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

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 after you are hit by a Fedex truck.

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. Getting into an accident with an Amazon truck can cause many more headaches than a regular car accident. 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 from an accident with an Amazon truck.   Help is only a simple phone call away. Contact us today at (937) 222-2030 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

Brain Injuries

brain injuries

A brain injury can have a dramatic effect on the persona suffering from it. Typically, a brain injury is considered to be an injury that happens after birth and isn’t hereditary, congenital, or degenerative.  According to the Brain Injury Association of America, brain injuries can lead to  “an impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning. It can also result in the disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning.” Since the impact of brain injuries effects are far reaching, it is important to know what makes up a brain injury.

There are two main types of brain injuries: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).

Traumatic brain injuries are those that are caused by an external physical force to the head, such as a bump, a blunt force like a blow, or any type of jolt to the head.

They can break the skin and be “open” (penetrative), or leave the skin intact and be closed. These types of injuries can range from very mild (a football player getting a minor concussion on the field) or become severe (Like the rod through the skull of Phineas Gage that caused major personality changes) but in either case should not be treated lightly.

TBI can be caused by:

  • falls
  • car crashes
  • assaults
  • sports related injuries
  • abusive head trauma
  • gunshot wounds
  • domestic violence
  • child abuse
  • military trauma (blasts from explosives).  

According to the CDC  “about 75% of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.” Beyond that, they state that incurring two or more mild TBIs in a short period of time (days or weeks) can be fatal.  

An Acquired Brain Injury is a change in brain functioning or pathology as a result of internal factors, such as a lack of oxygen for any period of time.

They can be caused by:

  • stroke
  • seizures
  • electric shocks
  • infectious diseases (meningitis, encephalitis)
  • tumors
  • toxic exposure
  • metabolic disorders
  • Neurotoxic poisons (eg. carbon monoxide or lead exposure). 

Both TBIs and ABIs can cause changes in functioning of the brain.

Common symptoms include:

  • difficulty in short term functioning of the brain such as processing effectively
  • understanding and expressing emotions
  • difficulty with language.

Long term effects can result in increased health care costs, the potential to suffer from epilepsy, increased chances of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and the risk of other brain conditions. 

If you know that you have suffered from a brain injury (or think you might have), there are several easy steps you can take to aid your recovery. The first and most important aspect is to take it easy –  give your body time to heal, and don’t rush back into your daily activities like school or work. Avoid activities that might cause you to hit your head or jolt it again.  Consult with your doctor before you operate motor vehicles, bikes, or heavy machinery again – your reactions may be slower than you realize.  You should also avoid alcohol until the injury has healed- it can affect the medications you take to reduce swelling. Beyond avoiding alcohol, you should check with your doctor before taking any over the counter medications as they can also have adverse reactions with your prescribed medication.  Be kind to yourself, often patients with brain injuries have to re-learn skills they may have once mastered, and it can be very frustrating. Many patients find it helpful to write things down, or create reminders to help them remember. 

If you are interested in finding more suggestions on how to prevent brain injuries from occurring in the first place, check out this link from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_prevention.html

If you have experienced any of the above types of trauma and think you may be suffering from a brain injury, you should consult with a doctor right away.  Don’t let your symptoms progress any further. Seek help today. If you sustained your diagnosed brain injury due to the negligence or recklessness of someone else, call the experienced personal injury attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman. Call (937) 222-2030 to schedule your free consultation today.

Source:

https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/outcomes.html

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.