A serious personal injury often starts a downward spiral that seems endless. The average injury-related medical bill exceeds $40,000. This figure includes not only emergency treatment but also grueling physical therapy. As victims struggle to improve from a bicycle accident or other injury, since they are not working, unpaid bills pile up. The average family has little or no money in savings. So, they cannot possibly pay these expenses, even if insurance covers part of the bill.
Insurance adjusters make the situation worse. They seemingly call constantly with settlement offers. Sometimes, the first offer comes while the victim is half-conscious in a hospital room. Insurance companies train these adjusters to say the right things and appear compassionate. But early settlement offers usually do not reflect what’s right or fair. Insurance companies just want to preserve their profits.
When the London, OH, personal injury attorneys at Kruger & Hodges get together, the situation immediately becomes brighter. By law, the insurance company may only communicate with our team. So, instead of answering a barrage of phone calls, victims can focus on getting better. Finally, when the case goes to court, we fight for you and not numbers on a spreadsheet.
Kinds of Personal Injury Claims
Compensation is an important component of a personal injury claim. Quite frankly, accident victims need money to pick up the pieces of their lives. At Kruger & Hodges, we believe that money should never come from their own pockets.
Responsibility might be a more important concept. Most of us are familiar with the “you break it, you buy it” rule. People who unintentionally damage property are financially responsible for that damage. Injured parties in these situations should not have to rely on government or charitable handouts. The responsibility is personal.
This thread of personal responsibility runs through all the personal injury matters that our London, OH, personal injury attorneys handle, including:
Car Crashes: People might accidentally drop coffee cups in souvenir shops, but they do not accidentally drive drunk and cause crashes. Such driver errors cause over 98% of vehicle collisions. These collisions seriously injure millions of Americans every year. These physical and emotional injuries are normally permanent, at least to an extent.
Slips and Falls: These incidents also cause permanent injuries. Just like motorists have a duty to drive defensively, property owners have a duty to ensure their real estate is reasonably safe. In most cases, this duty includes a responsibility to address and remove any fall or other injury hazards.
Wrongful Death: A wrongful death due to a car crash, fall, or other negligent act, creates a void that no amount of money could begin to fill. But compensation helps survivors move on, which is what the decedent would have wanted. Furthermore, an injury claim forces responsible parties to acknowledge and correct their serious errors.
Our legal team includes more than just lawyers. Victims who partner with us also gain access to paralegals, investigators, and other professionals who all share a common goal, which is maximum compensation for serious injuries.
This compensation normally includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are available as well, in some extreme cases.
Finding the Right London, OH Personal Injury Lawyer
After a serious personal injury, most victims do not have a chance to choose their own medical providers. Instead, they must choose the cheapest provider.
Personal injury lawyers are different. These professionals charge nothing upfront for their services in these cases. So, instead of deciding solely based on cost, victims may assess attorneys according to their:
Dedication: If children are sick, they should see pediatricians as opposed to general practice doctors. Likewise, if you seek compensation for a personal injury, you should partner with a personal injury attorney as opposed to a general practice lawyer. Undedicated lawyers often aren’t willing to go the distance for their clients.
Experience: In law school, students learn important legal principles. But they do not learn how to make those principles work for victims. Attorneys must learn these lessons themselves, mostly through experience. This experience should include a successful track record. Attorneys who use proven methods are more likely to obtain maximum compensation in court.
Accessibility: The most experienced and dedicated London, OH, personal injury lawyers do not help victims if the lawyers assign most casework to less experienced associates or nonlawyer paralegals. As mentioned, these professionals are valuable team players. But the lead attorney must be accessible at all times.
At Kruger & Hodges, our experienced lawyers have spent decades refining their methods and dedicating themselves to families just like yours. We have obtained life-changing results in the past. We are confident that we can turn your situation around as well.
The success of a court case depends not only on an attorney’s skill but also on the evidence in the case. A house with a solid foundation usually remains standing even after a violent storm. The official accident report, medical bills, and witness statements are usually the cornerstones of this foundation.
Sometimes, these cornerstones are solid enough to support a strong foundation and an even stronger house. Other times, that’s not the case.
The police accident report in a car crash claim is a good example. Sometimes, multiple agencies, who are well-staffed and funded, contribute to this report. Other times, however, a single first responder submits this report, usually as an afterthought. So, the report might not accurately summarize the facts. That is especially true if the victim died in the accident. In such a case, the police report only contains one side of the story.
Electronic evidence, often from a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder, often supplements the police report. EDRs measure and record information like:
Brake application, and
A skilled attorney fits these seemingly random bits of evidence together and creates a compelling picture for the jury.
This critical evidence is often unavailable unless a London, OH, personal injury lawyer acts quickly. Insurance companies often destroy wrecked vehicles within hours, destroying the EDR and any other physical evidence. A spoliation letter is the only effective way to stop such “accidental” evidence destruction.
Negligence, or a lack of care, causes most falls and other personal injuries. In these situations, two basic legal theories are available in Ohio.
The duty of reasonable care, which applies to most people in most situations, is based on the story of the Good Samaritan. This man went out of his way to help an injured traveler. Likewise, drivers and property owners must go out of their way to prevent car crashes, falls, and other injuries.
If a breach of duty causes injury, the tortfeasor is liable for damages. Property owners breach their duty of care if they do not promptly remove injury hazards. As for causation, Ohio is a proximate cause state. The proximate cause is an event or choice which, in a natural and continued sequence, directly produces the injury.
Usually, the victim/plaintiff must sustain a physical injury to obtain compensation for damages. Some exceptions apply, including the negligent infliction of emotional distress rule.
Negligence Per Se
Ohio or municipal law often establishes the standard of care. So, the negligence per se rule applies if the tortfeasor violates a safety rule and that violation substantially causes damage.
Speeding is a good example of the difference between these two doctrines. Usually, emergency responders only issue speeding tickets if the negligent driver is traveling more than about 10 mph above the speed limit (negligence per se). However, many motorists drive too fast for the traffic or environmental conditions and therefore cause wrecks (ordinary negligence).
Possible Defenses Your London, OH Personal Injury Lawyer May Use
Usually, in life, minimum effort produces minimum results. Simply building a solid negligence case is not enough to obtain maximum compensation. A good lawyer anticipates insurance company defenses and is ready to refute them.
Ohio is a comparative fault state. Many insurance company defenses are based on this doctrine, which shifts blame from the tortfeasor to the victim.
A fall injury case is a good example. Quite simply, the insurance company might argue that the victim did not watch where s/he was going and is, therefore, legally responsible for the injuries sustained in that fall.
A closer look at the facts often refutes the contributory negligence defense. Many victims, especially older victims, have poor eyesight. They cannot spot hazards that are obvious to other people, especially in low-light conditions. Additionally, many people have gait disorders. They shuffle their feet when walking. Therefore, if they stumble, they typically cannot regain their balance.
The last clear chance is an offshoot on comparative fault which often applies in wrong-way vehicle collisions. All drivers have a duty of reasonable care to avoid accidents at all times. So, if Driver A did not swerve out of Driver B’s way, Driver A might be legally responsible for damages, even if Driver B was driving on the wrong side of the road.
There is a big difference between the last clear chance and any possible chance. Due to traffic, environmental, and other conditions, slamming on one’s brakes or suddenly changing lanes might cause a worse crash than the one it might have prevented.
Connect With a Thorough Madison County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced London, OH personal injury lawyer contact Kruger & Hodges, Attorneys at Law, by going online or calling 513-894-3333. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.