Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How Do Lawyers And Chiropractors Get Your Name After An Auto Accident?

One day, you're rear ended or broadsided in an automobile, motorcycle, or truck accident. As if that trauma is not enough, within 24 hours of the crash your phone starts ringing. If you have a cell or smart phone, in addition to phone calls you are bombarded with numerous text messages.

When you go to your mailbox, you have well over a dozen mailings, with fancy DVD's, refrigerator magnets, glossy brochures--and a copy of your accident report!  And, perhaps, someone has even dropped off and hung some materials on your front door knob.

Creepy, isn't it? Many of my clients ask: "how in the hell did these (people) (vultures) (sharks) get my name and info so fast?

Here's what's going on. There are companies who system gather information about  accidents by monitoring hundreds of local news, radio, and television sites across any given state. They provide accident report summaries and mailing addresses for accident victims. They typically charge a fee per accident.

It's a sophisticated network for sure to process this information to attorneys and chiropractors and eventually start bombarding you before you've even had a chance to catch your breath and clear your head.

Personally, this feeding frenzy of solicitations is one of the worst things that has ever happened to our profession. I hate it and wish it would stop, but that's just my personal opinion.  I have no statistics to bear this out, but I would estimate that well over 90% of all Ohio personal injury attorneys do not engage in this practice. Unfortunately, however, we who don't engage in these practices are lumped in and tarred with the same brush as those attorneys and firms who solicit victims in this manner.

Thankfully, many collision victims still hire us the old fashioned way: asking around, and word of mouth.

Monday, June 3, 2013

In What County Can You File An Ohio Personal Injury Lawsuit?

In most cases, a lawsuit is filed in the county where the auto/motorcycle/truck accident occurred. But it does not HAVE to be limited to that county.

A common example will bring this into focus. Let's say you and your significant other are on a leisurely motorcycle stroll and a driver of a company car, drunk while on the job, turns left in front of you (the most common cause of an injury to a motorcyclist, by the way) and seriously injures both of you. His employer's place of business is in Cuyahoga County, he lives in Summit County, and the collision occurred in Stark County, Ohio. So which county is the proper one for bringing a lawsuit?

Answer: you can bring a lawsuit in any one of those three counties. The legal term which governs where a lawsuit is brought is called venue.  You've probably even use of part of that term on the TV news when a criminal defendant asks for a "change of venue."

Under Ohio venue rules, a lawsuit can be brought in the county where: (1) a defendant has its principal place of business, OR (2) the defendant resides, OR (3) the accident occurred. There is no pecking order or priority given to one location or another.

So, in the example above, the lawsuit can possibly be brought in Cuyahoga County since an employer can be liable for an employee who injures someone in the course and scope of his or her employment. It can also be brought in Summit County because the employee/drunk driver resides there. And, finally, it is also proper in Stark County because that's where the collision occurred.

The decision of the best place strategically to bring an Ohio auto or motorcycle accident claim depends upon many unique factors, and each county would have its plusses and minuses, all of which should be discussed with the client before a lawsuit is filed.