How do you know which Portland personal injury attorney to choose? Before you hire a lawyer, make sure they are qualified.
95% of Oregon personal injury attorneys rarely, if ever, go to trial. Most are not very good at it and have had little success at trial. If you hire a lawyer who does not try cases, you are stuck taking whatever the insurance company offers. Anyone can say that they are aggressive and will fight for your rights. Make them prove it. Before you hire an attorney, ask them how many cases they have tried to a jury and what there results have been. If they are not actively trying cases and have not had a number of large verdicts, do you want to trust them with your case? Although your case will likely never go to trial, insurance companies base their offers on how your attorney has done in trial in the past. If you hire an attorney who has not had a significant number of larger verdicts, do you think the insurance company is going to offer you a fair amount?
Why should you hire attorney Mike Colbach?
Proven results. I do not know of any other lawyer in Oregon who is consistently getting better jury verdicts on motor vehicle accident personal injury cases. A judge recently showed me the list of top Multnomah County motor vehicle verdicts. According to this list, two of the top ten verdicts are cases that I tried to a jury. They were reported by the media, Bicyclist hit by test driver and Cyclist vs. New Seasons. These verdicts were not 10 years ago, they were as recent as 2011. I am actively trying personal injury cases and as long as insurance companies continue to try and cheat my clients, I intend to keep trying cases.
Trial Attorney with over $22 million in verdicts and settlements in just the last eight years.
Without the threat of a lawyer who is willing to go to trial and seek a big jury verdict, why would an insurance company pay you what your claim is really worth? Lawsuits can be expensive, and many people do not have the money to pursue their claim. In every case, I advance all costs associated with pursuing your case and I do not ask you for a penny until we recover from the other side.
Trial attorney with experience can make the difference.
I am an experienced, aggressive trial lawyer who has tried over 130 jury trials and I have twenty years of courtroom experience. I am not afraid to take your case to trial if that is what it takes to maximize the amount of money your recover for your personal injury. I offer one-on-one service, and I will not hand your case off your case to an inexperienced associate or a paralegal.
Reduce the stress of making a claim.
Personal injury accidents can turn your life upside down. Making a personal injury claim can be difficult and time consuming. Once I take your case, you can stop worrying about dealing with the insurance companies and focus on recovering from your injuries. I take care of all of the paperwork, phone calls, and negotiations, so you can get on with your life.
Frequently Asked Questions
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[Q1] Do all Oregon personal injury attorneys charge the same amount?
A. No. Many attorneys increase their fees to 40% if they file a lawsuit, take a deposition, or go to mediation. Many attorneys also charge you for recovering your medical expenses. This can really add up. If you have a $100,000 settlement and $50,000 in medical bills and your lawyer charges you 40% for filing a lawsuit, this only leaves you with $10,000.
[Q2] What do you charge to handle an Oregon personal injury case?
A. If we settle the case before trial or arbitration, my fees are 33% of what is left after the past medical bills are paid. If you have a $100,000 settlement and $50,000 in medical bills, my fee is $16,666 and you end up with $33,333. My fees increase to 40%, after medical bills are paid, only if the case goes trial or arbitration.
A: Not without talking to a lawyer. Insurance companies rarely offer you a fair amount for your injuries without a lawyer. Two extreme examples are one case where my client was offered $4,000 before he hired me. At trial a jury awarded us $550,000. In another case client was offered $1,500 and a jury awarded us $138,000. Insurance companies do not get to determine the value of your injury case, that is up to you or a jury. If you have already received an offer for your injuries, contact me and I will let you know if I think it is a fair offer. I will not charge you for this consultation. If I do not beat their original offer to you, I will not charge you an attorney fee.
A: Most personal injury cases settle before trial, but you want to maximize your settlement. If you hire an attorney who has little trial experience, oftentimes they will be afraid to go to trial. Insurance companies know who these lawyers are, and they usually offer them less than the case is worth. I have 20 years of courtroom experience and I have tried over 130 cases. A good example of why you sometimes have to go to trial are the recent results I have had. I recently tried five separate cases where the offers totaled approximately $181,500. The juries awarded a total of over $1,715,500. If my clients had hired a lawyer who does not try cases, they would have lost a combined total of around $1,534,000. Verdicts like these do not come easy and it took me over 20 years of trying cases and over 130 jury trials before I had the skills to get big verdicts for my clients. Most Oregon personal injury attorneys rarely, if ever, try cases. I believe that these attorneys do a great disservice to their clients and cost their clients millions of dollars by settling cases that should go to trial. Before you hire a lawyer, make sure that they are actively trying cases and have had a number of six figure verdicts.
A: I handle auto accident, bicycle, pedestrian accident, and all of my other personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means YOU DO NOT OWE ME A LEGAL FEE UNLESS I RECOVER MONEY FOR YOU. I do not ask for any attorney fees upfront. If there is no recovery there is no fee.
A: I do not charge my clients a fee recovering their past medical expenses. Most lawyers charge 33% for this. I base my fee on what is recovered in addition to your medical expenses. If your lawyer charges you for recovering your medical expenses it can significantly reduce how much goes in your pocket. For example, if you had $50,000 in medical expenses and a $100,000 settlement, your lawyer would get $33,000, $50,000 would go to repay your medical expenses, and you would be left with around $17,000. In a case like that, I would base my fee off of the $50,000, putting $33,000 in your pocket instead of approximately $17,000. The only time I charge a fee for recovering your past medical expenses is when someone other than the client, usually my client's insurance company or healthcare provider, pays me to recover the medical expenses.
A: No. I do not charge you fees for consultations, opening your file, copies, long distance, etc. Before you hire a lawyer, make sure you find out what they will be charging you, as these hidden fees can add up.
A: Filing a lawsuit, paying court costs and expert witness fees can be very expensive. Every year I spend thousands of dollars in litigation costs. I know that most people cannot afford these costs up front, so I forward these costs up front in every case I take. Spending a few thousand dollars on a good expert witness can make the difference between getting thousands of dollars and getting nothing for your personal injury claim. Before you hire a lawyer, make sure that they are willing to forward the money to adequately pursue your personal injury case. Otherwise, you may be forced into taking a minimal settlement if you cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars to pursue your personal injury claim.
A: No. Unlike most Oregon personal injury lawyers, my fees do not increase for filing a lawsuit, going to court, litigating motions, or going to mediation. The only time my fees increase is if we go to trial or arbitration, which usually happens in less than 10% of my cases. Before you hire a lawyer, make sure they don't increase their fees just for filing a lawsuit or spending a few hours in mediation.
A: I handle all types of personal injury claims, auto injury accidents, motorcycle injury accidents, bicycle accident, pedestrian, truck accident, dog bite injuries, ATV injury accidents, boating injury accidents, on the job injury third party workers compensation claims, rental property injury accident claim, and any other case where someone else causes you personal injury.
A: Yes. I check my email 365 days a year and respond to clients 365 days a year. If you email me on a Saturday, you will likely hear back from me the same day or the next day. I don't have my staff screen my email. You communicate with me via the same email address as my family and close friends. Unless I am somewhere where I do not have internet access, I make a point of returning emails 7 days a week, all hours of the day. This process can be stressful and I don't want you losing sleep over a question I can easily answer.
A: Call me immediately. Do not give the other person’s insurance company a statement until you have consulted with a lawyer. I make a point of returning all calls and e-mails promptly. If you have suffered a personal injury, you need to know right away what insurance coverage is in place to cover your medical expenses and lost wages.
A. Yes. Everyone who calls for a free consultation gets to talk to a lawyer. I do not have my staff screen cases. Usually you will get to talk to a lawyer right away or later the same day.
A: Yes. In a few minutes over the phone I can usually give you an estimate of what your claim is worth so you don't get ripped off by the insurance company. If they give you an offer and you later hire me, I will not charge you a fee unless I can increase the amount that goes into your pocket.
A. The value of your car accident injury claim depends on the severity and permanency of your injuries. Contact me now for a free consultation so I can assess your claim and tell you what I think it is worth.
A: Yes. They pay their clients less. Below is a quote from Reptile, a book by David Ball and Don Keenan. David Ball is the best trial consultant in the country and Don Keenan is the best trial lawyer in the country. This is why I try cases. Most Oregon personal injury attorneys don’t. Who would you rather hire?
- The insurance companies know every negotiation move you’ve ever made. They know if your comfort level is limited to settling in order to avoid trying cases — or if you will do the best for your client even if “best” means walking out of mediation and into trial. If your trial threshold is too high, change it. If you are or remain a trial coward, especially once you’re armed with the methods in this book, you’re in the wrong job and you ought to tell that to your prospective clients. Your client deserves a lawyer the insurance companies respect. And that respect is independent of any particular case.
[Q17] Can I recover if the other driver had no insurance?
A: Yes. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you can recover money for your medical bills and pain and suffering even if the other driver had no insurance.
A: Many auto policies will cover you if you are injured in a bicycle accident or while on foot.
A: You need to contact me and we can discuss your case. My consultation on a personal injury case is always free.
A: It depends on the nature of your personal injury claim. I have settled smaller personal injury claims for the full amount my client wanted within 10 days and I have settled policy limits cases in as little as a few months. Larger personal injury cases typically take longer to settle. Oregon law has a provision that can require insurance companies to pay my attorney fees for personal injury cases under $10,000, so oftentimes these personal injury cases can be resolved quickly, as the insurance companies don’t want to get a big attorney fee bill from me.
A: No. Oftentimes I only meet with clients for the initial interview and then we can just talk over the phone. If we do have to go to court, it will take more time. I realize your time is important, so I don’t waste it.
A: The vast majority of personal injury cases don’t go to trial. However, I treat each case as if it is going to be a trial, as you have to be willing to go to trial to maximize your settlement.
A: In order to settle your personal injury and auto accident case you will have to deal with insurance companies. Their goal is to pay you as little as you will take. It is tough for someone who is not familiar with personal injury cases to know what a fair settlement amount is. An experienced attorney can help you to determine that amount and reach a fair settlement.
A: I handle all types of Oregon personal injury, wrongful death and products liability cases, including: auto accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, ATV accidents, boating accidents, dog bites and all other types of injury cases.
A: When my clients are hit by someone who does not have insurance, I can usually get them more money that if they were hit by someone with insurance. The reason for this is that the lawsuit will be you versus your insurance company, and juries tend to award more money in these cases, so insurance companies tend to pay more in these cases. When you sue the other driver’s insurance company, the insurance company’s name is not on the lawsuit and the jurors are not told that the other driver has insurance. Although the other driver never has to pay out of their pocket, the jurors don’t know this and sometimes award less money than if they knew insurance would be paying the judgment.
A: Most Oregon auto insurance policies have Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, no-fault healthcare coverage that covers your accident related medical expenses for up to one year or $15,000. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not like to pay these bills and will often times send you to an “independent” medical exam, where you are evaluated by a doctor who works for companies that mainly do exams for insurance companies. These doctors almost always say what the insurance companies want them to say, regardless of what your treating doctor says. If your treating doctor believes the treatment is related to the accident, I can almost always get the insurance company to pay the medical expenses, and I do not charge my clients for helping get their medical bills paid.
A: If your medical bills are more than $15,000 or your treatment goes on for more than a year, your personal injury protection insurance will no longer pay your bills. You are then personally responsible for any bills in excess of your personal injury protection coverage. If you have healthcare coverage, oftentimes they will pay for any treatment in excess of your personal injury protection coverage, but they usually will want to be paid back out of any settlement or judgment you get.
A: I routinely work with doctor and healthcare providers to keep them from sending my clients to collections for unpaid bills. Often, I can keep them from sending bills to collections if we agree in writing that we will pay them first once we get paid on a settlement or judgment. When there is not enough insurance coverage to pay all of the bills, I can usually get healthcare providers to reduce their bills low enough that there is still money leftover for my clients.
A: Yes. Your personal injury protection insurance provides wage loss for up to 52 weeks after your accident. My staff and I work with your doctors and your insurance company to make sure you are promptly paid the maximum amount of your wage loss benefits. If your injuries are permanent and you are forced to find a new line of work, the other party should have to pay for any future lost wages and retraining costs. I can hire a vocational rehabilitation expert to determine how much your future lost wages and retraining expenses will be, so we can make these costs part of any settlement or judgment.
A: I handle third-party on the job injuries. What this means is when your injuries are caused by someone other than your employer, such as another driver, faulty equipment, subcontractor, etc. I do not handle first-party workers compensation claims, where you are hurt on the job, but it is not a third-party’s fault. If you have a first-party workers compensation claim, I can refer you to a lawyer who specializes in these claims, as they are an entirely different kind of law than personal injury claims.
A: Although the lawsuit will have the other driver’s name on it, we are actually going after the insurance company’s money. In virtually every case, the person we sue does not have to pay a penny, as their insurance company pays the settlement or verdict amount, as well as all of the legal fees. In the three cases where I have received verdicts bigger than the policy limits, the insurance companies still paid, as it was their fault for not settling for the policy limits.
A: Although I am located in Portland, Oregon, I will handle take cases throughout the state of Oregon including the following counties and cities:
Multnomah County, Washington County, Clackamas County, Marion County, Polk County, Columbia County, Hood River County, Yamhill County, Clatsop County, Wasco County, Linn County, Benton County, Lane County, Clatsop County, Tillamook County, Sherman County, Jefferson County, Linn County, Benton County.
Portland, Salem, Gresham, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Tigard, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, McMinnville, West Linn, Tualatin, Troutdale, Sherwood, Molalla, Aloha, Albany, Corvallis, Cascade Locks, Astoria, Wilsonville,Woodburn, The Dalles, Fairview, Oregon City, Silverton, Sandy, Rainier, Monmouth, Newberg, Keizer, Gladstone, Forest Grove, Estacada, Canby, Philomath, Newberg, Parkdale, Seaside.
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I support Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA)
I am a Portland Bicycle Lawyer and proud to support the BTA.
I invite you to read Why you need personal injury lawyers - it was an Anderson Cooper CNN investigative report in 3 parts about the lengths that the auto insurance industry will go to not pay you a fair settlement.
Oregon State Bar Online Lawyer Referral Service - find an attorney for your specific case. Not all attorneys provide a free initial legal consultation. Make sure you ask how much the initial consultation will cost and how long that consultation will be.