Questions from the Average Joe: Personal Injuries IX

by NPHM | November 12th, 2020

Q: I was hit by a car that was being chased by police. Can I sue the city for causing the accident?

A: Any time a defendant flees police in a motor vehicle, the public is at risk. Fleeing drivers disregard traffic laws and police rarely give up on the chase until they’ve caught up with the driver. As a result, accidents with vehicles fleeing police are far too common. In Ohio, in almost all circumstances, police cannot be held liable for accidents caused in pursuit. In an effort to encourage police to do their jobs and detain suspects, the law, as written, grants police, their department, and their governing entitles broad immunity in these types of accidents. You can, however, pursue a claim against the suspect. Even if you collided with a police vehicle, the suspect is considered at fault for accidents that occur during a police chase.

Of course, it can be hard to actually hold someone fleeing the scene of a crime liable—the vehicle involved in the accident may be stolen, it’s often unlikely the driver has insurance, and much of any personal wealth they might have will be tied up in the criminal case for lawyers and other expenses. In this difficult situation, you can still pursue a claim for your injuries if you have uninsured motorist coverage on your own policy. If you’re unsure, a quick call to your insurance company can clarify what types of coverage you have. Accidents that weren’t your fault can be very traumatic experiences. An experienced auto accident attorney can make sure you get all the compensation you deserve from this difficult situation.

Q: I had surgery on my leg, it grew infected, now it needs to be amputated. Can I sue the surgeon for medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice claims are very difficult, complex claims with heightened standards that don’t apply in other types of cases. Surgeries that lead to poor outcomes, however, can have permanent and life-altering affects. As with any medical procedure, there are always risks associated with surgery. One of the primary risks for any surgery is internal infection and infection at the surgical site. In Ohio, the occurrence of an associated risk following a medical procedure is usually not something for which a medical professional can be held liable. That said, many infections are easy to treat if caught soon enough. Following a surgery, medical professionals should know to be particularly mindful of the signs of an infection. If there was time to catch and treat your infection to the point that it would have saved your leg, you may have a strong medical malpractice case.

Details about your condition following surgery, signs of infection, and follow-up appointments where the infection could have been diagnosed sooner make a big difference in the viability of a lawsuit for medical malpractice. However, you don’t have to figure out if you have a lawsuit alone. If your life was impacted by what you believe was a medical mistake, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can review all the details of your situation and help you determine if a lawsuit is right for you.

Q: I received a letter from the bureau of workers’ compensation that says I have a hearing next month. What should I do?

A: Throughout the course of a workers’ compensation claim, numerous determinations are made that effect every aspect of the claim. These include whether the injury was work related, the proper course of care for the injury, and the amount of benefits you receive for time off while you recover. At every step of the way, your employer can appeal a determination that has been made. When this happens, a hearing is scheduled where you get to make your case supporting the proper outcome for that aspect of your claim. This takes place before an industrial commission hearing officer who hears both sides, then determines the correct course of action given the evidence presented. Unfortunately, some employers automatically take a position that leads to numerous appeals at every step of the way, as they attempt to pay as little on your claims as possible. In these situations, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can represent you at the hearing and make sure you get the best possible result given all the facts about your injury and treatment. Without an attorney, it is hard to know how to properly present your side at a hearing. If you’re facing a workers’ compensation hearing, you will always end up with a much better result if you have an experienced attorney by your side.

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Headshot of Zachary Belcher, Intake Attorney at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthyZachary Belcher joined Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy and ensures that every individual who contacts the firm receives outstanding service and support throughout the intake process. He understands the stressful and life-altering situations clients face before seeking a personal injury attorney.

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