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 when hit by a FedEx truck

hit by a fedex truck

Automotive accidents cause an array of difficulties in one’s life. If the incident is severe enough, at the very least it can easily frighten you, or dreadfully, cause an injury to you or damage to your vehicle.  As if that isn’t grim enough, imagine being hit by a FedEx truck. Due to the sheer size of the average FedEx truck, the odds are your car will not make it through that particular experience unscathed.

If you live in Ohio and are hit by a FedEx truck – or someone working for FedEx – you may be entitled to compensation. 

Even if you are clearly without fault in the incident, you should be aware that large companies such as this have a ready and waiting legal team whose only job is to keep lawsuits from going to court while still ensuring you don’t receive a fair payout.

We believe this practice to be inherently wrong, and do our best to prevent this from happening to our clients. If you do happen to suffer from this experience, please don’t despair. There are actions you can take to help make your case.

The following tips will help you if you are hit by a FedEx truck. 

Before anything else is attempted, take the time to do a wellness check.

If you need medical attention, do not hesitate to call 911. Your health and safety should be your top priority. . You don’t want to risk leaving things unattended, as you may have jarred your neck or back and may not feel it during the adrenaline rush and shock of the accident. If you don’t feel comfortable calling for medical care at the scene, you should still follow up with a doctor in the next 24 hours. Make a point to keep copies of the doctor’s report for future reference, and be clear to your physician that you were involved in an accident. 

Once this has been attended to, notify your local authorities. 

Have them come to the scene to file a traffic  accident  report. Be clear and concise while telling your side of the story, and try to remove your feelings from your statement. Facts are more useful than feelings in these circumstances as it allows the officer to remain  as objective as possible. You can request that the officer tell you who they cite at fault in the official  report.

Beyond that, you follow up with them about the time frame in which they file their reports. Usually, this will occur in the next few business days.

The next step is the same as you would follow in a any accident – collect  information from the Fedex driver. 

You should take down their name and driver number, the make and model of the vehicle, their insurance information (including if they have an extra policy provided by FedEx) the plate number, and even if they were working a shift at the time.  Then, while everything is still fresh, you should document the accident as much  detail as possible. The following items make a good checklist for the scene:

  • Date and time of the accident,
  • The street or intersection it occurred
  •  Weather conditions at the time
  •  Photos of any damage to either vehicle
  • Any other details  that might be helpful  for making a report (such as the driver running a red light, didn’t break, etc) 

 Make copies of all of this information. Another useful point to look out for is potential witnesses. If there were any witnesses to the incident, politely request if they would be willing to make a statement and ask for their contact information.

Once you have completed these tasks,  you need to report the accident to your insurance company, and also to FedEx. You should note that it can be difficult to file a claim against the company itself – more and more delivery companies are hiring employees as independent contractors, providing a legal loophole in liability cases.  However, there has been a push from the media and among legal circles in this regard after the major accident in Pennsylvania earlier this year that resulted in the death of five people.  No matter the circumstances of your accident, these existing policies may make it  difficult to pursue a claim on your own.

If you need guidance on how to receive the best possible outcome from the accident, you should contact a determined personal injury firm about the process. Having a firm represent you against FedEx can streamline the process of filing for a claim, and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t make this more difficult on yourself than it already is.  Help is only a simple phone call away. Contact us today at (937) 222-2030 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.

What to do if You Get Into an Accident With an Amazon Truck

accident with an amazon truck

Car accidents can be extremely disruptive. Depending on the severity of the accident, they can easily frighten you, or worse, cause  damage to you or your vehicle.  What’s even worse is when you are hit by a large commercial vehicle. More likely than not, your car won’t win in that head-to-head.

If you live in Ohio and you get into an accident with an Amazon truck, you may be entitled to compensation.

Yet this corporate giant has a ready and waiting team hoping to keep those costs down as much as possible – and doing their best to ensure you don’t receive a payout. If you do get into an accident with an Amazon truck, you should follow the steps here to help ensure you receive the best possible outcome from the accident:

First of all, make sure you are okay.

If you need medical attention, do not hesitate to call 911. Your health and safety is of the utmost importance. Don’t put this up to chance, as you may have jarred your neck or back and may not feel it during the initial shock of the accident. Even if you don’t seek medical attention at the scene, you should follow up with a doctor in the next 24 hours, and keep copies of the doctors report for future reference. 

Second, notify law enforcement, and have them come to the scene to file a report.

Be thorough in your recounting of the incident, but don’t let your feelings overwhelm you. Try to stick to the facts as much as possible, so the officer can remain as objective as possible. You can ask the officer who they cite at fault in their report – follow up with them at the scene to find out how long they have to file it. Usually, the report will be filed within seven business days.

The next step is the same as you would follow in a normal accident – exchange information with the Amazon driver. 

You should take down their name and driver number, the make and model of the vehicle, their insurance information (including if they have an extra policy provided by amazon) the plate number, and also if they were on or off duty at the time. Along with exchanging information, you should document the incident as much as possible: the date and time of the accident, the street or intersection, weather conditions at the time,  photos of any damage to either vehicle, and any other information pertinent to making a report (such as the driver running a red light).  Keep copies of all of this information. If there were any witnesses to the incident, ask them if they would be willing to make a statement and ask for their contact information.

After all this has been done, you should report the accident to your insurance company, and also to Amazon. While Amazon has a policy of often hiring independent contractors for their drivers (making it difficult to make a claim against the company itself) it doesn’t hurt to be thorough. Depending on the circumstances of your accident with an Amazon truck, it may be difficult to make a claim on your own.

If you have any questions about filing a claim, or just need guidance on how to receive the best possible outcome from the incident, you should contact a dedicated personal injury firm about the process. Having a firm represent your interests can extremely reduce the headaches of filing for a claim, and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.   Help is only a simple phone call away. Contact us today at (937) 222-2030 to schedule a free consultation.

What Should I do if Injured in a Store?

injured in a store

It’s a typical Tuesday. You are out grocery shopping at your favorite chain store, looking at your list, and thinking of the million or so items you want to tackle on your to-do list this evening. You come around the corner of an aisle, slip in a puddle and find yourself bewildered on the floor. You are hurting, and aren’t totally sure what is causing the pain. It’s hard to think clearly.  What do you do next, if you are injured in a store?

Regardless of the type of injury you face, there are certain steps you can take to help ensure your welfare in the moment, and later on down the line. Depending on your particular circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury.

The first thing you should focus on if injured is your safety – do you need immediate medical attention?

Have you hit your head? No matter what else you have facing you, making sure you are safe and well should be your top priority. Be careful moving around if you are in pain, as it may make your injuries worse. Ask for help from other patrons or store staff, and call 911 if you need it. 

Once you have established what you need to do medically, try to puzzle out what happened, and obtain any evidence available.

Look around to see if the premises is safe, if you see any obvious hazards (like a wet floor) and check to see if there are any signs or warnings about these hazards. Take photos of the area where the incident happened. Premises liability lawsuits are usually contingent upon proving that the business was aware of a hazard and didn’t take proper steps to convey this warning to patrons, so if you can show evidence of this, it can truly make your case. The right evidence can help prove negligence.

If there was anyone present at the time of your accident, ask for their contact info as a witness.

If it comes to a court case between you and the store, having a third party that is impartial can be a huge aid in your favor. 

One of the most important steps in this process is filing a report with the store. If you have not been approached by an employee at this point, then find one, preferably a store manager. Do your best to simply state the facts of the indecent, and withhold from responding emotionally, or speculating on why it occurred. Remember, the store wants to avoid being responsible at all costs, and will use any errant thought spoken aloud against you if they can. Whatever you do, DO NOT sign any paperwork at the store. Many managers or corporate departments will try to get you to sign a liability waiver after you have been injured in a store, and this can negate your case if you do sign.

The next step is to seek medical treatment if you haven’y already.

The most important reason to do this is to make sure you are truly well, even if you feel okay. Sometimes, back, neck, and joint injuries  may not show symptoms for some time, and it is always safer to have a medical professional give you the all clear.

Beyond making sure that you are well, it is important to have a medical report if you have sustained injuries. For example, if your injury causes you to miss work, the store is responsible for paying your lost wages – if you can prove that your injuries made you miss work, rather than it seeming like a spontaneous vacation. This report can be a solid asset in your case.

The last step can also be the simplest – with all of the above steps covered, it may be time to consult with a personal injury attorney.

Being injured in a store can be awfully distressing, and if you choose to take it to court to seek compensation, overwhelming too. Depending on the size of the store, they likely have a firm on hand who is well versed on doing everything they can to clear the store of any liability – and push your claim off into obscurity. Representing yourself in these matters may cost you much more than a headache – it could cost you the compensation you deserve.

Here at Cowan & Hilgeman, we have the experience, resources, and dedication necessary to work your case. We believe that you have suffered enough, and will do everything in our power to settle your claim to satisfaction. You don’t have to handle this alone.  Call us for a free consultation today at (937) 222-2030.

Ohio Swimming Pool Laws

Ohio swimming pool laws

Summer is upon us in all of its temperate glory and it has many people seeking out a tried and true way to cool off – by a nice swim in the pool.  This long held American tradition is almost an ideal image for most: beautiful blue water, a few floats or lounge chairs, and maybe even a drink or two to help enjoy the overall relation.  On a scorching hot Saturday afternoon this summer, chances are high that a few neighbors  will suggest gathering at your beautiful  in-ground pool for shenanigans, and maybe some BBQ to boot. It all sounds like good clean fun, right? Of course! But as a homeowner or business owner in Ohio (or just as someone who enjoys a few laps at the public pools) it is important to be aware of the consequences of what can go wrong during a pool day.

According to the CDC, ten people die every day from unintentional drowning. Of these ten, two are still kids, usually aged 14 or less. 

For our youngest and most vulnerable offspring, kids aged 1-4, accidental drowning becomes the number one cause of unintentional injury – and most of these children were being cared for by their parents, at home, and were left unsupervised for 5 minutes or less.  What is even more concerning is that for every child that drowns, five more are hospitalized and require further care than the initial emergency room visit, and 50% of all drowning victims will suffer long term health consequences. Some all too common pool related injuries include Traumatic Brain Injury (insert link to previous article here), pneumonia, disembowelment, and even evisceration. These particular injuries typically lead to chronic care treatment that is necessary ( and expensive)  for the rest of the victim’s life. 

There are many factors that can reduce the risk of injury while enjoying the pool – mainly, proper supervision. The U.S. Lifesaving Association reported that lifeguards “prevented more than 564,000 water-related injuries” on average in recent years. However, most homeowners will not have a lifeguard on duty (and may not even have an adult trained in CPR present) and not all public pools will have a lifeguard either.  You can also ensure that you have pool safe toys, a deck built with non-slip materials,  and avoid owning a diving board.  You can make sure the pool is covered when not in use, and child safe gates ( at least 4’ tall with self-closing latches that open outward)  and locks prevent unsupervised entry into the pool area. 

Yet even with these preventative measures in place, you may still be liable in the event of injury at your pool.

In the state of Ohio, homeowners can also be held liable under the attractive nuisance law for injuries to a child trespassing on your property. Read more about Ohio private swimming pool laws here.

Here’s what you should know:

Stay Safe; Stay Aware – Know Ohio swimming pool laws.

  • Supervise children at all times.
  • If a child goes missing while in your care, always check the pool first.
  • Keep proper safety equipment, such as a grab pole and a telephone, in case emergency services are needed.
  • Keep children away from skimmer openings, drains and other places they could get trapped.
  • Learn CPR for both children and adults

There are Ohio swimming pool laws and federal laws to protect your rights if you or a loved one have suffered an injury related to a swimming pool, hot tub, or spa.  Don’t just assume that your homeowner’s insurance will cover a pool related injury – talk to your coverage provider and see what is actually covered, or if your plan includes an umbrella policy within it.  If you or a loved one have been injured in a public or private pool, you may very well be entitled to compensation.  Call us today for a free, no obligation consultation on your case – (937) 222-2030.

Is an Ohio personal injury lawsuit expensive?

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.