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.

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.

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.