On Wednesday, March 21, join Elk & Elk attorney William Price at the Columbus Bar Association for a CLE presentation on ethical issues in personal injury cases. Price will offer valuable guidance and tips for avoiding common pitfalls to keep your practice running smoothly. Continue reading “Elk & Elk attorney William Price to present on ethical issues in personal injury cases”
Every plaintiff has the same complaint: “The insurance adjuster will not call me back.”
It’s not unusual, and the adjuster is not making the matter personal.
Your case is classified as a claim, and adjusters do not call people back due to the volume of claims. An efficient and diligent adjuster handles hundreds of claims and typically receives dozens of phone calls each day. All companies have a policy of returning phone calls within 24-48 hours, but most adjusters will never meet this deadline. Continue reading “Why won’t the insurance adjuster call me back?”
A gap in treatment is a period of time when there is no documented medical treatment.
For example, if you are in an accident and do not go to the emergency room for over 30 days, there is a 30-day gap in treatment.
A second type of gap can occur when there’s an extended break between treatments. For example, if you’ve been receiving consistent treatment and then stop for four months before making another appointment, this is considered another gap in treatment. Continue reading “How to Avoid Gaps in Your Treatment After an Injury”
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2017 issue of Ohio Lawyer, the Ohio State Bar Association’s member magazine.
A former client is injured in a car accident, holds the other driver accountable and asks for your help. If your firm doesn’t typically handle personal injury claims, you may think there’s nothing you can do for the client. In this scenario, by recommending a co-counsel agreement, attorneys have the opportunity to assist former clients while building relationships with other attorneys and firms. Continue reading “Co-Counseling a Personal Injury Case: Tips for Working with Other Attorneys”
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”
Your car was destroyed in a crash, and now you’re stuck dealing with the other guy’s insurance carrier. A few days after exiting the Emergency Room, you begin receiving medical bills and phone calls demanding payment. To make times worse, you cannot return to work until your doctor signs a paper acknowledging you are physically able to work. You send all of the medical bills to the adjuster asking to have your wages reimbursed. After a few days of no returned phone calls turn into a few weeks, you go from angry to irate.
You’re jogging down the sidewalk when, out of nowhere, an unfamiliar dog comes charging toward you. Do you run the opposite direction? Scream at the top of your lungs?
In this scenario, following your first instinct would probably be the worst decision you could make. Loud noises or sudden movements will further provoke the dog, and your odds of outrunning one are slim.
Being attacked by a dog is a traumatic experience, and can leave victims with serious or even fatal injuries. There’s no surefire way to prevent an attack by an aggressive dog, but there are measures you can take to help deescalate the situation if one approaches you.
Follow these tips for avoiding dog bites on your walks, runs and bike rides.
4 tips for avoiding dog bites:
1. Be prepared
Carry pepper spray or an animal deterrent spray each time you go out for a walk, run or bike ride. A spare article of clothing, umbrella or extendable bite stick could also help distract or hold off the dog if an attack is inevitable.
2. Stand very still
The movements of runners and bikers often serve as a trigger for a dog’s prey drive. As soon as you realize a dog is approaching you, stop where you are and turn slightly away from the animal.
3. Remain calm
An attacking dog instinctively takes advantage of “prey” that appears scared or weak. While you must avoid coming off as a threat, appearing calm and confident shows the dog you are dominant and in control of the situation.
4. Avoid eye contact
Dogs are not generally inclined to attack humans unless they feel threatened, but looking a dog in the eye signals a challenge. Keep the dog in your peripheral vision to help you track its movements without further provoking it.
Ideally the dog will realize you are not a threat and eventually lose interest, giving you a chance to slowly exit the area. If the dog proceeds to attack despite your efforts, do your best to protect your face, throat and chest, and keep your hands balled into fists to protect your fingers.
On the flip side
Be sure you’re doing your part to prevent your dog from becoming aggressive with others. Always supervise your dog when it’s outside or keep it contained in your yard. Watch for holes in your fence or other ways your dog could escape, as was the case when two Cane Corso dogs attacked an Elyria woman earlier this year.
All dog owners, especially those who own dogs considered dangerous or vicious, have a duty to keep their animal confined. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation if you or a loved one were seriously injured by a dog.
What you need to know about Open and Obvious Hazards
Slip and fall injuries are common in Ohio, but if a hazard is “open and obvious,” the property owner may not be responsible for your injuries.
Proving negligence in a slip and fall case
To better understand the open and obvious doctrine, let’s start with the basics of negligence. Generally speaking, Ohio property owners are not responsible for injuries to their guests unless they know of a dangerous condition and fail to provide an adequate warning.
To prove negligence in Ohio, an injury victim must prove the following:
|Elements of Negligence||Definition||Example|
|1. The defendant owed the plaintiff a “duty of care”||A legal obligation to prevent harm to visitors||Store owners must keep their store “in a reasonably safe condition” and warn customers of hidden dangers|
|2.They breached that duty||The property owner did (or didn’t do) something they should have||An employee failed to put out a caution sign after he mopped the floor|
|3. The breach caused the injury||Their failure to maintain the property or warn you about something dangerous was the reason you got hurt||You didn’t notice the danger, slipped on the wet floor and broke your arm|
Unfortunately, in many instances, even where each element of negligence has been met and a slip and fall accident has caused serious injuries, no legal claim exists. One of the many ways a property owner may defend a premises liability claim is to use the open and obvious defense.
Open and Obvious
In Ohio, courts have repeatedly held that property owners have no duty to people entering their premises regarding dangers that are open and obvious. The basis of this legal concept is that any obviously dangerous hazard serves as its own warning (like an enormous hole in the ground.) Therefore, a property owner may reasonably expect their invitees to notice the danger and do what is needed to protect themselves. As a rule, since open-and-obvious doctrine removes the duty to warn, it acts as a complete bar to any negligence claims.
Related post: Negligence Per Se Lawsuits
In addition to owing invitees a duty of ordinary care in maintaining their property, an owner or occupier of property also has a duty to warn an invitee of dangerous hidden conditions. That means if the property owner purposely hides a dangerous condition or fails to warn invited guests of a hidden danger, the owner may be responsible for a victim’s injuries.
But I didn’t see it!
It is important to remember that the dangerous condition itself does not actually have to be seen by the plaintiff to be an open and obvious condition under the law. In a premises liability claim, generally, your conduct is usually immaterial. That means if you got hurt because you were looking at your phone and not paying attention, the property owner is not responsible for your injury. However, even if a condition was open and obvious, the property owner could still be liable if he or she created “attendant circumstances” – unusual situations that distracted you at the time of your fall.
Do I need a lawyer for my slip and fall case?
Premises liability claims can be difficult to prove. If you were hurt in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately to review the merits of your case. An attorney can help collect and preserve evidence; negotiate with insurance companies and help recover compensation for injuries, missed work, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
The contents of this website are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. The use of the information provided in these pages should not be taken as establishing any contractual or other form of attorney-client relationship. The information presented on this website may not reflect the most current legal developments and may contain technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. No action should be taken in reliance on the information contained on this website. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues.
Elk & Elk Attorneys to Present at NBI Seminar
In the field of personal injury law, it is essential for attorneys and other legal professionals to possess a basic understanding of the human anatomy, types of injuries and common treatment options. An upcoming National Business Institute live seminar featuring presentations from three Elk & Elk attorneys will cover these topics.
NBI’s “Anatomy and Physiology 101 for Attorneys” will take place on Thursday, June 25, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland Downtown. The seminar has been approved by the Ohio Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education for 6.0 CLE credit hours, and registration is $349 (includes book).
The course is designed for legal professionals who handle cases related to personal injuries, insurance, workers’ compensation and/or disability, and will offer helpful insight into the medical aspects of common cases.
Attorneys Matthew J. Carty, Michael L. Eisner and R. Craig McLaughlin of Elk & Elk will present the following topics:
Head Injuries: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
• Michael L. Eisner (presenting with Mary Hahn)
Shoulder Injuries: 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
• R. Craig McLaughlin (presenting with Lisamarie Pietragallo)
Hand and Wrist Injuries: 1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
In some states, married same-sex couples cannot receive benefits from personal injury claims that are afforded to married opposite-sex couples.
On April 28, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the matter of Obergefell v. Hodges, one of four state cases related to same-sex marriage scheduled before the nation’s high court this session. The petitioners in Obergefell asked the justices to decide whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state.
Why does it matter?
You may wonder what same-sex marriage has to do with a personal injury claim. Under Ohio law, marriage provides couples with a myriad of legal rights such as favorable tax treatment, presumed parentage, and the right not to testify against a spouse in criminal proceedings. Also included among rights afforded to married couples is the right to make a legal claim in certain cases, specifically, where a spouse has been injured or killed.
In 2004, the people of the State of Ohio adopted Ohio Issue 1, an amendment to the Ohio Constitution, which provided that Ohio would refuse to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages even if they were valid in the state where the marriage was performed.
Loss of Consortium and Wrongful Death Claims
In a personal injury claim, damages for loss of consortium cover the losses one spouse experiences when the other is injured as a result of the defendant’s negligence or other wrongful acts. Loss of consortium damages may include damages for loss of services, damages for loss of support, and damages for loss of quality in the “marital relationship,” which includes things like providing affection and emotional support.
If the injured spouse dies from his or her injuries, the surviving spouse may also file a claim for wrongful death and seek monetary compensation for loss of support that roughly equals what the injured person would likely have made, had he or she not died prematurely.
Can I file a same-sex Loss of Consortium claim in Ohio?
Each state has its own limitations on the availability of loss of consortium and wrongful death claims. In most jurisdictions, for example, in order to bring a claim for loss of consortium, you will need to show that a valid marriage exists. Under current Ohio laws, same-sex couples are unable to benefit from a loss of consortium claim or wrongful death action.
While no one knows how the Supreme Court will rule, many same-sex couples are hopeful the state cases will follow the Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which ordered the federal government to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages entered into in the states that allow them.
The audio recording and written transcripts of the oral arguments for Obergefell v. Hodges and consolidated cases can be accessed directly through links on the homepage of the Court’s Website: www.supremecourt.gov.”
Same-sex marriage laws by state
Click a state for details. (Data current as of April. 2, 2015.)
|Same-sex marriage legalized|
|Civil unions or domestic partnerships|
|Constitutional or statutory provisions prohibiting same-sex marriage|
 The Court will rule on four cases, focusing its review on two key issues: (1) the power of the states to ban same-sex marriages and (2) to refuse to recognize such marriages performed in another state. The Kentucky case (Bourke v. Beshear) raises both of the issues that the Court will be deciding, the Michigan case (DeBoer v. Snyder) deals only with marriage, and the Ohio (Obergefell v. Hodges) and Tennessee cases (Tanco v. Haslam) deal only with the recognition question.