What is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury lawsuit may be filed any time a person is hurt as a result of the negligence of another. Negligence occurs when a person fails to do what another normal, reasonable person would have done, given the same set of circumstances. According to SMU Daily News, automobile accidents comprise most personal injury claims, with millions of Americans suffering injuries from car accidents each year. The cause of these accidents could be a careless driver, a distracted driver, an overly tired driver, or an impaired driver, involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, bicycles, and buses.
After car accident injuries, most causes of personal injury claims are:
- Injury due to medical malpractice
- slip and fall injuries
- injuries due to product liability or dangerous drugs
- “Other” injuries from an industrial accident, a construction accident, a dog bite, or any other type of accident caused by the negligence of another person or entity
Most personal injury lawsuits result from moderate to severe injuries, and, despite what many people believe, there are few genuinely frivolous lawsuits filed.
At Schaffer & Associates, we handle personal injury cases, particularly those personal injury cases that are combined with workers’ compensation. This could encompass those injured in an auto accident while driving for their employer as a part of their regular job duties. Workers’ compensation benefits could be applicable because the individual was at work when the accident happened. Yet, a third-party personal injury claim might also be warranted if the other driver acted negligently.
Ohio Statutes of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
There is a specific length of time allowed for a person to file a lawsuit following an injury due to another’s negligence, known as the statute of limitations. This period of time is different from state to state. A personal injury case in the state of Ohio must be filed within two years from the time the accident occurred. A medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within one year from either the date the injury is discovered or the last date of treatment with the negligent medical provider, however, there are certain exceptions to this rule. It is imperative that you not miss the deadline for filing an Ohio personal injury lawsuit, or you could be forever barred from doing so.
How a Personal Injury Can Adversely Affect Your Future
All too often, victims of personal injury accidents are reluctant to file a claim because they fail to understand how their injuries could affect their life months or even years down the road. In some cases, an individual injured through the negligence of another could accept a quick settlement offer, thinking it is the best they will do, or that the insurance company would not offer them a less-than-fair settlement.
Neither of these beliefs is true; you could end up facing medical expenses that are not covered by your settlement, or you could find you are unable to return to work and make a living, yet your settlement does not cover the years you are facing without the ability to work. It is essential you understand your personal injuries’ long-term effects to avoid making a mistake that could threaten your financial security and your loved ones for a very long time to come.
What if you find your ability to do the simplest tasks—such as walking, standing, sitting, bending, carrying, driving, dressing—have been impaired by your accident? What if your accident left you with impairments to your memory or your ability to think, speak, or comprehend? What if your accident has impacted your ability to taste, smell, hear, or feel? Or, you have suffered a partial or complete loss of hearing or sight? Speaking to a knowledgeable Ohio personal injury attorney before making any decisions will ensure you don’t make a mistake that could affect you for a lifetime.
What is the Average Personal Injury Settlement?
There is no such thing as an “average” settlement. The damages in your specific case will vary significantly from the damages for anyone else’s injury case. You may be entitled to medical expenses, pain, and suffering, lost wages (current and future), emotional trauma, and/or punitive damages. There can also be awards for punitive damages if you can prove the defendant acted maliciously or intentionally. The extent of your injuries and whether you will be able to return to work relatively soon—or ever—will factor into your injury settlement. Lifelong pain and suffering and/or emotional trauma will also be a factor in your settlement amount.
What are the Most Common Injuries Associated with a Personal Injury Claim?
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident or any other type of accident caused by the negligence of another person or entity, you have a right to file a personal injury claim to recover your damages. The most common types of injuries associated with car accidents include:
- Head injuries or Traumatic Brain Injury
- Cuts and scrapes
- Broken ribs and other broken bones
- Amputation of a limb
- Spinal injuries resulting in partial or total paralysis
- Other back and neck injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Knee trauma
- PTSD or different types of psychological trauma
What Steps Should I Take Following an Accident with Injuries?
Of course, the first thing you should do immediately following your accident is to seek medical attention. Even if you do not think you are hurt very seriously, it can still be wise to let a doctor look you over. In many instances, the adrenaline rush you get at the time of the accident can mask physical symptoms. Neck, back, and head injuries may not show up for days or even weeks. If you fail to see a doctor immediately, the insurance company may refuse to pay under the theory you were fine at the time; therefore, something else must have caused your current injuries. After you have attended to your health, there are certain things you can do which can immeasurably help your attorney in obtaining an equitable settlement for your injuries. These things include:
- Following your accident, if you are able to, write down every detail you can remember regarding the accident, which caused your injuries. This can include weather conditions and traffic level if an auto accident was responsible for your injuries.
- If there were witnesses to your accident, gather as much contact information as possible in the event your attorney needs to speak to them later. If you are too badly hurt to take photographs of the accident or obtain witness information, see if you can get a friend or family member to attend to these details.
- Always report your accident promptly to the police.
- Never, ever make a statement to an insurance company, or anyone else, before you have spoken to an Ohio personal injury attorney. Never admit fault, whether to the other person involved in your accident, an insurance company, the other person’s attorney, or the police. Let the police determine who was at fault.
- Prepare a diary outlining your pain and limitations, days missed from work, when you were evaluated by your physician as well as medications taken as a result of your trauma. Such documentation is helpful to show a jury the extent of harm you suffered from the accident.
How a Schaffer & Associates Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
It can be extremely beneficial to have a knowledgeable Ohio personal injury attorney on your case from start to finish. An attorney from Schaffer & Associates is not only mindful of the many laws specific to Ohio which govern your accident but well-used to shouldering the legal—as well as the anxiety-producing—aspects of the case, such as dealing with insurance companies. Having an attorney who will protect your rights will allow you the time to heal from your injuries without worrying about whether you can get a fair settlement. Contact Schaffer & Associates today for a comprehensive evaluation of your Ohio accident.