Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries

The human spine is a remarkable structure composed of thirty-three individual vertebrae separated by intervertebral discs. Each disc has a firm outer layer and a jelly-like core. Most of the vertebrae are fully flexible, or articulating. The last nine, which comprise the sacrum and coccyx (or “tailbone”), are fused and inflexible. Running the length of this structure is the spinal cord, which is made up of nerve cells and groups of nerves.

The spine is vulnerable to a range of injuries that can result in anything from mild backache to paralysis. Injury to the spine may affect other areas of the body: Damage to the nerves of the spinal cord may affect the corresponding areas below the injury site and affect bowel and bladder control, or sexual function. Damage to the spine can manifest in a variety of sensations – burning, stabbing, throbbing, tingling, numbness, or even an electric-like shock – in the hands, feet and limbs.

Common injuries caused by trauma include herniated, protruding or bulging discs; annular tears; and fractured vertebrae. Insurance companies often attempt to avoid paying claims by blaming symptoms on degenerative changes caused by age or old accidents instead of trauma caused by their own, negligent insured. It is possible to have degenerative changes that are asymptomatic for years, but become symptomatic following a traumatic injury. The negligent party is no less liable for exacerbated injuries than for newly-inflicted ones. If a medical condition such as osteoporosis or arthritis has weakened the bones, even a minor accident can cause major damage. An experienced attorney can evaluate the medical evidence and craft persuasive legal arguments to support a claim for traumatic neck or spinal cord injury.

Causes of Neck and Spinal Injuries

According to the Mayo Clinic, motor vehicle collisions are the top cause of spinal cord injuries each year, followed by falls, acts of violence, and then sports or recreation injuries. Attorney Rob Kline has more than 15 years of experience representing individuals who have suffered neck and spinal cord injuries. For more information on these and other types of traumatic injuries, please visit the following pages:

Treatment for Neck and Spinal Injuries

Treatments for back injuries are as varied as the causes. For some injuries, appropriate treatment may be as simple as the application of heat and ice and avoiding unnecessary movement; for more serious injuries, surgery may be necessary. Only a physician can determine what care is appropriate. However, if the injury was caused by someone’s negligence, an experienced attorney can ensure that all financial resources are identified to help pay for medical care, and that all appropriate parties are held accountable.

Compensation for Neck and Spinal Injuries

Compensation for neck and spinal cord injuries can include:

  • Medical Expenses – When you suffer a neck or spinal cord injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, there may be one or more sources of insurance available to pay for your medical care.
  • Property Damage – If the incident that caused your injury involved your car, bike, motorcycle or other personal property, there may be insurance available to repair or replace the damaged property.
  • Lost Wages – Neck and spinal cord injuries often seriously impact your ability to work. If you missed time from work as a result of your injuries, there may be compensation available for the time you missed while recovering.
  • Loss of Future Earnings – Some people are unable to return to their previous employment after suffering a neck or spinal cord injury. In those cases, compensation can include impaired future earnings capacity.
  • Noneconomic Damages – Also known as “pain and suffering,” this amount is meant to compensate the victim for his or her diminished quality or enjoyment of life, inconvenience, and other intangible ways the injury has affected his or her life.

A neck or spine injury can lead to months or even years of medical treatment and rehabilitation, causing turmoil in your home life, job and potentially with your finances. Competent and compassionate legal advice and guidance can allow you to focus on healing. Call Kline Law Offices P.C. today and request a confidential, free case evaluation.

 

Firearm Accident Law

Firearm Accidents Involving Children

Firearm injuries are the second leading cause of death among American children. More than 7,000 children—some 20 a day—are hospitalized for gun-related injuries each year in the U.S., according to a study published in the February 2014 edition of the journal Pediatrics. The cause of injury in over 2,000 of these hospitalizations is categorized as “unintentional.”

Many of these accidents are preventable and occur because the firearm hasn’t been properly stored or secured.

Storing Guns to Prevent Firearm Accidents

Gun owners are responsible for ensuring that guns are not accessible to children and other unauthorized users. Proper storage is essential. Gun owners must consider using one or more of the following storage and safety features to prevent gun accidents:

  • Gun Safes – A gun stored in a safe or lock box is less prone to unintended use. Keeping stored guns unloaded helps prevent a tragedy. Gun owners cannot be too careful when children are in the home.
  • Disassembly – Assembling a firearm takes knowledge and time. Storing guns unassembled provides another layer of protection against unauthorized use.
  • Storing without Ammo – Storing ammunition in a separate location from the firearm is another way to help prevent a tragedy.
  • Locks – There are a number of different locks that can be installed on a firearm to prevent unauthorized discharge. These locks include trigger locks, chamber locks and cable locks.

Portland Ordinance 14A.60.050 “Endangering a Child by Allowing Access to a Firearm” makes it a crime for a person in possession or control of a firearm to fail to prevent unauthorized access by a minor. The penalty increases if the minor carries the firearm off the premises; the penalty increases even more if the minor carries the firearm off the premises to any school, school-sponsored or school-related event. Gun owners in other jurisdictions should check for local ordinances pertaining to the storage of firearms.

What to Teach Your Child About Guns

Firearms are prevalent in our society. Even if there are no guns in the home, it is always possible for a child to encounter a gun in the home of a neighbor, friend or relative. Parents should teach children what to do if they discover a firearm and an adult is not present:

  • Stop. The first rule for a child that discovers a firearm is to stop what he or she is doing.
  • Don’t Touch! The second rule is for a child not to touch a gun that he or she finds. A child may want to pick up the gun and take it to an adult. The best practice is for a child to never touch a firearm outside the presence of an adult.
  • Leave the area. The third rule is to immediately leave the area. This includes not trying to take a gun from another child or trying to stop someone from using the gun.
  • Tell an Adult. The last rule is to tell an adult that he or she has found a gun. This includes finding another child playing with or shooting a gun.

Gun Safety Rules

Gun safety training seeks to instill a mindset of safety and responsibility. Firearms are inherently dangerous, and must be handled with respect and an appreciation for their destructive capability. There are many formulations of the essential rules for gun safety. One of the most well known set of rules was popularized by Colonel Jeff Cooper, the creator of the “Modern Technique” of handgun shooting. Colonel Cooper advocated for four basic rules of gun safety.

  • All guns are always loaded. This rule encourages a certain mindset for safe gun handling. In particular, it eliminates the excuse that “I didn’t know the gun was loaded.” When a handler assumes that every gun is always loaded, there can be no mistakes about whether a particular gun, in fact, is loaded.
  • Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. This rule is designed to minimize the danger from an unintended discharge. The handler must assume that the gun can fire at any time. A corollary is that guns should never be pointed playfully or as a joke at a person or non-target.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. The handler’s finger should be off the trigger and outside the trigger guard. This rule is designed to avoid an unintentional discharge. A handler’s finger can unintentionally depress the trigger if the handler is startled or not paying attention to his or her body movements. This rule also helps reduce the risk if a handler stumbles, falls, or attempts to holster a handgun with his or her finger on the trigger.
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond it. This rule is intended to minimize the potential danger when a firearm is intentionally discharged. The target must be correctly identified. The handler also must consider what happens if the target is missed or the bullet passes through the intended target.

In the vast majority of “accidental” discharges, the gun handler violated one or more of these rules. If everyone followed these rules and stored their guns properly, tragedies involving firearms would be greatly reduced.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a firearm accident, you may have a claim against the shooter, owner or purchaser of the firearm. If the firearm or ammunition was defective, it may be possible to obtain recourse against the manufacturer, seller or distributor of the defective product. Kline Law Offices P.C. Portland Personal injury attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve. Click here for a free case evaluation.

Burn Injury Law

According to the National Burn Repository’s 2013 Annual Report, which contains data from 91 hospitals in 35 states, the three most common causes of burn injuries are:

1) Flames or fire, which accounted for 42 percent of all burn cases. Roughly six percent of all reported accidents involving flames or fire were fatal.

2) Scalding liquids, which were involved in 33 percent of all burn cases. Scalding injuries are most common among children five years old and younger.

3) Contact with hot objects made up nearly nine percent of the reported injuries.

Burns can also be caused by electricity, chemicals and exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Types of Burns

Burns can range in severity from minor to fatal. Doctors categorize burns based on depth of injury and size.

1) First-degree burns – First-degree burns, while uncomfortable, are easy to treat and rarely require medical attention since they only involve the first layer of the skin. The most common first-degree burns are sunburns. A cold compress, over-the-counter pain medication, and time are often enough to heal the burn.

2) Second-degree burns – Second-degree burns involve the first two layers of skin and often involve symptoms that include blisters, oozing and the loss of skin. Second-degree burns, especially if they cover a significant part of the body, require medical attention so that the victim doesn’t go into shock or suffer secondary infections.

3) Third-degree burns – Third-degree burns, also known as full-thickness burns, permanently destroy both the skin and the surrounding tissues. Third-degree burns are extremely serious and a person who has suffered a third-degree burn needs immediate medical attention. Victims may need prolonged treatment in specialized burn centers. Full-thickness burns often require surgical treatment, such as skin grafting.

The size of a burn is measured as a percentage of total body surface area (TBSA). The TBSA assessment guides treatment decisions, including fluid resuscitation and whether to transfer treatment to a burn unit.

Compensation in Burn Injury Cases

Burn injuries can be excruciatingly painful. Victims often suffer from psychological injuries, including post traumatic stress and depression. In addition to compensation for pain and suffering, burn victims may be entitled to recover past and future medical expenses, lost wages and loss of future earning potential. Burns that occur on the job require careful assessment of workplace safety standards, workers compensation and the potential for third-party claims where responsibility may rest with someone other than the victim’s direct employer. For more information, see Construction & Industrial Injuries.

If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Kline Law Offices P.C. today and request a confidential, free case evaluation from a professional burn injury lawyer.

Sexual Abuse Law

Sexual Abuse Claims

 

Sadly, sexual abuse is more common than many people realize. Statistics suggest that as many as one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused at some point in their childhood. Unfortunately, many such claims go unreported, and the perpetrator is not held accountable.

Victims of sexual abuse may be reluctant to come forward, as they are afraid of not being believed, as well as the stigma associated with such offenses. In addition, sexual abuse cases often involve people who hold positions of trust, like a teacher, family member, coach or health care provider.

In cases involving abuse to a minor, a claim may be maintained by a court-appointed guardian ad litem, who pursues the claim on the minor’s behalf. While a parent may serve as guardian ad litem, this is sometimes problematic, especially where the parent may be a fact witness. For more information, see Injuries to Children. To protect victims’ rights, courts often allow a victim (child or adult) to bring a claim anonymously where the plaintiff is identified only by his or her initials.

Monetary damages in a sexual abuse claim can be challenging to evaluate, as the injury and its impact cannot be easily identified or measured in the same way that a physical injury can be. However, the damage arising from such abuse is often far-reaching and life-altering. In addition to the immediate harm, victims of sexual abuse often suffer psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. Victims of sexual abuse can suffer from other consequences, such as an inability to hold down steady employment, difficulty maintaining long-term relationships, and self-harming behavior such as drug and alcohol abuse.

Sometimes, a victim may have been so traumatized that they have repressed memories of the abuse. In such cases, it is sometimes necessary to retain an appropriate expert to provide therapy and/or otherwise evaluate how the victim has been impacted by the experience.

Sexual abuse claims can involve various legal claims, including assault and battery, negligence, negligent supervision, and infliction of emotional distress. Depending on the circumstances, a sexual abuse claim may also involve claims against the perpetrator’s employer or institution. Legal theories for imposing liability on an employer or institution include: (1) “respondeat superior” liability (holding the employer/institution “vicariously liable” for the acts of its employee or agent); and (2) negligence (such as when an employer/institution fails to respond to a foreseeable risk of harm).

The law provides strict deadlines for bringing claims. If a government agent or entity is involved, there may be additional notice requirements. If you wait too long to take legal action, the right to seek compensation may be lost.

If you are seeking a lawyer to represent you in a sexual abuse case, contact Kline Law Offices today and request a confidential, free case evaluation.

Child Injury Law

Injury claims involving children present a unique set of challenges and complexities. Due to their age and vulnerability, the law has numerous safeguards in place to protect children. Among other things, special consideration must be given to the role of the adult that will represent the interests of the child.

Injuries to Children

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Car Accident Law

It was an Accident and it Happened to You

There are six million motor vehicle accidents reported in the Unites States every year. Twenty nine percent of those accidents result in injuries. Those are just numbers until it happens to you. No one wants to be a statistic; we all want to be treated and respected as the individuals that we are.

Car Accident Lawyers for Portland, Oregon

Rob Kline understands that every injured person is a unique human being that has suffered distinct harms and losses. Unfortunately, insurance companies take the opposite view, treating every injured person like a claim number and doing everything possible to avoid paying full and fair compensation. Read more…

Bicycle Accident Law

Cyclists Get Blamed

Bicycles are required to follow the same rules of the road as cars. The vast majority of cyclists follow the rules. Portland Bike Accident LawyerAnd for good reason: cyclists are much more vulnerable to injury than the 4,000 pound automobiles with whom they share the road. Nevertheless, as any cyclist will tell you, many car and truck drivers do not respect the right of cyclists to be on the road.

No matter how careful or defensive you are, accidents can happen. And when they do, the driver of the car that hit you and their insurance company frequently will blame you. That’s why it is important to act quickly after an accident to locate and preserve all available evidence establishing who was at fault. Depending on the circumstances, you may need an accident reconstruction expert to help prove your case against the driver that is legally responsible for your injuries. Read more…

Pedestrian Accident Law

Pedestrians and motorists alike are required to obey all traffic laws. When a pedestrian is injured by a motor vehicle, one of the key legal issues is whether the pedestrian had the right of way. For example, if the pedestrian is in a crosswalk and crossing with a green light or WALK signal, the pedestrian has the right of way. If a driver fails to yield to the pedestrian, then the driver usually is considered negligent.

Portland Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

Liability is less clear when the pedestrian is jaywalking, crossing outside the crosswalk, or wearing dark clothing at night. A driver is not absolved from responsibility for hitting or running over a pedestrian in these circumstances. Drivers still must exercise reasonable care to avoid car accidents. This includes keeping a lookout for pedestrians who might be crossing the street inside or outside of a crosswalk.

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Oregon Drunk Driving Law

Drunk Driving: Victims Have Other Rights

Oregon law permits you to recover both economic and non-economic damages arising from a personal injury. Economic damages include past, present and future medical bills, wage loss, loss of earning potential and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Noneconomic damages include pain, mental suffering, emotional distress, humiliation, any inconvenience and interference with your normal and usual activities, injury to reputation, and any other subjective, nonmonetary losses.

Victims of drunk driving have additional rights. Driving while intoxicated goes beyond mere negligence and generally is considered reckless. Therefore, in addition to the compensation that you normally are entitled to receive, the drunk driver also may be required to pay punitive damages. This is an award of money that is intended to punish the driver that caused the accident. In awarding punitive damages, the jury is permitted to consider what amount of money is necessary to punish the defendant in light of the defendants financial condition. Read more…

Truck Accident Law

Accidents involving trucks are a serious traffic safety problem due to basic physics. A fully loaded tractor trailer truck can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds, while the average passenger vehicle weighs about 4,000 pounds. In a crash, the huge weight difference between the vehicles dramatically increases the potential for injury.Trucking Accident Lawyer in Portland, Oregon

Moreover, due to the height difference of the vehicles, occupants of the car can become trapped underneath the truck in an accident, resulting in catastrophic injuries. Read more…

Motorcycle Accident Law

If you were in any kind of vehicle accident, be it a motorcycle, moped, scooter, car, truck, bicycle, off road vehicle, ATV, recreational vehicle (RV), school bus or Trimet bus, you need the advice of an experienced accident attorney.

Portland Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Rob Kline is a local Portland accident lawyer available to discuss your injuries and legal rights. Call today or request a confidential free case evaluation.

What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident

If you have been in a motorcycle accident, there are a number of critical steps you should take to protect yourself and your legal rights. Learn More.

Uninsured Motorist Law

Uninsured Motorists: Accidents with No Coverage

State law requires all drivers to have motor vehicle liability insurance. Many people cannot afford, or chose not, to buy insurance. Portland Uninsured Motorist LawyerThey may buy insurance when it’s time to renew their vehicle registration, but the policy lapses when the buyer stops making monthly premium payments.

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Brain Injury Law

Brain Injury Overview

Traumatic brain injury is a complex injury encompassing a broad spectrum of symptoms and disabilities. The effects of a brain injury may be severe and apparent immediately. Examples include slurred speech, difficulty walking and seizures. In many cases, however, the effects of a brain injury are subtle at first. But, over time, symptoms such as short-term memory loss, vision impairment or behavioral changes become apparent. Often the family of the brain injury patient is the first to notice symptoms. Brain injuries are one of the most common causes of disability and death in adults.

Portland Brain Injury Lawyer

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Tenant Injury Law

Landlord-Tenant Injury Claims

Landlords have special obligations to tenants under the Residential Landlord Tenant Act. The law requires that rental houses and apartment units be maintained in a habitable condition.

Portland Accident Attorneys for Landlord Tenant Injury Claims

Habitability requirements cover a wide variety of conditions and mandate that:

  • Electrical wiring is installed to code and maintained in good working order;Read more…

Construction Accident Law

Construction & Industrial Injuries Overview

 

Construction sites and other industrial settings contain numerous hazards that can result in serious injury, and even death, to workers and others present on a work site.

Downtown Portland, Oregon Construction Accident Lawyer

Construction sites pose a wide range of risks, such as falls from scaffolding and ladders, collapse of trenches, falling debris, and injuries resulting from defective tools and equipment, among many others. Other industrial settings, such as manufacturing facilities, mills, utilities, and agricultural or logging operations, pose similar types of risks.

Despite numerous federal, state and local laws regulating workplace safety, including the federal Read more…

Wrongful Death Law

Wrongful Death Overview

A wrongful death claim arises when a death is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another person or entity. Oregon has recognized a statutory claim for wrongful death dating back to 1862.

Portland Wrongful Death Attorneys

Who Can Recover?

Oregon law identifies a class of beneficiaries that may assert a claim for wrongful death. This class includes the spouse, children, parents, stepchildren and stepparents of the deceased. To avoid multiple lawsuits stemming from the same incident, Oregon law requires that a wrongful death action be brought in the name of a personal representative, on behalf of all the beneficiaries. The proceeds of the lawsuit are then divided among the beneficiaries by agreement or, if necessary, as directed by the court.

The personal representative stands in the shoes of the person that died known as the decedent asserting whatever rights the decedent possessed at the time of death. If the decedent could not have sued the wrongdoer had the decedent lived, then the personal representative cannot sue for wrongful death.

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