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.

What to do if You Get Into a Car Accident

By car insurance industry estimates, you will file a claim for a collision about once every 17.9 years. If you got your license at age 16, the odds are quite good that you’ll experience some kind of crash by the time you’re 34, at the latest. Over the course of a typical long, driving lifetime, you should have a total of three to four accidents.

Chances are, these crashes won’t be deadly. There are about 10 million accidents of all kinds each year, from parking lot scrapes to multi-car pileups, according to the National Safety Council. While the odds of dying from a motor vehicle crash are 1 in 103, the chances of sustaining an injury are far more likely. More than 2 million people are injured in car crashes every year.

At Cowan & Hilgeman Law, your safety is our top priority. We have compiled a list of steps you should take if you are one of the more than 2 Million Americans who will be injured in a car accident this year:

1 – Check yourself and your Passengers for Injury

If you or one of your passengers are injured, call 911 or ask a bystander to call for you.

2 – Get to Safety

If you are able to, pull your car over to the side of the road – but don’t risk further injury to yourself or your passengers to do so. If you cannot move your car, leave it where it is and move yourself to the side of the road.

3 – Call 911

Even if you or the other driver thinks the accident is a minor fender bender that does not require police involvement, you should call the police. The responding officers will complete an accident report that may prove important when negotiating your claim with insurance companies. They will document the scene and record any potential witnesses.

4 – Wait for Help

Turn off your engine, turn on your hazard lights and set up a warning triangle or road flares, if you have them.

5 – Exchange Information

Make sure you get the other drivers’ full name, address and telephone number, along with their insurance company contact information and policy number. It is also important to write down the color, make and model of the other car, as well as the license plate number.

You should avoid discussing the accident with the other driver, as even the smallest apology or nervous babble about how you didn’t see them can be used to find you at fault, regardless who was actually to blame for the accident.

6 – Document the Accident

Take as many pictures as possible, without putting yourself in danger from other traffic. Make sure to record the damage to both cars from several different angles, in addition to the cars’ general location in the road, surrounding traffic signals, signs, intersections, etc.

Write down the names and badge numbers of any responding officers, and the names and contact information of witnesses and passengers from both vehicles.

7 – Notify your Insurer

To begin the claims process, you need to notify your insurer as soon as possible. They will ask for a copy of the police report, which you may have to physically obtain from the police department. The insurance adjuster will contact you within a few days to take a sworn statement of facts.

8 – If Anyone Was Injured, Call a Personal Injury Attorney

Insurance companies are notorious for their dodgy tactics, and will often talk claimants into taking a settlement worth a fraction of what a personal injury Attorney can win for you.

The experienced car accident attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman Law will fight tooth and nail to get you just and fair compensation for your injuries and loss of income.

Call (937) 222-2030 to schedule your FREE, no obligation consultation.

What To Do If You Are Bitten By a Dog in Ohio

Dog attack Ohio

Over 38% of all households in the United States own at least one dog. Unfortunately, such a close relationship with ‘Man’s Best Friend’ also leads to an enormous number of bites – over 4.7 million per year. While most dog bites are insignificant, over 20% of those bites require medical treatment.

Due to the many types of harmful bacteria found in the mouths of dogs, infection is a very real concern. One in five dog bites will become infected, requiring a course of antibiotics.

What to do if You or a Loved One Are Bitten

1 – Treat the Wound

  • For minor wounds:
    • Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
    • Apply an antibiotic cream.
    • Cover the wound with a clean bandage.
    • See a healthcare provider if the wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen; if you develop a fever; or if the dog that bit you was acting strangely.
  • For deep wounds:
    • Apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth to stop the bleeding.
    • If you cannot stop the bleeding or you feel faint or weak, call 911 or your local emergency medical services immediately.
    • See a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
  • See a healthcare provider:
    • If the wound is serious (uncontrolled bleeding, loss of function, extreme pain, muscle or bone exposure, etc.).
    • If the wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen, or if you develop a fever.
    • If you don’t know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies.
    • If it has been more than 5 years since your last tetanus shot and the bite is deep.

2 – Report the Incident to Local Authorities

  • After you have carefully cleaned, disinfected and wrapped the wound or sought medical treatment, you should report the bite to appropriate authorities. This may include Animal Control and the Police. In Montgomery County, Ohio, Animal Control can be reached at (937) 898-4457. State law requires that all potential rabies exposures be reported to the Department of Public Health as part of the Rabies Control Program. The dog will be quarantined for 10 days to check for rabies infection.

3 – Identify Witnesses

Find anyone who was witness to the attack, the aftermath or the medical treatment. Record their name and contact information. This can be absolutely vital to establishing a claim against the owner in order to be compensated for your medical treatment and injuries.

4 – Document with Photographs

Once the dog has been secured and the victim no longer in immediate danger, take as many photos as possible. Take photos of the injury and the area in which the attack occurred.

5 – Consult with an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer

In most cases, a dog bite lawsuit will be defended by the homeowner’s insurance company, who will try anything to avoid a lengthy and expensive court battle. They will offer you a low-ball settlement that is often a fraction of what your suit is rightfully worth.

The experienced Dog Bite Attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman know insurance company settlement tactics inside and out, and will not stop fighting until you get the compensation you deserve. In addition to being repaid for your medical treatment, Cowan & Hilgeman may also negotiate payment for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Psychological and emotional distress / trauma
  • Lost wages

If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog, call the trusted Dayton Personal Injury Attorneys, Cowan & Hilgeman, to schedule your FREE consultation – (937) 222-2030.

What is state minimum auto insurance in Ohio?

No matter where you live in the Buckeye State, you are legally required to carry the state minimum auto insurance to protect you and those around you in the event of a collision.

The minimum car insurance requirement for Ohio drivers is:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
  • $50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability

Penalties for Failure to Carry Ohio Auto Insurance

Failure to carry state minimum auto insurance in Ohio can result in hefty fines and penalties. A first offense can result in the loss of your driver’s license for 90 days, and 1 year for second offense. After a second offense, your license plates and registration can be revoked and you can be charged reinstatement fees ranging from $75 to $500. In addition, your vehicle can be impounded and sold at auction.

Basic Liability Coverage

If money is tight, you might be tempted to skimp on insurance. Most insurance companies offer Basic Liability Coverage, and while they meet mandatory state minimum auto insurance in Ohio, the minimum required about is often insufficient to cover expensive repairs and ongoing medical bills resulting from a collision. If a claim against you exceeds the value of your insurance coverage, you may find yourself paying out of your own pocket.

Basic Liability Coverage will also not protect you if you get into an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver, if your car is stolen, vandalized or damaged by fire, hail, rocks or debris.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a person driving with no or inadequate auto insurance, call the trusted Dayton Personal Injury Attorneys, Cowan & Hilgeman, to schedule your FREE consultation – (937) 222-2030.