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”
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.
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
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 obviousdefense.
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.
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.