Frequently Asked Questions
How do you charge?
How long does it typically take to resolve an injury claim?
What is my case worth?
What type of cases do you accept?
Typically, the lawyers at Karp Steiger accept cases serving clients in the greater Cleveland, Ohio area such as car accidents, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, bicycle accidents, boating accidents, motorcycle accidents, product liability, slip and fall, truck accidents, workers’ compensation, animal attacks, wrongful death, bus accidents, pedestrian accidents, construction accidents. Additionally, the attorneys also fight in cases of injury such as brain injury, nursing home injury, workplace injury, dangerous conditions, personal injury, birth injury, catastrophic injury, child injury, bone breaks and fractures, traumatic amputation, back injury, knee injury, and neck injury.
What should I do at the crash scene?
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. Below are two typical examples of subrogation in the context of personal injury claims.
– Health Insurance Subrogation
Health insurance subrogation is controlled in contract. In other words, the health insurance plan is what controls the health insurer’s right of subrogation and recovery. For example, if you are injured in an automobile accident and your health insurance company pays your medical bills, your health insurance company will likely seek to be reimbursed at the conclusion of your case. Based upon the terms of most health insurance plans, you will have an obligation to reimburse your health insurance company for the medical expenses it paid out on your behalf when you recover from the wrongdoer. In most circumstances, your attorney will be able to negotiate the amount of money that will need to be paid back to your health insurance company out of your recovery.
– Subrogation for Medical Expenses Paid by a Governmental Entity
Medical expenses that are paid by a governmental agency such as Medicare, Medicaid or the VA have what is commonly referred to as a “super lien.” Unlike health insurance plans where a contract governs subrogation (i.e., the health insurance plan), a governmental agency’s right of subrogation or reimbursement is controlled by statute (i.e., the law). For example, if you are a Medicare recipient and Medicare pays your accident-related medical expenses, you have an obligation to reimburse Medicare at the conclusion of your claim. A failure to reimburse Medicare can result in civil penalties. Because statute controls subrogation for payments made by govermental sources, we recommend you consult with an attorney to navigate the process.
What if I don’t like my lawyer and want to make a change of counsel?
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.
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/
What is Loss of Consortium?
Unlike other types of car accident claims, loss of consortium is brought by a close family member of the accident victim (a spouse, parent or child). Although most loss of consortium cases involve a spouse of the injured party, they can also apply to a relationship between parents and children in some cases.
Loss of consortium (also called “loss of affection” and “loss of companionship”) refers to the deprivation of the benefits of married life or parenting, such as the ability to show affection, after an accident or injury. The injured party must have sustained serious injuries or died as the result of a car accident. If the injured party can no longer provide the same love, affection, companionship, parenting, care, or sexual relationship, his or her spouse, child or parent can recover damages for the loss of consortium.
When these roles can no longer be carried out, the uninjured party suffers, too.
How to Prove Loss of Consortium?
Loss of consortium is a form of noneconomic damages (also called general damages), which refers to intangible damages that are difficult to calculate in monetary values. There are no clear rules for calculating noneconomic damages. However, if the spouse of a car accident victim is claiming loss of consortium, the court will likely consider the following factors:
– Whether the marriage involved a stable, loving relationship
– The spouses’ living arrangements
– How much care and companionship the spouse received
– The spouses’ individual life expectancy
Here in Ohio, there are damages caps on loss of consortium claims. Noneconomic damages filed in the state top out at $350,000 or the amount of economic damages tripled, whichever sum is more.
Should you file a loss of consortium claim? Let our personal injury attorneys advise you of your rights under the law when filing a claim for loss of consortium. https://ksohio.com/contact-us/
Who will cover my medical expenses?
There are various sources to pay medical bills following a motor vehicle accident. However, many people erroneously assume that if the other driver was at fault, the wrongdoer’s insurance company will pay the medical expenses. On the contrary, you are responsible for your own medical costs.
The primary source of payment for your medical bills should be your health insurance. We recommend you go with your private health insurance so that you can get the benefit of the reduced rates. For example, if a doctor typically charges $100 for an office visit, your health insurance company may pay a reduced amount of $50 for that same visit. Because you have elected to go through your health insurance company, you get the benefit of the reduced provider rate. Please keep in mind, however, that your health insurance carrier will typically want to be reimbursed from any proceeds you may recover from the wrongdoer’s insurance company at the conclusion of your case.
Other sources of payment for medical expenses include governmental assistance such as Medicare and Medicaid. With Medicare or Medicaid, you have an obligation to reimburse the government when your case resolves. This is because the government has what is commonly referred to as a “super lien.” In other words, the government has priority over any proceeds collected at the resolution of your case. It is crucial that if you process any of your medical bills through Medicare or Medicaid, you notify the government immediately that your medical bills are accident-related. Notifying Medicare or Medicaid can be time consuming and confusing. Let our lawyers help you through this portion, so you can focus on getting better.
An additional source of recovery is commonly referred to as “MedPay.” MedPay is short for Medical Payments coverage. This coverage exists in your automobile insurance policy. People are often reluctant to go through their automobile insurance for payment of medical expenses when the accident was not their fault. However, MedPay is a reliable option when it comes to the payment of medical bills.
Finally, some medical providers will accept a letter of protection. A letter of protection is a contract that provides that any reasonable and related medical expenses will be reimbursed to the medical care provider out of the settlement or resolution of your case.
Let our personal injury attorneys advise you when you need help paying your medical bills after an accident. https://ksohio.com/contact-us/
Risk Free Consultations Available 24/7 - Call Now: (216) 358-OHIO | Office: (216) 696-3515
East Side Location
28601 Chagrin Blvd.,
Beachwood, OH 44122
2344 Canal Rd.,
Cleveland, OH 44113
• Bicycle Accidents
• Boating Accidents
• Bus Accidents
• Car Accidents
• Construction Accidents
• Dog Bites
• Medical Malpractice
• Motorcycle Accidents
• Negligent Security
• Nursing Home Abuse
• Pedestrian Accidents
• Product Liability
• Sex Abuse
• Slip and Fall
• Truck Accidents
• Uber & Lyft Drivers
• Wrongful Death
• Workers' Compensation
• Zantac Heartburn Medication Recall
• Amusement Park Injury
• Back Injury
• Birth Injury
• Bone Breaks & Fractures
• Brain Injury
• Catastrophic Injury
• Child Injury
• Coronavirus (COVID-19)
• Dangerous Conditions
• Delivery Workplace Injuries
• Knee Injury
• Neck Injury
• Nursing Home Injury
• Personal Injury
• Traumatic Amputation
• Workplace Injury
Service Areas Include, But Not Limited To:
• Bowling Green
• Chagrin Falls
• Cuyahoga Falls
• East Cleveland
• Port Clinton
• Rocky River
• Shaker Heights