Questions from the Average Joe: Personal Injury VIII

by NPHM | October 30th, 2020

Q: I was in a serious auto accident but the person who hit me only had state minimum coverage. I don’t think that can even cover some of my hospital bills. Do I have any options?

Image of a car accidentA: Though most auto accidents don’t approach the insurance limits set forth as minimum coverage by the Ohio legislature, serious accidents can overshoot the moderate limits with even a brief hospital stay. The at-fault party’s insurance company is not, unfortunately, obligated to pay more than their contractual limits under a policy, no matter how severe an accident is. Even so, you are not without options. If you are in an accident with damages that exceed the other party’s insurance limits, your own insurance may be able to step in if you purchased under-insured motorist coverage with your policy. Usually, this is paired with uninsured motorist coverage, and will pay the difference in a claims value between the policy limits of the other policy and the value of your claim. It can only, however, apply if its own limits exceed that of the other driver. It is therefore important to make sure that you are adequately covered by your own policy in case of a serious auto accident with a party that does not have adequate insurance.

In addition to underinsured motorist coverage, there may be other insurance policies that cover that at-fault driver worth investigating, like general liability umbrella coverage. If you were in a serious auto accident, an experienced auto accident attorney can help you make sure you have pursed every possible avenue to make sure your bills are paid and you are adequately compensated for all of your losses from the accident.

Q: I fell off a ladder while painting a house and broke my leg. Can I make a claim against the homeowner?

A: Even experienced workers sometimes get hurt while working in dangerous conditions. Depending on several factors, you may have multiple options to help pay your medical bills and compensate you for your injuries. If you were working as an employee when you fell off the ladder, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to pay your medical bills and provide benefits while you’re off work recovering. Depending on the details of your fall, you may also have a claim against the homeowner. If the area in which you were painting was unreasonably dangerous and caused you to fall, you may have a claim against their homeowners’ insurance. Additionally, if the ladder was defective, you could have a claim against the ladder manufacturer if it was otherwise kept in good repair. You may be eligible for each of these types of claims, depending on your situation, independent of one another. Each may be available to you, but all of them are fact dependent.

An experienced personal injury attorney can help you go over the facts of your accident and make sure that every possibility is investigated. It is important, too, that you make every effort to preserve any evidence. If you are able, getting pictures of the area of the fall can help an attorney evaluate your case. Likewise, if you still have access to the ladder, it is important that you retain it in the same state it was in at the time of your accident. Though cases like yours can be difficult and complex, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine what types of claims are available to you and help you pursue them to get the best possible result.

Q: I experienced severe side effects from a drug I found out later I didn’t even need. Do I have a case for medical malpractice?

A: Modern medicine can be a wonderful thing, but far too often, the supposed cures for our ailments come with side effects that can greatly impact our quality of life. To find out that you suffered terrible side effects unnecessarily can take quite the physical and psychological toll. In Ohio, however, medical malpractice cases can be very difficult and very expensive. Not every instance of a medical provider making a mistake warrants a lawsuit. However, in your situation, a case may be a good option. If you were prescribed the drug as the result of a misdiagnosis, the viability of a lawsuit could come down to the long-term injury you suffered because of the misdiagnosis. If side effects went away when you stopped taking the drug and you don’t suffer from any long-term injury, your case may not be viable. That said, some drugs do have permanent effects and if you were prescribed a powerful drug unnecessarily that greatly affected your life, you very well may have a case. It is, however, also important to remember that Ohio has a very short statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases.

If you’re no longer seeing the doctor that prescribed the drug, you only have one year from the date you learned the drug was unnecessary to file any claim related to it. Due to the complexity of these types of cases, it is important to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss your possible case. An attorney who has handled your type of case before can help you determine if a lawsuit is right for you.

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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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