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NW 23rd x Glisan Natural Gas Explosion Lawyer

Portland Natural Gas Explosion Lawyer investigates explosion at NW 23rd x Glisan

On the morning of October 19, 2016, a natural gas explosion took place on the corner of NW 23rd and Glisan in Portland.   The blast destroyed the building that formerly housed Portland Bagelworks, near Dosha Salon.  Blast victims and business owners from the surrounding area are contacting our Natural Gas Explosion Lawyer regarding blast injuries and business losses caused by the natural gas explosion.

Based upon present news reports, a third party contractor hit a natural gas pipe at approximately 8:55 a.m.  Crews from NW Natural Gas and Portland Fire & Rescue responded to the report of the natural gas leak and evacuated the building, but apparently did not notify surrounding buildings.  At approximately 9:39 am, a significant explosion occurred at the site.  Despite evacuating the building where the leak occurred, the massive blast caused injuries to people, and business losses in the surrounding area.  There is also damage to three of the surrounding buildings from the massive force of the explosion.

“It’s a scene like none other that I’ve ever seen,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

NW 23rd Gas Explosion LawyerFor more information, photographs and video of the natural gas explosion damage, visit Oregon’s major media sources:

Newspapers
The Oregonian

Willamette Week

Television:

KGW

KATU

KOIN

KPTV

Social Media:
Twitter NW 23rd Explosion

Twitter #nwpdxfire

DeShaw Law is investigating these natural gas explosion claims on behalf of people injured by the blast.  If you are interested in finding a Natural Gas Explosion Lawyer for injuries or business losses caused by the natural gas explosion on NW 23rd and Glisan, please contact our office for a free consultation at (503) 227-1233.

NW 23rd Gas Explosion

Oregon Personal Injury Lawyer Attends National Convention

March 12, 2016  |  Catastrophic Injury, General, Personal Injury  |  No Comments  |  Share

Oregon Personal Injury LawyerOregon personal injury lawyer Aaron DeShaw attended the American Association for Justice annual winter convention in Florida last week.  DeShaw is one of few Oregon personal injury lawyers who attended the conference.  The conference is an important opportunity for lawyers to learn about the most recent developments in a wide variety of legal cases, and medical and scientific research on the topic of their practice.

The AAJ Annual Winter Conference brings together 2,000 of the nation’s leading personal injury lawyers, who handle cases involving traumatic injuries, medical malpractice, defective products, injuries from dangerous drugs, and much more. The conference also features important resources for lawyers to improve case handling, and law firm operations.  While at the conference, DeShaw reviewed new technology for use in trial, as well as new imaging methods for brain injury and spinal injury cases.

Lectures by experts on jury bias, trial methods and trucking cases.  During the session, DeShaw talked to several friends including leading trucking lawyers Joe Fried and Morgan Adams, fellow brain injury lawyer Bruce Stern and Tom Metier, business litigator and FRCP 30(b)(6) deposition specialist Mark Kosieradzki, jury bias pioneers Greg Cusimano and David Wenner, AAJ President and Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame inductee Lisa Blue, and many more.  DeShaw’s strong relationships with the nation’s leading lawyers allows our firm to hire national co-counsel in cases where lawyers with specialty practice can assist our clients.

DeShaw is one of a small number of Oregon and Washington personal injury lawyers that belong to the American Association for Justice, and one of a handful who regularly attend the national conferences.  This is done to ensure that people represented at our firm get the advantage of the most recent advanced in legal representation.

In addition to AAJ membership, DeShaw is a members of the American Association for Justice Brain Injury Litigation Group and receives information on new developments in brain injury research on a daily basis.  The group is limited to a small number of attorneys who primarily handle traumatic brain injury cases.

Attorney DeShaw Featured in New Motor Vehicle Case Educational Video

December 17, 2015  |  Catastrophic Injury, General, Personal Injury  |  No Comments  |  Share

UnknownWe are pleased to announce that trial lawyer Aaron DeShaw is featured as one of three speakers on the new nine-hour educational video set “Mastering Motor Vehicle Cases” just released by leading legal publisher Trial Guides.  He is accompanied by two of the leading experts in the world on traumatic injuries – Dr. Arthur Croft (co-author of the first medical text on whiplash injuries) and Paul Ivancic, Ph.D. of Yale Medical School’s Biomechanics Lab.

While the rest of the conference focused on the science of traumatic injuries caused by motor vehicle collisions, Dr. DeShaw’s presentation discusses primarily the methods used by insurance companies to underpay different types of auto accident cases or blame injured people for the injuries they sustained in a crash, and how lawyers can work to ensure the jury knows the truth about what really occurred to the injured people they represent.

This video set follows several other lecture videos for doctors and lawyers on the topic of insurance claims practices and traumatic injuries by Dr. DeShaw.

If you have a serious personal injury case, and are seeking a lawyer with expertise on a broad variety of traumatic injuries, feel free to call our office for a free consultation at (503) 227-1233 or fill in our online contact form.

Fleeting Blindness or Temporary Blindness after Trauma

01_dande_gOur law firm has experience representing people who have sustained temporary blindness (or sometimes called “Fleeting Blindness”) following an injury to the upper cervical spine in a motor vehicle collision.  Needless to say, it is a cause of great concern for people who lose sight temporarily after a traumatic injury.  While some of the clients have had multiple episodes of blindness lasting only 5-10 minutes, one client reported a 30 minute total loss of vision, and another client reported a 45 minute total loss of vision after a series of episodes of blindness lasting approximately 10 minutes.  While the insurers and defense doctors will claim this is purely psychological (often “conversion disorder”), we are aware of the actual physical injury causing this injury and are able to prove that at trial for people who have sustained blindness after trauma.

There are a number of emergency situations directly following a trauma to the head and/or neck including things like an artery dissection or an bleeding traumatic brain injury which should be checked out at an Emergency Room immediately.  But this discussion considers people who have these symptoms sometimes months after the injury, or on a repeated basis.

These clients have one thing in common.  They each sustain injuries to the ligaments of the upper neck, referred to as the Alar Ligaments, the Transverse Ligament and/or the Capsular ligaments at the Occiput (posterior skull) – C1- C2 region (often referred to as the Craniocervical Junction, or the Atlantoaxial region.)  The end result of damage to these structures (which support the skull on the neck) is that they leave the C1 vertebra unstable.  Instability of the C1 vertebra leaves the person particularly susceptible to a variety of symptoms given the compact and critical anatomy in that area of the body – namely the vertebral artery,  the Foramen Magnum, and the transition of the brain stem / spinal cord.

The full extent of symptoms arising from injuries to this area are beyond the scope of this article, but can include a feeling that the head feels unstable on the neck, dizziness with neck motion, and abnormal (and repeatable) clunking sound with movement of the head, other visual defects besides blindness (often tunnel vision or a “greying” out of vision), low grade headaches, and other symptoms.  [Injuries to this area also can cause a traumatic or Type II Chiari, causing abnormal pressure in the brain leading to different symptoms which are similarly difficult to diagnose.]

The temporary blindness and other temporary visual symptoms occurs due to an instability of the C1 vertebra leading to compression of the vertebral artery within the transverse foramen of the neck. The vertebral artery gets stressed and then compressed as C1 moves an abnormal amount, thereby shutting down blood flow from the vertebral artery into the brain.  This in turn shuts down the blood supply to the occipital lobe which processes visual information in the brain. This lack of blood flow results in the temporary blindness.

The injuries to the ligaments of the Craniocervical Junction and the resultant C1 instability are the subject of the new medical text “The Craniocervical Syndrome and MRI” published by Karger (2015).  The book features notable doctors studying this condition, including Raymond Damanian, inventor of the MRI machine.  At p.58 of the text, it notes “Misalignments of the CCJ [Craniocervical Junction] have been shown to contribute to vertebral artery insufficiency. Vertebrobasilar insufficiency or vertebral basilar ischemia refers to temporary symptoms due to decreased blood flow in the posterior circulation of the brain.” This includes the most posterior area of the brain, the occipital lobe, which controls the processing of visual information. Lack of blood to this area, results in temporary blindness.

Needless to say, this is a serious injury that should carry a substantial value in a personal injury claim. The only known method of correcting this instability is a fixation surgery of C1, a surgery which few neurosurgeons are willing to perform without a fracture of one of the cervical vertebra.  Which leaves people with these injuries the task of either finding a doctor willing to do the surgery or living with the symptoms for life.

Our firm has extensive history handling claims of C1 instability after trauma.  Dr. DeShaw has lectured both nationally and internationally to both doctors and lawyers on this topic.

If you have a case of temporary blindness after a traumatic brain or cervical spine injury, feel free to call our office for a free initial consultation at (503) 227-1233.

Insurance Bad Faith and the Cascadian Fault Earthquake

June 18, 2015  |  Catastrophic Injury, General, Personal Injury  |  No Comments  |  Share

insurance-badfaithWe’ve pondered for some time whether to post something about the Oregon legislature’s failure to act on the serious insurance problems in the State of Oregon.  This post isn’t going to sit well with some people, and others might find it a bit odd given the future considerations of the problems, but given the article today in the Willamette Week, we’ve decided to post this in a half- hearted attempt to change the legislature’s course before its too late for Oregonians.

Our firm has been involved in some of the largest insurance fraud cases in the country where insurers had intentionally underpaid their own policyholders by billions of dollars.  Our goal was to stop systematic fraud by the insurance industry that underpaid claims, or improperly reduced payments to doctors who had treated injured people.  Ultimately, we were prevented from continuing our work on behalf of policyholders because of the “Class Action Fairness Act” passed during the second term of the Bush administration.  Once that occurred insurance bad faith claims had to be filed on a state by state basis.

None of these cases were focused in Oregon though.  Why?  Because Oregon has the worst insurance bad faith laws in the country.  In short, insurance companies can abuse their policyholders in nearly any way possible in Oregon with absolutely no consequences beyond paying what was already owed.  As some examples, if your business or house burns down, your own insurer can claim that you are an arsonist and set the fire yourself with no consequences.  You will sit by as your own insurer attacks you and your reputation, forcing you out of business or to become homeless.  Once they are found wrong, you have no legal recourse in Oregon.  If you are injured by an uninsured driver and have a catastrophic injury that leaves you unable to ever work again, your own insurer can claim you are a liar, that you are making up your symptoms, and simply deny your claim and force you into litigation.  There are no legal consequences for making false allegations about their own policyholders and then denying the claim or delaying the proper payment.  We know, because it happens all the time in our cases.  [The only possibility of a bad faith claim in Oregon is if you as an insured get sued by someone you hurt, the insurer undertakes your defense, and the insurer fails to properly defend you by making a bad offer (or no offer) in its defense of you.  That was the case in the Willamette Week article, in which a pedestrian was hit, incurred approximately $65,000 in medical charges and substantial injuries, and GEICO refused to settle the case on behalf of their policyholder for the full amount of the insurance policy on a claim ($100,000) for those medical bills, future medical bills and personal losses.]

It has become commonplace for some insurers (including GEICO) to make little or no offer on serious injury cases in Oregon.  One of GEICO’s own lawyers admitted to us that GEICO has instructed its adjustors to make offers of between $500 and $2,000 on cases regardless of injury severity and that the their lawyers will litigate any of the cases where the offers aren’t accepted.  Needless to say, some people have such substantial financial losses or personal losses that they can’t possibly accept $2,000 for their case.  In fact, none of our clients can accept such an offer because we don’t accept cases with minimal injuries.

This issue isn’t limited to GEICO.  And it isn’t just auto accident cases.  It’s homeowner cases, and business cases as well.  We’ve called the Oregon Department of Insurance and they won’t do anything about what has become almost uniformly ridiculous offers, or no offers, on serious injury cases.  When the injured person can’t accept the offer, the insurer will then turn the policyholders life upside down seeking information on every form of past physical or sexual abuse, every past psychological record, every social networking post, and every lurid detail about the person’s marriage.  What should be a good faith negotiation between a policyholder and their own insurance company has turned into little or no offers for cases with clear liability and serious injuries, followed by “scorched earth” litigation tactics.

The Oregon legislature has set up Oregonians for this kind of insurance company abuse.  Several times in the past, legislation has been proposed to allow Oregonians to file “claims practice” or “bad faith” cases against an insurance company that improperly denies or delays claim payments.  But, these bills have been uniformly rejected because the insurance lobby is so wealthy they can kill any bill that would hold them accountable for their bad conduct.  And, why would a legislator want to do anything that will help lawyers?  (There is a problem with this logic as hiring a lawyer is the only viable option for Oregonians who are impacted by improper insurance company claim denials.)

Oregon’s failure to pass laws to hold insurers accountable, incentivizes insurers to refuse to pay claims, or to make unreasonably low settlement offers.  Insurers know, that if an injured person has to resort to litigation, the jury will assume they are greedy even though they are just trying to get reasonable compensation for their losses.  What Oregon lawmakers need to understand is that  insurers accept Oregonian’s money for premiums, but then improperly profit by denying or delaying claim payment to their own policyholders, as well as to anyone who is injured by their policyholders.  Collectively, insurers who hold billions of dollars in claims nationally, profit through interest on that money.  And, the longer they hold the money, or the more nasty they make the litigation, truly injured Oregonians give up and become dependent upon social benefits that all of us have to fund, taking tax dollars away from deserving purposes such as schools.

What is the long term ramification of the Oregon legislature’s failure to pass bad faith legislation?

cascadiafaultThe Cascadia Fault (also called the Cascadia Subduction Zone) in Oregon has the potential of a 9.0 earthquake that is considered long overdue, and that scientists are predicting will cause a massive earthquake within the next 50 years. Our schools are trying to prepare kids for it, because it is expected to happen soon. The fact this earthquake will happen is so well accepted that the Oregon legislature convened a special board to consider the consequences.  The report issued by the state (called the Oregon Resilience Plan) has been described as “a chilling picture of death and destruction that would cripple the entire Pacific Northwest, from Northern California to British Columbia.”  The report estimates that bridges, dams, roadways and buildings — including Oregon’s State Capitol in Salem — will be in a state of utter collapse. No water, electricity, natural gas, heat, telephone service or gasoline — in some cases, for months. Economic losses are expected in excess of $30 billion.

When this happens, people will lose their houses and their businesses. Other states that have major natural disasters have bad faith laws so that they can hold insurers accountable for damage from earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Oregon has no protection to hold insurers accountable for paying claims, and so when this earthquake happens you can expect that insurers will sit on claims and not pay them. Because when they do the same in other types of claims Oregon Department of Insurance does nothing about it. In fact, in discussing this with the Oregon Department of Insurance, they admit that they will be powerless to handle this situation.

Insurers will require Oregonians to go through litigation to get what they deserved in the first place (replacement of their house or business) and there will be no consequences for wrongful claim denials, or payment delays. If you are homeless for the months or years following the disaster, the Oregon legislature has given you no recourse. If you went out of business, the insurers aren’t going to replace the financial or personal loss associated with you going out of business. What would this situation be like? Imagine Hurricane Katrina, but with the insurers having no incentive to pay the claims, and instead every financial incentive not to pay the claims.

Legislation was proposed this session (SB 313, SB 314, and SB 510) to resolve this issue and the Oregon legislature sat on it, because apparently the problems that Oregonians face with insurance company abuses, and the threat of the earthquake that the state has already acknowledged is imminent, aren’t sufficiently important to act. And when this earthquake hits, Oregonians will be out of luck because the legislature refused to act when they had the chance.

So, we’re going on record now to inform Oregonians that the legislature had a chance to prevent that outcome for you and refused to act.  While the legislation is dead, if you want to prevent this outcome, feel free to call your state Senator, or the Senate Committee on Judiciary to tell them your feelings about their failure to pass legislation to protect you from insurance company abuses.  If not, you know who to blame when the insurers refuse to pay your claim.

The insurance companies and defense lawyers are, of course, celebrating the loss for Oregonians.