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FAQ


Should I file a lawsuit?

Before pursuing a lawsuit, you will want to consider at least three factors to see if you have a viable claim to recover for personal injuries. These three factors are liability, damages and collectability.

Liability – Liability means that a person or company can be held legally responsible for a wrongful or negligent act. For example, this could mean that a manufacturer produced a product that caused harm or damage to a consumer.

Damages – Damages are the harms and losses that were caused by the wrongful or negligent act. For example, this could be the medical bills or lost wages that were incurred by a person who was injured in an accident.

Collectability – This is the ability to collect a judgment against the person or company who caused the damages. For example, if you were in an automobile accident and obtain judgment against the other driver there is often an issue of whether or not there is sufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate someone for their harms and losses.

It is important to consult with a personal injury attorney who can help evaluate these factors, amongst many others, to determine if a lawsuit should be pursued against a person or company who caused personal injury and damages.


What is negligence?

In Ohio a plaintiff must demonstrate the existence of a duty, breach of that duty, and causation to prove negligence. This is generally the failure to exercise the proper care toward others which a reasonable or cautious person would do in the circumstances, or taking action which such a reasonable person would not. There are also specific legislative enactments that can impose upon a person or company a specific duty for the protection of others, and where there is a failure to perform that duty which proximately results in injury to another, they can be negligent per se or as a matter of law. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate which duties exist under a particular circumstance and whether or not a breach of those duties resulted in harms and losses upon which a lawsuit can be brought.


What is a letter of protection used for?

When a person is injured unexpectedly in an accident, they do not always have enough money saved to pay for the medical care they need. A Letter of Protection (LOP) is a letter sent by a personal injury lawyer to medical professionals in order to allow an injured person to obtain medical care on credit in exchange for a promise to pay for the services from the client’s settlement or judgment. However, a letter of protection is not always in the client’s best interests, especially if there are other means to secure the proper medical care for a client. For example many automobile insurance policies include medical payments coverage that can be utilized. It is best to consult with a personal injury attorney to see if a letter of protection is really the best means of obtaining medical care in your situation.


What is the time limit to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice in Ohio?

If you are considering filing a claim against a doctor or other healthcare provider it is important to know that there are special rules that apply to medical malpractice claims in Ohio. One difference between a medical malpractice claim and a negligence claim is that there is a one year statute of limitations, or time limit, in which to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice. But, if the patient was a minor, under 18 years of age, the statute of limitations may not begin to run until the child reaches the age of majority. There are also certain provisions in the law for extending the statute of limitations, such as serving the doctor with a 180 day letter. However, due to the technicalities involved this should only be attempted by an experienced attorney. The important thing to keep in mind is that if you allow the statute of limitations to expire, you will no longer be able to seek a recovery for the wrongful conduct. Given the potentially short time period in which to bring a lawsuit and the complicated laws surrounding medical malpractice, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible in order to determine if a lawsuit for medical malpractice should be filed.


How much does a lawyer cost?

This question is a little more complex than most would think since there are several different ways that attorneys charge for their services that are standard in the profession. These options of pricing are as listed below:

 

  • The lawyer could charge a contingency fee, which is a percentage of the recovery gained by the client – In general, most personal injury cases are charged on “contingency,” meaning that the lawyer agrees to receive a certain percentage of the settlement or judgment, usually one-third. The concept is simple; we don’t get paid unless you do.
  • The lawyer could charge a flat fee for services – A flat fee means that the lawyer who you have hired is charging one lump sum of money for their services.
  • The lawyer could charge by the hour – This means that however many hours the lawyer has been working on your case, they will charge you for each hour with their hourly rate. These rates can vary depending on the type of law, experience, complexity and jurisdiction that the lawyer is located in.
  • The lawyer could also charge a combination of two or more of the above methods depending on the type of case, risk, cost and complexity of the issues involved.

 

At the Brannon Law Firm we handle most of our cases on a contingency fee basis and advance the costs of litigation. We have found that by doing this we have aligned our interests with those of our clients. It also does not burden clients with immediate legal fees and litigation expenses, when the client may have just been hurt in an accident and is off work.


Should I sign a release without consulting with an attorney?

If you have been in an accident, you will most likely be receiving a series of documents from both your insurance company and the insurance company acting on behalf of the other driver. One of the documents will likely be titled as a “release” or an “authorization.” These can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Medical Authorization Release – Allows the insurance company to dig into your personal medical history. Depending on your medical history, this could affect the outcome of your claim.
  • Release of All Liability – Lets the insurance company “off the hook.” What we mean by “off the hook” is that this type of release is stating that the liable party’s insurance company is no longer responsible to pay your claim.
  • Property Damage Release – Depending on the amount of damage to your vehicle, you’ll either receive a release (check) or have it repaired.

All of these documents will ask for your signature. But before you even think about signing any documents the insurance company sends, you should consult an attorney. An attorney will make sure that you are not signing something that may jeopardize your case.