Advice From A Toledo Personal Injury AttorneyPosted on February 15,2016 by lawrzwp
When you’ve been injured, it is only natural to seek compensation for your injuries from the person responsible. In our modern society, most responsible people have insurance, so the task of determining how much money is fair compensation is delegated to the insurance company. It seems somewhat impersonal, but that’s the system we have today. Most of us are honest, fair and hardworking people that aren’t looking for a handout, and only search for honest pay for honest work. As a result, there is a common misimpression that insurance companies subscribe to these same ethics and beliefs. As a Toledo Attorney with over 30 years experience on these types of cases, I am here to tell you that THEY DON’T.
Today, insurance companies are all about making money. They care little for their customers, and even less for the injured victims. They set profit above all else. Morality be damned. And, since conscientious people abhor the thought of filing “the dreaded lawsuit”, the insurance company skates away making exhorbitant profits, with the cost of reducing human dignity being reduced to ashes.
So, naturally, when the insurance company refuses to pay a fair settlement, the only method available for redress is resort to “the dreaded lawsuit”. Unfortunately, insurance companies, through the use of “Political Action Committees” and multi-million dollar marketing campaigns, has succeeded in poisoning the well so that today, getting a fair trial is harder than ever.
If you have a personal injury claim you are fighting with an insurance company, you can expect to go through whatI am about to tell you. The inner workings of a personal injury lawsuit is a rather simple concept. It is a basic document which sets forth in somewhat verbose, technically required jarjon, the legally required standard of care which the other driver failed to comply with, the proximate result of which led to the injuries which you sustained.
There are all kinds of rules and requirements which govern the means, manner, mechanism and form that the personal injury lawsuit embodies. But, for the most part, in Ohio, a claim for personal injuries must be filed in court (Meaning: stamped in at the Clerk of Court’s office) within two (2) years of the accident date. Some types of claims must be filed within one (1) years of the injury; other types of claims must be filed in even shorter time periods. But suffice it to say, that most claims for personal injury must be filed within Two (2) years.
After the lawsuit is filed, there are another set of rules for the manner in which the other driver (now called the defendant) to be notified of the lawsuit. The other driver, upon receiving the lawsuit, usually contacts their insurance company who thereupon takes steps to generate a defense. The defense generally means, that the insurance company hires attorneys to defend the conduct of their insured. Sometimes, the insurance company had attorneys “on-staff”, so that the defense of their insured is handled “internally”. The insurance company attorneys then prepare their response to your lawsuit, which is similarly filed with the Clerk of Courts. This response is also called “an Answer”. It lays out the defendant’s position with respect to the accident, and details any particular defensive claims the defendant may assert. (More on this later)
After the lawsuit is filed, another court mechanism is available for the parties to explore the various claim sand defenses each of them have against the other. This mechanism is called “Discovery”. And, naturally, just like lawsuits and answers, discovery has a who body of laws which govern the manner, method, conduct and form which discovery will take place. Some of the tools of discovery are as follows:
- Written questions your toledo lawyer drafts are submitted to the other driver. (called interrogatories
- Meetings where the parties are placed under oath and questioned by the attorneys. (called depositions) The questions are transcribed by a court reporter, who after the deposition is completed, types up all the questions and answers in a little booklet.Later, at a trial, if someone attempts to change their testimony, the questions they answered in the deposition are submitted to them to contradict their in-court testimony.
3.Written requests for documents (called “Requests for Production”) are generally written requests that that other side produce for inspection and copying any documents which are relevant to the prosecution of your claim.
4.Sometimes, the attorneys submit questions to the other side requesting that they “ADMIT” the truth of certain facts. This is called a “Request for Admission”, and is a handy tool for pinning down facts which are not in dispute. As expert attorneys in Toledo on this matter, there are similar situations like this that can help clearly state the facts of your claim.
5. Medical examination. Since you are filing a lawsuit and requesting money, it is only natural that the other driver’s insurance carrier can “Inspect the damaged goods”. Meaning, they can have you examined by a doctor of their choice to determine the nature and extent of your injuries.
By and large, the lawsuit process meanders forward, with both sides utilizing the tools I referenced above, and eventually, a day gets scheduled by the court when the entire matter, which is now a big controversy, gets presented in court for a final determination. The action can be tried by a Judge, sitting alone, or a Jury of Eight (8). More often than not, the matter proceeds to a Jury trial, since everyone is afraid that placing the burden of decision on One (1) person (the Judge) creates unnecessary suspicions of impropriety, unfair prejudice, conspiracy, favoritism, etc..
The matter is heard to a Jury of Eight (8) people selected from the local Toledo population. They come from all walks of life, with backgrounds as various as the stars in the sky. Much has been written about Civil Jury Trials. So much so that I will not endeavor to explain this archane devise. But, I will simply add a final comment which I made mention to at the opening of this brief paragraph, that with live in a society everyone is being marketed. Perceptions are shaped by multinational corporations who use television, radio, internet and thousands of other media outlets to get you to think a certain way about their socio-economic impact on society. As expert attorneys it is our job to know the law and make sure that the jury knows about the facts, not about what insurance companies convince them to perceive.
This same pressure comes to bear on our Jury system, where the Eight (8) persons selected to decide your case bring forth their attitude and belief systems to decide your case, and your greatest hope is that they were not previously “poisoned” by the mass marketing/advertising campaigns of the insurance lobby. The skillful lawyer must defuse these prejudices and level preconceived notions so that your case is decided by people who are both thoughtful and fair minded.
If you are struggling to get your voice heard by the insurance companies handling your claim, we can help. As expert attorneys that serve Toledo and the surrounding Ohio counties, we have helped thousands of people like yourself receive a better settlement in their personal injury claim. Would you like to be helped too?