Who pays for my expert witnesses in an Ohio personal injury case?

expert witness

Dealing with a personal injury case can be exhausting. There are so many different items to check off on your to do list to prove your case. A million thoughts run through your head like:

Did I take enough pictures at the scene?
Or am I able to show that I wasn’t at fault?
When will I be able to go back to work?
And for some the most important question: How in the world am I going to pay for all this?

While we may not be able to stop your internal chatter (we can’t help but give it a shot) we can answer that big question. While the financial aspect may loom and seem all encompassing, the pivotal part of a personal injury case is to focus on healing.

Easier said than done you say? Fair enough. For those of you who still have questions, here’s the scoop:

The first term you need to know is contingency fee.

When hiring an attorney, most people assume that they will be stuck with high hourly fees to pay. Luckily, personal injury attorneys do not operate in this manner. Basically, this is a fee structure that works highly in your favor. It means that the attorney only gets paid if the result is an outcome that is favorable to you.

While that fee varies by attorney (typically 33%) what this means, across the board, is that your attorney will pay the fees up front (like investigation fees, setting up depositions, court costs, etc) and will be reimbursed if you win your case. Simply put, if you don’t win, you don’t pay.

Many successful personal injury cases rely on an expert witness to support your case. An expert witness is, as their title would suggest, experts in their field, often holding advanced degrees in their respective fields. At Cowan & Hilgeman Law, we know that the opinions of a reliable, highly-qualified expert witness can make or break a trial.

If we take your case on, you can rest assured that we will employ and pay for the best expert witness to support your case, with no out-of-pocket cost for you.

The best way to get all of your niggling questions answered is to set up a meeting with a personal injury attorney. We will be happy to let you give voice to your questions and settle your fears. Give us a call today and take the first step into regaining your peace of mind. Call (937) 222-2030 to schedule your FREE, no-obligation consultation with a personal injury attorney.

What to do if you get into an accident with a UPS truck

accident with a ups truck

Facing a car accident can cause extreme strife and hardship in one’s life. Even a small fender bender with a tiny hybrid can be traumatic, and cause extensive damages to your well-being and the care of your car. When the smallest vehicles can cause such issues, you might shudder at the thought of the potential issues with something larger – like a commercial UPS truck…

Sadly, these accidents are all too often the cause of long term damages, and can even be lethal. If you or a loved one live in Ohio and are involved in an accident with a UPS truck, there are things you need to know.

First, you could be the beneficiary of compensation if you are not at fault.

However, it must be mentioned that the last thing a company like UPS wants is to make a large payout. They will try to avoid this with a legal team, drawn-out court dates, and denying liability for the accident. Our firm despises this lack of culpability, and have dedicated ourselves to prevent this from occurring with our clients. If you find yourself in this situation, please know that there is help available to you.  There are specific steps you can take to help make your case. The following tips will help you if you have a car accident involving a UPS driver. 

First and foremost, stop for a moment and give yourself a once over.

Are you feeling disoriented, dizzy, or sick?  If you need medical attention,  call 911 immediately. Before you can do anything else, it is paramount that you take care of yourself. Don’t push aside even the smallest discomfort, as it is common to have injured your neck, back, or spine without noticing it at first. This may seem odd, but when your body is put into flight-or-fight response, it may be difficult to ascertain the true nature of your injuries. If you do not get medical attention at the immediate time of the accident, it is still important that you visit a doctor in the next 24 hours. Request hard copies of the doctor’s report for your claim, and tell your physician that you were involved in an auto accident with a UPS truck. 

Next, call the police.

Do not let the driver leave until they arrive. Have them come to the scene to file a traffic accident report. State the facts from your point of view, and do your best to remain calm and collected while doing so. You can ask the arriving officer to tell you who they cite to be at fault on the record. Also make a note of when you can expect it to be filed. Usually, this will happen in a few business days.

Like any other traffic incident, you should be sure to collect information from the UPS driver. Record their name/driver ID, the make and model of the vehicle, their insurance information (including any coverage provided by UPS) the license number, and also, whether they were actively working a shift or not.  Before vehicles are moved or you leave the scene, try to make a clear physical record of the incident. Some important details to document are:

  • Date/Time it occured
  • Your location
  •  Was it raining, foggy, sunny? Weather conditions could be a factor to negligence.
  •  Pictures of all vehicle damage
  • Other details that may explain why the accident happened (sthe driver ran a  red light, failed to use a turn signal, didn’t break, ect) 

Put all of the information together to make a clear record of what happened. The more thorough you are, the better off you will be. Keep an eye out for any potential witnesses. If someone saw the accident, you may ask them if they would be willing to make a statement. Get their phone number and email.

Once you feel like you’ve collected all the evidence you can, the next step is to contact your insurance company

Call the UPS representative as well. (contact UPS at 1-800-742-5877) Don’t be surprised if UPS tries to claim that they aren’t liable for their driver – they often hire independent contractors, and try to use this as a loophole in these cases.  Or if an employee was technically off duty (like a lunch break) or running a personal errand, the company can claim they were not at fault because it was outside the daily duties of the driver.

However, this does not mean that your claim is invalid – you just may need to take extra steps. No matter the circumstances of your accident with a UPS truck, or how UPS reacts, it can be tough to file a claim on your own. Don’t be afraid to reach out for extra resources.

Personal injury attorneys have dedicated their careers to protecting people like you. Having a trustworthy firm represent you after a truck accident could be one of the best decisions you make during these trying times, and gives you the best odds to receive the compensation you need. Why give yourself more strife? Call us for a free consultation today – (937) 222-2030

Can a parent make a claim for personal injuries to a child in Ohio?

parent make a claim

As a parent, our children are our top priority. We go out of our way to safeguard their health, well being, and to secure their happiness. Yet despite our best efforts, kids have a way of getting themselves into trouble. They learn the hard way. They have accidents. It’s entirely normal and to be expected – but sometimes it is others’ negligence that causes our kids to get hurt and isn’t their fault.

In these instances, it is easy to be bewildered that harm has come to your child, and to want to protect them in every way possible. In some cases, a child  may have a right to make a personal injuries claim; however, in the great state of Ohio, it falls upon us as parents to take care of this for them. But is this legal?

Like most legal aspects of your minor child’s life, you are their legal guardian.  According to The Ohio Rules for civil procedure rule 17(b) states that a “parent or legal guardian can file suit on a minor’s behalf.” When this occurs the parent is said to be suing as “next friend” of the minor.This means that minor is not required to personally seek recovery in court, and that the minor’s parents are allowed to stand in for him or her.

So yes, a parent can file a personal injury claim for their child in Ohio.

However, the law handles cases with minors differently than they would for an adult. The following highlights the major differences when dealing with a minor’s personal injury case, and how you as a parent can resolve the case for them.

The first thing you should be aware of for your child’s case is the difference in the statute of limitations for a minor. In cases with adults, the legal time frame for filing a claim is typically within 1-2 years of the injury, depending on the type of case. When a minor is involved, the time frame does not start until  the child comes of age, at 18. This means that if your child is injured at say, age 14, you will not start the clock on the statute of limitations until their 18th birthday. So you have two years after the birthday, rather than two years after the date of the incident. 

Beyond the change in the statute of limitations, as a parent you should be aware that you are entitled to consortium.

What is consortium? Consortium is ¨an association of two or more individuals, companies, organizations or governments with the objective of participating in a common activity or pooling their resources for achieving a common goal.¨ It can also be interpreted as the time you spend with a loved one under the activity category.  So in this case, it means that you as a parent are entitled to compensation for a life-altering injury to your child. If you as a parent are forced into a new lifestyle because of the need to care for your child’s injuries, this can fall under loss of consortium, and you may be entitled to compensation as well. Like the statute of limitations, the time frame for loss of consortium begins after the minor turns 18.  While there is precedent for receiving compensation for parents with loss of consortium involving a minor, it must be thoroughly proven in the claim. The best way to make sure this is fully covered in court is to enlist the aid of an experienced personal injury attorney. 

Finally, one of the biggest differences in filing a claim for a minor in Ohio is how settlements are handled. As an adult, you have the legal authority to come to a settlement after being injured, without having to continue your suit in court. Yet as a child, this is not the case. 

Under Ohio law it is known that a child can not be considered to have legal capacity to make contracts, including settlements. Even if a parent or legal guardian is filing a claim on behalf of a minor, a settlement will still have to go to court. This is how the Ohio court system ensures that any settlement is in the best interest of the minor, by providing a forum for unbiased judgement. 

If your child has been injured and you feel you may need to file a personal injury claim on their behalf, call us today at (937) 222-2030. Our compassionate and dedicated staff will help you to handle the legal aspects of your claim so you can go back to doing what you do best – focusing on caring for you child.

Is an Ohio personal injury lawsuit expensive?

Ohio Personal Injury lawsuit cost

One of the first questions many people have is: Is an Ohio personal injury lawsuit expensive? How much will this cost me? Can I afford it?

Dealing with a personal injury lawsuit is a tumultuous and potentially difficult time in one’s life. Not only are you dealing with all of the difficulties entailed in being injured and recovering, but you have the additional stress of potentially missing work, finding a lawyer to work with, and filing a suit.  One of the main worries those injured face is the cost of the lawsuit.

Many people do not understand that depending on your individual circumstances, the lawsuit can become costly very quickly. There are many factors that determine the price you will face when you file, but here are some rough guidelines to help you get a ballpark of the typical cost of an Ohio personal injury lawsuit.

To begin with, feel free to shop around for your attorney. Most will offer free consultations or case evaluations and can give you a better idea of a quote when you are actually in front of them giving the details of your claim.  Next, ask them about contingency fees. 

In layman’s terms, a contingency fee is the fee an attorney collects if, and only if, the client has money recovered for them (usually by a settlement or even a jury verdict) by the firm representing them.  This practice can help to let you focus on recovering rather than worrying over the cost of your suit. 

In the circumstance that the lawyer doesn’t recover any compensation, then the claimant may not pay for anything, except court filing fees or similar costs. Contingency fees are usually based on a percentage that equals about a third of the money recovered in the suit – which is only taken out after the money is awarded.  If your lawyer chooses to use contingency fees, you will sit down with them and write out the rate and terms in a contract.

Under Ohio law, these contracts must follow the guidelines set by the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct. The Court Statistics Project states that the average cost of an auto accident lawsuit averages $40,000 and that a simple slip and fall lawsuit can be up to $50,000.  In many cases, big insurance companies or individuals will attempt to drag out litigation in hopes that the victims will give up, or accept a smaller settlement that they may be entitled to. 

Beyond the costs of litigation, one must also be aware of the time frames involved in the type of suit you are filing for. In other words: how long do you have to file your suit. In Ohio, these are your guidelines for typical claims:

  • Personal Injury: Two years from the date of injury
  • Medical Malpractice: One year, the “clock” starts to run at the time the injury is discovered, or when the doctor/patient relationship for the treated condition ends.
  • Product Liability: Within  two years after “cause of action” accrues.
  • Wrongful Death: Two years from the time of the victim’s death or from the date it was discovered that negligence was involved in the death.

Since these time frames are relatively short,  if you plan on filing a personal injury suit it is  paramount that you begin your research as soon as possible. In most cases, victims will have better chances of filing a suit and settling it in a timely manner with a personal injury attorney on their side. 

At our firm we believe that everyone has a right to proper representation  with the clients best interest at heart.  We care about our neighbors in Ohio, and do everything in our power to make sure they are compensated fairly.  We strive to ensure our clients can focus on what matters most – getting back to feeling well- as opposed to staying up at night, worrying over their case. We hope that this information has helped answer any questions you might have about if an Ohio personal injury lawsuit is expensive. If you have any questions about your potential claim, call us today at (937) 222-2030 to schedule your free consultation.

What Makes a Good Ohio Personal Injury Lawyer?

ohio personal injury lawyer

When you are injured in a car accident or at a place of business, it is important that you take action right away against the negligent party. This means finding a lawyer who will keep your best interests in mind, who will also get you the settlement you deserve. In order to ensure that you get everything you need out of your attorney, we have put together a list of things to look for in a great Ohio personal injury lawyer:

Find someone with plenty of experience

You need a lawyer who can prove that they have successfully handled and won cases like yours before. One of the best ways to ensure that your lawyer is someone who can be trusted is to find them through ‘word of mouth’. If you know someone who has gone through a similar situation as you are going through now, ask them who represented them and landed them the settlement that they deserved.

Find an Ohio personal injury lawyer who is passionate about helping people

If you hire a lawyer, you want to make sure it is someone who is passionate about getting you the outcome you desire. You want someone who understands what you have been through and who also have the drive to get you the results you deserve. If an attorney makes you feel as though you are just one of dozens of clients they are representing, move along.

Find someone who will stay in touch

Having a lawyer who is reliable is a must. If your representation hardly ever answers their phone or returns your calls, how will they ever render the settlement you know you are entitled to? Make sure your attorney is frequently available and eager to answer questions.

Ensure that each lawyer you consider is a specialist in personal injury.

Every Ohio personal injury lawyer was trained, at some point during their education, on the theory of personal injury law. This is very different from the practice of it, and extremely different from being able to win great results for their clients. At Cowan & Hilgeman Law, we exclusively practice personal injury law.

Find someone who is honest and respected in their field

Make sure you check reviews! We take enormous pride in the fact that we are one of Dayton’s top rated personal injury lawyers, across all review platforms. We’ve earned these ratings for a reason: because we care about our clients, and we get the results to prove it.

It can be incredibly difficult to find a great Ohio personal injury lawyer when there are simply so many to choose from. The good news is, you can speak with one of our personal injury attorneys for free, with no obligation, to see if we would be a good fit for your case. Call (937) 222-2030 today to schedule your consultation with one of Dayton’s top rated personal injury attorneys.

Why Cowan & Hilgeman Consistently Ranks Among the Top Law Firms in Dayton Ohio

At the offices of Cowan and Hilgeman we believe that our clients are more than just a case.

When you come to our firm we will treat you with the dignity and respect that every human being deserves.
We will help you to make sense of this difficult time in your life, treating each case individually with an approach catered to your needs. 
More than that, we will dedicate ourselves tirelessly on your behalf, providing the stalwart service our clients have come to expect since 1994. 

At this firm, we have high standards, which is why we are consistently rated as one of the top law firms in Dayton.

We are an A+ Better Business Bureau rated firm, have 5 star google and Avvo reviews, and have a list of accolades that we are extremely proud to have earned.

Yet the most satisfying achievement for us is the trust our clients have in us and the satisfaction they have with our representation. We are touched that so many individuals have entrusted their cases with us, and we just wanted to thank all who have sought out our help, and taken the time to share their experiences. We could list our strengths all day, but don’t take our word for it. Listen to what your neighbors have had to say about us:

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If you have experienced an injury at no fault of your own, and are unsure what steps you need to take next, give us a call at 937-222-2030 for a free case evaluation today. We’re one of the top rated law firms in Dayton for so many reasons.