A personal injury case arises when one person suffers an injury due to someone else’s negligent or intentional act.
Personal injury lawyers in Ohio are licensed legal professionals who help clients who have been involved in events that have caused someone physical injury or property damage. Personal injuries may help defend a person who is alleged to have caused injury or property loss to another person. Or, they can help a victim who suffered loss due to injury or property damage file a lawsuit against another party to obtain damages to compensate them for their losses.
Personal injury lawyers may perform tasks such as the following:
- Researching the law of negligence and intentional torts,
- Reviewing evidence from an accident site;
- Representing clients in court hearings and trials;
- Devising legal strategies, and
- Pursuing appeals of jury verdicts if necessary.
Some personal injury lawyers specialize in cases like auto accidents, medical malpractice, or construction defects litigation.
What Are Examples of Some Common Personal Injury Cases?
Some common injury cases include:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents: These can include car accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bicycle accidents. Accidents such as these may be the most common kind of personal injury case;
- Various Forms of Negligence;
- Medical Negligence or Medical Malpractice;
- Dentist Malpractice: Dentists are also health care professionals who can be sued for malpractice;
- Legal Malpractice;
- Malpractice of Other Professionals: Other professionals can also be liable for their negligent work. For example, accountants and engineers can be liable for malpractice;
- Construction Negligence;
- Strict Product Liability: People are often injured by defective products. The defects can take the form of design defects, manufacturing defects, or warning defects;
- Slip and Fall: A trip and fall case is another common type of personal injury case. Slip and falls are also common. A person can be injured when they trip and fall or slip and fall on the premises of another, e.g., in a grocery store or a subway station;
- Intentional Torts: Assault, battery, trespass, and other intentional wrongs can give rise to cases that personal injury attorneys handle;
- Fraudulent misrepresentation;
In many cases, only two parties are involved, the victim, called the “plaintiff” in legal terminology, and the person who caused injury to the plaintiff, the “defendant” in legal terminology. However, some personal injury cases may involve more than one party. This can happen if there is more than one victim or two or more people or entities that caused or contributed to the accident.
Legal Remedies for Cincinnati Personal Injury Cases
Most personal injury claims seek an award of compensatory damages, damages for pain and suffering, and, occasionally, an award of punitive damages. If the person sued is found to have been negligent or to have committed an intentional wrong, they can be ordered to pay the victim compensatory damages.
This usually covers the cost of all necessary medical treatment the victim requires because of their injuries. This would include doctors’ bills, hospital bills, and other costs of medical care. In addition, an award of compensatory damages would cover any wages or salary the victim lost. Compensatory damages can also cover the cost of future medical treatment for the injuries caused by the responsible party. Damages can also cover the cost of future lost wages and, in appropriate cases, the loss of earning capacity.
In Cincinnati, punitive damages may also be available in certain cases involving reckless or intentional misconduct.
What Happens When I Consult a Personal Injury Attorney?
The first step in finding representation for a personal injury case is an office consultation with a personal injury attorney. If a person is a potential plaintiff, an injured victim of another’s negligence or intentional wrong, the attorney wants to know everything they can possibly learn about the incident that resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries.
At this point, the attorney’s main questions are who caused the injuries, how the injuries were inflicted on the victim and the extent of the injuries. The attorney is interested in determining whether another person or entity is liable for the injuries to a plaintiff, what kind of negligence or intentional tort is at issue in the case, and whether the injuries are significant enough to warrant filing a lawsuit.
In many cases, the attorney may have to bring in experts to consult about the cause of the injuries to the plaintiff. For example, if the plaintiff reports that they went to a doctor for medical treatment and ended up with some injury, the case appears to be a medical malpractice case. The attorney must consult a doctor of the same type that treated the plaintiff. This doctor can review the plaintiff’s medical records to determine whether there was medical malpractice and how the treating physician’s care fell below the standard of care. It may require more than one plaintiff and attorney meeting to determine this.
If the attorney determines that the plaintiff has a strong case for some type of negligence or intentional tort and the plaintiff decides to retain the attorney to represent them, they enter into an agreement. The attorney will likely have the plaintiff sign a contract specifying the attorney’s fee. Personal injury attorneys usually charge the plaintiff a percentage of any amount they recover in damages for the plaintiff. This is referred to as a “contingency fee.”
Generally, the plaintiff does not have to pay the attorney anything at the beginning of the representation relationship, although sometimes, if an attorney expects to have high costs for prosecuting the case, they may ask the plaintiff to put up an amount of money to cover costs. If not, all of the costs are paid out of the damages that the attorney recovers for the plaintiff at the end of the case.
The attorney then prepares the document required to begin the lawsuit, the complaint. This is filed in the appropriate civil court. The person named as the defendant in the case has 30 days to answer.
After the defendant has answered the complaint, the two parties engage in the lawsuit’s discovery phase. In the course of discovery, both parties learn about the evidence in the case and what it shows about what happened. The parties learn what the strengths of their case are as well as any weaknesses they may have. More often than not, this brings them to a settlement in which the defendant pays the plaintiff a sum of money as damages to compensate them for their harm.
If the parties cannot settle, they proceed to trial, and a jury decides whether the defendant must pay an award of damages and, if so, in what amount.
What If the Client Is a Defendant in a Case?
If the attorney’s client is a defendant in a personal injury case, then the attorney is likely to require the payment of an hourly fee to represent the person. The attorney and the client agree on the amount the defendant will pay and how often, e.g., monthly.
The attorney may require that the defendant give the attorney a sum of money that the attorney holds in a trust account. This is a retainer. The attorney then subtracts their monthly hourly fee from the trust account. If any amount is left when the case has concluded, the attorney returns any money remaining in the trust account to the client.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with a Personal Injury Claim?
Personal injury lawsuits often involve the need for experts to serve as consultants and to testify at trial. Even an ordinary car accident, if it is serious, may require the help of an accident reconstruction expert to prove that the negligent driving of the other driver caused the accident.
This is why you need the help of a Cincinnati personal injury lawyer to handle your personal injury case. Your lawyer can identify what experts are needed and enlist those with the right experience. This is the kind of expertise that your Cincinnati personal injury lawyer will bring to your case.