Serious injuries due to explosion, fire or electrocution provide unique challenges for Ohio personal injury lawyers. Let me discuss some of those challenges here. First, the nature of the injuries that occur from catastrophes like explosions, fires and electrical shock tend to be unique injuries such as burns, nerve damage, brain damage, amputation, hearing loss or tinnitus, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In proving these injuries, your attorney must understand that even after the external wounds heal, the injury victim may face a lifetime of disability from emotional scars, brain injury and pain syndromes. To prove these hidden injuries, you may need help from a whole host of medical experts, including a trauma surgeon, neurologist, physiatrist, neuropsychologist or neuropsychiatrist.
In addition to proving the underlying injuries, you will also need to prove the extensive damages that flow from those injuries. This may require a life care planner to estimate future medical costs, a vocational rehabilitation expert to determine whether you remain employable and, if so, whether your earning capacity is diminished, and/or an economist to determine the value of your lost wages, benefits and household services that you provided to others who are dependent upon you.
There are legal challenges associated with these types of injuries as well. Not surprisingly, many of these injuries occur in the workplace. Therefore, a thorough investigation is necessary to determine whether any claim is barred by Ohio’s Workers Comp laws. Generally, Ohio’s Workers Comp laws bar an employee from suing their employer. Instead, the worker is entitled to BWC benefits. That benefit system is heavily rigged in favor of the employer. So, it is important to determine whether anyone besides the employer is responsible for the workplace injury. For example, on a jobsite, did other contractors create the hazard that caused injury? Or, did a piece of equipment fail, thereby causing the injury? In addition to these so-called third party claims, an employer can still be held liable for engaging in intentional conduct that led to the injury, such as removal of a protective guard.
In the instance of an electrical injury, the investigation focuses on who controlled the electricity and whether it was managed properly to remove the risk of injury. Sometimes, the inquiry focuses on the power company (Cleveland Public Power, First Energy, AEP, Ohio Power, Toledo Edison, Dayton Power & Light, Duke, CEI are major players in Ohio) to determine whether their line placement and grid structure is up to code or meets other regulations.
In the case of burns suffered from a house or other structure fire, the investigation focuses on the cause of the fire, and whether the structure met code restrictions.
As you can see, such a catastrophic accident raises many legal and factual questions. To maximize your chances of proving a personal injury case involving serious injury from an explosion, fire or electrocution, it is imperative to find a lawyer with experience in investigating and proving these cases.
People interested in learning more about our firm’s legal services, including medical malpractice in Ohio, may ask questions or send us information about a particular case by phone or email. There is no charge for contacting us regarding your inquiry. A member of our medical-legal team will respond within 24 hours.