Questions from the Average Joe – Personal Injury llI

by NPHM | July 2nd, 2020

Q: I suffered an infection following a hip replacement. My doctor told me it was a risk of the surgery, but I feel like more could have been done to prevent it. I’m now facing a second surgery to clear up the infection. Do I have a malpractice lawsuit?

A: All medical procedures come with risks and unfortunately, particularly in the case of surgery, infection following a procedure is often one of those risks. In Ohio, when you suffer a complication from a procedure that is a known risk of the procedure, a malpractice lawsuit may not be possible. By undergoing a procedure, you are legally assuming the risks of the procedures. That said, certain circumstances or medical decisions may increase your risk or cause the complications unnecessarily. Depending on all the facts of your situation, a malpractice lawsuit may still be possible. The only way to know for sure though, is to discuss your case with a qualified and experienced medical malpractice attorney. If sufficient proof exists that you would not have suffered a complication but for poor medical decision making on the part of the surgical staff, you may have a case.

Q: I let my friend borrow my car and he caused a major accident. I had nothing to do with the accident but now my insurance premiums are going up as a result. Is there anything I can do?

A: Under Ohio law, most insurance policies cover anyone who has permission to drive a covered vehicle. This means that any time your car is in an accident, even if you were not there, your insurance policy applies so long as the driver had your permission to drive it. This concept is referred to by lawyers as “negligent entrustment.” Even though that might sound like you need to know your friend would possibly cause an accident before you lent him your car, that’s not actually the case. If you trust someone with your vehicle and they cause an accident, you are legally liable for the damage they cause.

As a result, your insurance premiums may go up, especially if your insurance company makes payments on a claim for the accident. That said, your friend, as the driver that caused the accident, is also liable for the damages caused. If he had his own car insurance policy, it may also cover the damages and they may reimburse you for out of pocket expenses caused by your friend’s negligent driving.

Q: I fell on someone else’s property and injured myself. Can I sue them?

A: It depends. Ohio has relatively strict premises liability requirements that make these kinds of lawsuits challenging. First, the danger that caused the injury cannot have been objectively “open and obvious.” This means that, with reasonable attention, something that could have been avoided. Additionally, it must be a danger that the property owner or their employees knew or should have known about and failed to maintain or repair. If a danger is recently created and there was no opportunity for the property owner to fix it, a lawsuit may not be possible. Furthermore, it is often a challenge to collect sufficient evidence to prove that all the requirements are met.

If you suffered an injury due to dangerous conditions on another’s property, it is imperative that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible so that the situation can be assessed and as much evidence as possible can maintained. Though a premises liability case can be an uphill battle, the right attorney can make sure you get all of the compensation possible for your injuries.

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Zachary Belcher joined Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy and ensures that every individual who contacts the firm receives outstanding service and support throughout the intake process.

Zack graduated from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 2015 and has handled more than 500 injury cases for clients injured in automobile accidents. He understands the stressful and life-altering situations clients face before seeking a personal injury attorney.

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