Questions from the Average Joe: Personal Injury VII

by NPHM | October 23rd, 2020

Q: While walking downtown, I was hit by a car that drove away before I could get any information about the driver or the car. Do I have any options at all to pay for my injuries?

A: Being hit by an automobile while a pedestrian is a traumatic experience with the potential to cause severe injury. When a driver that hits you flees the scene before the police arrive, an already difficult situation is compounded by the possibility that you may not be able to pursue an insurance claim against the driver. Depending on the situation, it may not be impossible to find the driver. Be sure to tell police everything you remember about the car and collect as many witness statements as possible. It’s also possible that the accident was caught on camera. Make note of any businesses in the area that might have security cameras that could have captured the accident, and reach out to those businesses as soon as possible to determine if the footage might still be available. There’s always a chance that the vehicle may be located. It is important to act quickly though—many businesses do not retain security footage for more than a few days. The longer you wait, the less likely it will be that you can locate potential witnesses.

If any of the witnesses or footage identifies the license plate of the car that hit you, the police should be able to locate the driver and obtain their insurance information. If, however, the vehicle is never identified, you can still seek payment for your injuries through your own auto insurance if you have uninsured motorist coverage. Even though you weren’t in your car at the time of the incident, uninsured motorist coverage applies to any automobile accident in which you’re involved, including when you’re a pedestrian involved in a hit-and-run accident. With uninsured motorist coverage, you are eligible to have your medical bills paid, lost wages reimbursed, and your pain and suffering compensated. If you’re not sure if your policy includes uninsured motorist coverage, it is typically easy to determine what type of coverage you have on your insurance company’s website or with a quick call to the company. If you were injured as a pedestrian and aren’t sure what to do next, an experienced accident attorney can help you make sure you get compensated for you injury, even if the at-fault driver fled the scene of the accident.

Q: I had hernia surgery 10 years ago and have experienced abdominal pain ever since. Finally, last month, an MRI revealed that a surgical sponge has been inside of me at the site of the incision all this time. Is the statute of limitations up?

A: The Ohio medical malpractice statute of limitations is complex and oftentimes harsh for people who are seriously injured by a medical professional’s negligence. In general, that statute of limitations is only one year from the conclusion of your care by the doctor that committed the malpractice, or one year from the date you discovered that the malpractice occurred. There is, however, an exception for cases in which a foreign object is left in your body during surgery. In these instances, that statute of limitations does not start to run until the foreign object is discovered or should have been discovered by the injured party. For you, that means that though your injury took place a decade ago, you may still have time to file your claim.

Due to the complexity of the law, however, it is important that you reach out to an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss your claim. Medical malpractice cases are complex, and issues with the statute of limitations are often hard to navigate. Thankfully, you do not have to go through the process alone. If you or a loved one were injured when a surgeon left a foreign object inside your body, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you make sure you are able to file your claim on time and receive the compensation you deserve for the surgeon’s negligence.

Q: I’m worried that my employer will fire me if I pursue my workers’ compensation claim. Can they do that?

A: As a rule, employers are not legally allowed to terminate an employee because they made a claim for workers’ compensation. Likewise, a workers’ compensation claim is not a lawsuit against your employer—it is a claim for what are basically insurance benefits your employer has already paid for. If you’re worried that filing a workers’ compensation claim could have a negative impact of your employment, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the challenging situation and make sure your rights are protected and that you get the benefits you deserve.

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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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