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Personal Injury

A Columbus Personal Injury Attorney Will Represent Your Rights After an Accident

An accident can leave you unable to work, unable to pay your bills, unable to take care of your family, or simply unable to live your life in the way you did before your accident and resulting injuries. If your Ohio accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for more than just your medical bills. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and unsure what to do, a Columbus personal injury lawyer at Malek & Malek Law Firm can help you put your life back together. 

Types of Ohio Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury includes any type of case where you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. This includes far more than car accident cases. We have decades of experience in helping injured people recover compensation in the following types of accidents:

While the above are the most common personal injury claims people tend to file, our attorneys also assist with:

Pedestrian Accidents

When you are walking or jogging, you expect drivers to respect your right of way and observe the rules of the road. However, many drivers don’t understand the rules of the road, and even more drivers ignore them. As a result, pedestrian accidents are common; and, when these accidents happen, driver negligence is usually to blame.

One of the most-common factors in pedestrian accidents is distracted driving. When drivers are paying attention to their phones, they are not paying attention to their surroundings. This makes them far more likely to drift out of their lane, run a red light or stop sign, or fail to spot someone crossing the road.

Filing a claim for a pedestrian accident typically means dealing with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. Auto insurance covers pedestrian accidents, and drivers are required to carry auto insurance under Ohio law. If you have auto insurance, your policy could also apply if you purchased optional medical payments (MedPay) or uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.

Bicycle Accidents

Similar to pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents involving negligent drivers are far more common than they should be. While bicycle riders have the same rights as drivers under most circumstances, drivers frequently make reckless and careless mistakes that put cyclists in harm’s way. Turning into cyclists at intersections and attempting to pass cyclists within their lanes are both common mistakes; and, even if a driver claims, “I didn’t know the cyclist was there,” this is not an excuse for causing a serious or life-threatening accident.

Bicycle accidents also happen when drivers veer off of the road into dedicated bike lanes. Distracted driving is a common factor in these cases, but fatigue, impaired driving and general carelessness are potential factors as well.

When a negligent driver causes a bicycle accident, the driver’s (and/or the cyclist’s) auto insurance policy should provide coverage. However, it can often be difficult for cyclists to secure the coverage they deserve. Insurance companies frequently try to blame cyclists for their own injuries, and overcoming these accusations requires experienced legal representation.  

Child Injuries

Child injuries are far more common than any of us would like to believe. Unfortunately, despite parents’ best efforts to keep their children safe, children of all ages face injury risks that are beyond their parents’ control. Vehicle collisions, playground accidents, swimming pool accidents, sports accidents, accidents at daycares and schools, and accidents at home are all common—and they can all potentially give rise to personal injury claims under Ohio law.

When a child suffers an injury due to someone else’s negligence or a product defect, the child’s parents can file a claim to recover just compensation. This includes just compensation for the family’s medical bills, the child’s loss of future earnings, and various other forms of economic and non-economic loss. Accurately calculating these losses is extremely important, and parents must work closely with their attorneys to ensure that they are seeking the full compensation they and their children deserve.

Injuries to the Elderly

Our bodies become more fragile as we age. Unfortunately, this means that the elderly are particularly susceptible to suffering severe injuries in collisions, falls and other accidents. But, even though elderly individuals may be at greater risk for suffering severe traumatic injuries, they still have the same right to financial compensation under Ohio law. Sadly, many elderly individuals suffer abuse while living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. While these facilities are supposed to ensure that their residents are safe, many of them fail to uphold their obligations. Injuries from falls are particularly common, and bone fractures and other injuries from falls can present risks for life-altering, or even life-threatening, complications. Regardless of the circumstances involved, if you or your elderly relative has been injured in an accident in Ohio, you should speak with a lawyer about filing a personal injury claim. The costs of treatment and recovery can be substantial, and elderly accident victims are also entitled to recover compensation for their pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

If you’ve been injured and believe someone else is responsible for causing those injuries, an experienced attorney at our firm can review your case and determine whether you may have a compensation claim. 

How a Columbus Personal Injury Attorney Proves Your Case

Even though it may seem obvious to you, as an injured party you do have to prove that another party was at fault in causing your accident. In any personal injury case, you and your Columbus personal injury attorney have to prove each of the following elements to prevail on your claim: 

  • The other party owed you a duty of care;
  • The other party breached that duty;
  • The other party’s breach of their duty of care caused your injuries.

Proving these elements is more complicated than it appears. It requires knowledge of Ohio law and the ability to identify important facts that will prove your case. An experienced Columbus injury attorney will know how to build a strong case so that you can get the compensation you need to make a full recovery. 

The Duty of Care in Ohio

Generally speaking, everyone has a legal duty to make a reasonable effort to avoid causing injury to others. The specific duty of care owed to you by the other party will depend on the nature of your case. For example: 

  • All drivers have a duty to drive safely. 
  • Property owners have a responsibility to ensure that their property is safe for guests and visitors. 
  • Dog owners have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control. 
  • Employers have a legal duty to ensure that their workers are safe. 
  • Trucking companies have a responsibility to ensure that their trucks are properly maintained and their drivers have adequate training and experience. 

It isn’t enough to show that the other party was simply careless. You need to know which duty of care applies in your case and how it applies to your claim. 

Proving Negligence in Personal Injury Cases

Proving negligence is the crux of most Ohio personal injury cases. Before you can prove negligence, however, it is necessary to understand what it is. Negligence is the failure to act with reasonable care to prevent harm as determined by a prudent person in the same or very similar circumstances. Negligence can include both specific actions and the failure to act. Another perspective is to consider negligence as the opposite of intentional harm. No one intends for an accident to happen – they are the result of simple carelessness. 

Determining the negligent party requires careful consideration of the facts. A single, seemingly insignificant fact can make a big difference in your case. The law also provides some guidance as to what may be considered negligence. An experienced Columbus personal injury attorney will know how the law applies to your case and what facts are important. 

Proving Your Injuries with a Columbus Personal Injury Attorney

Even if you don’t plan to go to court, you will still have to prove your case. In addition to proving that the other party was negligent, you also have to prove that you were injured. To do this, you need to keep very careful records and keep copies of the following: 

  • All medical bills and records
  • Pay stubs and other documentation of any lost income
  • Receipts, invoices, or bills for other expenses directly caused by your accident (i.e. increased transportation costs because you cannot drive)

Your medical records will be the foundation of your personal injury claim. As a result, your medical bills must indicate the cause and extent of your injuries, your prognosis, and the recommended treatment. They should also indicate if you have any temporary or permanent disabilities. Legal experts can review your records and make sure that they are in order. 

Steps to Take After an Accident in Ohio

Regardless of what happened, if you have been injured in an accident in Ohio, there are some steps you should try to take promptly. After an accident, you need to be your own advocate, and you need to make sure you do everything you can to recover the financial compensation you deserve. For example, to protect your legal rights, you should:

  • Get the Treatment You Need – Getting the treatment you need after an accident is extremely important. Not only is it important for your health, but it is also important for protecting your legal rights. Once you hire an experienced attorney to represent you, your lawyer will use your medical records (among other evidence) to prove your right to compensation and calculate how much you are entitled to recover.
  • Write Down What Happened – As soon as you can, you should write down everything you remember about the accident. If you took any photos or videos, review these to help refresh your memory (and be sure to keep them to share with your lawyer). The date, time, location, weather conditions, events leading up to the accident and what happened after the accident are all key pieces of information that you should record if possible.
  • Talk to a Columbus Personal Injury Lawyer – You will need to hire a personal injury law firm to help you recover the financial compensation you deserve. Once you see a doctor for treatment, your next step should be to schedule a free initial consultation with a local lawyer as soon as possible.

Dealing with the Insurance Companies

In most cases, recovering your losses after an accident involves dealing with insurance companies. While this is a necessary part of the legal process, it can also be a dangerous part of the process if you aren’t careful. They put their interests first; and, if they can find any excuse not to pay you, you won’t receive just compensation for your injuries.

This is one of the main reasons you should seek the legal advice of a Columbus personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will be able to tell you what not to say to the insurance representatives, and your lawyer will be able to deal with them on your behalf. This way, you won’t have to worry about falling for their tactics and accepting an unfair settlement (or receiving an unfair denial). Hiring a lawyer to deal with the insurance companies costs nothing out of pocket, and your lawyer will be able to seek financial compensation that you won’t be able to seek effectively on your own.

What Your Injury Claim May Be Worth

You may be surprised by how quickly the insurance company wants to settle your claim. Unfortunately, they will try to settle it for far less than it’s worth, leaving you with uncovered expenses. If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the following: 

  • Your medical expenses, especially any out-of-pocket costs such as copays or deductibles
  • Your lost wages or other income
  • Any other costs incurred as a result of your accident
  • Your pain and suffering

The last component, your pain and suffering, is the most difficult component to prove. Even though they are subjective, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t real. Under the law, you are entitled to be made whole, and this includes compensation for your non-economic damages. 

Injured Accident Victims’ Legal Rights in Ohio

Accident victims in Ohio have clear legal rights. If you have been injured in an accident, asserting your legal rights will be key to recovering the financial compensation you deserve. This includes asserting your rights such as:  

1. The Right to Be Treated Fairly By the Insurance Companies

You have the right to be treated fairly by the insurance companies. It is against the law for them to engage in bad-faith practices—and, if they handle any aspect of your claim in bad faith, you may be entitled to additional compensation.

2. The Right to Know What Happened and Who is Responsible

As an accident victim, you have the right to know what happened. You have the right to hire a lawyer to investigate, and your lawyer can gather evidence both at the scene of the accident and through other means. You also have the right to know who is responsible for your injuries—and your lawyer will be able to make this determination once he or she has gathered the evidence that is available.

3. The Right to File All Available Claims

Once you know what happened and who is responsible, you have the right to file all available claims. Depending on the circumstances, this could mean filing an insurance claim, a workers’ compensation claim or seeking just compensation through other means.

4. The Right to Seek the Maximum Compensation Available

Regardless of which claim (or claims) you can file, you have the right to seek the maximum compensation available. Under no circumstances should you feel pressured to settle for anything less than the full compensation you deserve.

5. The Right to Hire a Columbus Personal Injury Lawyer at No Out-of-Pocket Cost

Finally, you have the right to hire a Columbus personal injury lawyer at no out-of-pocket cost. You shouldn’t listen to insurance adjusters or anyone else who tells you that you don’t need to hire (or shouldn’t hire) a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself, and you shouldn’t have to pay anything out-of-pocket for your legal representation.

FAQs: Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim in Columbus, OH

How Much Do Personal Injury Attorneys Charge in Columbus?

Personal injury representation in Columbus generally occurs on a “contingency fee” basis. This is how we bill at Malek & Malek Law Firm. With our contingency fees, our clients pay nothing out of pocket. We do not charge any up-front or hourly fees, and we advance the costs of pursuing our clients’ claims. If our team helps a personal injury victim recover compensation, we then recoup these costs and calculate our legal fees as a percentage of the amount recovered.

How Much Can I Recover for an Accident in Columbus?

The amount you can recover for an accident in Columbus through a settlement or litigation depends on several factors. Broadly speaking, the two most important factors are (i) the cause of the accident and (ii) the severity of your injuries.

The cause of the accident is important for determining liability (or who has to pay). Additionally, if you were partially at fault in the accident, this could reduce or eliminate the amount you are entitled to recover. Since filing a personal injury claim allows for the recovery of “compensatory” damages in most cases, you also need to know how much compensation you will need in order to fully cover the financial and non-financial costs you are likely to endure.

How Long Do I Have to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

In most cases, you have two years from the date of an accident to file a personal injury claim under Ohio law. However, you should hire a personal injury attorney in Columbus much sooner—and ideally as soon after your accident as possible.

Can I File a Claim for a Weather-Related Accident?

It is possible to file personal injury claims for weather-related accidents in many cases. This includes vehicle collisions as well as slips, falls, and other types of accidents.

In cases involving weather-related accidents, a key issue is whether the weather conditions were the only factor. For example, if you slipped and fell on ice in your driveway, you might not have a claim. But, if a reckless driver was driving too fast for the conditions, or if a business failed to reasonably clear snow or ice from its premises, then you may have a weather-related claim for compensation under the Columbus Code of Ordinances.

What Should I Do Before Calling a Columbus Injury Attorney?

There isn’t anything you need to do before calling a personal injury attorney. If you’ve been injured in an accident in Columbus, it is important that you speak with a Columbus personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will be able to guide you through your next steps and gather the information he or she needs to assess your legal rights.

Do I Need to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney to Handle My Insurance Claim?

As a practical matter, hiring a personal injury attorney is the only way to effectively protect your legal rights after a car or motorcycle accident. The insurance companies are not on your side, and they will not hesitate to take advantage of your mistakes if you try to handle your claim on your own. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you avoid mistakes, deal with the insurance companies for you, and help you decide when (and if) you should settle your claim.

Should I Hire a Lawyer if I Got Bit By Someone Else’s Dog in Columbus?

Yes, if you have been bitten by someone else’s dog in Columbus, you will want to hire a Columbus personal injury lawyer to help you recover just compensation. Not only can dog bite injuries be extremely painful, but they can also be incredibly expensive. Depending on where the attack happened, your lawyer may be able to pursue a claim against the dog’s owner (which typically involves filing a claim under the owner’s insurance policy), or your attorney may be able to pursue a claim against the kennel, veterinary clinic or other business that is responsible for what happened.  

Accidents Can Occur Anywhere in Columbus 

Whether a slip and falls, accident at work, dog bite or something, dangerous incidents can (and do) happen anytime, anywhere. At Malek & Malek Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys represent individuals and families in cases involving accidents occurring at:

Regardless of where and how your (or your loved one’s) accident happened, if you think you may need help, you should consult with a local personal injury attorney promptly. Our lawyers are available around the clock, and we encourage you to contact us for a free initial consultation 24/7.

Ohio Personal Injury Statistics

Have you been injured in an accident in Ohio? If so, you are not alone. Auto accidents, work-related accidents and other types of accidents are far more common than most people realize—and many Ohio residents find themselves in need of a Columbus personal injury lawyer. Here are some statistics from the Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • Car, Truck and SUV Accidents – On average, there are more than 250,000 auto accidents in Ohio every year. While the majority of these accidents only result in property damage, there are still more than 50,000 injury-involved accidents and 1,000 fatal accidents annually.
  • Accidents Involving Commercial Vehicles – There were 145 fatal truck accidents in Ohio in 2020 according to the NHTSA. While the NHTSA doesn’t track non-fatal accidents, there are far more fatal accidents than non-fatal accidents each year. Since 2020, the Ohio DPS has recorded more than 35,000 accidents involving commercial vehicles (including large trucks) in which the driver of the commercial vehicle was at fault.
  • Work-Related Accidents – In Ohio, an average of 78,000 workers miss time from work each year due to occupational injuries and illnesses. This includes 29,000 workers who miss at least one full day of work. According to the BLS, the most common types of work-related accidents in Ohio are transportation accidents, followed by slips and falls, exposure to harmful substances and environments, and contact with objects or equipment.

Injured? Contact a Columbus Personal Injury Attorney at Malek Law Firm

Founded in 1972, our law office brings decades of experience in helping injured people get the compensation they need to rebuild their lives. As a family-run firm, we understand the impact an injury can have on you, your family, and your livelihood, which is why we fight for you every step of the way. From dealing with the insurance companies to taking your case to trial, we have the knowledge, experience, and skill required to fight for your fair compensation. Schedule a free consultation by calling 888-444-7440 or completing our online contact form to request a personal injury attorney reach out to you to discuss your potential claim.