Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Does All-Wheel-Drive Help Reduce Accidents in Winter Conditions?

The following post Does All-Wheel-Drive Help Reduce Accidents in Winter Conditions? is courtesy of

Accidents are common on Oregon's roads in the winterAs the winter driving season is fast approaching in Oregon we thought it was timely to showcase an article recently published by Consumer Reports discussing all-wheel-drive vehicles and their performance in snowy or icy conditions.  More than anything the folks at CR are making the argument that while all-wheel-drive is important for improved winter handling, it often leads to a sense of over-confidence as to just what your vehicle is capable of during poor driving conditions. And they offer some sobering statistics to make their case...

Forty-one percent of all weather-related car crashes on U.S. roads are due to conditions involving snow, sleet, ice, and slush. That’s pretty sobering when you consider that those conditions usually exist during just a few months of the year. Accidents caused by winter weather result in 150,000 injuries and 2,000 deaths each year, on average, according to a study by the Federal Highway Administration.
As anyone who drives in Oregon knows, conditions becomes much more treacherous in the winter months where passes and mountain roads can become icy and snowy as early as September and as late as June.  And while a significant number of Oregonians invest in winter tires, there are quite a few trusting that their all-seaon tires and all-wheel-drive vehicle will get them through any sticky situations.  CR continues...
But can all-wheel drive really save you when the weather turns ugly? It provides some benefit, but it may be insufficient to get you through a grueling storm. All-wheel drive is about getting your car moving from a dead stop—not about braking or steering­—and you should be aware of its limitations. Through weeks of driving in snowy, unplowed conditions at Consumer Reports’ 327-acre test center in Connecticut, we found that all-wheel drive didn’t aid in braking or in certain cornering situations. Our evaluations conclusively showed that using winter tires matters more than having all-wheel drive in many situations, and that the difference on snow and ice can be significant.
This is extremely important in terms of avoiding a serious accident when driving in inclement weather conditions.  You're all-wheel-drive Subaru may allow you to fly up a snowy hill with little difficulty, but if you needed to swerve to avoid an accident will it make a significant difference?  Unfortunately not as much as some drivers might expect.
...our tests found that all-wheel drive by itself won’t help if you’re heading too fast toward a sudden sharp curve on a snowy night. That’s an important point for people who overestimate the capability of their all-wheel-drive vehicle. We’ve all seen them, zipping past us in blizzards with their illusory cloak of invincibility.
Anyone who's driven on the Santiam Pass or up to Mt Hood can attest to this.  The number of car and truck accidents on Oregon's mountain passes increase dramatically during the winter.
Our test-track observations lead us to advise that using snow tires provides the best grip and assurance for going, stopping, and cornering no matter what you drive: all-wheel drive, front-drive, or rear-drive. And buying winter tires for a front-drive car will cost far less than the several-thousand-dollar premium you’ll pay for all-wheel drive. But most AWD drivers don’t think of adding winter tires. According to our survey of 54,295 subscribers who drove AWD or 4WD vehicles in the snow for more than six days last winter, less than 15 percent equipped their vehicles with winter tires. The rest kept rolling on their all-season tires and took their chances.  Consumer Reports - Do you really need AWD in the Snow?
The key takeaway from this article is that you shouldn't rely too heavily on your AWD to save you from an accident on snow and ice.  Winter tires offer the best control.  And while they do require an additional investment, it's money well spent. Here's a video demonstrating some of the tests run by Consumer Reports on winter tires and all-wheel-drive vehicles.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Teens to Be Sentenced in Racing Death in Eugene OR

The following article Teens to Be Sentenced in Racing Death in Eugene OR Read more on:

two Eugene teens could face wrongful death suitTwo Springfield Oregon teens will soon face sentencing for killing a bystander while racing their cars down a residential road at more than 100 mph.  One of the teens swerved to avoid a pedestrian and struck the other vehicle.  Full details are below.

Two 17-year-old Springfield boys are to be sentenced Tuesday in the death of a Pleasant Hill man killed as the teens raced their cars along the victim's street. David Pena-Gomez pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree manslaughter and other charges. His co-defendant, Jonathan Delgado, pleaded guilty to similar charges earlier this month. The Register-Guard reports that the teens are expected to get more than six years in an Oregon Youth Authority facility. Police said the boys told investigators that they were driving their cars at about 100 mph June 9 when Gomez swerved to avoid a woman in the road and sideswiped Delgado's car. The impact of that collision sent the cars spinning out of control. One careened off the roadway, hitting and killing Roland Vilett, who was standing in a drainage ditch near his driveway.  Albany Democrat Herald
Eugene actually has relatively low traffic fatality statistics.  This is just one instance of a wrongful death case caused by reckless behavior behind the wheel.  

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Jail Time for Nursing Home Employees in Medford NY

The following article Jail Time for Nursing Home Employees in Medford NY was originally seen on

nursing home abuse caseIn a recent verdict in New York, two respiratory therapists and three registered nurses were sentenced to jail time for their involvement of the death of one of  their patients.  Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is not an uncommon occurrence.  And while it is good to see those that perpetrate this crime punished, it goes to show that you must be vigilant in determining who cares for your elderly family members.  Here are more details of the case.

The defendants were sentenced to varying terms after being found guilty at trial in July in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead for their roles in the 2012 death of a 72-year-old rehabilitation patientand for their attempted cover-up of the circumstances that led to her death. “The sentences announced today bring justice to the family of Aurelia Rios, the mother of three and the grandmother of eleven,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Medical staff at Medford Multicare undertook the responsibility to care for Mrs. Rios and help her rehabilitate.  Instead, the juries found that she was neglected and that the Defendants covered-up the true cause of her death, depriving the Rios family for almost three years the truth about what happened to their mother.  This trial has put an end to the lies about what happened at Medford Multicare and is another example of how my office will continue to hold accountable those who neglect and those who fail to immediately and truthfully report the neglect of our most vulnerable citizens.” Long Island News, Long Island News and PR
Poor leadership, low morale, and inconsistent training often play a role in nursing home abuse cases.  It's important to do your due diligence when selecting a home for your loved ones.  AARP has put together a great article that you can use a reference.  It includes everything from the way a home looks and smells, to signs that residents are being abused or mistreated.  You can read the article here. If you suspect that your loved one has been subject to abuse DO NOT hesitate confront them with your issues.  If they don't respond appropriately then you should immediately hire an attorney that specializes in nursing home abuse cases.  

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Our Attorneys Win Six Figure Settlement in Eugene Motorcycle Accident

The blog post Our Attorneys Win Six Figure Settlement in Eugene Motorcycle Accident See more on: Dwyer Williams Potter Blog

In this particular motorcycle accident our client was hit while traveling through an intersection. A pickup truck turned in front of our client, causing our client to collide with the passenger side of the truck and knocking him to the ground. Our client was transported by ambulance to a local emergency room and the truck driver was immediately cited for his traffic offenses. Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorneys OregonDue to his accident-related injuries, our client required hospitalization for seven days following the accident. While admitted in the hospital he underwent numerous X-Rays and CT scans to his pelvis, right knee, abdomen, left elbow, and cervical spine. His most serious injuries included a fractured left elbow and a fractured pelvis that required surgery, and a decompressed bladder that required urological consultation and the insertion of a catheter. As soon as he had been released from the hospital, our client required home health assistance for daily necessities and to provide medical supplies and equipment. He had numerous mandatory follow-up doctor visits, including monitoring his bladder injury to prevent infection and bacteria growth, as well as physical therapy. He suffered extreme wage loss and his medical bills totaled just shy of a six-figure dollar amount. The main problem that our client faced was the fact that, because this was a motorcycle accident, there were no personal injury protection benefits available to pay his medical bills or wage loss. His health insurance company initially denied his medical bills because the accident was the fault of a third party. Additionally, he was unable to get the adverse insurance carrier to compensate him for his motorcycle that was totaled. Very quickly, the experienced and caring Oregon motorcycle accident attorneys at Dwyer Williams Potter LLP were able to get this client compensation for his lost motorcycle. We were also able to get his health insurance to pay all his medical bills less his co-pays. We guided our client through his treatment, assisted him in getting back to work, and eliminated any concern he may have had concerning his claim and compensation. Because of our experience as lawyers that specialize in motorcycle accidents, we were able to obtain a policy limit settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and also obtained an under-insured policy limit settlement through our client’s insurance company that collectively totaled more than six figures.  Our client was happy with the result, and so were we.

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

DWP Settles a $200,000 Tractor Trailer Collision Case

The following blog post DWP Settles a $200,000 Tractor Trailer Collision Case is republished from Dwyer Williams Potter

Our attorneys settle a tractor trailer accident caseAccidents involving cars and tractor trailers have the potential to be deadly.  If you or a loved one have been injured in circumstances similar to the following case, you should speak with a law firm that specializes in truck accidents immediately.

Circumstances of the Accident

Our client was driving his motor home in the parking lot of the TA Truck Stop in Coburg, Oregon. His wife and three children were passengers in the RV, which was the last vehicle stopped behind a line of commercial semitrailers headed toward the exit of the parking lot. The bad driver was driving a 2007 International semi truck with trailer, with a gross vehicle weight of 80,000 pounds. The tractor trailer was approximately 10-15 feet in front of our client’s RV, which was stopped at an angle. At that time, the driver of the semit truck backed up in an apparent effort to make room for another vehicle backing up in front of him. As he did so, our client realized the semitrailer was headed toward his RV, so he honked the horn and attempted to put the RV in reverse. Before he could do so, the semitrailer collided with the front of our client’s RV. The collision caused $6,793.87 in damage to the motor home. Though the collision was low speed, the weight of the semitrailer caused a significant impact, as evidenced by the damage to our client’s motor home. As a result, our client sustained injuries to his neck and back. However, he was on vacation at the time, headed for Disneyland with his family. Rather than ruin the family trip, our client simply endured his back and shoulder pain for the week. Ten days after the collision, our client gave a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster for the trucking company. At that time, he described his symptoms to include lower back pain, neck pain and numbness and throbbing in his right arm that was waking him up four to five times a night. When he returned from vacation with his family, our client made the first available appointment with his neurosurgeon, who had previously treated our client for a lumbar disc herniation caused in a prior car accident MVA. (Note: our client had previously undergone an L4-5 microdiscectomy after an MVA in 1998, but that procedure was performed by a different provider.) The chart note for our client’s initial visit shows that he had symptoms of severe neck pain, right arm pain and numbness, headaches and low back pain. In that chart note, his neurosurgeon noted our client “was asymptomatic prior to his motor vehicle collision on 8-19-2012.” Our client, who worked as an appliance technician, was advised not to work due to his new injuries. Indeed, testing revealed a cervical disc protrusion at C6-7, where an annular tear injury (caused by the MVA at issue in this matter), nerve-root impingement and significant pre-existing degenerative changes were also found. Our client had no neck problems or symptoms for nearly a decade before this crash. However, the symptoms resultant from this crash did not resolve, and it was ultimately necessary for him to undergo neck surgery.

Difficulties of the Case

Our client was represented by an attorney in Portland. However, that attorney could not get his case settled, and filed the claim in state court. Because the case was removed to federal court, the Portland attorney sought us out, as we have considerable federal court experience. Rather than refer the case to us outright for litigation, we decided to co-counsel the case with the Portland attorney. While our firm solved the federal court issue for the Portland attorney, there still existed many hurdles in the case. As noted above, our client had cervical spine injuries that occurred some years prior after getting knocked down by a city bus. An MRI at the time showed “Mild central disc protrusion at C5-6 … Mild annular bulge at C6-7. This is also present at C3-4.” Thus, there existed a significant prior history of injury with objective change to his cervical spine, which the insurance carrier for the trucking company latched onto, arguing that the need for surgery was due to these degenerative changes, and not to any injury stemming from the trucking accident. More problematic was the fact that our client had prior lumbar spine surgeries, including a fusion. The first, in 1998, was performed after he suffered a lumbar disc herniation at L4-5 in an MVA. This surgery was successful and our client’s symptoms resolved – that is, until he was in a second MVA in May of 2003. As a result, he underwent a lumbar fusion surgery five months after that accident. Unfortunately, the fusion failed to resolve his symptoms, so he underwent a third surgery in May 2004. This procedure was listed as a “re-exploration with extensive lumbar laminectomy and stand-alone interbody fusion of L4-5.” Though the wound from that surgery became infected, the procedure was otherwise a success. His neurosurgeon declared our client medically stationary on 9/7/2004, though with a moderate permanent partial disability preventing him from lifting more than 35 lbs, performing any repetitive lifting, bending or stooping, or sitting or standing in a stationary position for more than two consecutive hours. All went fairly well, until October 2004, when our client suffered a lower back strain after a refrigerator fell toward him and he was forced to support it. That condition ultimately resolved, and he sought no further treatment from his neurosurgeon until June 2010, one month after he was in a third motor vehicle accident. At that time, he was experiencing low back pain and radiculopathy into the right leg. A CT scan showed the crash had caused traumatic injury to the prior lumbar spine fusion at L4-5, which was corrected by a second surgery on October 12, 2010. That surgery was ultimately successful in resolving his symptoms. He was declared medically stationary on March 15, 2011 and released to his “regular occupation” with the continuing restriction that he not lift more than 35 lbs. However, with all of these significant low back injuries and surgeries, the insurance company attempted to blame the symptoms after the semi crash on these conditions, arguing that a low impact collision could not do as much damage as he claimed. The insurance company bolstered its position by pointing to our client’s significant spinal degeneration and prior permanent low back restrictions.

Actions Taken by Our Injury Attorneys

We associated in the case and handled the litigation. Discovery revealed several useful nuggets of information relative to the crash. We worked with our client’s neurosurgeon to get his opinion as to what injuries were caused by the crash, and also to pin down his future related symptoms and treatment. We also worked with a vocational expert and an economist to ascertain our client’s lost earning capacity secondary to his injuries. After months of preparation, we ultimately convinced the trucking company’s insurance carrier to attend mediation.


At mediation, the insurance company agreed to settle our client’s case for $200,000. We were also able to reduce the amount of money he was obligated to pay back to his own insurance carrier out of the settlement proceeds for medical expenses it had already paid. While the collision in this case was fairly minor, many collisions involving tractor trailers can be devastating.  If you've been injured in such an accident make sure you have an experienced truck accident lawyer on your team.  To see more cases we have successfully settled, check out our results page. Click here to see the location of the accident.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Medford Motorcycle Accident results in $288,114 verdict

Medford Motorcycle Accident results in $288,114 verdict was first published to

motorcycle collision with vanFacts of the Case

Our client was operating his motorcycle on a rural stretch of highway.  He came upon an airport shuttle van followed by a Jeep.  Both were traveling slowly, and the shuttle van driver appeared to be lost.  Not seeing any turn signals, our client attempted to pass both vehicles on the left in a marked passing zone.  However, as he did so, the van swerved first to the right, then to the left across the lane of travel.  As a result, our client struck the side of the van, breaking his leg, which required surgery.

Challenges Involved in the Case

Our client was cited in the collision, though the ticket was ultimately dismissed.  However, the business ended up suing our client for the damage to its van.  The attorney our client’s insurance company hired to defend the property damage claim recognized that our client may have a claim of his own, and referred the client over to us to evaluate and handle that claim. But our client’s claim was not easy.  First, he was operating a fast “crotch rocket” style motorcycle, so the business’ lawyers knew that a jury would likely be biased against him for that reason alone.  Additionally, he was attempting to pass two slow moving vehicles at the same time, and testified that once he committed to the pass, he was taught not to decommit, so he didn’t, even though he noticed the van begin to move from the center of its lane to its right.  He also testified that there were no driveways or houses to the right of the van which it might have been turning into, which the defense attorney argued meant that our client should have recognized he was preparing to make a left turn.  Finally, the driver of the van claimed that he had his left turn signal on prior to the crash.

Steps Taken by Our Lawyers

The Medford offices of Dwyer Williams Potter filed a counterclaim against the business that owned and operated the van.  We proceeded through discovery, asking for numerous related documents, deposing the driver of the van, the owner of the business, and several witnesses to the crash. Notably, the driver of the van, while claiming he had his left turn signal on at the time of the crash, further claimed that it was still on after he parked the van.  However, we pointed out that once his wheels were straightened out – as the police photos clearly showed – that his left turn signal would have turned off.  Thus, this could only mean he turned his left signal on after he stopped his van after the crash to stage his claim.  More telling was the fact he immediately called his boss after the crash, before even checking on our client who was unconscious with a severely broken leg outside of the van.  Additionally, the driver claimed that he turned his signal on when he saw the address of the house he was traveling to.  However, the address marker for the driveway at issue could not be seen from the road until the driver was within 20 feet of it – not 100+ feet that the driver had claimed.  Nothing about the van driver’s story smelled right. Before trial, our client’s insurance company settled the property damage claim the business had filed against him, leaving only our personal injury claim at issue.  We were unable to get a reasonable settlement offer on our claim, so ultimately tried the case before a 12 person jury.

Resolution for Our Client

We took the case to trial where the jury determined that our client had sustained $288,114.13 in damages.  However, the jury also felt that both parties were equally at fault, thereby cutting his judgment to half this amount.  Ultimately, this was not a bad result for a case that most outside lawyers thought was un-winnable. To see more cases that we have successfully fought for our clients check out our settlements page.

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Icy Road Accident Leads to a $350,000 Settlement

Icy Road Accident Leads to a $350,000 Settlement Find more on:

Oregon Car Accident Attorney | Oregon Car Injury Attorney | Oregon Inclement Weather Car AccidentCircumstances of the Case

Our client was driving her Jeep Cherokee eastbound on U.S. Highway 26, about three miles north of Madras.  At the same time, the adverse driver was driving an Oldsmobile Bravada - owned by his mother - westbound on the same stretch of highway.  The road surface was covered in ice and snow.  Our client estimated her speed at the time at 30 miles per hour and the adverse driver estimated his speed at 45 - 50 miles per hour.  However, his SUV began to fishtail, he lost control, then continued to slide sideways into our client’s lane of travel, directly in front of her Jeep.  A high-impact crash resulted, and both vehicles were a total loss. The Jeep’s driver’s side of the vehicle was crushed, leaving our client trapped inside.  Firefighters worked with hydraulic tools for about a half hour before they could extricate her from the Jeep.  During that time, paramedics immobilized her spine, but were unable to reach her right ankle, which sustained an open and comminuted fracture in the crash.  She also had broken ribs and suffered a severe concussion in the accident Our client was taken by ambulance to Mountain View Hospital in Madras, where surgery was attempted.  Physicians there determined that she needed a higher level of care and, about three hours after the accident, she was taken by ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.  Given the road conditions, the trip was slow going, and ended up taking two hours and 10 minutes.  Doctors at St. Charles performed emergency surgery on her ankle, placing a plate and multiple surgical screws. Our clients injuries in the accident required immediate surgery.Unfortunately, the anchoring screw placed in the first surgery broke and, as such, there was no fracture union.  After developing severe erosive degenerative arthritis and bone-on-bone contact in the joint, our client underwent two additional surgeries; one to fuse her ankle and a second to remove the hardware, which was causing her a great deal of pain, with permanent residual deficits.

Difficulties of the Case

Another local attorney was handling this case, and had filed a lawsuit after being unable to obtain a reasonable settlement.  However, he retired soon after, and his firm felt it was unable to handle the complexities involved in personal injury litigation, so they hired our firm to take over the case. The defendant’s insurance company denied that the accident was their driver’s fault – arguing simply that people lose control on ice.  It also disagreed as to the amount a reasonable jury would compensate our client for her pain and suffering (noneconomic damages).

Action Taken by Dwyer Williams Potter

We took over the case in litigation, and proceeded through discovery.  We obtained detailed records concerning the other driver’s driving record, insurance, and property damage.  We also worked up the facts about the accident, how it happened, and what he could have, and should have, done differently to avoid the collision altogether.  Additionally, we worked closely with our client’s medical team to determine what her related injuries were, what treatment she might need in the future, as well as how much that treatment was expected to cost.

How We Resolved the Case

We pushed the case into mediation where, with the aid of an experienced mediator, we convinced the insurance carrier that it should take this case seriously.  After nearly a full day of mediation, we were able to settle the case for $350,000 in additional to what had already been paid by our client’s motor vehicle insurer (who would be reimbursed from the bad driver’s insurance company independently).  We also reduced the amount of money our client was obligated to reimburse her health insurance company out of the settlement.  Ultimately, our client was very pleased with the result, as was the firm that referred us her case. At Dwyer Williams Potter Attorneys we aggressively pursue justice and fair compensation for all of our clients.  If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, please contact us today for a FREE consultation.  If you need more proof of our success take a look at more of our settlements.

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