Frequently Asked Questions

How do you charge?

There is no charge for an initial consultation. We are a contingent fee law firm, which means we only get paid if we recover for you. In other words, you pay nothing unless we win your case.

How long does it typically take to resolve an injury claim?

There is no “normal” or “typical” time frame by which an injury claim is resolved. Once your medical treatment is either complete or stabilized to the point where we know what type of future medical care you will need, we order your medical records, medical bills and other supporting documentation. This process typically takes four to six weeks. Once the appropriate supporting documentation is received, we create a settlement demand package or “Audit” to send to the insurance company for its review. The insurance companies are obligated to conduct a “prompt” and “reasonable” review of the claims submission. In most claims, the insurance carrier will take approximately 30 days to review the information before being prepared to make a settlement offer. Sometimes a lawsuit is necessary. The amount of time it takes to resolve a claim once a lawsuit is filed varies depending on the court, jurisdiction and the particulars of your individual circumstances.

What is my case worth?

Many variables go into the evaluation of a claim. In most scenarios, your claim is comprised of two primary categories of damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages include your medical bills, lost wages and future medical costs. Non-economic damages are commonly referred to as “pain and suffering.” These damages include your loss of enjoyment of life, the aggravation associated with the claim and your daily pain/discomfort. Because other cases are the best indicator of a case value, an attorney who specializes in personal injury work will be best suited to provide you with a reasonable claim value.

What should I do at the crash scene?

If you are involved in a car crash, the first rule of thumb is to try and stay calm. After your nerves settle, check on your passengers. Next, call 911. Ask for an ambulance if you or any of your passengers are injured.

If you are injured, stay in your vehicle until the police arrive. Upon arrival, the police will take control of the scene and assist in the exchange of information. It is always helpful to obtain the name and badge number of any responding officers as well as the police report number. Even if you can’t get this information, your attorney can secure a copy of the crash report.

If for any reason the police do not obtain information from the involved parties at the accident scene, you should make sure you do so before leaving the area. It is absolutely critical that you get the name, phone number, driver’s license number, and insurance information of all parties involved. You should also write down the make, model, color and license plate number of all vehicles associated with the crash.

We suggest you utilize your cell phone to take some pictures of all vehicles involved in the accident so that they can be identified later. You should also write down the names of all passengers in each car, as well as any witnesses. In obtaining witness information, please be sure to gather the witness’ phone number and address.

When talking to the driver of the other vehicle, you should be cordial and cooperative. Try to relax. You do not want emotions to escalate.

What if the other driver is not telling the truth?

Sadly, disputes arise as to who might be at fault.  The best evidence for determining responsibility comes from the police and the information obtained at the accident scene.  Photographs are always useful.  Also, check for witnesses.  If you locate a witness, get his or her name and phone number.  If it comes to a “he said, she said” situation, this information will be extremely helpful.

If problems continue, you should contact a lawyer.  Our attorneys here at Karp Steiger will not charge you a fee for the initial consultation.  At the end of the day, when there is a dispute as to who was at fault, you will need someone with experience in handling these types of matters to sort through the evidence to establish liability.  Let our attorneys help you through this difficult process. 

What if I was involved in a hit and run?

Victims of hit and run accidents should know they can pursue personal injury claims even if they did not get the other persons information.  Remember that anyone involved in these types of accidents, whether in an automobile, as a pedestrian (pedestrians can be considered anyone walking, running, on roller skates, or on a skateboard, moving or standing still), on a bicycle, motorcycle, etc., can receive assistance.  

Just like at any crash scene, you should contact the police right away.  Make sure you tell the police officers exactly what happened.  Cooperate with the police.  Take any information down from the police officer that he can provide.

Our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience helping victims of hit and run accidents.   We will help you through the insurance claims process.  We will make sure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you deserve for all of your economic losses and your pain and suffering.  If you are a victim of any hit and run accident, let our personal injury team help guide you through these difficult circumstances.   

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Who should I contact in the event of an accident?

When you are involved in an automobile accident, you should always contact your automobile insurance company.  Indeed, you have an obligation to notify your insurance carrier of an accident, because if you don’t, you may not be entitled to certain benefits.

If the accident was not your fault, you should consider contacting an attorney.  Otherwise, the claims adjuster will usually contact you and want a recorded statement.  Anything you say to the claims adjuster can be used against you at a later time.

You should also contact the wrongdoer’s insurance company.  If you hire our attorneys here at Karp Steiger, we specialize in personal injury and can help guide you through this process and communicate with the insurance company for you.  Always remember, if the car accident was not your fault, consider hiring one of our personal injury attorneys here at Karp Steiger. 

What is subrogation?

Subrogation is a fancy legal term that generally means a right of recovery. It provides an insurance company or governmental agency such as Medicare, Medicaid or the Veterans Association the right to recover the amount it paid for medical treatment related to the loss.

What if I don’t like my lawyer and want to make a change of counsel?

You have a right to hire a lawyer of your choice, and there are many great lawyers to choose from in Ohio. Your choice of who to hire as your lawyer should be based upon the best fit for you, rather than an ad you saw on the side of a bus, a tv commercial, or a billboard along the highway. Because you have the right to hire whoever you choose, you have the right to change counsel should you elect to do so.

How do lawyers evaluate an injury claim?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive.  Generally, the method to evaluate an injury claim requires a 3-prong analysis. 

First, was the Defendant or wrongdoer “negligent?”  Negligence is nothing more than a failure to use reasonable or ordinary care to avoid injuring another person or another’s property.  Reasonable or ordinary care is the care that a reasonably careful person would use under the same or similar circumstances.  A failure to use reasonable or ordinary care is negligence. 

Second, was the Defendant’s negligence a direct or “proximate cause” of the harm?  In Ohio, a party who seeks to recover for injuries or death must prove not only that the other party was negligent, but that such negligence was a direct or “proximate” cause of the harm.  Proximate cause is defined as an act or failure to act that in the natural and continuous sequence directly produced the injury or death and without which the injury or death would not have occurred.

Third, if an injured plaintiff can prove liability and proximate cause, what are the plaintiff’s damages?  Damages are defined as the amount of money that will reasonably compensate the plaintiff for the actual injury or loss that was proximately and directly caused by the wrongdoer’s misconduct.  There are two broad categories of damages in an injury claim:  (1) “economic loss” and (2) “noneconomic loss.”  “Economic loss” includes such things as wages, salaries, medical expenses and the cost for future medical care.  “Noneconomic loss” means harm other than economic loss that results from the plaintiff’s injury or loss, including, but not limited to, pain and suffering, loss of society, consortium, companionship, care, assistance, attention, protection, advice, guidance, counsel, instruction, training, or education, disfigurement, mental anguish, and any other intangible loss.

In some cases, the injured party also claims that the injury or loss is permanent.  Future losses must be proven within a reasonable degree of certainty.  In other words, future losses cannot be speculative. 

There is no “cap” or “limit” on economic damages.  However, Ohio Revised Code 2315.18 places a limit of $250,000 on the amount of non-economic damages that may be recovered in a tort action. This limit may be exceeded only when the jury finds permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, or loss of a bodily organ system; or  physical functional injury that permanently prevents the plaintiff from being able to independently care for himself/herself and perform life-sustaining activities. 

Since every case is different, the analysis of negligence, proximate cause and damages is done on a case-by-case basis.  We are happy to evaluate your case for free.  Give us a call. 

What if I have pre-existing medical conditions?

Different people will react differently when involved in motor vehicle accidents.  Someone with pre-existing medical problems may be more susceptible to injury during a car accident.  It is worth noting that having a pre-existing medical condition does not disqualify you for compensation under Ohio law.

In situations where a pre-existing condition is aggravated due to a car accident, it is important to distinguish between your pre-accident state versus your post-accident state of health.  This can become a tricky situation.

We typically recommend you consult with the medical provider who has been treating you  for your pre-existing medical condition first since he or she is in the best position to confirm whether your pre-existing medical condition has worsened as a result of the accident.

You will also want an attorney to compare your pre-accident condition to your post-accident condition.

Let our personal injury attorneys here at Karp Steiger assist in this process for you. 

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What is the process?

For an in depth explanation of our approach, click here

1.) Telephone Consultation: We begin with a conversation over the phone. During the initial phone call, we will gather general background information to determine if it makes sense to meet in person for a more in-depth consultation.

2.) Initial Consultation: During the initial consultation, either by phone or in person, you will speak to one of our attorneys in confidence. We will conduct a thorough interview to gather the facts. We will explain our fees and scope of service in writing in a written Professional Employment Agreement. We are happy to meet with you at our main office in Beachwood or at our second office in downtown Cleveland. There is ample free parking at both locations. If you would prefer, we are more than willing to meet you at your house, the hospital, or another location of your choosing.

3.) Establish the Claim: Once retained, we will immediately place the insurance company, Employer and/or the wrongdoer on notice of our representation. We will instruct the insurance adjuster, Employer representative and/or wrongdoer to communicate only with us, so that you can focus on getting better.

4.) Manage the Claim: Every case is different, and every client is unique. We are not a factory or mill. We get to know our clients. During the claims management phase, we advise our clients and advocate on their behalf.

5.) Prepare a Settlement Demand Packet: In most cases, but not all, we will attempt to resolve your claim without the filing of a lawsuit. Therefore, once your medial treatment is complete, or you have reached maximum medical improvement, we order all your medical records and bills. Once the records and bills are received, we decide if additional information is required, such as expert reports. We compile your records and bills, along with any wage loss or other economic losses into an “Audit.” We will then send the “Audit” and other supporting documentation to the insurance adjuster with a demand for settlement.

6.) Settlement Negotiations: We utilize our experience, resources, and team approach to develop a recommended settlement range. We discuss our recommendations with you before making any settlement demand. Once we have your authority, we attempt to negotiate a settlement of your claim. We will keep you informed of every settlement offer and settlement demand.

7.) Litigation: We are trial lawyers. We are not afraid of a courtroom. If we are unable to settle your case, we will file a lawsuit to protect your interests.

What if I don't speak English well?

Navigating the legal landscape is difficult for anyone, whether for personal injury, work injuries, or other matters, but it is especially hard for immigrants who may struggle with language barriers or cultural divides.  Regardless of the challenges, we at Karp Steiger make it our mission to talk to our clients, regardless of their background, so that we can properly communicate their losses to the insurance companies and juries.  

In the Greater Cleveland area and Cuyahoga County, the Russian, Hispanic and Latino communities are larger than you might expect. 

Regardless of the cultural divide or any language barriers, we are here to help.  Thus, if you or a loved one were injured, please do not hesitate to call.  Our attorneys here at Karp Steiger are available 27-7 and we offer free consultations. For more information, please see:  https://ksohio.com/diversity/.

 

Can I bring a workers compensation claim if I was affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) at work?

As COVID-19 spreads, we are receiving more and more calls asking if an affected
worker can bring a worker’s compensation claim. The answer depends on whether a medical provider can say within a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the exposure to the virus occurred at work. We’ve answered this question in detail on a related page, to view, click here: Workers’ Compensation & the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What is a statute of limitations?

A statute of limitations is a law passed to set a maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings may be initiated.  Because there is a statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits, its important to get a lawyer involved as soon as possible.  

Is there a statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits in Ohio?

Yes, and the time limit depends on the nature of the claim.  For negligence cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury.  For medical claims, the time limit is only one year.  Limitations periods can be straightforward, but malpractice cases often involve a complex analysis.  An attorney can advise as to the type of claim you have, the applicable limitations period, and how to comply with the statute.  Involving an attorney early is how you can best avoid unintentional waiver of claims based on time limitations. https://ksohio.com/contact-us/

Service Areas Include, But Not Limited To:

• Akron
• Aurora
• Beachwood
• Bowling Green
• Canton
• Chagrin Falls

• Columbus
• Cuyahoga Falls
• Dayton
• East Cleveland
• Elyria
• Euclid

• Findlay
• Fremont
• Kent
• Lakewood
• Lorain
• Massillon

• Medina
• Mentor
• Norwalk
• Painesville
• Parma
• Port Clinton

• Ravenna
• Rocky River
• Sandusky
• Solon
• Shaker Heights
• Stronsgville

• Tiffin
• Toledo
• Warren
• Westlake
• Willoughby
• Youngstown

All lawsuits are different and Karp Steiger makes no representation or promises that it can obtain the same results in other legal matters. Nothing in this Web page constitutes a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of any future legal matter. All elements of this website are copyrighted materials for Karp Steiger, LLC ©2020.