How to Pick a Personal Injury Lawyer

How to pick a personal injury lawyer

Selecting a personal injury lawyer is an important decision. As a person injured by the negligence of another, you need confidence that your lawyer will protect your interests and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.

While there are many considerations, here are the three most important:

1. Do you feel comfortable with the personal injury attorney?

You must be comfortable with your personal injury lawyer and trust that he or she will aggressively pursue your case. When speaking with them on the telephone or in-person, are they answering the tough questions? Or, do they avoid answering the question? Can the personal injury lawyer walk you through the entire claim process and provide detail about each phase of the claim? Will the personal injury lawyer be accessible? If you have any doubts about these questions, then you need to find a new personal injury lawyer.

The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman have handled hundreds of claims from start to finish and are involved in all aspects of the claim process. Cowan & Hilgeman attorneys are “hands on” and make themselves available for regular client communication.

Personal injury claims often involve serious injuries that impact your daily life, so selecting an attorney that will focus on your case is important.

2. What do past clients say about the personal injury lawyer?

Reviews from past clients are a great way to evaluate how the lawyer is likely to treat you throughout the claim process. Many lawyers will tell clients what they want to hear during the initial telephone call or meeting, but a detailed review from a previous client will give you great indication of what to expect from start to finish. Also, will your case get the attention it deserves or lost in the mix with all the other cases?

The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman provide clients with honest assessments of their claim, providing all the information and advice necessary for each client to make an educated choice about every stage of their case. Cowan & Hilgeman takes pride in communication and forming relationships with clients that last beyond the end of their claim. Follow the links below to see what our clients say about the attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman.

3. Does the personal injury lawyer have a track record of success?

As with any professional, you want to select a personal injury lawyer that has a track record of success. It is important that the personal injury lawyer effectively communicate how the claim will be processed and presented to the insurance company in a way that will maximize the value of your claim. While no two cases are identical, it is important that the personal injury lawyer set forth a plan that is specific to your case. Is the personal injury lawyer recognized as a top attorney in his or her field?

We have recovered millions in compensation on behalf of clients and successfully negotiated settlements and litigated cases against the largest insurance companies and businesses in the country. Additionally, Cowan & Hilgeman has attorneys recognized as some of the best personal injury attorneys in Ohio by the top attorney rating services such as Martindale-Hubbell, Super Lawyers and AVVO.

To schedule your free, no obligation consultation, call (937) 222-2030. We will not get paid a penny unless we win your case.

Who is Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident?

drunk driving accident

While it may seem obvious that the person who got behind the wheel while intoxicated is responsible (and therefore liable) for a drunk driving accident, the answer is actually much more complicated.

If you get into an accident with someone who you suspect had been drinking, it is vitally important that you contact an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer. Time is of the essence while gathering crucial information that can help your case!

A drunk driving accident lawyer can review the details of your accident and resulting damages to identify all liable parties. This may include a bar, restaurant or convenience store that the driver recently visited. It may include the host of a party that the driver went to. These other parties may be held partially responsible for a drunk driving accident due to a set of Ohio laws known as ‘Dram Shop Laws’.

Ohio is one of several states that allow civil injury lawsuits to be filed against businesses or social hosts who serve alcohol to someone who goes on to cause an alcohol-related accident. But like many states, Ohio limits the circumstances under which these kinds of claims can be filed.

Bartenders and servers have a responsibility to monitor the drunkenness of patrons who consume alcohol at their establishments. If a bartender, server or host over-serves an already intoxicated person, they may be held partially liable for any damage or injury caused by that person.

This typically means that an establishment that serves alcohol may be found at least partially liable for an alcohol-related ‘drunk driving’ accident. This can, however, also include ANY criminal injury caused by an over-served person, including sexual assault, assault, battery, intimidation, etc.

There are several conditions that must be met for the alcohol license-holder to be held partially liable:

  • The injury occurred on the liquor license holder’s property/premises AND
  • The injuries were caused at least in part by the liquor license holder or their employee (ie. over-serving an obviously intoxicated person, contrary to State liquor laws)

OR:

  • The injury or death was caused by an intoxicated person’s intentional malice or negligence
  • The injury or death happened off the liquor license holder’s premises AND
  • The liquor license holder knowingly sold an alcoholic beverage to a visibly intoxicated person or someone who is underage.

A social host (someone who does not charge money for alcoholic beverages or admission) can also be found liable for a drunk driving accident if they provided alcohol to someone who is underage, and that person then goes on to injure someone else.

Understanding whether or not your personal injury case fits these conditions can be confusing. This is why you should ALWAYS consult with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney.

If you were injured or a loved one was killed by a drunk driver, contact the compassionate, aggressive drunk driving accident lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman. Our consultation is free and there is no obligation to hire us. You won’t pay us a penny unless we win your case. Call (937) 222-2030 today to schedule your free consultation.

Child Safety Seat, Booster Seat and Seat Belt Laws in Ohio

safety seat

The importance of safety seat, child booster seat and restraint laws cannot be understated. In the United States, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children. In 2018, 636 children 12 years old and younger died in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and more than 97,000 were injured. Of the children 12 years old and younger who died in a crash in 2018 (for which restraint use was known), 33% were not buckled up. Parents and caregivers can make a lifesaving difference.

What are Ohio’s laws regarding child safety seats, child booster seats and seat belts?

Ohio Child Passenger Safety laws state that:
– Children less than 4 years old or 40 pounds must use a child safety seat meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.
– Children less than 8 years old, unless they are at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall must use a booster seat.
– Children ages 8-15 years must use a child safety seat or safety belt.

If you do not follow these laws, fines will range from a minimum of $25 to a maximum of $75 per occurrence.

What type of car restraint device should I use for my child?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing a child in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of a vehicle.
– The child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until the child exceeds the maximum height or weight for the car seat. At that time, the child can be placed in a front-facing car seat in the vehicle’s rear seat.
– When children outgrow car seats, they may be transitioned into a booster seat. A booster seat allows for proper positioning of the seat belt, which is vital during a collision.
– Most children are tall enough to ride without a booster seat by the time they reach eight years of age. Parents should always ensure that the seat belt is positioned correctly before transitioning a child out of a booster seat into a seat belt.

Why does Ohio have child safety seat, booster seat and seat belt laws?

The state wants to protect children who are involved in car crashes. Requiring drivers to place children in car seats and other restraints reduces severe injuries and childhood deaths in traffic accidents.

Injuries that children may sustain in a car crash include:
– Traumatic brain injuries
– Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
– Fractures and broken bones
– Damage to internal organs
– Scarring and disfigurement
– Back and neck injuries

A child injured in a car accident could develop permanent impairments, requiring lifelong medical and personal care.

What Should I Do if My Child Is Injured in a Car Accident?

Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts reduce the risk of severe injuries from an automobile accident. They do not guarantee that a child will not sustain injuries. It is in your child’s best interest to be examined by a physician after an accident, even though you might believe your child was not injured in the crash.

Childhood injury cases can be challenging. A child who sustains permanent disabilities has a lifetime of expenses, loss of income, and decreased quality of life to consider. The child deserves fair and just compensation for these damages.

However, the first hurdle is to prove the elements of negligence. You must prove that a party caused a car accident, and the crash resulted in your child’s injuries.

If you were driving and you were at fault, your child could have a claim against you. Your car insurance may be required to compensate your child for damages.

Determining the cause of the accident and identifying the liable parties begins with an accident investigation. A personal injury lawyer can handle your legal matter so you can focus on your child’s recovery and well-being.

The attorney gathers evidence, identifies the responsible parties, files insurance claims, and negotiates a settlement. If the other party refuses to pay a fair settlement amount, the attorney will discuss proceeding with a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

When Do I Need to File a Claim for My Child’s Automobile Accident?

The timing for filing a claim for a child depends on several factors, including the duration of your child’s recovery. Your lawyer monitors the deadlines for you to ensure you do not miss a filing deadline for a personal injury lawsuit. Missing the deadlines for personal injury claims can result in a lawsuit being dismissed.

Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

elder abuse

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Perpetrators include children, other family members, and spouses—as well as staff at nursing homes, assisted living, and other facilities.

  • Physical abuse means inflicting physical pain or injury upon an older adult.
  • Sexual abuse means touching, fondling, intercourse, or any other sexual activity with an older adult, when the older adult is unable to understand, unwilling to consent, threatened, or physically forced.
  • Emotional abuse means verbal assaults, threats of abuse, harassment, or intimidation.
  • Confinement means restraining or isolating an older adult, other than for medical reasons.
  • Passive neglect is a caregiver’s failure to provide an older adult with life’s necessities, including, but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.
  • Willful deprivation means denying an older adult medication, medical care, shelter, food, a therapeutic device, or other physical assistance, and exposing that person to the risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm—except when the older, competent adult has expressed a desire to go without such care.
  • Financial exploitation means the misuse or withholding of an older adult’s resources by another.

Learn more about the types of abuse from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).

How many older Americans are abused?

Approximately one in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as five million elders who are abused each year. One study estimated that only one in 24 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.

Who are the abusers of older adults?

Abusers are both women and men. In almost 60% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member. Two thirds of perpetrators are adult children or spouses.

What makes an older adult vulnerable to abuse?

Social isolation and mental impairment (such as dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease) are two factors. Recent studies show that nearly half of those with dementia experienced abuse or neglect. Interpersonal violence also occurs at disproportionately higher rates among adults with disabilities.

What are the warning signs of elder abuse?

  • Physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment: Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, burns
  • Emotional abuse: Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, or unusual depression; strained or tense relationships; frequent arguments between the caregiver and older adult
  • Financial abuse: Sudden changes in financial situation: Overdue bills, electricity or gas shutoffs, unable to afford food or medicine.
  • Neglect: Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, unusual weight loss
  • Verbal or emotional abuse: Belittling, threats, or other uses of power and control by individuals

What are the effects of elder abuse?

Elders who have been abused have a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who have not been mistreated. While likely under-reported, estimates of elder financial abuse to older Americans range from $2.6 billion to $36.5 billion annually. Yet, financial exploitation is self-reported at rates higher than emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect.

Are there criminal penalties for the abusers?

Most states have penalties for those who victimize older adults. Increasingly, across the country, law enforcement officers and prosecutors are trained on elder abuse and ways to use criminal and civil laws to bring abusers to justice. You can review Ohio elder justice laws HERE.

How does a person make an elder abuse report?

If an older adult is in immediate, life-threatening danger, call 911.

Anyone who suspects that an older adult is being mistreated should contact a local Adult Protective Services office, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, or police. 

If you are in Montgomery County, Ohio, call Adult Protective Services at (937) 225-4906, 24 hours a day to report suspected abuse.

For claims of abuse or neglect within a long-term care facility, contact the Montgomery County Regional Ombudsman Office. Director Lawrence Wilkins can be reached at [email protected].

What Can You be Compensated for After an Accident?

What can you be compensated for after an accident?

If you are in a accident caused by another party, you may be wondering what you can be compensated for after an accident.

What can you be compensated for after an accident?

what can you be compensated for after an accident?

Medical bills – For doctor’s visits, surgery, hospitalization, clinic visits, prescription medication, and more
Medical bills expected in the future – We will get experts to testify what they expect your medical treatment and recuperation to be in the future
Wages lost from work – If the accident renders you unable to work, you will be compensated for your treatment and recuperation time
Wages expected to be lost from work in the future – If your treatment and recuperation time is expected to last into the future
Loss of future earnings – If your injuries mean you cannot work at your former occupation or are unable to work again
Property damage – If your car, vehicle, or other property was damaged in the accident
Pain and suffering – For pain and suffering related to the accident and injury, mental anguish related to the accident and injury, and loss of enjoyment of life if the injuries have made it impossible to do activities you enjoyed prior to the accident
Loss of consortium – If the accident or injuries has affected relationships or intimacy with a spouse, these damages can be sought on behalf of the spouse

6 Most Common Types of Truck Accidents

types of truck accident

There are several common types of truck accidents, of which all drivers should be aware (a truck is classified as large if its gross vehicle weight rating exceeds 10,000 pounds.) This is particularly important information in a country as expansive as the US, especially rural states like Ohio, where large trucks are a vital component for shipping goods. But with increased traffic comes increased risk of accidents, as well as a higher potential for serious damage due to the size and weight of large trucks.

One of the most lethal types of truck accidents is an underride accident.

These generally occur when a truck stops suddenly and the car approaching slides beneath the trailer, frequently shearing off the top of the smaller vehicle. The deadliness of this type of truck accident highlights the importance of leaving enough space between the two vehicles, and constant vigilance of any driver following a large truck.

Jackknifing is another of the most common types of truck accident

Resulting from the truck braking suddenly and causing the trailer to fold into a 9 degree angle. Not only could this also cause an underride accident, but it can also cause the truck to roll over or overturn and obstruct the roadway.

Rollover accidents – one of the most deadly types of truck accident.

This type of accident is caused by the driver losing control and the tractor-trailer rolling over, which can result in the contents being spilled across the road, making this an incredibly messy and one of the most expensive (and depending on the contents, potentially hazardous to the environment) types of truck accident.

It is important to remember that large trucks also have much larger blindspots, which is when a vehicle has poor or no visibility in key areas. To bring awareness of this common types of truck accident are the common messages on tractor-trailers that read “if you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you”. Drivers of both passenger vehicles and large trucks must pay heed to this notion to prevent large truck accidents when possible.

While the following accidents are not solely relegated to large trucks, as with the preceding types of truck accident, the dangers are far greater to all motorists who might potentially be involved.

The first of these types of truck accidents result from tire blowouts.

In highways across the country, evidence of tire blowouts are a common sight. While it is true that large trucks have more tires upon which to rely temporarily in case of a blowout, due to the size and possible load, resulting catastrophes can include not only the many types of truck accidents mentioned earlier but, depending on what the truck is hauling, can result in waste, costly cleanup and environmental damage.

Closing the list of types of truck accidents are the rear end and head-on collision.

As with all other types of trucks accidents, both can be especially dangerous for the smaller vehicle involved. In a rear end collision, a large truck drives over the back of the vehicle ahead of it, whereas the head-on collision involves the truck hitting another vehicle from the front.

1,276 U.S. workers driving or riding in a motor vehicle on a public road died in a work-related crash in 2018, and of these deaths, tractor trailers, semis and tanker trucks were involved in 38% of these fatalities, despite the fact that large trucks are vastly outnumbered by passenger vehicles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that in crashes which involve large trucks and other vehicles, 98% of the fatalities occur to the people in passenger vehicles.

If you or your loved ones have been in an accident with a large truck such as a semi or tanker, please contact the accident experts at Cowan & Hilgeman Law.