Why won’t the insurance adjuster call me back?

By William J. Price

insurance adjusterEvery 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?”

How to Avoid Gaps in Your Treatment After an Injury

By William J. Price

gap in treatmentA 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”

Co-Counseling a Personal Injury Case: Tips for Working with Other Attorneys

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2017 issue of Ohio Lawyer, the Ohio State Bar Association’s member magazine.


co-counsel

By William J. Price

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”

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”

Navigating the insurance claims process: Tips from a personal injury attorney

By William J. Price

insurance claims processYour 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.

Continue reading “Navigating the insurance claims process: Tips from a personal injury attorney”

When man’s best friend isn’t so friendly: Tips for avoiding dog bites

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 Avoiding Dog Bitesfirst 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.

Look Before You Leap: Open and obvious hazards

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.

open and obvious, personal injury, premises liability
Property owners are generally not liable for injuries caused by open and obvious hazards. Photo Credit: Jonathan Pendleton / CC BY 2.0

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

Latent Dangers

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

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.

Elk & Elk at NBI Seminar

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).

Click here to register.

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:

Matthew J. Carty

   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.

Loss of consortium claims for same-sex couples: Equal protection under the law?

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[1] 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[2], 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

Resources:

[1] 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.

[2] United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675, 570 U.S. 12, 186 L. Ed. 2d 808 (2013)

Medical Apps for Injury Victims

Forgetting or choosing not to take your medicine is never a good idea, but for injured clients, it’s imperative to follow their medical provider’s care plan. In both personal injury and medical malpractice claims, the validity of an injury may come into doubt if you don’t follow up with your doctor and adhere to all prescribed treatments. During a trial, jurors will question the motives of someone who stopped medical treatment and may assume they do not deserve full compensation for their injuries.

Medication Reminders

Medical apps can help you track your recovery after an injury.Anyone who has multiple prescriptions knows it can be difficult to remember to take medications. The following apps can help make medication compliance easier.

MediSafe helps you manage and take your medication on time and lets you know when it’s time for refills, provides doctor appointment reminders, and provides a place to store doctor phone numbers and addresses. Users also have the option to allow their family, friends and caregivers to help with compliance by being alerted as to whether or not you medication was taken.

MedCoach makes it easy for users to follow their medication and vitamin schedule as prescribed by a doctor. It delivers friendly reminder messages to your phone. The app can even connect you to your pharmacy for prescription refills.

Track Medical Records

Medical expenses are by far the most important component of any personal injury case. Whether your case is settled out of court or decided by a jury, you must have complete medical records to back up your claim.

My Medical™ for iOS is a comprehensive record-keeping app for your personal medical information. My Medical can keep track of medications, surgeries, hospitalizations, tests, physicians, allergies, immunizations, assistive devices and much more. It meets the industry standard Continuity of Care Record format, which makes it easy to transfer records from one system to another. For extra security, data is stored directly to your device and not on a remote server.

Healthspek for iPad allows you to easily track, collect and safely share your personal and family health records, manage medications and store legal documents. Account holders can manage medications, medical charts and images, track vitals, access care, and record physician, insurance and emergency contacts, among other features. With the patient’s permission, doctors can access records through Healthspek’s www.chartnow.com–providing convenience for both you and your physician.

Be cautious of apps that make bold claims

Medical apps abound for consumers looking to use their mobile devices to improve their health and users can easily find apps that promise to promote mental health, aid sleep, cause weight loss, control food allergies, aid self-diagnosis, manage pain, and help in every other conceivable medical condition. However, the FDA regulates consumer health apps at its own discretion, depending on the possible risks to users.

“If an app claims to treat, diagnose or prevent a disease or a health condition, it needs to have serious evidence to back up those claims,” said Mary K. Engle, associate director of the F.T.C.’s division of advertising practices. “We hope marketers will take heed of that and do their homework before they get into the marketplace.”

 


 Elk & Elk Co., Ltd. does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or services. This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material provided on this Site is provided for information purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.