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Cleveland Personal Injury Attorneys

Pursuing Justice for Accident Victims

If you were in an accident for which another person is at fault, you may have grounds to file a claim or lawsuit under personal injury law. At HMW Law, we understand how complicated it can be to pursue action against the person responsible for your accident, especially if you’re unfamiliar with this area of the law and when you’re focusing on recovering. That is why our experienced personal injury attorneys in Cleveland will take care of all the details of your case for you. Call HMW Law at 216-369-1352 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

What is Personal Injury Law?

Essentially, personal injury law is a practice area that deals with civil cases in which another person’s intentional or reckless actions or negligence causes another individual to suffer harm. A personal injury case aims to allow the aggrieved party to seek compensation for losses and expenses (often referred to as damages).

The financial payout is awarded to ” make the plaintiff whole,” i.e., helping the victim return their life to normal – or as normal as possible. A personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and legal options and guide you through the complexities of your case.

What Types of Personal Injury Cases Does HMW Law Handle?

Accidents can happen in several settings, and a personal injury claim can arise for several reasons – they are not just limited to traffic collisions. Any time a person owes another a duty of care and breaches that duty, the injured party can take legal action to hold them liable. Our personal injury lawyers provide sound legal guidance for a variety of matters in Cleveland, including:

  •  Auto accidents: A person involved in a car accident because of another driver’s negligence or recklessness may be able to pursue a personal injury claim and seek compensation for damages.
  •  Motor vehicle accidents: Motor vehicle accidents are collisions involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles. If another driver was at fault, the injured party may have the right to pursue a claim.
  •  Motorcycle accidents: Motorcycle accidents can result in substantial injuries, as the biker is not protected like a person in a passenger vehicle is. It’s essential to seek compensation to help cover accident-related damages.
  •  Nursing home liability: Negligence on the part of nursing home staff and administrators can result in residents suffering injury or death. A personal injury claim can help hold the facility liable for its reckless actions or inactions.
  •  Slip and fall accidents: Property owners must provide safe environments for visitors. Neglecting that duty by failing to maintain walkways or areas with high foot traffic can lead to injury-causing accidents.
  •  Truck accidents: When a commercial truck driver fails to exercise reasonable care while on the road, they can cause accidents that result in significant damage. In some cases, many people or entities could be liable for the collision.
  •  Wrongful death: If a loved one dies because of the negligent or reckless actions of another, surviving family members may be entitled to pursue a claim and seek compensation for expenses and losses arising from the accident.
  •  Rideshare accidents: Successfully filing a claim against a rideshare driver who caused an accident requires a thorough investigation of the incident. Depending on the stage of the drive, either the driver’s or the rideshare company’s insurance kicks in.
  •  Bicycle accidents: Cyclists injured in collisions may be entitled to pursue a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party and seek compensation for their losses or expenses.
  •  Dog bites: Dog bites can cause serious injury, including diseases, needing medical treatment that may result in steep bills. Victims can take legal action against the owner to seek financial recovery for damages.
  •  Pedestrian accidents: Accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles can result in severe injury or even death. Those harmed may have the right to file a claim or a civil lawsuit to hold the at-fault party responsible and seek compensation for their harm.

What Should I Do Immediately After an Accident?

To bring a convincing personal injury claim, you must be prepared to have strong evidence of what happened and why. The best time to gather evidence of liability is immediately after an accident. For this reason, what you do after an accident matters, whether you were hit by a reckless driver, slipped on someone’s staircase, or got hurt in another way.

Be sure to call emergency responders if the injury is serious or if the accident scene could result in further injuries, like after a car accident. If you don’t need emergency medical care, you will still want to see a doctor and get a checkup as soon as possible. Get contact and insurance information from all involved parties, and take photographs and video footage of the accident scene, including anything that looks relevant, such as any damage to the vehicles or visible injuries. Never apologize or say that you’re “sorry” because that can be misconstrued by an opposing insurance company as an admission of guilt or liability. Finally, reach out to the skilled personal injury lawyers at HMW Law to discuss your case.

What Kind of Damages May Be Available for Personal Injury Claims?

A personal injury claim can secure justice and monetary compensation for you after a negligent third party caused you to suffer a severe injury or loss. Damages in a personal injury claim will usually be sorted into three categories: special (also called economic damages), general (also called non-economic damages or “pain and suffering), and punitive.

Special damages refer to measurable monetary losses caused by an accident and the resulting injuries. Medical treatment costs and lost wages are two of the most common types of special damages. General damages refer to losses that can’t be measured so easily but are just as crucial to the plaintiff or claimant. Pain, suffering, and traumatization are typical examples of general damage.

Punitive damages are a type of financial compensation that can be awarded in civil lawsuits. They are not intended to compensate the plaintiff for their losses but rather to punish the defendant for particularly egregious or reckless behavior and deter others from engaging in similar conduct. Punitive damages go beyond compensatory damages, which aim to make the victim whole by covering actual losses like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It’s important to note that punitive damages are very rarely awarded. Even if it is proven that the defendant acted egregiously negligent, there’s no guarantee that the court will approve punitive damages.

At HMW Law in Cleveland, we don’t think it’s right for people to have to drain their finances to make ends meet after they are left in a tough spot after an accident. That’s why we are so dedicated to fighting for every last penny owed to our clients, no matter how much work it takes or what opposition stands against us.

What is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Ohio?

Ohio has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims that begins when the accident or injury occurred in most cases. This statute of limitations can be much shorter or longer for specific case types, though, so it is safer to talk to an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.

Once the statute of limitations ends, you lose the right to demand compensation and damages from the liable party. Two years may sound like a long time, but the process of preparing your claim and gathering sufficient evidence may take a while, and your chances of recovering quality evidence continue to shrink with every passing day. The sooner you take action, the better your chances of recovering compensation may be.

How Will My Personal Injury Claim Be Resolved?

Generally, there are two ways a personal injury case can be resolved: through negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company or a lawsuit handled in court. If a personal injury claim goes in the plaintiff’s favor, then it might be wrapped up with a settlement agreement rather than by going to court for litigation. Settlements tend to be preferred by both sides because they are quicker and less expensive to reach.

However, there is never a guarantee that even the most straightforward and convincing of claims will settle. Working with an experienced legal team that can negotiate settlements and represent you in court will help cover all the possible outcomes. Whatever course your case must take, our personal injury attorneys in Cleveland can fight for you every step of the way.

Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s Initial Settlement Offer?

Whether or not to accept the insurance company’s initial settlement offer is not always a straightforward decision, as it depends on various factors. Remember that the insurance company’s primary goal is to minimize their own costs by closing out claims as quickly and cheaply as possible; therefore, their initial offer might not fully cover your damages.

Be sure to thoroughly review the offer with your attorney so you can understand what it covers and ensure that you are not accepting an offer that is less than what you deserve. Additionally, if your damages are ongoing or if the full extent of your injuries has not yet been realized, it may be premature to accept an offer. Therefore, while it might be tempting to accept the first offer for the sake of time, it may often be in your best interest to negotiate for a settlement that accurately reflects the true extent of your losses.

How Do I Know if I Have a Valid Personal Injury Case?

Determining the validity of a personal injury case often hinges on a few key factors. Firstly, you need to have suffered an injury that is physical, emotional, or mental. Secondly, another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct must have directly caused your injury. This could be a person, a company, or even a government entity. Lastly, the injury should have led to specific damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or property damage. If these elements are present in your situation, you may have a valid personal injury case.

However, the specifics of each case can significantly influence its validity. In addition, because a personal injury claim is a type of civil case, you will also need to be prepared to prove your side of the story and present sufficient evidence to support your case. Therefore, you should review your case by consulting with our skilled personal injury attorneys.

Does Having a Pre-existing Condition Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

Having a pre-existing condition may potentially impact a personal injury claim, but it does not necessarily diminish its validity. The critical factor is whether the accident aggravated or worsened your pre-existing condition. For example, suppose you had a herniated disc on your lumbar spine. After the accident, your condition worsened, and the pain from the herniated disc became even more significant, and the disc is now closer to causing damage to your spinal cord.

In legal terms, this is often referred to as the “eggshell plaintiff” rule, which means that defendants must take plaintiffs as they find them, pre-existing conditions and all. However, insurance companies may try to argue that your current injuries were solely due to your pre-existing condition rather than the accident. This is where medical records become crucial in clearly demonstrating the progression of your condition before and after the incident. Therefore, be sure to see a doctor shortly after your accident, even if you do not feel injured.

What Happens if I Am Partly at Fault for the Accident?

In Ohio, if you are partly at fault for an accident, your claim is governed by the rule of “modified comparative negligence.” This means that you can still recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit, but your compensation will be reduced by a percentage equal to your degree of fault as long as you are not more than 50% at fault for your own injuries. This is because Ohio follows a 51% rule, meaning if you’re found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you are barred from seeking recovery.

For instance, if you suffered $10,000.00 in damages but were found to be 20% at fault for the accident, you would still be eligible to receive compensation, but your damages would be reduced by 20%. If you believe you may be partially at fault for your accident, it is crucial to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to build a strong case and minimize your percentage of liability.

How Do I Pay For My Medical Bills Until I Get a Settlement or Award?

You may have a few different options to pay for your medical bills until you receive an award or settlement for your case. For instance, you may be able to use your own health insurance to cover the costs initially.

Another option is something called a “medical lien,” in which a healthcare provider agrees to wait for payment until your lawsuit is resolved. Our attorneys have a strong reputation among medical experts in Cleveland and around Ohio. We might be able to work with a medical provider who will agree to a medical lien arrangement so you can get the continued medical care you need while your case is progressing.

How Do I Pay for a Personal Injury Lawyer to Work on My Case?

Paying for a personal injury lawyer typically involves a “contingency fee” arrangement. This means that the lawyer’s fees are contingent upon them winning your case. They will receive a percentage of the compensation awarded to you. Using this payment system, we make our highly reputable legal services highly affordable to any client who needs our help.

If your attorney does not win the case, you are not expected to pay any attorney fees. In other words, you won’t owe us any attorney fees – not even a dime – if your case doesn’t end in your favor, like a settlement or award. At HMW Law, we are also known for being upfront and honest about any other fees and costs that could be related to your case, so you’re never surprised or overwhelmed by an expense.

Do You Need to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney After You’re Injured in an Accident?

In Ohio, you aren’t legally required to hire a lawyer to pursue a claim, but it is highly recommended to do so in order to protect your interests as an accident victim and maximize your chances of recovering adequate compensation. At HMW Law, we can take care of all aspects of your case on your behalf – we will thoroughly investigate the matter, gather evidence, speak with witnesses, and conduct all necessary tasks to build a solid legal strategy on your behalf. Our team will work hard to recover the compensation you need.

Contact HMW Law to arrange a free case evaluation with our Cleveland, OH, personal injury lawyers. During this confidential, no-cost, and no-obligation discussion, you can learn more about your rights and legal options, including whether it is the right idea to pursue a claim or file a lawsuit. Call 216-369-1352 or submit an online contact form to get started.