Frequently Asked Questions For Ohio Personal Injury Claims
If you are looking for answers to basic questions about your Ohio injury claim, this part of the Miraldi & Barrett web site is devoted to providing thorough answers to those questions. Whether you were injured in a car crash, by a defective product, or a vicious dog, these questions are answered here. If the injuries involve the spine, a serious fracture, paralysis or relate to the death of a family member, this section will answer your questions. If you do not find the answers to your questions here, please call us at 1-800-589-3023.
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My health insurer has paid my medical bills and now wants to be paid out of my settlement. Does my health insurer have a right to be paidback from the settlement?
Probably. Most health insurance policies have a provision that allows the insurance company to be reimbursed for medical expenses that were caused by the negligence of a third party. This includes a negligent driver who injures you in a car crash. This right to reimbursement is known in legal terms as a "right of subrogation". The health insurance company bases its premium on the assumption that it will get reimbursed for payments made under these circumstances.
When our firm is involved, we make sure that the charges that the health insurer is attempting to recover were actually caused by the crash and not for something totally unrelated. We also attempt to negotiate a lesser amount for the payback so that you receive more of the settlement.
One of the real problems is when your health insurer has paid amounts that are more than the wrongdoer's insurance coverage. Often the health insurer will claim that it is entitled to all of that money instead of you. A law firm will need to investigate whether the health insurer is entitled to be paid first before you or whether you do. This determination is based on the policy language in the health insurance contract and case law. In many cases, we try to work out a compromise where you and the health insurer share the settlement funds based on some equitable distribution.
I was involved in a car crash. What am I entitled to receive for my injuries and losses?
In injury cases, you are entitled to recover "economic damages" such as the reasonable cost of your medical treatment, the cost of future medical treatment, your lost wages, your future lost wages, and other out of pocket expenses. You are also entitled to receive compensation for "non-economic" or personal damages that are more difficult to quantify. These losses may include pain, mental worry and upset, , permanent limitations on your physical health, and your inability to enjoy your hobbies and special activities.
Your spouse may be entitled to losses stemming from your inability to do normal household and marital activities.
The other driver's insurance company has agreed to pay what I say I'm owed. Should I settle out of court?
If you agree to accept the amount offered, you need not go to court. Just be sure to seek the advice of a legal professional before settling
When I crossed the street, I didn't use the crosswalk and got hit by a car. Who's at fault?
While the driver might be liable for hitting you, you can also be charged with contributory negligence because you failed to take sufficient care and so indirectly contributed to the cause of your injuries.
I was injured several years ago as a result of surgery but never filed a lawsuit against the doctor hospital. Is it too late now to file?
Each state has its own statute of limitations, identifying the time period during which a medical malpractice action can be brought. Ohio's statute of limitations states that every action for medical malpractice must be brought within one year after the patient knew he may have suffered injury due to a medical error, or one year from the physician patient relationship for that condition, whichever is longer., up to a maximum of four years from the time of the medical error. You should check with a medical malpractice attorney to determine the applicable statute of limitations in your case.
My doctors insurance carrier has offered me a settlement and I need the money now. Should I accept?
It depends on the circumstances. Will the injury or problem you believe resulted from sub standard medical care result in future medical expenses or loss of earnings? While it may be tempting to take the money and run, be aware that in situation such as this, those offering the settlement are working on behalf of the healthcare practitioner. Accepting a settlement today might not address your needs down the road. You may want to check with us. If we believe that the offer made to you is reasonable we will tell you so at no charge.
How is medical malpractice determined?
Medical malpractice results when a medical professional departs from the accepted standard of medical care in the diagnosis or treatment of a patient and that departure of care results in a serious injury or death. In order to prove medical malpractice it is necessary to have the medical records reviewed by a medical specialist in the same speciality as the medical provider involved to determine the standard of care and whether it was violated in your case. Three criteria must be met to prove medical malpractice: Breach of the standard of care (a mistake was made that should not have occurred); Causation (as a result of the mistake, you suffered an injury) and Damages (the mistake resulted in a loss to you or your loved ones such as financial expenses, serous injury, lost wages or death).
What kind of documents will I need for a malpractice case?
Compile all paperwork documenting your case, including a time line of events,bills, lab reports and any other information about your treatment. If you have seen other healthcare practitioners for the same problem or for problems connected to the same issue, include them as well as any notes taken about your condition before, during or after treatment. If your attorney has agreed to investigate your claim, he or she will obtain your consent to have all relevant medical records released to the attorney, who will then have them reviewed by an appropriate medical expert. />
What is a certificate of merit?
A certificate of merit is an affadavit provided by a qualified medical expert, who has reviewed the appropriate medical records and agrees that the medical provider involved departed from accepted medical practice in the diagnosis or treatment of a patient resulting in serious injury or death. In Ohio,a certificate of merit must be filed in Court with the lawsuit.
Can I sue the hospital as well as the doctor?
If the health care professional is an employee of the health facility, the facility itself can be sued under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior. However, if the health care professional was acting as an outside contractor, the facility might not be held liable unless it was negligent in granting privileges to the professional.
What kind of losses can be recovered if someone's carelessness injures me?
In injury cases, a person is entitled to both economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the reasonable value of medical services, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages include harms and losses that reflect pain, discomfort, inability to enjoy activities, and emotional upset. If injuries are permanent, compensation may be awarded for future harms and losses in these same categories.
How does the court determine what I receive?
If your case is not settled before going to an actual trial, your compensation is normally determined by a jury after receiving instructions from the judge regarding the type of harms and losses that are recoverable based upon the evidence presented at trial. Usually the court will instruct the jury to consider the amount of medical expenses, any lost wages or future earnings that resulted from the injury, the pain and suffering associated with your injuries, any loss of ability to do normal activities, and emotional upset. The jury will consider an award for these types of losses, but is not required to award compensation unless it finds that you have probably sustained those losses.
How long does it take to settle a claim?
Although you may be tempted to opt for a quick settlement, you should never settle until the full extent of your injuries is known. Usually settlement discussions can be started after you have completed your treatment and your doctor is able to give a prognosis regarding future problems. This time frame depends largely on how long you treat and how long it takes for the doctor to provide a report detailing your injuries.
What is the time period for filing a claim?
Generally speaking, adults have to file within two years of the injury date, although minors may have until their 20th birthday to file. However, different time periods apply for medical malpractice and dog bites. It is important to contact an attorney to determine the time limitation that applies to your specific situation.
What all is considered when determining how much I receive?
The settlement amount will include any or all of the following: incurred and future medical expenses, lost wages or lost future earnings, pain and suffering.
I slipped in a store but the injury wasn't serious. Should I still notify the owner?
Any time you have an accident outside your home, you should file an incident or accident report. This documents what took place, which can be useful if the next morning, you awake with bruises or discomfort that weren't immediately apparent.
The other insurance company says its offer is fair and reasonable. Should I take it?
Always keep in mind that the other party's company is working on behalf of its client. While you may be pressured to take the first offer, remember it is in the company's best interests to pay out as little as it can.
When do I need to retain an attorney?
If there is a dispute about who was at fault or if you have suffered any serious injuries or incurred medical or other expenses (such as lost wages), it is advisable that you meet with a personal injury attorney to determine the merits of your case.
What does "case law" mean?
Personal injury law is based not on statutes (such as the penal code) but on previous court decisions. Your attorney might use a pre-existing case law (or "legal precedent") to strengthen your case, meaning he will cite other court decisions similar to yours that are in your favor.
I was injured while on vacation in another state. Where will the claim be filed?
Generally speaking, claims are usually filed in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred or where the parties to the lawsuit are located. However, if the parties live in different states and the amount in controversy exceed $75,000, the case may be filed in the federal trial courts.