Hawn & Walsh LLC, in Bend, has taken a leading role in many of the most significant personal injury cases in Oregon. This page highlights just a few of our most prominent cases that have been highly publicized.
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- Motor vehicle accidents
- Civil Rights
- Dog bites
- Construction site accidents
- Wrongful death
- Wrongful collections
- Wrongful denial of insurance benefits
Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Pedestrian struck by car: $1,750,000. A man was critically injured when he was struck by a car while he was crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. He sustained life-threatening injuries, including multiple orthopedic and neuro-traumatic injuries as well as a traumatic brain injury. Jennifer Coughlin of Hawn & Walsh LLC was able to get the driver’s insurance company to tender its entire $1,250,000 policy to compensate the client for his injuries, pain and suffering as well as his spouse’s loss of consortium claim. Additionally, because of the significance of the client’s injuries and his need for ongoing medical interventions, Ms. Coughlin secured an additional $500,000 from the client’s underinsured motorist policy.
- Bicyclist injured by a car: A woman was critically injured while riding her bicycle. She was hit in the bicycle lane by a vehicle traveling in the same direction as the bicyclist. The bicyclist, unfortunately, suffered multiple serious injuries and fractures. The driver who struck her had a motor vehicle insurance policy with limits of $2.25 million. Hawn & Walsh LLC was able to get the driver’s insurance company to pay the entire $2.25 million to compensate the client for her injuries and her pain and suffering.
- Traumatic brain injury: While on his way to his job at a lumber mill in the early morning hours, GB slowed for a deer crossing on Highway 97. The driver behind GB did not see the deer and attempted to pass GB. Upon seeing the deer, the driver attempted to swerve back behind GB but clipped GB’s vehicle, sending GB off the road. GB’s car rolled and hit a tree, causing a concussion and nearly cutting off his left ear. While the ear healed, the concussion symptoms have lingered and caused GB to be unable to work at his job at the mill. We obtained the bad driver’s insurance policy limits of $500,000 to compensate GB for his loss.
- Approaching statute of limitations: OZ visited our firm with only weeks left until his statute of limitations would expire. After that time he would never again be able to settle with the insurance company. That company had offered him about $3,000 for almost two years. We were able to work with OZ and his potential employer to obtain wage loss damages on his behalf, and the insurance company ultimately paid its policy limits of $25,000 a couple weeks after OZ retained our firm to represent him. No other firms would represent him because of the impending statute of limitations.
- Head-on collision with corporate vehicle: The client was driving on a local highway between two communities and was struck head-on by a pick-up truck driven by a large corporation’s employee. She suffered multiple injuries including a pelvic and arm fracture. Ms. Coughlin represented her for her claims against the large corporation and was successful in negotiating a significant, confidential, settlement on her behalf at a mediation.
- Head-on collision on the pass: The client and her husband were crossing the pass when another vehicle lost control and struck them head-on. Our client’s husband passed away. The driver who lost control denied liability. We were able to obtain a substantial recovery including full policy limits as well as underinsured motorist coverage.
- Roll over wrongful death: Our client’s husband was on a hunting trip when the driver of his pickup left the roadway and rolled. We were able to administer the estate and resolve the claims against the at fault driver.
- Severe injury from multicar collision on Highway 97: Our client was stopped in Redmond on Highway 97 when a drunk driver rear-ended a number of cars. We were able to negotiate a favorable settlement for our client despite numerous claims on the at fault driver’s insurance policy.
- Motor Vehicle Collisions: We handle severe injuries and death resulting from motor vehicle collisions on a daily basis, and have helped our clients obtain successful recoveries in several hundreds of cases in a great variety of circumstances.
Civil Rights Litigation
On December 23, 2016 Michael Tyler Jacques was shot and killed by a Bend Police officer during a traffic stop in downtown Bend. An estate was set up on behalf of the deceased with his mother acting as personal representative and attorney Jennifer Coughlin representing the Estate. A mediation was held and the City of Bend’s insurance settled the case for $800,000. The settlement was reached prior to filing a lawsuit against the city in the hopes of bringing closure to this family for the loss of their son and not having to undergo the stresses and emotional turmoil of litigation.
- Eddie Mays Jr. was booked into the Deschutes County jail while high on methamphetamine. Unfortunately, this has become an epidemic and a majority Over the course of the next five hours his health declined. Video surveillance showed Mr. Mays writhing, jumping, laying down, and generally suffering in the holding cell while sheriff deputies looked on, laughed at him, mocked him and made fun of him. No request for medical evaluation or treatment was made. the nurse who was scheduled for that particular shift was on a pre-planned vacation and her shift did not get filled, as per policy. Mr. Mays internal organs shut down, and he died on the floor of the holding cell. After over a year of litigation, many depositions and a great deal of discovery being exchanged, the case was mediated and settled for $1,025,000. Now, the jail has instigated changes to hopefully avoid this in the future, such as having a nurse present at all times. Mr. Mays family has felt relief and vindication that hopefully another person who happens to be high, or is suffering from mental illness or is in need of medical help, will now receive it based upon them bringing to light to this young man’s suffering and death.
- Bitten in a public school: A girl in a public elementary school was bitten in the face by her teacher’s German Shepherd, which the teacher was permitted to keep in her classroom during the school day. The young girl suffered permanent facial scarring as well as emotional scarring when she was bitten after trying to hug the dog goodbye. Pursuant to a state law that prohibits lawsuits against public employees personally, a lawsuit was filed against the school district. A favorable settlement was reached that has been put aside in a college fund for the girl.
Construction Site Accidents
- Flagger hit by passing car: In November 2009, B.A. was working as a flagger on South Century Drive near Sunriver. The scene of the crash was a two-lane road with one lane in each direction. It was snowing and the road was icy and wet, and B.A. was standing on the north shoulder of South Century Drive. She had stopped westbound traffic and two vehicles were at a standstill in response to B.A.’s handheld stop sign. A driver approached the stopped vehicles, but failed to stop, and entered the right-hand shoulder where her vehicle then hit B.A. B.A. suffered injuries to her neck and back and an injury to her right knee including a proximal medial fibular fracture, fractures of the lateral tibial plateau, and a medial meniscus tear.
- Hawn & Walsh LLC recovered $30,000 for B.A. from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, which was the maximum amount possible to recover under the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
- B.A. had also purchased underinsured motorist coverage from her own insurance company. After months of negotiations by attorney Bruce Brothers, B.A.’s insurance company offered an inadequate amount to settle the claim. Mr. Brothers then represented B.A. in an arbitration against her own insurance company before a panel of three arbitrators and was able to recover an additional $146,000 on B.A.’s behalf, plus his own attorney fees.
Civil Rights: On December 23, 2016 Michael Tyler Jacques was shot and killed by a Bend Police officer during a traffic stop in downtown Bend. An estate was set up on behalf of the deceased with his mother acting as personal representative and attorney Jennifer Coughlin representing the Estate. A mediation was held and the City of Bend’s insurance settled the case for $800,000. The settlement was reached prior to filing a lawsuit against the city in the hopes of bringing closure to this family for the loss of their son and not having to undergo the stresses and emotional turmoil of litigation.
Auto accident: The firm represented the widow of a man killed when a semi-truck struck a cow on the road. The truck lost control and crossed the center line. A lawsuit was brought against the trucking company for failing to keep a proper lookout, and against the owner of the cow. A successful settlement was reached after discovery had been taken.
- Electrocution: A man was killed when he came into contact with a high voltage power line that was running through a tree in a campground. The man had climbed the tree in an attempt to retrieve a neighboring camper’s cat. In violation of legal requirements, the high voltage power line ran in between the branches of the tree and next to the trunk. Despite many years of inspections, the power company never moved the wire or cut down the tree.
- The widow hired our firm for herself and her children. A lawsuit was filed against, among others, the large multi-state power company. After complex discovery, the case settled favorably during a mediation conducted by a retired judge.
- Eileen V. contacted this office following receipt of a request for entry of default in a lawsuit that had been filed against her by a collections agency on behalf of St. Charles Medical Center. She had called other attorneys but could find no one willing to take her case because she had no money to pay an attorney. Our investigation revealed that her creditor, St. Charles, had billed her medical insurer for procedures she received and had been paid by that insurance company. The insurance company then requested a refund of the money it had paid to St. Charles, and St. Charles refunded the money but turned Eileen V.’s account over to the collection agency, which then filed a lawsuit.
- The matter was subject to mandatory arbitration, wherein a number of issues, including payment of medical bills and the statute of limitations, were disputed. The arbitrator found in favor of our client and awarded in excess of $27,000 to her for payment of attorney fees and costs.
Wrongful Denial Of Insurance Benefits
- The client was an employee of a large healthcare facility and was walking to work from the employee parking area to the hospital entrance. The client was struck by a vehicle, knocked to the ground and suffered serious injuries including a fractured pelvis and collarbones. After a hospital stay, she began physical rehabilitation efforts. After hiring Jennifer to represent her against the insurance company of the driver, she received the maximum amount of coverage available from that insurance company and then was able to recover the maximum amount of benefits from her own underinsured motorist coverage, totaling $600,000. Following those two settlements, Jennifer resolved the underlying claim for approximately $120,000. With the love, help, and support of her family, she continues to heal.
- The firm was hired by a single mother who was being told that her own insurance company was refusing to pay for her medical bill. While the amount of the bill was relatively small, it was potentially devastating to the client. The firm sued the insurance company and obtained a judgment. The decision-maker found that the insurance company should have paid the bill, and required it not only to pay for the medical treatment but also to pay for our client’s attorney fees and the costs of bringing the case.
- In the matter of Grijalva v. Safeco Insurance, the insurance carrier contended that the underinsured motorist coverage available to its insured was reduced by amounts paid to the driver of the vehicle in which she was a passenger. That had long been the way in which insurance carriers and the courts interpreted the law in Oregon. Bruce J. Brothers filed suit on behalf of Grijalva against her insurer, Safeco. The trial court entered judgment on behalf of Safeco. That award was upheld in the Court of Appeals. Brothers filed an appeal in the Oregon Supreme Court, where he was successful in convincing the court that a correct interpretation of the statutes and insurance policy allowed a reduction in benefits only for amounts paid directly to the injured party. As a consequence of this decision, injured parties throughout the state of Oregon are now entitled to recover the full amount of their underinsured motorist benefits without reduction for amounts paid to other injured parties.
- In the case of North Pacific v. Hamilton, plaintiff Donald Hamilton was injured while a passenger in his own motor vehicle, which was being driven by his wife. Although there was a liability policy in effect that provided $60,000 in coverage, the policy also contained an exclusion limiting liability to a family member to the sum of $25,000. The trial court upheld the position of North Pacific Insurance, that it had no obligation to Hamilton beyond the $25,000 already paid. The Court of Appeals agreed. Brothers appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court, where the court agreed with Brothers that the policy exclusion was ambiguous and could not be enforced, thereby awarding Hamilton the full amount of the policy limits available.
- In the matter of Country Mutual Insurance v. White, the insurance carrier contended that its liability limit of $100,000 was the total amount available to White. Brothers, on behalf of White, contended that limits of $1 million were available and filed a counterclaim against the insurance company. The trial court agreed with Brothers, and the insurance carrier appealed. The Court of Appeals agreed with Brothers and found that both the $100,000 policy and an additional $1 million policy was available to White, resulting in a recovery of $1 million more than the insurance company contended was owing.
- In the matter of D.B. v. Federated Rural Insurance Exchange, the underinsured motorist carrier insuring the truck that plaintiff’s husband was driving when fatally injured contended that his estate was entitled to recover, at most, the $1 million in underinsured motorist limits purchased by husband’s employer. Brothers contended that under Oregon law, underinsured limits must be equal to the liability limits purchased by the employer. The trial court agreed and ruled that $2 million in coverage was available, not $1 million as argued by the insurance carrier.
- In the matter of Sheptow v. Geico, the insurance carrier contended that Sheptow, who was injured while driving his mother’s car, was not entitled to PIP medical benefits because he was a family member and was not living in his mother’s home, so was excluded from coverage. The trial court agreed with Brothers and awarded PIP benefits. Geico appealed the trial court’s decision, and the Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed that Brothers’ interpretation of Oregon law is correct.
These are just a few of the many hundreds of cases handled over the years for the residents of the state of Oregon.
From offices in Bend, our attorneys represent clients in personal injury and insurance law matters in communities throughout Oregon. Contact us to arrange a free initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer at our firm: 541-241-6991.