If you have sustained serious injuries in an automobile accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident or trucking accident, and you need to speak with an experienced Cleveland car accident lawyer, we can help you. The personal injury attorneys of Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A. represent clients who have sustained life-altering catastrophic injuries in car crashes and other types of motor vehicle accidents. Our lawyers will do the work necessary to determine who is responsible for serious injuries resulting from car wrecks and who should pay compensation. We are also skilled in determining and proving the full extent of your damages, both economic and non-economic.
Under Ohio law, you have two years in which to file a lawsuit arising out of personal injuries caused by a motor vehicle accident. However, when the accident results in severe personal injuries or there are questions about who is at fault, it is important to contact a personal injury attorney early in the process. In these serious cases, the attorney can provide valuable advice regarding treatment options and medical documentation of injuries. In addition, if there is a dispute about how the accident occurred and who is at fault, the attorney can document and preserve physical evidence, obtain witness statements from eyewitnesses and ensure that other physical evidence is preserved. Early investigation and preservation of evidence can make the difference between winning and losing your case.
When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you will find that your mailbox will be full of solicitations from personal injury lawyers. Many of these lawyers are more business people than trial lawyers. They usually have high volume practices with a huge number of clients. Due to their high volume caseload, these businesses hire paralegals and unskilled individuals to process your case. The lawyers who run these high-volume practices are often saddled with a large payroll and massive advertising budget that must be fed. This puts pressure on the firm to settle cases quickly, not necessarily for full value or taking into account the clients’ best interests.
The high-volume personal injury law firm may be useful to you if your injuries are minimal and you experience a full recovery from your injuries. In many cases, however, when there are mild injuries and a full recovery, you can handle the case yourself, often resulting in recovery of more compensation than if attorney fees are subtracted from the recovery.
However, when serious personal injuries are involved, such as fractures, dislocation, traumatic brain injury, amputation, tinnitus, organ laceration, amputation, herniated disk, serious back injury, other disabling injury or injury requiring surgery or wrongful death, you will need legal advice. There are a number of reasons for this, including the preservation of evidence, advice regarding medical care, evaluation of insurance issues, handling subrogation claims, filing suit, valuation and conducting negotiations.
Preservation of Evidence. In most car accidents, the determination of fault will be made by the investigating police officer. The determination of fault will be reflected in the police report and confirmed by the issuance of a traffic citation. The police officer will also likely obtain witness statements that are made part of the police report. In serious car crashes, the official investigation might include photographs and diagrams of the accident reconstruction, including the location of physical evidence like skid marks and yaw marks. Police investigations can be flawed or conducted by officers who have little or no training in accident reconstruction, however.
In some cases, the cause of the accident is disputed. In these cases, it may be important for your attorney to conduct their own investigation, including obtaining photographs of vehicle damage, photographing the accident site, hiring an accident reconstruction expert to evaluate the cause of the crash, interviewing eyewitnesses, obtaining weather reports and sunrise/sunset tables, examining cell phone records to determine if the other driver was texting, obtaining credit card receipts to determine whether the other driver was drinking and driving and to what extent, obtaining toxicology results if the other driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, obtaining videotape from area businesses, obtaining satellite information for commercial vehicles and obtaining “black box” data contained in many modern vehicles. The extent of the investigation will be determined by the severity of the crash and injuries and the arguments raised by each driver as to who caused the crash.
Medical Care. A skilled car accident lawyer can assist his or her client with a number of medical issues. First, some large local hospital systems refuse to assist their patients in personal injury litigation. This can rob the patient of a critical advocate regarding the nature, extent and cause of their injuries. Likewise, some doctors are outwardly hostile to their patient’s complaints of injury due to previous relationships with insurance companies or a negative view towards injury claims generally. In these cases, your personal injury lawyer can direct you to a caregiver or medical examiner who will listen to your complaints, document them thoroughly, and treat you with concern and respect.
Some injuries are difficult to diagnose and frequently overlooked by busy or unskilled physicians. For example, it is not unusual for an experienced car accident lawyer to recognize that their client has a traumatic brain injury or a serious spine injury before any medical practitioner recognizes it. In these instances, the attorney can direct you to appropriate medical professionals who can make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a unique injury that requires a careful evaluation by an experienced brain injury lawyer. In any case involving a significant trauma, it is important to interview the injured party early in the case evaluation process to see if this diagnosis has been overlooked. Family members can help as well. We like to ask the following:
- Were you diagnosed with a concussion?
- Have you had any abnormal head imaging?
- Do you remember the accident?
- Did you lose consciousness?
- Was there significant damage to the vehicle?
- Did the airbag deploy?
- Did you hit your head/face?
- Do you have headaches?
- Do you have tinnitus (ear ringing)?
- Do you have dizziness?
- Do you have fatigue?
- Do you feel depressed?
- Do you have difficulty with memory or concentration?
- Do you have confusion or slow thinking?
- Do you have visual disturbance?
- Do you have seizures?
- Do you have anger outbursts or unusual irritability?
- Do you have nausea?
- Do you have loss of smell or taste?
- Have you developed sensitivity to light or sound?
- Do you have sleep disturbance?
- Have you developed mood swings or a change in behavior?
Insurance Issues. Most insurance companies will not provide you with their insured’s insurance coverage information, including coverage limits, before filing a lawsuit. Oftentimes, it is necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to determine what coverage limits are available. In addition, it is important to know whether the driver who caused your car accident was working at the time of the collision. In such cases, the employer’s insurance coverage may apply. Finally, when the other driver’s insurance limits are inadequate, a skilled car accident lawyer will look at your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to determine whether those policy provisions provide a source of recovery.
In addition to automobile insurance, in severe injury cases, additiona