What Makes a Good Personal Injury Case?

As a personal injury lawyer that has handled hundreds of cases, there is one common question that is often asked by my clients: do I have a good personal injury case?

The answer can be complex and requires significant analysis of many factors.

As a personal injury lawyer devoted to helping those that are injured and obtaining maximum compensation, it is important that my clients understand how to make a strong case to recover their medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses and pain and suffering. I have listed 10 important factors which lawyers use to determine the strength of your personal injury claim.

1. Facts of the Accident.

While many cases may be very similar, no two cases are identical. An experienced personal injury lawyer is well-aware that insurance companies use dirty tactics to deny, delay, refuse and confuse injured parties and claimants. This practice is so common, literature has been published on the dirty practice. However, facts that are not in dispute and support the injured party’s claim make it less difficult to present a claim for the full value of the injured party’s case. On the other hand, an accident involving “he said, she said” without any witnesses, traffic cameras or video, or reliable traffic crash report, make it far more difficult and expensive to determine fault. The clearer the facts, the stronger the claim.

2. Are You Injured?

Every personal injury case requires injuries. So, while you may have been lucky to walk away from the accident, you must have suffered bodily injury to make a claim for personal injury compensation. You are not entitled to compensation simply because you “could have been injured” or the other party was not paying attention. Just because the accident could have been worse, does not mean you get more compensation.

3. Medical Treatment.

All injuries must be documented by proper medical personnel, including EMS technicians on the ambulance, emergency room physicians, nurses and staff, primary care doctors, physical therapists, specialists, surgeons and any other individuals associated with your medical care. If you do not document your injuries with medical treatment, you will not have a very strong case or be entitled to much compensation. Documentation is key to any successful claim.

4. Keep Doctor Appointments.

Life is busy and we all have daily responsibilities that must be kept. However, failure to keep regularly scheduled appointments with your treating medical providers will not only impact your health and recovery, but it will deprive you of valuable compensation in your claim. A significant portion of compensation in any personal injury claim is related to your medical bills. Insurance companies will find any way to deny and

reduce payment of medical bills and an injured party’s failure to keep regular appointments provide the insurance company with ammunition to devalue your claim.

5. Lost Wages or Missed Work?

If you missed work due to your injuries and have medical support to stand behind this claim, you are entitled to 100% of your lost wages. Under Ohio law, even if using paid vacation time or sick leave, you are still entitled to 100% reimbursement for these amounts. For example, if you earn $100 each day and missed ten days of work, the insurance company must reimburse you $1,000 ($100 multiplied by ten days equals $1,000). However, assume you use ten paid vacation days so that you would not be without income, the insurance company must still reimburse you for your missed time in addition to the vacation time paid by your employer. In other words, your employer must pay you $100 each day using your paid vacation pay and the insurance company must also pay you $100 each day.

6. Pre-Existing Conditions

A common tactic used by insurance companies and their adjusters is to blame injuries, pain, discomfort, stiffness, loss of strength and range of motion, soreness and other physical abnormalities on “pre-existing conditions.” If you had a low back condition prior to a car accident and this condition was aggravated or exacerbated due to the accident, it is typical that an insurance company will attempt to deny your medical treatment as unrelated to the accident because the condition existed prior to the accident. This is, of course, not the law in Ohio and injured parties are entitled to compensation if conditions were aggravated or exacerbated by a car accident. In fact, Ohio has the Egg Shell Plaintiff rule to protect those that are more likely to be injured in accidents due to prior medical conditions. An experienced personal injury lawyer should present a claim to the insurance company that forces it to compensate the injured party for the aggravated condition.

7. Conservative vs. Invasive Medical Treatment?

It seems like common sense, but there are many misconceptions when it comes to valuing personal injury claims. Conservative medical treatment and management is an approach to treating pain and medical conditions utilizing non-surgical treatment options, such as physical therapy, medication and injections. Invasive medical treatment includes operative procedures in which skin or mucous membranes and connective tissue are incised, or an instrument through a natural body orifice. These procedures including minimally invasive dermatological procedures (e.g. biopsy, excision, or deep cryotherapy for malignant lesions), extensive multi-organ transplantation, all procedures involving surgery, angioplasty and cardiac catheterization and minimally invasive procedure involving biopsies or placement of probes or catheters. Clients that require invasive medical treatment often receive greater consideration for pain and suffering than those that receive conservative medical treatment, only. However, many times invasive medical procedures are performed after conservative medical treatment fails to relieve the physical pain or abnormality caused by the accident.

8. Future Treatment & Permanency?

It is important that the need for any future treatment and claims of residual/permanent injury be included in the potential settlement. All insurance companies require that the injured party sign a “release of claims” in exchange for compensation through a settlement. This means that all future damages and claims for compensation are disallowed. Therefore, if an injured party may need future medical treatment (physical therapy, surgery, medications, etc.), a medical opinion supporting this claim must be submitted to the insurance company before settlement. Additionally, if an injury causes a permanent condition that will cause future pain, discomfort, etc., it is important to have medical evidence from a physician so that the insurance company will properly consider the value of this portion of the claim.

For example, if an injured party suffers a knee injury which requires surgery shortly after the incident, but the orthopedic surgeon believes that a total knee replacement is likely in the future, the injured party must obtain an opinion from the orthopedic surgeon which confirms the need for a future surgery is within a reasonable degree of medical certainty and the cost of the future surgery. If you do not include both of these items, you will not receive any compensation for future medical treatment.

9. Impact on Daily Activities?

In the event an injury impacts your daily activities, even if only for a short period of time, it should be well-documented through medical records so that the insurance company will fully appreciate the inconvenience and impact of your injuries. In addition to medical records, it is helpful if there may be friends, family members or other potential witnesses that observed the impairment.

10. Emotional Injuries.

Ohio law recognizes compensation for injured parties that experience past and future mental suffering and past and future loss of enjoyment of life. While these claims for compensation have similar factors to those impacting daily activities, they can extend to how your mental health is impacted from the accident, including treatment for anxiety, depression, fear of getting back in the driver’s seat or even riding in a car. Of course, documentation of these complaints is crucial to the proper presentation of your claim and mental health care professionals should be consulted.

The personal injury layers at Cowan & Hilgeman have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. Our lawyers create plans of attack for each case specific to the client’s needs and expectations. The lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman handle claims involving personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and product liability. We routinely recover compensation on cases that other law firms reject. We offer free case evaluations and only get paid an attorney fee if we win your case.

Slip and Fall on Ice and Snow

Slip and Fall on Ice or Snow – Do You Have a Case?

Ohio residents have grown accustom to cold winters that often see accumulations of ice and snow. Unfortunately, these wintery conditions can lead to slip and falls on ice and snow that cause serious injuries and require medical treatment.

There are many legal misconceptions regarding slip and falls on ice in Ohio. While the foregoing is not meant to serve as an exhaustive analysis of Ohio law because each case presents a unique set of facts, we hope you will better understand your rights or responsibilities for both customers and businesses as it pertains to accumulations of ice and snow.

What Type of Visitor Are You?

Ohio law categorizes visitors into three categories: trespasser, licensee, or invitee. The status of the person who enters upon the land of another (i.e. trespasser, licensee, or invitee) defines the scope of the legal duty that the landowner owes the entrant. Invitees are persons who rightfully come upon the premises of another by invitation, express or implied, for some purpose which is beneficial to the owner. A customer on the property of a business owner will likely be considered a business invitee. However, if the customer’s presence in the business exceeds the scope of the business owner’s invitation, the customer will lose the status of a business invitee, and become either a licensee or trespasser.

What Duty Does the Business Owe to Customers?

A landowner owes a duty to an invitee to exercise ordinary care for the invitee’s safety and protection. Conversely, a landowner owes no duty to a licensee or trespasser except to refrain from willful, wanton, or reckless conduct which is likely to injure him. An owner or operator of a business premises owes its invitees a duty of ordinary care in maintaining the premises in a reasonably safe condition so that its patrons will not be unnecessarily and unreasonably exposed to danger. Such a business owner is not an insurer of the customer’s safety.

The Ohio “Winter Rule.”

It has been held that in Ohio, the hazards of ice and snow are a part of winter. Generally, no liability will attach to the occupier of premises for a slip and fall occurring due to natural accumulations of ice or snow, these being deemed open and obvious hazards in Ohio’s climate, from which persons entering the premises must protect themselves. It is well-established under Ohio law that where a danger is open and obvious, a landowner owes no duty of care to customers lawfully on the premises. An occupier of a premises has no duty to remove natural accumulations of ice or snow. Ice accumulation when there is snow, however, is completely expected and thus, an individual should exercise appropriate caution.

Unnatural Accumulations of Ice and Snow

Business owners may be responsible for unnatural accumulations of ice and snow. An unnatural accumulation of ice or snow is one that has been created by causes and factors other than meteorological forces of nature such as the inclement weather conditions of low temperature, strong winds and drifting snow. Unnatural accumulations therefore are caused by the intervention of human action doing something that would cause ice and snow to accumulate in unexpected places and ways. Where a construction defect in the premises, existing for a sufficient time, causes injury to a pedestrian by creating an artificial condition such as an unreasonable accumulation of ice or snow on a walkway, the business owner is responsible for injuries to its customers. Ordinary thawing and freezing of snow or ice is typically not going to lead to a successful injury claim.

Defects Hidden by Snow or Ice

While Ohio law makes it challenging to bring a claim for personal injury caused by slip and falls on snow or ice, there are often dangers in walkways, parking lots or driveways that are hidden due to cover from snow or ice. These hidden dangers are not known to unsuspecting customers or entrants, but should be known to the business or property owner. As a result, the business or property owner will be at-fault if a customer or entrant is injured by the snow-covered or ice-covered danger. For example, a business owner was responsible for injuries to its customer when the customer fell in a seven-inch-deep hole covered by snow. While the business owner had knowledge of the snow-covered hole, the customer had no way to know of the hazard.

Compensation

Under Ohio law, if you can make a successful personal injury claim as a result of a slip and fall on ice or snow, business owners are responsible to pay for injuries to their customers. Injured parties are entitled to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, past and future pain and suffering, past and future mental suffering, and past and future loss of enjoyment of life. You can read more about personal injury compensation here.

The personal injury layers at Cowan & Hilgeman have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. Our lawyers create plans of attack for each case specific to the client’s needs and expectations. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman will help maximize the value of your claim and fully explain the claim process throughout the entire case. We offer free case evaluations and only get paid an attorney fee if we win your case.

5 Common Car Accident Myths!

Far too often potential clients call the personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman and have very inaccurate perceptions of car accident injury claims.

There are common car accident myths that are spread by the insurance industry in an effort to deny, delay, confuse and refuse benefits they are obligated to pay to injured parties.

1. Low Impact Collisions

Insurance companies often deny and refuse to pay benefits for injuries arising from what they determine to be “low impact” car accidents and collisions. However, as case studies and research support, rear-end impacts of as little as five mph can give rise to significant symptoms and injuries. Injured parties should be not afraid to seek reasonable and necessary medical treatment simply because an insurance company determines the car accident was “low impact.” Failure to seek medical treatment for injuries will only cause greater problems in the future.

2. Medical Bills

The insurance company of the at-fault driver rarely, if ever, pays medical bills as they come due. While the insurance claims adjusters will make promises that he or she will pay the bills, they often are only partially considered or never paid at all. The failure to pay medical bills can be fatal to your credit and significantly impact your credit score if the medical bills go to collection. As the injured party, you have many options to make sure your medical bills are paid and should not let the insurance company of the at-fault driver determine how you pay the medical bills.

3. Don’t Use a Lawyer

Insurance companies often discourage injured parties from seeking the advice of a lawyer. It is in the insurance company’s interest that an injured party be unaware of the compensation available to him or her. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to form a strategy to maximize the value of an injured party’s claim, including properly framing medical bills, obtaining opinions regarding future medical treatment, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, emotional injury, and pain and suffering.

4. Recorded Statement

An injured party does not need to provide a statement to the insurance company of the at-fault party. It is standard practice that the insurance company will try and obtain a recorded statement from the other party in an effort to deny or reduce the value of the potential claim. Injured parties are not required to provide a recorded statement to the other insurance company. While an injured party must cooperate with his or her own insurance company, an injured party should not provide a statement to the insurance company of the at-fault party.

5. Settlement Value Formula

A few minutes browsing the internet will lead injured parties to “settlement value calculators” and “pain and suffering calculators” which advertise as ways for injured parties to determine their claim value. These tools are worthless and should be ignored. The proper determination of a personal injury case requires many factors to consider, including the venue or jurisdiction of the accident (i.e. the county where your accident case would be submitted to a jury), a total review of all damages allowable under law and the facts of the accident.

The personal injury layers at Cowan & Hilgeman have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. Our lawyers create plans of attack for each case specific to the client’s needs and expectations. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman will help maximize the value of your claim and fully explain the claim process throughout the entire case. We offer free case evaluations and only get paid an attorney fee if we win your case.

Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Get More for My Settlement?

The answer is YES, if you hire the right attorney.

Countless clients have hired the personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman after receiving low-ball offers from insurance companies and our attorneys have gone on to recover 6 times, 12 times and even 50 times the original offer. While past cases do not guarantee future results, the personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman are committed to aggressively pursuing your compensation.

 

Not every personal injury lawyer can obtain the results you may want or need. When evaluating personal injury lawyers, you must consider the following to ensure your claim is being properly presented and framed so that you receive maximum compensation:

Aggressive Pursuit of Compensation

Your lawyer should create a plan of attack to maximize the compensation available under your claim and make sure there is evidence to force the insurance company to pay what you deserve. Insurance companies and defense lawyers will not consider claims that lack sufficient evidence to support the demand for compensation. A skilled and aggressive personal injury lawyer will make sure every aspect of your claim is maximized.

Track Record of Success

Insurance companies know which personal injury lawyers accept low-ball offers and which lawyers will go to court to obtain maximum compensation for their clients. You do not want a personal injury lawyer or law firm that does not go to court or litigate their own claims. There are several of these law firms in Dayton and throughout Ohio. During your initial consultation with the lawyer, be sure to ask if he or she is the lawyer that will represent you if your case goes to court. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman are recognized as some of the top personal injury lawyers in Ohio.

Client Reviews and Testimonials

Developments in technology and the ability to quickly and securely share information has allowed former clients to leave reviews and testimonials about their experience with a lawyer and/or law firm. Client reviews and testimonials are a great insight into the outcome obtained for the client. While each case is different and presents unique facts and circumstances, client reviews will give you an indication of what you can expect from the lawyer regarding skill, communication and genuine concern for the client’s interest.

The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman are aggressive in their creation of a plan to maximize your claim under Ohio law, which includes compensation for three types of damages: special damages; general damages; and punitive damages.

Special Damages

Under Ohio law, an injured party is entitled to the following types of economic (special) damages:

  1. Past Medical Expenses
  2. Future Medical Expenses
  3. Past Loss of Earnings
  4. Future Loss of Earnings or Earning Capacity
  5. Out of Pocket Expenses

General Damages

Under Ohio law, an injured party is entitled to the following types of non-economic (general) damages:

  1. Past Physical Pain and Suffering
  2. Future Physical Pain and Suffering
  3. Past Mental Pain and Suffering
  4. Future Mental Pain and Suffering
  5. Past Loss of Enjoyment of Life
  6. Future Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages

Under Ohio law, an injured party may be entitled to punitive damages if the injured party can prove that the defendant’s actions showed “malice or aggravated or egregious fraud” or the defendant knowingly “authorized, participated in, or ratified actions” that were malicious or egregious. The purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate the plaintiff, but rather to punish the defendant for his actions and to deter others from committing a similar offense.

Many times, unrepresented claimants and inexperienced attorneys that do not limit their practice to personal injury claims will leave valuable compensation on the table because the injured victim’s claim is not properly presented to the insurance company. Each and every personal injury claim requires an exhaustive review of the damages listed above so that the injured party receives the compensation he or she deserves. A small mistake can cost the injured victim lots of compensation.

The personal injury layers at Cowan & Hilgeman have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. Our lawyers create plans of attack for each case specific to the client’s needs and expectations. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman will help maximize the value of your claim and fully explain the claim process throughout the entire case. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman offer free case evaluations and only get paid an attorney fee if they win your case.

Attorney Jack R. Hilgeman of Cowan & Hilgeman in Dayton, Ohio, awarded Gold Champion Client Award by Martindale-Hubbell.

Attorney, Jack R. Hilgeman, Partner at Cowan & Hilgeman, was recently awarded the “Gold Champion” Client Award by Martindale-Hubbell.

Fewer than 1% of all attorneys are honored with such an award. Mr. Hilgeman has a perfect 5.0/5.0 client review rating and was recognized last year by Martindale-Hubbell’s Client Distinction Award. Here are what some of Mr. Hilgeman’s clients said:

  • “Jack is a very personable lawyer he gets things done and makes sure your happy with any outcome, I will use him over and over again if need be…choose Jack and you know you just made the right choice…Best Lawyer in Dayton…”
  • “Continue to be a bright, caring, and professional individual. During my case I never felt like you were there for the money, you were always there for me (Client) and wanted the best for me.”
  •  “Jack is very efficient, trustworthy and supportive. Although my case was challenging at times, his honesty and fortitude saw us through my case to the end. I would recommend Jack for Personal Injury cases and can vouch that he is also a wonderful person.”
  • “I would highly recommend Jack Hilgeman to anyone looking for a personal injury attorney. His professionalism, work ethic and genuine concern for the outcome of my claim exceeded any expectations.”
  • “Jack goes above and beyond to help you get your case resolved. He was very patient and explained everything to me through the whole process. I would highly recommend.” Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™, the gold standard in attorney ratings, have recognized lawyers for their strong legal ability and high ethical standards for more than a century. Attorneys looking to refer a client, as well as individuals researching lawyers for their own legal needs, use these ratings to identify, evaluate and select the most appropriate lawyer for their legal issue.

Martindale-Hubbell Client Review Ratings provide the perspective of the client: Who better to describe the services and counsel that lawyers or law firms offer than those who previously retained them?

Taken together, peer review ratings and client review ratings deliver a comprehensive view of a lawyer’s legal abilities and service and benefit the entire legal community. Mr. Hilgeman focuses his practice on the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, product liability and wrongful death. He has recovered millions in compensation on behalf of his clients throughout Ohio.

Repairing your Vehicle after a Car Accident!

Dealing with repairs to your vehicle after a car accident can be the most frustrating part of a motor vehicle accident claim.

The personal injury lawyers and car accident lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman have helped countless clients navigate the claim process to make sure their vehicle was properly repaired and compensation paid for any lost value. The Ohio Department of Insurance, Guide to Automobile Insurance, provides the following information to help lead you through property damage issues.

1 – Repair the Vehicle

Insurance companies are obligated to repair the vehicle to the same condition that it was in before the accident. Assuming the vehicle is not considered a total loss, this should be accomplished. However, if the vehicle is repaired, you may still have a claim for diminished value (i.e. the loss in value of the vehicle before the accident and after the repairs were made).

2 – The Estimate

The insurance adjuster will propose a settlement based on the estimated cost of repairs and give you a copy of the estimate. If you notify the company that their estimate is lower than estimates you’ve gotten yourself, the company has two choices: (a) pay the difference between your estimate and the company’s estimate or (b) give you the name of at least one shop that will repair your car for the amount of the company’s estimate.

3 – Choice of Parts

The insurance company’s repair estimate must disclose what kind of parts will be used to repair the vehicle. The estimate must tell you if the parts are aftermarket, meaning they are new but not made by the manufacturer of your car. You will likely be entitled to new parts only if your car is the current model year. If the parts are used, of “like kind and quality,” this means they will be bought from a salvage dealer and the estimate must identify the salvage dealer.

4 – Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or Aftermarket Parts?

There has been a lot of controversy over the use of aftermarket parts. Your body shop may tell you they are inferior or don’t fit like parts sold by the “original equipment manufacturer” (OEM). No policy promises to use OEM parts, and some policies now make it clear that they will use aftermarket parts when possible. You can still have OEM parts if you are willing to pay the difference in parts price. Edmunds provides pros and cons between OEM and Aftermarket Parts.

5 – Choice of Shop

If your insurance company requires you to use a specific repair shop, the company must guarantee the shop’s work and assess no extra cost to you.

The motor vehicle accident lawyers and car accident lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman have assisted hundreds of clients navigate their property damage claims free of charge. If you hire the motor vehicle accident lawyers and car accident lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman for representation with your personal injury claim, Cowan & Hilgeman will assist with your property damage portion of the claim for free. We have recovered millions in compensation on behalf of clients and successfully negotiated settlements and litigated cases against the largest insurance companies and businesses in the country. We are committed to results.

If you have questions regarding your personal injury claim or property damage claim, call the motor vehicle accident lawyers and car accident lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman for a free, no risk consultation. You can reach our motor vehicle accident lawyers and car accident lawyers to discuss your case at 937-222-2030.

Thanksgiving Travel Leads to High Volume of Car Accidents

The car accident lawyers and motor vehicle accident lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman urge everyone on the road this Thanksgiving holiday to exercise caution when behind the wheel, obey the speed limit and make plans to have a designated driver when drinking alcohol.

AAA projects 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year.

 

The 2017 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005 with 1.6 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year. AAA and INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predict travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the optimal trip.

While unfortunate, it’s not surprising that increased drivers on the road leads to more car accidents and injuries. In fact, there are publications that report death rates spike over the Thanksgiving holiday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is again warning drivers to stay safe on Thanksgiving. And for good reason — no holiday leads to more deadly accidents.

According to the most recent data available from NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, there were 764 crashes involving a fatality during Thanksgiving 2012 and nearly 50,000 non-fatal car accidents, too. (About 400 of them involved motorists.) In comparison, there were 654 crashes involving a fatality during Christmas that year. The American Red Cross recently published safety and travel tips to help during the Thanksgiving holiday, including the following:

  • Make sure your car is in good condition for a road trip.
  • Pack an emergency preparedness kit and supplies in the trunk.
  • Share travel plans with a family member or friend.
  • Check the weather along your route and plan for travel around any storms that may be coming.
  • Be well rested and alert.
  • Buckle up, slow down, and don’t drive impaired.
  • Follow the rules of the road and use caution in work zones.
  • Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
  • If you have car trouble, pull of the road as far as possible.

The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

Attorney Jack R. Hilgeman of Cowan & Hilgeman in Dayton, Ohio, named AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell

Attorney, Jack R. Hilgeman, Partner at Cowan & Hilgeman, was again given the “AV Preeminent®” by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings.

The AV Rating is the highest possible rating given by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for a lawyer and is established wholly on a peer-review basis. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary.

Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards. The AV Preeminent designation signifies that Jack Hilgeman has been rated by Judges and fellow attorneys as having the highest possible rating for legal abilities and ethical standards. Attorney Jack Hilgeman has received the honor in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The AV Preeminent® rating is awarded to less than 5% of all attorneys across the United States, and is the highest rating offered by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. The Legal Ability Rating indicates professional ability in a specific area of practice and is based on five key areas:

legal knowledge, analytical capabilities, judgment, communication ability, and legal experience.

The General Ethical Standards Rating denotes adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence, and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities. Mr. Hilgeman focuses his practice on the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, product liability and wrongful death. He has recovered millions in compensation on behalf of his clients throughout Ohio.

What to do at the scene of a car accident

A car accident can be frightening and lead to devastating injuries. Physical and emotional injuries, medical bills and lost wages are only some of the immediate concerns.

Here is a list of the five most important things to do immediately after an accident:

 

 

1. Health.

It is important that you quickly identify if you or any of your passengers were injured in the accident. However, injuries may not always be obvious or immediately apparent. It has been reported through numerous studies that adrenaline can often mask immediate injuries at the scene of an accident. While it may seem obvious to call 9-1-1 if there are critical or debilitating injuries, you should identify any physical abnormality and report it.

 

2. Safety.

Accidents often take place in areas of high motor vehicle congestion, traffic or dangerous roadways which have blind spots, excessive speed limits or unusual intersections and stops. While you should not move your motor vehicle until the police get to the accident scene, be certain you are not placing yourself in danger by staying in your vehicle or standing directly outside your vehicle. You can wait for the police and emergency medical personnel from a safe location.

 

3. Police.

It is important to call law enforcement immediately after the accident. In fact, law enforcement in Ohio investigated over 53,000 car accidents last year. Many law enforcement officers are trained in accident reconstruction and will create an accurate police report which will likely be used to help prove your claim. It is typical that the at-fault party will dispute the facts of the accident and its insurance company will try to deny the claim. In fact, Esurance advises its insured to deny fault even if they caused the accident. Law enforcement will interview the parties involved in the accident, locate potential witnesses, help determine how the accident occurred and assign fault to the other party. Even if it is obvious which party caused the accident, it is always best to contact the police to make a report.

 

4. Locate Witnesses.

While law enforcement will typically try to take statements of witnesses that hang around the accident scene, you should try to get the name and telephone numbers of potential witnesses before they leave the scene or before law enforcement gets to the scene. These witnesses may be crucial to determine who caused the accident. There are many auto insurers that recommend their insured get witness statements, too.

 

5. Medical Treatment.

If you feel any physical abnormality, pain or discomfort, you should seek medical treatment at the scene of the accident. As mentioned above, adrenaline after the accident may mask initial injuries, but you should always err on the side of caution when it comes to your health. Proper and timely documentation of your injuries is important to presenting a claim to the insurance company. Delays in treatment, failure to properly disclose all of your injuries and failure to follow medical advice will negatively impact payment of your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Documentation of injuries is crucial to any successful personal injury claim.

 

The motor vehicle accident lawyers and car accident lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman have handled hundreds of auto accident claims and will walk you through the entire claim process – guaranteeing that your rights are protected and benefits maximized. We have recovered millions in compensation for our clients and will fight for the compensation you deserve. If we do not recover compensation on your behalf, you do not pay an attorney fee.

Click here for a free case review by one of Ohio’s top personal injury attorneys.

How to Pick a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Selecting a personal injury lawyer is an important decision. As a person injured by the negligence of another, you need confidence that your lawyer will protect your interests and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.

While there are many considerations, here are the three most important:

 

 

1. Do you feel comfortable with the personal injury lawyer?

You must be comfortable with your personal injury lawyer and trust that he or she will aggressively pursue your case. When speaking with the personal injury lawyer on the telephone or in-person, are they answering the tough questions? Or, do they avoid answering the question? Can the personal injury lawyer walk you through the entire claim process and provide detail about each phase of the claim? Will the personal injury lawyer be accessible? If you have any doubts about these questions, then you need to find a new personal injury lawyer.

The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman have handled hundreds of claims from start to finish and are involved in all aspects of the claim process. Cowan & Hilgeman attorneys are “hands on” and make themselves available for regular client communication. Personal injury claims often involve serious injuries that impact your daily life, so selecting an attorney that will focus on your case is important.

 

2. What do past clients say about the personal injury lawyer?

Reviews from past clients are a great way to evaluate how the lawyer is likely to treat you throughout the claim process. Many lawyers will tell clients what they want to hear during the initial telephone call or meeting, but a detailed review from a previous client will give you great indication of what to expect from start to finish. Also, will your case get the attention it deserves or lost in the mix with all the other cases?

The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman provide clients with honest assessments of their claim, providing all the information and advice necessary for each client to make an educated choice about every stage of their case. Cowan & Hilgeman takes pride in communication and forming relationships with clients that last beyond the end of their claim. Follow the links below to see what our clients say about the attorneys at Cowan & Hilgeman.

 

3. Does the personal injury lawyer have a track record of success?

As with any professional, you want to select a personal injury lawyer that has a track record of success. It is important that the personal injury lawyer effectively communicate how the claim will be processed and presented to the insurance company in a way that will maximize the value of your claim. While no two cases are identical, it is important that the personal injury lawyer set forth a plan that is specific to your case. Is the personal injury lawyer recognized as a top attorney in his or her field?

We have recovered millions in compensation on behalf of clients and successfully negotiated settlements and litigated cases against the largest insurance companies and businesses in the country. Additionally, Cowan & Hilgeman has attorneys recognized as some of the best personal injury attorneys in Ohio by the top attorney rating services such as Martindale-Hubbell, Super Lawyers and AVVO.