How to Hold Negligent Individuals Responsible

How Will Ohio’s New Subrogation Law Affect Personal Injury Claims?

Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How Will Ohio’s New Subrogation Law Affect Personal Injury Claims?

If you live or work in Ohio, you may not give much thought to what your auto insurance covers, or how your insurance policy interacts with other drivers’ policies — until you’re involved in an accident. Suffering physical injuries due to another driver’s negligent or reckless driving can leave you with bills to pay and decisions to make regarding your best course of action, particularly if the driver who hit you was under insured. However, a recent change to the way insurance subrogation works in Ohio could affect the amount of money you’ll be able to recover from the other driver through a personal injury lawsuit. Read on to learn more about your financial options following an accident that was not your fault.  How are costs associated with an auto accident paid? When you’re hit by another driver, this driver’s auto insurance policy should pay for damage to your vehicle and medical bills up to the policy limits. The minimum amount of bodily injury insurance you’re required to carry in Ohio includes a maximum of $25,000 in medical payments per person or $50,000 per accident — this means that if someone has only state minimum coverage and causes you to incur more than $25,000 in medical bills, you may be on the hook for costs over this amount. If the person who caused your accident doesn’t have auto insurance, your uninsured motorist coverage should kick in but will again be subject to your maximum claim amounts and may not be enough to cover all your medical costs if your injuries were severe or require ongoing treatment. Regardless of whether the other driver had good coverage, minimal coverage, or no coverage at all, the insurance company paying for these damages may try to negotiate this amount down to the lowest possible amount. If you’ve incurred costs not covered by an insurance payout or settlement, you may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. This can allow you to finally be fully compensated for the harm to your vehicle, your body, and your lifestyle. What does the change in Ohio’s subrogation laws mean for insurance claims? A recent change in the way insurance policies pay out damages to those whose full injuries aren’t covered by the defendant’s insurance policy could result in more money in your pocket. Under the old law, insurance companies were permitted to take out a percentage of the recovery amount for injured plaintiffs, even if the plaintiff’s bills weren’t covered by the original amount provided by the defendant’s insurance company. This change will put a cap on the amount of fees and costs that can be charged by an insurance company during the processing of a claim that won’t cover all the plaintiff’s bills, and could boost the amount of your insurance recovery by a substantial margin. When should you file a personal injury lawsuit? If you’re still facing medical bills after the insurance payout, you may opt to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the rest of the costs owed you. Unlike an insurance settlement, a personal injury lawsuit can allow you to recover punitive damages — funds intended not to compensate you for your injuries, but to punish the defendant for aggressive, reckless, or negligent behavior behind the wheel. If you...

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Injured By An Aggressive Driver? What Are Your Options?

Posted by on July 15, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Injured By An Aggressive Driver? What Are Your Options?

Aggressive driving is not only aggravating for those being tailgated, cut off, or otherwise harassed, but can also be dangerous and cause accidents. In fact, 15 states have enacted laws or regulations prohibiting aggressive driving and prescribing civil and other statutory penalties for those whose actions lead to a traffic stop or accident. If you’re injured by an aggressive driver, you may be wondering about your next steps to help punish the offender and make yourself whole. Read on to learn more about the treatment of aggressive driving under civil and personal injury laws, as well as what you should do to help yourself recover. Will an aggressive driver who hits you be arrested? In the states that have enacted laws penalizing aggressive driving, a driver whose aggressiveness has caused an accident will likely be cited at the scene and subjected to court fines and penalties at a later date. Failure to pay these fines could result in a driver’s license suspension or even an arrest warrant on contempt charges. However, if this aggressive driving rises to the level of recklessness, or if the driver tests positive for alcohol or illicit drugs at the scene of the accident, he or she will be arrested and may be subject to misdemeanor or felony charges. You may be asked to testify against the defendant if he or she is arrested for reckless driving — you’ll be asked questions about the accident and what you remember. If the other driver pleads guilty to reckless driving, or pays the citation or other aggressive driving penalty, you should be able to use this admission of guilt as evidence in a personal injury lawsuit you bring against the driver. If this driver contests either charge or fails to appear or pay his or her fine, you may be able to use this as negative character evidence. How will you be compensated for the medical bills and other expenses resulting from your accident? Regardless of how the civil or criminal case against this driver is adjudicated, you should be able to recover medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs from the aggressive driver through a personal injury lawsuit. You’ll want to consult a personal injury lawyer or law firm before filing, as these cases can be complex and shouldn’t be handled without professional counsel. Although you’ll be able to gather some evidence on your own, and can assist your attorney by providing information, the bulk of investigation and negotiation will be handled by your attorney. There is a certain period of time during which you’re able to file this lawsuit — called the statute of limitations. This time clock begins ticking as soon as the accident takes place, and may expire a few years (often two to three years) later. If you fail to file a lawsuit against the aggressive driver before the statute of limitations for your state expires, you’ll be forever prevented from taking any legal action against this driver, even if your injuries are severe. This is one reason it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after your accident. As the case progresses and your attorney gathers evidence, the defendant may offer to settle this case outside of court to avoid a lengthy, expensive battle. In some cases (especially...

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Suicide And Injuries From Suicide Attempts May Be Covered By Workers’ Comp

Posted by on July 10, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Suicide And Injuries From Suicide Attempts May Be Covered By Workers’ Comp

In general, workers’ compensation only pays for injuries sustained from accidents that occur in the workplace. This type of insurance typically will not pay benefits to employees or their family members if the employees commit suicide—or hurt themselves during the attempt—while on the job. However, there is an exception to this rule. Here’s what you need to know about this exception and what’s required to collect benefits in this situation. Workers’ Comp and Suicide Injuries Workers’ compensation will pay benefits for death or injury related to suicide if there is a clear causal connection between an employee’s workplace injury and the attempt to self-harm. If it can be proven the injury a person sustained on the job lead to a situation where the individual gave into the impulse to take his or her own life, then the workers’ comp insurance provider will treat the incident as part of the overarching case. For instance, in Painter v. Mead Corp. (a case that was litigated in North Carolina in 1963), a worker’s family was awarded death benefits when he hanged himself after sustaining a head injury on the job. The employee suffered impaired cognitive ability and personality changes after the accident, which the court found produced an uncontrollable impulse in the man to take his own life. However, the injury doesn’t have to produce an “irresistible urge” to self-terminate in the person in order for the resulting injuries or death to qualify for benefits. In Kealoha v. Director (a 2013 case litigated in the Ninth Circuit Court), the court found there was a clear connection between the plaintiff’s injury and his suicide attempt. According to the psychiatrist who testified in the case, the man developed several mental health problems including major depressive disorder after sustaining an injury on the job. The chronic pain and cumulative effect of these mental health issues led the man to make a failed suicide attempt. Even though the injury itself didn’t directly drive the man to self-harm–as seemed to be the case in the Painter v. Mead Corp case–it still significantly contributed to the end result. Litigating Your Case for Workers’ Comp Benefits In theory, the idea of showing a causal connection between a workplace injury and a suicide attempt is simple. In practice, however, it can be very challenging to present sufficient evidence to prove the case. This is particularly true in cases where people have passed away and, therefore, are unable to testify as to their state of mind when they took their own lives. This is partly because a person’s suicide attempt can often be easily attributed to other causes, especially if there are other things going on in the person’s life at the same time. A person dealing with the outcome of a workplace injury may also be struggling with stress from being in debt, a death in the family, or even mental health problems that existed before the injury occurred that may lead the individual to attempt to end their life. However, there are several things you can do to prove the case. The first is to get diagnosed by a mental health professional. It’s important to have your mental health problems on record to defend against accusations of making false claims or pretending to be mentally ill. In addition to...

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Getting The Most From Personal Injury Claims: What To Do If There Was A Pre-Existing Injury

Posted by on July 8, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Getting The Most From Personal Injury Claims: What To Do If There Was A Pre-Existing Injury

Personal injury accidents are quite common. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, over 31 million Americans suffer an injury each year that requires medical attention. Many people involved in a personal injury case will be dealing with injuries that worsened a pre-existing condition or situation. If this happens to pertain to you, it is important to fully understand your responsibilities and rights in these situations. Speaking with a personal injury attorney can prove to be beneficial as a result. Limit Your Liability by Providing Full Disclosure of Prior Injuries The last thing you want is for a judge to find that you are hiding medical information and not disclosing the truth. Be as honest as you possibly can by providing full disclosure of all of the prior injuries you’ve sustained that have worsened as a result of the accident. Failure to disclose all injuries to the court can result in impugning your credibility and also the worth of the overall claim. For example, if you broke your leg several months ago biking and got into a car accident recently that broke the same leg again, you should definitely let your attorney and the judge know. The car accident injury would have worsened your pre-existing leg injury, causing a lot more damage. The accident may end up causing temporary disability or injuries resulting in a longer recovery. Understanding the Eggshell Plaintiff Doctrine While some defendants may argue it is unfair for them to pay for additional medical expenses, as there was a pre-existing injury, most judges honor the eggshell plaintiff doctrine. The eggshell plaintiff doctrine is an additional legal doctrine that generally applies to tort cases. It is used to determine the amount of responsibility that the defendants have in regards to the injuries sustained from the accident and is generally in favor of the plaintiff. This doctrine basically argues that the defendant breached his or her duty, which resulted in the accident. As a result, he or she should be responsible for all of the expenses incurred. If the accident did not occur, the plaintiff would not be in a worsened state. Collect Evidence by Comparing Medical Records from Before and After the Accident Getting proof that an accident worsened a pre-existing injury shouldn’t be difficult. Your doctor should easily be able to tell how the accident worsened your injury, and should be able to either provide you with a doctor’s note or testify on your behalf as an expert witness. An expert witness can easily testify how the injury worsened and what can be expected as a result. One of the strongest and most convincing pieces of evidence you can use is your medical records prior to and after the accident. For example, if you had x-rays or blood work done, compare the x-rays together to further prove the extent and severity of the damages caused.  Clinical records stating the amount of pain you were in previously, diagnostic tests and other types of medical records should all be submitted as evidence. They will only help to support your case and prove your credibility. Conclusion If you have a pre-existing injury prior to the accident and it worsened, you want to be as honest as possible by fully disclosing all of your medical information, as it pertains...

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