Starting January 2012, plaintiffs can use ORS 20.080 to settle cases up to $10,000.
What happens is this- in the most common cases a person is in an auto collision, or has vehicle damage where the value of the entire case is less than $10,000. Given what juries are awarding these days, many cases fall into this realm. A demand must be sent both to the driver of the at-fault vehicle and their insurance company. I send medical records and billings to the insurance company only. Then we wait for 30 days. If the insurance company comes in with a decent offer, then we settle and it’s a contingent fee. But, if the insurance company comes in with a lower offer than we (attorney and client) think the case is worth, we file the case. Defendant must beat that offer at arbitration or trial, or risk paying attorney fees from the date the client walked into the office. The client then receives the entire award or judgment.
This statute is intended to settle the “small” cases in Oregon because the defendant could take a very big hit on attorney fees.
If we decide to use this statute in your case you will receive alot of more information on ORS 20.080, it’s risks, it’s benefits, and whether it’s right for your case.