Many times people are in an automobile accident and the last thing they think about is getting legal help. They have no car to drive to work or to complete errands essential to family life. They may have been injured so badly that they can’t work. Without their normal good health and their vehicle, their life is in a state of disarray.
The victim may realize they are injured, but are so preoccupied they think they don’t have time to seek treatment. This could be a very serious mistake. They are not even sure what caused the accident. It’s possible that a person may not need a lawyer, but they should definitely have any possible injury checked out after a vehicular accident and at least try to find out who has been deemed at-fault. Remember if the police cite a particular driver, this does not necessarily mean law enforcement’s assessment of the accident is correct.
For example, in a motorcycle-car accident, the motorcyclist was initially cited for failure to yield, but further investigation of witnesses to the crash by a relative of the motorcyclist and an attorney revealed the driver of the car was at-fault and the police citation was reversed. The motorcyclist eventually won a personal injury settlement in the crash.
If any of the below listed situations apply to you and an accident you were involved in, you may want to think about contacting a personal injury attorney.
1. There is a Need to Collect Evidence to Prove Liability in the Crash.
Collecting evidence about what happened in an accident is crucial to determining if a driver may have been negligent and who is therefore liable for the crash. Evidence such as the “black box” recorder that can tell how fast a car was going when the accident occurred and whether the driver was wearing a seatbelt can often only be obtained by court order.
If possible, the driver should collect evidence at the accident scene such as photos and the names of witnesses, but if the driver is seriously injured, he or she probably won’t be able to do this.
2. You Need Someone Skilled at Evaluating Damages and Determining the True Value of Your Injury.
Once evidence is collected, it must be evaluated. Attorneys generally have many resources to build a case that the average person does not have. They include hiring medical experts to validate the seriousness of injuries and having accident reconstruction specialists to recreate the accident scene.
The lawyers must gather all of the medical records from various sources and obtain the accident report—sometimes not as easy as it sounds.
Insurance company representatives are skilled at convincing an injured person to accept a low offer for their damages. A Slater & Zurz accident attorney will work to assure you receive compensation for all your losses including past and future medical bills, current lost wages and lost future income as well as pain and suffering you have experienced from the crash injuries. When you present your case to them, the accident attorneys will provide you with the amount you should expect to receive in damages at trial or in a settlement.
3. You Need Someone Who Can Dispute an At-Fault Driver Who Claims They are Not Responsible for the Accident.
Sometimes a driver who is at-fault in an accident will try to shift the blame and assert that it was not their negligence that caused the crash. A Slater & Zurz attorney will go over the evidence to determine exactly who was at fault. They will build a strong case on your behalf.
There are cases where accident attorneys discover in the course of their investigation that their client contributed to the cause of the crash. The client can still be compensated even if he was partially at fault, or in legal terms “contributorily negligent.”
4. You Need Someone Knowledgeable About Ohio Law and How Insurance Policies Work.
Slater & Zurz attorneys are familiar with Ohio personal injury law, Ohio insurance law and the defenses to negligence that are often presented. They know how to best mitigate these defenses and will file a lawsuit for you if necessary. The attorney knows his way around the courtroom and the procedures that need to be followed to bring a personal injury claim. This is something that does not come second nature to the average person who is not usually aware of court filing deadlines, etc.
A Slater & Zurz accident attorney acts for your benefit throughout the entire process. He will make sure your side of the story is heard. He will ensure you comply with all procedural requirements related to your case. He is your advocate.
5. You Need Someone Knowledgeable about the Settlement Process.
Insurance adjusters negotiate insurance settlements on a full-time basis. They fight for the best interests of the insurance company. Your Slater & Zurz attorney has considerable experience as a negotiator so you can obtain the compensation you deserve.
Settlements require you to give up some rights. Your lawyer will explain your rights and the extent of your injuries and will caution you about accepting an inadequate amount in a settlement. Once you sign a settlement agreement, it is almost impossible to change it.
6. You Need Someone Who Can Offer You a Contingency Plan.
Many times a personal injury victim has a big fight ahead and that fight will cost a considerable amount of money. Slater & Zurz accident attorneys have the necessary resources to fight your fight for you and they will offer you a “contingency plan” for payment of your legal bills.
This means the law firm will pay the upfront costs of collecting evidence, investigating the accident and hiring the experts they will need to proceed with the case. The law firm will not make any money from your case unless you do. They get paid when you get paid. Of course, if the case is not won, and this doesn’t happen often, no one is paid but you do not have to “front” the cost of suing someone for their negligent actions.
7. Your Lawyer Should Make Sure You Understand the “Statute of Limitations” on Personal Injury in Ohio.
There are time limits that can bar you from filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In Ohio, you must file two years from the date “the cause of action accrues.” The legal definition of accrues is “to come into existence as an enforceable claim or right,” therefore it is possible to have a claim that was not discovered until after the statute of limitations deadline.
In this case, the time to file could be extended, but the plaintiff should not take it for granted that that he will be granted an extension. The victim should see an attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
8. If You Were Seriously Injured or in a Multi-Vehicle Crash or Your Work Status is Permanently Altered, Don’t Think Twice About Hiring an Attorney.
The above are all examples of things that won’t go away in a few weeks and in the case of altered work status, the victim’s life may never be as it was before the crash and he or she may be unable to financially provide for their family.
The aftermath of the results of the accident and trying to get fair compensation for injuries could potentially go on for a long time. Handling all this without an experienced attorney is almost unthinkable. In the case of a multi-car crash, several individuals and vehicles may be involved and sorting out fault can be very difficult.
Where to Find Slater & Zurz Law Firm
Slater & Zurz law firm has convenient offices in Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. Their attorneys can make arrangements to meet with you there or they will meet with you in an agreed location in Ohio.
Contact an accident attorney at 1-888-534-4850 or submit a short form describing what happened to you. An attorney will get back to you quickly. Slater & Zurz also has a 24/7/365 online “chat” service available.