Online Consultation: Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney From the Comfort & Safety of Your Own Home

online consultation

Collisions, slip & falls and other accidents haven’t stopped, so neither will we. It is more important than ever for Americans to understand that the law and justice is still on their side if they are injured due to someone else’s negligence, even during the Coronavirus lockdown. We can discuss your potential case and meet clients virtually via online consultation, sign documents securely via the internet, and continue providing Ohioans with access to justice from the comforts of their own home.

If you were injured in a crash, you will still need prompt and extensive medical care. You may also wish to pursue legal damages to cover the cost of treatment. The COVID-19 quarantine is also a very dangerous time for people in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living, as we have explained in a previous blog post. When care facilities are short-staffed, care of residents invariably suffers. We are here to help prevent that from happening.

Time is of the essence when collecting evidence to support your case, so you must not wait until restrictions have been lifted to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.

We simply do not know how much longer stay-at-home orders will last. Don’t let your chance to receive fair and just compensation for your injuries slip by because of this uncertainty. The personal injury attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman are proud to offer free online consultations. Call our office at (937) 222-2030 to schedule your free online consultation today.

What is a Contingency Fee?

What is a contingency fee?

A client pays a contingency fee to a lawyer only if the attorney wins their case. Instead of paying your lawyer an upfront retainer, he or she takes a percentage of dollars recovered over the course of your case. His or her earnings are “contingent” upon the amount of compensation you receive.

In other words: If you don’t win, you don’t pay.

In a contingent fee arrangement, the lawyer agrees to accept a fixed percentage of the recovery, which is the amount finally paid to the client. If you win the case, the lawyer’s fee comes out of the money awarded to you. If you lose, neither you nor the lawyer will get any money, but you will not be required to pay your attorney for the work done on the case.

On the other hand, win or lose, you probably will have to pay court filing fees, the costs related to deposing witnesses, copy fees for medical records and similar charges. Your attorney may be able to cover these costs for you, if you are unable to pay for them yourself.

Before entering into a contingent fee agreement, your attorney should provide you with a disclosure statement and fee agreement which detail the specifics of the contingent fee, the manner in which other litigation costs will be handled and alternative fee arrangements which are available.

When a loved one dies, is forced to take time off work to heal or is made destitute by mounting medical bills, finding thousands of dollars to retain an attorney is often impossible. A contingency fee agreement may be the only practical means by which an individual or a family can afford to obtain the services of a competent lawyer. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to recover just and fair compensation for your injury or the wrongful death of your loved one, simply because you think you can not afford a good attorney.

At Cowan & Hilgeman Law, you are a name, not a number. We work with many kinds of clients from all economic backgrounds, on both retainer and contingency fees. We routinely accept – and WIN – cases that other law firms reject and have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. Call (937) 222-2030 today to schedule your FREE consultation with our personal injury attorneys.

How Much Time do I Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Ohio?

motorcycle accident claim

From the moment you are injured in a motorcycle accident, the clock starts running on how long you have to file a claim. In Ohio, the Statute of Limitations for a motorcycle accident claim is generally 2 years. If you fail to file suit within that time frame, the defendant (the person you’re trying to sue) will almost certainly file a “motion to dismiss”, and the Court will reject your case on statutory grounds.

Even if you are horribly injured by a person who was clearly in the wrong; after two years, they can no longer be held responsible through a motorcycle accident claim.

With a few exceptions:

  • In cases where the victim was under 18 years old or ‘of unsound mind’, the time limit in which they can file a motorcycle accident claim is lifted. The two year time limit starts again, however, once the injured party reaches 18 years old, or is deemed to be sane and responsible.
  • If the defendant “departs from the state” or absconds, or conceals” him or herself within the state of Ohio, the time limit in which to file a motorcycle accident claim does not start again until the person can be located. In other words, if the defendant skips town for a couple of years to avoid taking responsibility for their actions, you have 2 years from the date of their return in which to file a lawsuit.
  • If your Ohio motorcycle accident claim stems from injuries caused by a defective product, a special filing timeline may apply to your case, especially if consumer fraud or a product warranty is involved.

Motorcycle accidents are usually very serious. Due to the lack of protection around a motorcycle rider, accidents can be life-changing. If the victim was lucky enough to survive someone else’s mistake on the road, the injuries, pain, loss of livelihood, potential surgeries and rehabilitation can have ripple-effects throughout their entire life.

After a motorcycle accident, it is extremely important to get an experienced, aggressive attorney fighting in your corner. Auto Insurance companies will try to persuade you to settle for a much lower amount than your case is worth – 100% of the time. Their responsibility is to share holders, not to make sure that you receive the medical care and support you need.

At Cowan & Hilgeman, we have successfully handled countless motorcycle accident claims, including cases that other law firms have rejected. To schedule your FREE consultation with our Dayton Personal Injury Attorney, call (937) 222-2030.

What is the Maximum Amount of Compensation in Ohio if Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident?

Maximum amount of compensation available in Ohio

The maximum amount of compensation available after a motor vehicle accident varies considerably in Ohio, depending on the nature of the claim.

First, the court will calculate the Economic Damages caused by the accident. That will usually include medical bills, damage to property and vehicles, lost wages and rehabilitation costs. There is no set limit to the maximum amount of compensation awarded to the injured parties for Economic Damages.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are capped by Ohio law. Non-economic damages are defined as “pain and suffering, loss of society, consortium, companionship, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, or education, disfigurement, mental anguish, and any other intangible loss.

Unlike medical bills or vehicle repair bills which have a fixed number that must be repaid, non-economic damages can be hard to monetarily value. So, Ohio statutes cap non-economic damages to $250,000 or three times your economic damages, which is subject to a maximum of $350,000 per person and $500,000 per accident.

This cap is removed, however, in Ohio Revised Code §2315.18(B)(3), for catastrophic cases where the injured party suffers from permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, loss of a bodily organ system or permanent physical functional injury that permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for themselves and perform life-sustaining activities. There is no limit to how much can be awarded in such cases.

No matter what kind of car accident you were in, or how badly you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is vital that you get an experienced and aggressive car accident attorneys, Cowan & Hilgeman on your side. We will work tirelessly to get you the maximum amount of compensation available for your specific economic and non-economic injuries. Call (937) 222-2030 today to schedule your FREE consultation.

What happens in Ohio if the other driver did not have auto insurance?

What happens in Ohio if the other driver did not have auto insurance?

We all dread getting into an accident, but with so many uninsured drivers on the road, a bad situation can get so much worse if you get into an accident and the other driver did not have auto insurance. In 2015, it was estimated that 12.4% of all Ohio drivers were uninsured. Thanks to recent improvements in law enforcement detection and strict penalties, that number has fallen from an average of 16% in the early ’90’s.

Ohio does not require uninsured motorist coverage as part of the State minimum insurance coverage, so many people are left footing the bill for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages after getting into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

If you have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If you do have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage, your insurance company will pay your claims and then recover those costs from the at-fault driver. It is important to have experienced and aggressive representation during this negotiation, as with any settlement with an insurance company, to ensure that you are properly compensated for your injuries, property damage, lost wages, etc.

If you DO NOT have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If you do not have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage, however, things get more difficult to handle. The at-fault driver is still liable for any and all injuries caused by their negligence, regardless of their insurance status. The personal injury attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman have successfully recovered compensation from uninsured and underinsured motorists countless times, and we will guide you through the process of filing a personal injury suit.

We will work tirelessly to get you reasonable compensation to cover:
Medical bills
Your pain and suffering
Lost wages
Disfigurement
Consortium
Property Damage

If you retain Cowan & Hilgeman as your legal representation, the uninsured driver will have to pay for an attorney to defend them in the lawsuit Cowan & Hilgeman will file on your behalf. If the at-fault driver does not defend themselves against our lawsuit, the court will grant a default judgement in our favor. The uninsured driver will probably lose their license, which they can work to re-earn after entering a payment plan or pay off the balance of their debt.

If the uninsured driver chooses not to work towards repaying the costs of repairing the other driver’s car, medical bills, etc., the judgement holder can ask the court to garnish the defendant’s wages or bank account until the judgement is paid. If the judgement is too large to reasonably be repaid via wage garnishment, the court can force the sale of the at-fault party’s personal assets.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having been in a car accident and the other driver did not have auto insurance, do not hesitate to call the experienced and aggressive car accident attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman Law. Call (937) 222-2030 to schedule your free consultation.

Who is Liable for a Dog Bite in Ohio

Who is liable for a dog bite in Ohio?

Who is Liable for a Dog Bite?

Ohio law holds dog owners strictly liable for a dog bite, providing the injury occurred under certain conditions:

  • The injured person was not committing (or trying to commit) a crime
  • The injured person was not trespassing
  • The injured person did not tease, torment, or abuse the dog in order to provoke it.

To make a successful claim against the owner, handler and/or keeper of a dog, one does not have to prove that the dog has a prior history of aggression. In other words, the dog could be the sweetest thing on earth with a kind, responsible owner, and this could be its first and only act of aggression – It does not matter. The owner may still be held liable for its bite.

Negligence

Further damages may be awarded if the owner knew about the dog’s propensity to bite or act aggressively, yet the dog was allowed opportunity to attack anyway. Fault can be proven in the following ways:

Breed and Size of Animal: Generally, the larger the animal, the greater the chance that the animal can cause injury. The species and breed of an animal may also be relevant if you can prove that, as a general rule, that breed is more likely to cause serious damage due to physiology (such as a pit bull or Rottweiler, both of which are bred for higher bite force).

Purpose for Which the Animal is Kept: If an animal is kept for protection and is trained to attack unknown people, it can be inferred that its owner knew or should have known it might attack someone.

Frequent Snapping and Biting: A history of aggressive behavior can be used to demonstrate that the owner had knowledge of the animal’s vicious tendencies.

Complaints Brought to Owner’s Attention: If people previously complained to the owner and the owner did nothing or didn’t do enough to prevent future attacks (such as higher fencing and training), this can be used as evidence that the owner knew the animal could be dangerous.

Fighting with Other Animals: Even if an animal had not attacked a human before, if it had fought with other animals, this may be useful in proving its vicious nature.

Frequent Confinement of the Animal: If the owner keeps the animal locked in a cage, on a tight leash or chain, this may indicate the owner’s awareness that the animal might be dangerous.

Occasional Muzzling of the Animal: If an owner muzzles an animal on walks or at times when people are near the animal, this can be proof that the owner is aware of the animal’s dangerous nature.

Warning Sign on Owner’s Premises: If an animal owner puts up warning signs (such as “Beware of Dog”), an injured person can use this fact to establish the owner’s knowledge of the animal’s viciousness.

Statements by Owner as to Animal’s Character: Any statements made by the animal’s owner concerning past bites, fights, or aggressive behavior are relevant to the owner’s knowledge regarding the likelihood of future attacks.

Owner’s Warnings to Strangers About Animal: Verbal warnings to others potentially show that an owner is worried that the animal might cause harm to others.

The owner may be found liable for battery if they ordered the dog to attack someone without just cause, such as for self-protection or to foil a crime in progress. Criminal charges may also arise from an unprovoked, ordered attack that results in grievous bodily injury or death.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit Following a Dog Bite?

In Ohio, you have two years from the date of the bite to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner, handler and/or keeper.

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Ohio, do not hesitate to call the experienced dog bite attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman Law. Call (937) 222-2030 to schedule your FREE consultation.