Archive for May, 2019

Know the Time Limit for Filing a Personal Injury Claim After a Car Accident in Cleveland, Ohio

Following a car accident in Cleveland or anywhere else in Ohio, an injured victim has two years from the date of the crash to file insurance claims. A family member or the estate executor for a person who dies in a car crash also has two years to file a wrongful death claim.

The statute of limitations on car accident claims exists to ensure that physical evidence will be retained, reports will be retrievable, and memories will remain reliable. At the same time, giving a car crash victim just 24 months to seek compensation and monetary damages can create challenges.

Even if we were not Cleveland-based personal injury attorneys who devote a considerable portion of our practice to advising and representing car accident victims, we would recommend speaking with a lawyer as soon as is practical following a serious collision. Just knowing your legal options and the relevant deadlines will help you decide how to proceed with recovering financially from the wreck.

Getting into the Details

Here is what state law says specifically about the time limit for filing a personal injury claim after a car accident: “An action for bodily injury or injuring personal property shall be brought within two years after the cause of action accrues.”

What section 2305.10 of the Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) does not make clear—but which all insurance companies, courts, and lawyers understand—is that the clock on the statute of limitation starts ticking on the day of a car crash and expires exactly 730 days later. Also, taking “an action” only means notifying an auto insurance company that you intend to file a claim. Notice of intent to file a claim can be made long before an official request for compensation and damages is submitted.

Another state statute, O.R.C. 2315,18, clarifies what an injured car accident victim can request. A person who suffers injuries in a crash caused by another driver can file claims for all the following:

  • Wages, salaries, or other compensation the victim loses while recovering from the injury or after becoming permanently disabled;
  • All past, ongoing, and future expenditures for medical care, rehabilitation services, health care products, or accommodations, including emergency care, hospitalization, prescription medications, and long-term care;
  • Other expenditures incurred as a result of the injury except attorney’s fees; and
  • Noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering, disfigurement (e.g., scarring, amputation), mental anguish, and loss of society, consortium, companionship, care, assistance, or attention.

If the at-fault driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, an injured victim may also be able to claim punitive damages, which are assessed by a civil trial jury as a noncriminal fine for reckless behavior.

Not Just Car Accidents

The two-year time limit for filing a personal injury claim applies to all types traffic accidents. Quick legal action is required following any collision with a commercial truck, bus, or motorcycle. The statute of limitations must be met by pedestrians, as well as vehicle passengers.

On a final note, getting injured while driving a company vehicle or traveling for work may give the crash victim grounds for claiming worker’s compensation benefits and for filing an insurance claim against the at-fault driver. A one-year statute of limitations will apply to the workers’ comp claim.

You can schedule a free consultation with a car accident victim’s attorney by calling the Cleveland, Ohio, offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman at (800) 678-3318. We also make appointments online.

How Will a Personal Injury Settlement Affect my Ohio Workers’ Comp Benefits?

First, understand that you may have grounds for filing a personal injury compensation claim if you get hurt on the job. While Ohio makes it nearly impossible for an employee to sue his or her employer for negligence, you can sue the driver who hit you while you were using a company vehicle or the maker of a defective tool that failed while you were completing a task.

What you cannot do, in most cases, is receive full workers’ compensation benefits and a maximal car insurance or product liability settlement. You will not actually lose any money, but you must know what to expect.

The Rule

If you succeed with what lawyers call a third-party claim, the settlement or jury award you receive on your Cleveland, Ohio, personal injury compensation claim will not reduce your Ohio workers’ compensation benefits. However, the amount paid out on your personal injury claim may be reduced by up to the full amount required to reimburse the workers’ comp program.

This will happen because Ohio recognizes an insurance rule called subrogation. You do not need to know the exact definition of that term. Nor do you need to dive deeply into the details of how subrogation works. Your Cleveland personal injury attorney and workers’ comp advocate will handle it. In fact, at Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman, we take special care to ensure that our clients are not financially harmed by subrogation.

An Example

What you need to know about subrogation is best explained by giving an example.

Say you work as a delivery driver. A car runs a red light and slams into your truck while you are out on your daily rounds.

Your obviously work-related car crash injuries keep you out of work for a month. Between medical expenses and wage replacements, the workers’ comp program pays you a total of $20,000.

You consult with a Cleveland personal injury lawyer and decide to file claims for medical costs to date, lost wages, ongoing physical therapy, and pain and suffering. When your case finally settles, you receive $80,000 from the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy.

The higher car insurance settlement reflects the fact that workers’ comp stops paying medical benefits when you get cleared to return to your job. Also, workers’ comp only replaces two-thirds of your lost wages, and workers’ comp does not compensate people for pain and suffering caused by on-the-job accidents.

Under the subrogation rule, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will get paid back the $20,000 it gave you in benefits. You will still receive $60,000 from the car insurance settlement. The transfer of funds is arranged between the insurance company and the workers’ comp program, so you do not spend anything out of your own pocket.

Help With a Third-Party Claim

Attorneys in the Cleveland, Ohio, offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman represent clients with personal injury compensation claims and workers’ comp cases. We offer free consultations and stand ready to help any Ohioan recover the compensation and monetary damages they deserve from the negligent individuals or corporations who harm them. Let us know how we can be assistance to you by calling us at (800) 678-3318 or connecting with us online.

Cleveland OH Workers Comp Lawyer
Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman
6100 Oak Tree Blvd., Suite 200, Cleveland Ohio 44131 USA
Tel: (216) 328-2125 Fax: (614) 221-7308 Map