3 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

injury lawyerBy William J. Price

It’s common to be overwhelmed and confused after suffering a serious injury. On top of the physical and emotional challenges of recovering or adjusting to life with a new disability, you now face an uphill legal battle to get compensation for your injuries. Continue reading “3 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer”

Involved In a Fender Bender? Here’s What To Do Next.

Most drivers will be involved in some sort of car accident in their lifetimes. In fact, over a lifetime of driving, a driver may be involved in several accidents. By car insurance industry estimates, the average driver will file a collision claim approximately once every 17.9 years.

fender bender

The majority of car accidents are not serious. Many are fender benders resulting in some minor damage to a car.  Continue reading “Involved In a Fender Bender? Here’s What To Do Next.”

Preventing Debris-Related Crashes: How to Safely Secure Objects to Your Vehicle

Do you feel uneasy when you’re driving behind a minivan towing a trailer of garage sale finds or a pickup truck hauling a suspiciously shaky mattress?

You know, something like this:

You have good reason to be nervous.

A 2016 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study determined more than 200,000 debris-related crashes were reported between 2011 and 2014. These incidents were responsible for nearly 40,000 injuries and over 500 deaths.  Continue reading “Preventing Debris-Related Crashes: How to Safely Secure Objects to Your Vehicle”

100 Deadliest Days: 5 Dangers to Discuss with Your Teen Driver

Did you know we are in the middle of the “100 deadliest days” for teen drivers?

Over the past five years more than 1,600 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers between Memorial Day and Labor Day and in recent weeks, tragic accidents have claimed the lives of several Ohio teens. Continue reading “100 Deadliest Days: 5 Dangers to Discuss with Your Teen Driver”

How to document your recovery after a car crash

By William J. Price

car crashMany car crash victims suffer serious injuries that prevent them from caring for themselves and their families or doing the things they love.

Whether these struggles will last for months or a lifetime, documenting the recovery period can be an important step toward building the foundation of a case. A skilled attorney can combine these notes with information about the injuries and treatments to paint a picture of the ways the victim’s life was changed by the crash and determine how they should be compensated for the damages. Continue reading “How to document your recovery after a car crash”

How to document your recovery after a car crash

By William J. Price

car crashMany car crash victims suffer serious injuries that prevent them from caring for themselves and their families or doing the things they love.

Whether these struggles will last for months or a lifetime, documenting the recovery period can be an important step toward building the foundation of a case. A skilled attorney can combine these notes with information about the injuries and treatments to paint a picture of the ways the victim’s life was changed by the crash and determine how they should be compensated for the damages. Continue reading “How to document your recovery after a car crash”

Why isn’t the insurance carrier using new parts on my car?

What vehicle owners need to know about aftermarket crash parts

By William J. Price

aftermarket crash partsWhen my 2006 Honda Accord was involved in an accident, the insurance company opted to use “non-original equipment manufacturer aftermarket crash parts” in the repairs. Also called non-OEM aftermarket crash parts, these parts were not new. The use of certain types of aftermarket crash parts can be a cause of concern for vehicle owners who are not properly informed about the practice. Read on to learn what you can expect of the parts used in repairs on your vehicle.  Continue reading “Why isn’t the insurance carrier using new parts on my car?”

Are you protected from uninsured drivers? Tips from an Ohio personal injury lawyer

by R. Craig McLaughlin

1 out of every 8 drivers on Ohio’s roads is driving without auto insurance. Are you protected if you’re involved in a crash with an uninsured driver?

The next time you’re commuting to work or are carpooling kids to soccer practice, take a look around at the other cars on the roadway. Pick out eight vehicles. According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS), one or more of those eight drivers is driving without insurance. When you consider 50,000 Ohio crashes a year involve an uninsured driver and 75 percent of those crashes are caused by the uninsured driver, you better make sure you have taken steps to protect yourself and your family.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage - car accident lawyer
Photo Credit: Caleb George / CC BY 2.0

What is uninsured motorist coverage?

Ohio law requires drivers to maintain proof of financial responsibility in the minimum amount of $25,000 for bodily injury to or death of one individual in any one accident; $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more individuals in any one accident; and $25,000 for injury to the property of others in any one accident. Most people comply with this law by purchasing an insurance policy, but statistics show there is a large segment of Ohio drivers who are driving without insurance.

If you are involved in a car crash caused by an Ohio uninsured driver, you could be left holding the bag. Unless that driver is a celebrity, professional athlete or recently won the lottery (all of these are highly unlikely or they would have had the money to purchase liability auto insurance in the first place!), then you won’t have any source of compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, out of pocket expenses, and pain and suffering.

So what can and should you do? You need to make sure your insurance policy provides uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is there to compensate you for your damages and losses in the event you are involved in a collision that is caused by an uninsured driver.

This is an optional coverage in Ohio, but one you should definitely purchase to protect yourself and your family. Check the declarations page on your auto insurance policy to see if you have it. The declarations page is a document that comes with your policy and lists the types of coverage you have; the amount of coverage and the amount of premium you pay for the coverage. Do not be tempted to save a few dollars on your premiums by declining uninsured motorist. And in my opinion, if your insurance agent fails to offer it or suggests that you decline this type of coverage, then I suggest you find a new insurance agent immediately.

The tale of two similar clients who had very different outcomes because of the purchase of uninsured motorist coverage

I recently had two clients who both suffered very serious injuries in a car crash caused by an uninsured driver. “Bill” was on his way to work when the driver of another car fell asleep, crossed left of center and struck Bill’s truck in a head-on collision. Bill’s truck was demolished and he suffered a fractured hip, shattered pelvis and other serious injuries. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he needed surgery. He then spent nearly a month at the hospital and a rehabilitation facility before he was able to go home. Bill’s medical expenses exceeded $100,000 and he was unable to work at his job as a construction foreman for over six months. His wife was a stay at home mom who cared for their two young daughters. Like many Ohio families, they lived paycheck to paycheck and depended on Bill’s steady income.

In an effort to save a few dollars each month on his car insurance, Bill made the mistake of not purchasing uninsured motorist coverage that would have given him some protection in this tragedy. Fortunately, Bill had health insurance that paid for most of his medical bills, but he was still responsible for thousands of dollars in medical bills in the form of deductibles, co-pays, and other out of pocket expenses. Since the driver had neither liability auto insurance nor any assets to pursue and Bill did not purchase uninsured motorist coverage, he was on the hook for these unpaid medical bills; was not going to be compensated for his significant lost wages and did not receive money for the dramatic impact this incident had on him and his family. I had to deliver this bad news to Bill that I was not able to recover anything for him or his family. Bill and his family avoided filing for bankruptcy, but this tragedy took its toll on him and his family financially, physically and emotionally.

Contrast Bill’s story with what happened to my client “Karen.” She was on her way to visit her mother when an uninsured motorist ran a stop sign and caused a T-bone collision that sent Karen’s car spinning off the side of the road. Karen suffered a herniated disk in her neck, a fractured arm and other serious injuries. Like Bill, Karen had to undergo surgery to repair the damage, had an extended hospital stay and missed significant time from her job as an administrative assistant. Fortunately, Karen had purchased uninsured motorist coverage in the amount of $250,000. Therefore, I was able to obtain this money for Karen, which paid for her medical bills, reimbursed her for her lost wages and compensated her for the disruption this event caused in her life.

Purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage To Protect You and Your Family

So what is the take away from this article? Check the declarations page of your auto insurance policy to make sure you have uninsured motorist coverage. With 1 out of every 8 Ohio drivers on the road not having liability auto insurance, you are playing “Russian Roulette” with your physical, emotional and financial future if you do not have uninsured motorist coverage. I encourage everyone who asks me to purchase at least $250,000 or more of both liability and uninsured motorist coverage. I also suggest you ask your insurance agent about and consider purchasing an umbrella or excess insurance policy of $1 million or more to further protect yourself. An umbrella insurance policy is insurance that provides additional coverage above and beyond the underlying auto insurance policy. However, make sure you specifically request an umbrella that provides additional insurance coverage for both liability and uninsured motorist coverage because some insurance companies only issue umbrella policies for liability insurance coverage and not uninsured motorist coverage.

 

Craig McLaughlin represents people who have been seriously injured or killed as a result of motor vehicle crashes, defective products, nursing home neglect, and other medical negligence. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, and AVVO and is a life member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Million Dollar Advocates Forum.