PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER FAQ

It can be overwhelming dealing with an accident, injury or car accident - and then having to find the right doctor and deal with insurance companies.

If you decide to have Gary R. Johnson represent you, we will help you handle all the problems you face with experience and compassion.

To get you started, below is a personal injury lawyer FAQ we put together for you. If you cannot find an answer to your question, check our personal injury blog or contact us for a free consultation.

  1. Frequently Asked Questions


If you’re trying to decide whether to hire an attorney for your personal injury case and you don’t know what you’re doing, I think it’s a good idea to consult an attorney for your own protection. For example, you might be able to get $100,000 for an accident, but an attorney can get you two or three times that amount to get you paid for medical expenses and all the things you may not have known they should cover. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s a good idea to have someone who’s experienced in this to represent you; to have your back.”

– Sheila, Client Testimonial

How to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer

I've been in an accident and need a lawyer. Where do I start?

You need to find an experienced personal injury attorney who:

  • Has practiced for several years
  • Has tried many personal injury jury trials
  • Focuses on personal injury law
  • Practices in Central Oregon

See my blog post How to Find a Personal Injury Attorney for more insight.

I found the attorney I want to represent me. How does the hiring/retainer process work?

To hire an attorney you should meet with the attorney first to get to know them and check out their office. At that meeting, you will often sign a fee agreement and other documents to allow the attorney to obtain the evidence necessary to build your case against the at-fault party.

The G.R. Johnson Law firm will mail these documents to you in an informative New Client Orientation Packet if it’s more convenient for you to review and complete them at home.

How much does it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?

The G.R. Johnson Law firm does not charge a fee for its services in personal injury cases before the case recovers money for you. Once that occurs, we charge a fee of one third of the amount of money recovered.

The G.R. Johnson Law firm will initially pay the costs to prosecute your case so you don’t have to. The Oregon State Bar ethics rules require the law firm to be reimbursed for the costs advanced, whether or not money is recovered in your case.

Auto Accidents and Injuries FAQ

I've just been in a car accident. What should I do?

We outline exactly what you should do when you are in a car accident on our Auto Accident page. Additionally, if you’ve been in an accident with a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there is specific information you should know about this kind of accident. We cover this on our DUI/DWI Accidents page.

I was hit by an uninsured driver. Can I get my medical bills paid?

Yes. If you have car insurance, your insurance company will pay your medical bills under your personal injury protection or “PIP” coverage. See our blog post Getting Medical Bills Paid when Injured in a MVA for more details.

I was hurt as a passenger in a car that crashed. What should I do?

When you are injured as a passenger in a car, the insurance company for the owner of the car is primarily responsible to pay your medical expenses under the owner’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. See our blog post on How to get your Medical Bills Paid When Injured in a MVA in Oregon for more details.

To set up a PIP claim against the insurance company for the owner of the car, ask the owner for the name of his or her insurance agent and the insurance policy number. After you get that, call the insurance agent and ask to set up a PIP claim.

If the driver of the car in which you were a passenger was at fault for causing the accident, you will also have a liability claim against the driver and should consult with an attorney about pursuing a liability claim.

For more information about what you should do when you are in a car accident, read our Car Accident page. Additionally, if you’ve been in an accident with a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there is specific information you should know about this kind of accident. We cover this on our DUI/DWI Accidents page.

How much money can I recover for my injury?

How much you can recover for your injuries depends on how badly injured you were and how severely your activities were limited because of your injuries.

You are entitled to be reimbursed for your economic damages including your past and future medical expenses, lost income, property damage, etc. You are also entitled to be reimbursed for your non-economic damages or damages for the pain and suffering, inconvenience and emotional distress you sustained and will sustain in the future.

These Car Accident Lawsuit Case Studies will shed more light.

Insurance Questions

What are personal injury protection benefits?

Personal injury protection coverage or “PIP” is a type of coverage in an auto insurance policy that pays your medical expenses, lost income and increased household expenses when you are injured in an car accident. PIP provides significant coverage. For example, I have $100,000 of PIP medical coverage in my car insurance policy.

Why can’t your regular health insurance cover your car accident injuries? If you are hurt in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, your health insurer may refuse to pay for your medical treatment. Even if your health insurer does agree to pay your medical bills, you may have significant out-of-pocket expenses for deductibles and copayments. In comparison, PIP pays all your medical bills with no copayments. Usually no deductible is required, although some car insurance policies do have a $250 deductible.

For more information, read my blog post How to get your Medical Bills Paid When Injured in a MVA in Oregon.

How much car insurance should I have?

You should have enough car insurance to cover your damages if you are catastrophically injured by an uninsured driver. For example, I have $100,000 of PIP medical coverage and $250,000 in uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

See my blog post Motor Vehicle Insurance: How Much Should You Have? for more insight.

Why doesn’t my health insurance pay my medical bills from my car accident?

When you are in a motor vehicle accident, the insurance company for the owner of the car in which you were riding usually pays your medical expenses under its Personal injury Protection or “PIP” coverage. PIP pays your medical expenses, lost income and increased household expenses when you are injured in a car accident.

Many health insurance policies specify that your health insurer will not pay for medical treatment when the need for the treatment was due to the fault of another person. Even so, your health insurer may agree to pay for such treatment, especially if you sign an agreement to pay them back if you recover compensation from the at-fault party.

I often work with my clients’ health insurance companies to convince them to pay for accident-related treatment when my clients’ PIP benefits run out.

See my blog post Motor Vehicle Insurance: How Much Should You Have? for more details.