts to effectuate only the objectively reasonable expectations of the insured. Any personal, or subjective, expectation of a policyholder which cannot be reasonably supported by the language of the contract is unenforceable. It matters not what the policyholder/customer truly and honestly believes in his or her own mind. That subjective opinion is never in issue in a court of law. The real contest is to decide what the words of the policy mean to an objective person or a disinterested, common reader. So, when reading an insurance policy, the words selected by the insurance company are to be interpreted by judges according to their plain meaning. A plain meaning is one which an ordinary person would attach to such words, not the meaning which might be utilized by an insurance company executive or an attorney.

Exclusions and limitations in a policy, because they often result in denying coverage when there is a loss, must be in clear and written in unmistakable language. It is for this reason that exclusions and limitations are always narrowly, or strictly, construed. If there is more than one meaning to be given to an exclusion or a limitation, the narrowest interpretation will be adopted by the court. Any exclusionary clause that is not clear and conspicuous will be interpreted in the interests of the insured.

Duty to Deal Fairly

Every insurance contract contains an unwritten, invisible, or implied term referred to as the covenant or promise of good faith and fair dealing. This is a promise imposed by law upon an insurance company to always act fairly towards its insureds in handling their claims. Whether or not such a clause is included in the policy, judges will read the policy as if it were there. Carriers must meet the reasonable expectations of the policyholder and an insurer must always give as much consideration to the financial interests of its insureds as it does to its own financial interests.

In bad faith cases a jury is always asked whether under the facts the carrier acted reasonably. Denying benefits, delaying payments and paying less than what is owed are examples of bad faith. An insurance company is obligated to thoroughly and promptly investigate all claims and must inquire into all the possible issues that might support an insured’s claim. This obligation is not terminated simply because the insured files a lawsuit against the company. Where an insurer makes a belated offer of settlement, a cause of action for bad faith does not correct or set aside the previous wrongful conduct. Any payments to the insured only reduce the amount of the insurance company’s final liability as it may determined by a jury.

In a bad faith action an insurance company’s business practices or common course of conduct is routinely admissible to show motive, opportunity, intent, plan, knowledge or the absence of a mistake or an accident in the manner in which it dealt with its insured. It is not necessary to show that the insurer intended to cause harm in a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The policyholder need only show that the insurer failed to honor the agreement and had no cause not to pay what was due under the contract. When a person buys an insurance policy, the very risks that are insured against make it clear that if a claim is not satisfied the policyholder will suffer financial pressure and emotional distress. Policyholders obviously will be vulnerable to oppressive tactics by a carrier and insurance companies are presumed to know that a denial of benefits will very well result in emotional distress to their insureds.

Damages In Bad Faith Cases

Where a policyholder successfully shows that an insurer breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, the insured can recover all damages caused by the breach. This includes all consequential losses, loss of use of the insurance proceeds, general damages, attorneys’ fees and in cases of egregious and outrageous misconduct, punitive damages.

In all bad faith cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to review all communication with the insurance company and investigate the insurance coverage in question before the statute of limitations expires. If you or a loved one is a victim of insurance company bad faith, call the Law Offices of Devin Robinson at 503-228-7020

Airplane Accidents

Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Commercial aviation accidents are amongst the most tragic and high profile of all modern disasters. Recent crashes in Grammatiko, Greece and western Venezuela are stark reminders of the ever-present dangers that accompany air travel. On August 16, 2005, more than 150 passengers and 8 crewmembers were killed when an airliner crashed over a remote area of Venezuela. The accident arose after pilots aboard the plane reported mechanical problems in both engines. Just two days earlier, a Greek airliner also crashed due to technical difficulties. That accident left more than one hundred passengers dead, including more than forty children. When crashes occur, lawsuits often arise where the negligence of others appears to be a contributing cause of the accident. The litigation surrounding airplane crashes is often complex and unique.

In an airplane crash not involving an airline or other common carrier, the legal rules are usually very similar to those of an automobile accident. Unlike airline common carriers, which are held to a higher standard of care, owners and operators of private aircraft are required to exercise ordinary care in operating an aircraft.

If an airline crash involves a common carrier, the right to recover damages depends upon whether the flight was domestic (within the United States) or international. International flights and the domestic portions of international flights are covered by two international agreements, the Warsaw Convention and the Montreal Protocol. Under these international agreements, the airlines are held strictly liable for injuries to passengers. This means that passengers on international flights and the domestic portions of international flights need not prove negligence in order to recover damages if an airline accident occurs. However, these agreements limit the amount of liability per passenger ($75,000 under the Montreal Protocol) unless the injured party can prove “willful misconduct” on behalf of the airline.

Because of the $75,000 limit on damages imposed by the Warsaw Convention-Montreal Protocol, injured passengers (or those bringing suit on their behalf) may seek to show that an accident was caused by “willful conduct” on behalf of the airline, making the liability limits of the Warsaw Convention-Montreal Protocol inapplicable. For example, in the case of the bombing of a Pan American flight over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, a United States federal court held that the $75,000 limit did not apply because the failure of the airline to comply with anti-terrorist security procedures constituted “willful misconduct.”

For cases not involving strict liability, proving negligence on the part of employees of the airline, the manufacturer of the aircraft, it’s component parts, or maintenance crews is difficult, particularly since records, data, and the cause of the crash may be inconclusive. In order to prove negligence or product defect the the Law Offices of Devin Robinson must undertake an exhaustive review of all factors involved in the accident. There can be many causes of an aircraft accident, though usually the first cause examined is whether there was pilot error. Other causes of aircraft accidents include defective design or manufacture of the aircraft, failure to adequately maintain or repair the aircraft, failure of one or more of the component parts of the aircraft, and extreme weather conditions. The table below demonstrates the causes of major airline disasters for the last 50 years. See also Causes of Each Disaster and Immediate Crash Investigation. If it is determined that a basis for a lawsuit exists, a number of other complex issues then arise, such as:

  • What law (federal or state) should be used?
  • Where is the best forum for the trial?
  • Should lawsuits be filed individually or as a class action?
  • Who should be sued (the aircraft manufacturer, operator, or owner; the airport operator; corporate officers; or component part manufacturers)?
  • What is the best theory of recovery (strict liability, negligence, breach of warranty, statutory provisions)?
  • What is the best method of proving damages?
  • How should evidence of the crash be preserved?

In all airplane accident cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of an airplane accident, call the Law Offices of Devin Robinson now at 503-228-7020.