What is negligence? The courts define negligence in an Ohio personal injury case as the failure to exercise the degree of care that another sensible person would exercise under similar circumstances.
The state of Ohio follows the comparative negligence law, which essentially allows an injured party to seek compensation for injuries even if he or she was partly responsible for the accident. This is a vast improvement from the old contributory negligence law, which stipulated that if an injured party was found to be even 1 percent at fault in an accident, he or she could not collect any compensation.
Defining Negligence: How Negligence is Determined
But how do you determine if somebody is negligent? As mentioned above, it is generally found to be a deviation from behavior or actions considered to be reasonable given a particular situation. Failure to take reasonable care could indicate that the party is negligent.
For example, most reasonable people would realize that weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed is dangerous and could cause an accident. This behavior could be considered negligent. Drivers who engage in this behavior and cause an accident can be found to have acted negligently and held liable for resultant damages.
The plaintiff will have the burden of proof in establishing another’s negligence. So if you are seeking compensation for your accident, you’ll need to demonstrate the other party’s liability for the accident and your resultant injuries and damages.
You’ll need to show that the other party:
- had a duty of care;
- acted in a negligent manner; and
- his or her actions caused your injuries.
How Comparative Negligence Works
In a personal injury case, the parties involved will share the costs of the damages proportionate to their degree of fault for the accident. In other words, your settlement amount will be reduced by your degree of fault, as determined by the courts and/or insurance adjuster.
However, parties in Ohio must be no more than 50 percent at fault for the accident in order to collect damages.
For example, if a victim were in a car accident and suffered extensive injuries due to another driver’s negligence, the victim could pursue recompense by filing a personal injury claim.
If the victim was determined to be 20 percent at fault for the accident, his or her settlement amount would be reduced by 20 percent; e.g., a $100,000 damage award would be reduced to $80,000.
Getting Ohio Legal Counsel for Your Case
Because proving liability and minimizing your degree of fault in a personal injury case is vital to a successful resolution. you’ll likely want to speak to a Westerville attorney familiar with personal injury cases to ensure matters are handled appropriately.
For a free legal consultation, call (614) 538-1116
At Bressman Law, we make serving clients compassionately and respectfully our priority. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office today at (614) 538-1116 and receive clarification on any of your legal questions, such as how to define negligence and how comparative negligence affects your case.
What is premises liability?
When you or someone you love suffers a serious injury or is assaulted on someone else’s land or premises for any of the reasons listed below, you have the right to file a premises liability claim.
- open or concealed holes;
- uneven pavement or crumbling curbs;
- standing water;
- wet floors;
- icy walkways;
- falling objects;
- inadequate security;
- inadequate lighting;
- improperly secured mats; or
- defects in chairs or benches
Premises liability law makes the owner of the property responsible for certain injuries suffered by those present on the property. It’s the property owner’s duty to foresee and prevent accidents or injuries on the property.
What types of accidents or incidents lead to a premises liability claim?
The most common types of premises liability claims are slips and falls (find out why below). Regardless of the cause and type of injury, you can file a claim with a Columbus personal injury attorney at Bressman Law. We’ll evaluate and fight your case at no cost! Call us now at (614) 538-1116.
Circumstances in which a claim could be filed include:
- criminal activity (robbery, assault) on the property;
- malfunctioning equipment (elevator, escalator);
- falls (from heights, slippery surfaces);
- trips (torn carpeting, debris);
- slips (icy sidewalks, wet stairs);
- broken items (handrails); and
- code violations (uneven steps, inadequate lighting).
An injury can occur inside or outside the premises, and Columbus personal injury attorneys will use evidence of the accident ‘ photographs, a police report, an item itself ‘ to establish the cause of the accident and owner liability.
What types of owners can be held liable in a premises liability claim?
Virtually anyone who is an owner of real property can be responsible for someone else’s injuries such as owners of:
- residential homes;
- apartment buildings;
- grocery stores;
- malls and the tenants within;
- plots of land;
- recreational centers; and
- other buildings, entities, businesses, and stores.
What must be proven in a premises liability claim?
One of the first things that needs to be established is whether the person had a legal right to be on the property. Those who are not legally authorized to be on the property are considered trespassers. Because of this, owners generally aren’t liable for their injuries. There are exceptions, however.
One is children. Although they may have been uninvited, the property owner should protect against an attractive nuisance. For instance, a backyard pool that isn’t fenced in may allow children easy access to the potential danger.
A licensee is someone who enters the property for non-business purposes, such as attending a neighbor’s BBQ. An invitee is someone who enters the property for purposes of conducting business, such as a customer at a store.
The second thing that must be proven is there was a dangerous condition. There must be something hazardous that caused someone else to be injured. An example would be a balcony or stairway that has a faulty railing.
The last thing is that the owner either created the dangerous condition, knew about it or should have known, and did not take action to correct it. This can sometimes be tricky to prove, and victims of these accidents may need help from Columbus personal injury attorneys to collect adequate evidence and build the case.
Case Help from Columbus Personal Injury Attorneys
Because of the complexities involved in premises liability claims, it is generally a good idea to seek legal advice with a Columbus personal injury attorney who can review the case details and explain further what premises liability is and how it applies to a particular case.
What is uninsured motorist coverage and why is it important?
Of course, there may also be the possibility of pursuing legal action against the other driver with an Ohio injury lawyer in Upper Arlington. But keep in mind that if the at-fault driver wasn’t able to afford insurance, it might be hard to collect compensation to cover damages.
Statistics on Uninsured Drivers in Ohio
According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, in 2011 there were a total of 48,091 uninsured drivers involved in crashes. Of those, 36,449 were drivers who didn’t have insurance and yet were at fault for the accident.
The following are the top five age groups that did not have proof of insurance at the time of an accident:
- 21 to 25 year-olds (6,972);
- 16 to 20 year-olds (5,434);
- 26 to 30 year-olds (5,183);
- 31 to 35 year-olds (3,824); and
- 36 to 40 year-olds (3,144).
The best way for a motorist to protect him/herself may be by purchasing UM insurance coverage. If there are issues collecting on an uninsured motorist coverage policy or if accident victims wish to pursue a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, an Ohio injury lawyer in Upper Arlington at Bressman Law can help.
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- Always wear a helmet – Wearing a helmet can go a long way in protecting motorcyclists in the event of a crash. According to the NHTSA, in 2011, helmet use saved the lives of 1,617 motorcyclists. For this reason, many states have enacted a mandatory helmet law. Currently, Ohio’s law only pertains to motorcyclists 17 and younger.
- Take a safety course - In the state of Ohio, motorcycle drivers can take a safety training course through the Department of Public Safety. Open to both minors and adults, courses cost $50 and include options for beginning riders, returning riders and more advanced riders.
- Watch the weather – Rain, fog, clouds and other adverse weather conditions can impair visibility and make driving more difficult. They can also make roads slippery and lead to more traffic, congestion and on-the-road hazards. Additionally, if recent snow or sleet has fallen, there may be other dangers to consider, such as sand or salt on the roads.
- Wear proper gear – In addition to wearing a helmet, motorcyclists should always wear protective boots, pants, gloves and a jacket when operating their vehicles. These can help protect them from road burn, scrapes, cuts, and other unfortunate effects should they get in an accident.
- Don’t speed – Speeding can make it difficult to stop or respond to changing road conditions. Additionally, it can make turning more dangerous and cut down on the time other drivers have to see the vehicle.
- Avoid blind spots – Motorcyclists should always drive where others can easily see them and make it a point to avoid any blind spots. Failing to do so can cause nearby drivers to change lanes into them, turn unexpectedly or pose other hazards to the motorcycle.
- Always use signals – In order to ensure nearby drivers are fully aware of their position and intent, motorcyclists should always use their turn signals when changing lanes, turning or waiting at a light. Additionally, they should use their horn lightly when a signal may not be enough.
- Keep the bike in good working order – Motorcyclists should work to maintain their bikes, getting regular oil changes, safety inspections and more. Doing so can help avoid a motorcycle accident related to defects or other issues with the bike.
When a Motorcycle Accident is Unavoidable
Sometimes, no matter how many motorcycle safety tips a motorcyclist utilizes, motorcycle accidents still happen. Anyone who has been a victim of a motorcycle accident in the Worthington area is encouraged to contact an attorney at Bressman Law at (614) 538-1116. There may be grounds for a legal claim.