We have compiled a list of general answers to questions that were frequently asked by clients during our many years of practice in Ohio. We know, however, that each client is a unique individual, and no two legal cases are alike. These general answers might not apply to the unique circumstances of your situation. Because every case is different, it is important to consult a knowledgeable attorney who will take the time to get to know you and your case. If you have legal questions, please contact any of the attorneys at Steuer, Escovar & Coleman Co. LPA. We will listen to you, and your first consultation is free.
After a motor vehicle accident, move to the side of the road if possible and immediately call “911” to summon medical help and the police. Obtain the full names and driver license numbers of all drivers, the license plate numbers of all vehicles, and the insurance information for each driver and vehicle. Record the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any passengers, pedestrians, or witnesses to the accident. Also, record the identity of any police officers on the scene as well as the identification number for the police report.
In any type of accident involving serious injury, obtain medical help. Write down everything you can remember about how the injury occurred, including contact information of potential witnesses, police officers, and insurance company representatives. Take steps to protect any evidence related to the accident or injury, such as your damaged vehicle, photographs of the accident scene or your injury, the clothing you were wearing, damaged personal belongings, and all medical reports. Make notes of the location of the accident, the time of the day when the accident occurred, the directions the vehicles were traveling prior to the accident, and the weather and visibility conditions.
As soon as possible, and before you make any statements to insurance company representatives or adjusters, talk to a personal injury attorney at Steuer, Escovar & Coleman Co. LPA. He can help you take the proper steps to preserve evidence, document your claims, and determine the full extent of your injuries and damages.
Generally, you have two years to file a lawsuit against the person who injured you. If your injury is related to a contract, you might have six years to file a suit. Shorter periods of time might apply for making administrative claims against governmental bodies and claiming insurance benefits. It is wise to consult a knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible to determine the time limits applicable to your situation.
Under Ohio law, the person who caused your injury is liable for:
- Your past, current and future medical expenses
- Your time away from work, including time spent at medical appointments or therapy
- Any property damage, such as damage to your vehicle
- The cost of hiring someone to do your household chores while you are unable to do them
- Any permanent disfigurement or disability
- Your emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, and interference with your family relationships
- Any change in your future earning capacity due to the injury
- Any other costs that directly resulted from your injury
- Punitive damages if the injury was caused by malice or intentional, reckless, wanton, willful, and gross acts
The worth of your claim is based upon the extent of your injury, and its impact on your earning capacity and quality of life. Other critical factors influencing the worth of your claim include the quality of your evidence and the strength of your legal representation. That is why it is so important to seek out an experienced, competent personal injury attorney.
What is the difference between the Social Security disability insurance benefits program (SSD) and the supplemental security income program (SSI)?
Title II of the Social Security Act provides for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits to be paid to workers who become disabled and unable to work. These claimants must show that they worked a certain length of time in the period before they became disabled.
The supplemental security income program (SSI), authorized under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, provides benefits to disabled individuals whose income and assets fall below a specified level.
Although the eligibility criteria differs under the two programs, many standards and procedures required for determining disability are the same.
Social Security disability (SSD) benefits are financed by a tax on wages, and to recover such benefits, you must show that you worked long enough and recently enough in a job covered by Social Security. You must also show by sufficient medical evidence that you have a severe physical or mental impairment, or a combination of both, that will last at least 12 months or result in death. Furthermore, you must show that this disability prevents you from performing any type of generally available employment.
You can call or visit your local Social Security Administration Office, and even apply for benefits online. And you do not need an attorney in order to submit an application. However, an experienced Social Security attorney can help you collect and assert all of the necessary information needed for smooth processing of your claim.
There are three steps involved in a Social Security administrative appeal. First, you can seek a reconsideration of your claim, which triggers a complete review by the Administration of its initial decision. If you are still denied benefits, request a hearing before an administrative law judge. If that decision is against you, you may seek review by the appeal council. A claimant dissatisfied with the final appeal decision may sue in federal court within 60 days of that decision. Contact the Social Security attorneys at Steuer, Escovar & Coleman Co. LPA for information on presenting your strongest appeal.
Tell your employer about the injury and seek appropriate medical care. Be sure to inform the doctor or other medical care provider that you have suffered a work injury. You, your employer, your employer’s managed care organization, or other health care provider can then file a workers’ compensation claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). This can be done by completing a First Report of Injury (FROI) form, and mailing it to any bureau service office, or the FROI can be completed on-line. The BWC will then determine within 28 days whether you are entitled to recover workers’ compensation benefits.
If you or your employer disagrees with the BWC’s evaluation of your claim, either party can appeal to the state Industrial Commission within 14 days. The Industrial Commission provides three levels of administrative appeals. Because you have such a short period of time in which to appeal, it is important to contact a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
Generally, Ohio employees are entitled to collect workers’ compensation for injuries, disabilities, or death arising out of and in the course of their employment. That is, the injury must have occurred in the workplace and be job-related. Written claims giving notice of the specific injury must be made to the BWC or Industrial Commission within two years of the injury. Not sure if you are entitled to benefits? Schedule a free consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney at Steuer, Escovar & Coleman Co. LPA. We can help you determine your best legal options.
Eligible injured employees are provided with medical care and rehabilitation, generally through a managed care organization or a BWC-certified provider. Medical and pharmacy bills are paid without additional charges. Workers unable to return to work for eight or more days are paid a percentage of the wages lost as a result of their work-related injury. Permanent disability payments are made to workers declared permanently disabled by the Industrial Commission. Special awards may be made for facial disfigurement, death, and an employer’s violation of specific safety requirements. It is also possible to seek a lump-sum settlement. Consult with a Steuer, Escovar & Coleman Co. LPA workers’ compensation attorney to determine the compensation available to you.
Ohio law generally assumes that employees are employed for an indefinite period of time and that the employment can end anytime at the will of the employer or employee. That is, if there is no employment contract, an employee can quit or be fired at any time for no reason.
Yes. Ohio courts recognize the “promissory estoppel” exception to the employment-at-will doctrine. If an employer specifically promised an employee continued employment, and the employee reasonably relied on that promise, the employer could be liable for breaking that promise.
Although at-will employment permits an employer to fire an employee for a good reason, or even no reason, it does not permit the employer to fire an employee for a bad or illegal reason that violates public policy. State and federal laws protect employees against discriminatory discharges based upon the employee’s age, race, sex, religion, and nationality. The federal bankruptcy code prohibits employers from firing employees because they filed bankruptcy. Firing a whistle-blower for complaining about workplace discrimination or safety violations can also be illegal. Other Ohio laws limit an employer’s ability to fire employees who were summoned for jury duty, made claims under the wage and hour laws, or had their wages garnished. Other protections against wrongful termination could exist in the circumstances of your situation. Please talk with an employment attorney at Steuer, Escovar & Coleman Co. LPA to determine if you have a claim for wrongful discharge.
Depending upon the unique factual circumstances of your case, you could be found entitled to recover:
- Back pay
- Future lost wages
- Compensation for emotional or mental anguish
- Attorney’s fees
- Punitive damages
- Reinstatement in your job
You must live in Ohio for six months before seeking a divorce. If your spouse agrees, you can get a divorce by simply filing divorce papers stating that you and your spouse are incompatible. Otherwise, the spouse seeking the divorce must prove one of the following grounds:
- Separation, meaning that the spouses lived apart for a year
- Habitual drunkenness
- Imprisonment of your spouse in a state or federal prison at the time you file for divorce
- An out-of-state divorce that did not release you from marriage in Ohio
Marital property is the property acquired by the spouses during their marriage, except for property that was given to one spouse as a gift, inheritance, or personal injury award. Courts strive to equitably divide a couple’s marital property in their divorce. Generally, that means the marital property is divided equally between the spouses, unless that result is unfair.
In deciding how to divide the property owned by divorcing couples, judges consider a number of factors, including:
- The length of the marriage
- The assets and liabilities of each spouse
- The need of a custodial parent to occupy the family home
- The liquidity of the property to be distributed
- The economic desirability of keeping an asset intact
- The tax consequences of the distribution
- The costs of the sale of assets
- Any division of property made in a voluntary separation agreement
After the distribution of property, a court may consider the appropriateness of ordering spousal support. Spousal support is generally temporary, and it is made to enable the spouse with less income to live at a reasonable means for a period of time.
Factors considered by a court in determining spousal support include:
- The parties’ income and relative earning abilities
- The parties’ ages and their physical, mental, and emotional condition
- The parties’ retirement benefits
- The length of the marriage
- Whether it would be inappropriate to force the custodial parent to seek employment outside the home
- The parties’ standard of living during the marriage
- The parties’ education
- The parties’ assets and liabilities
- Each party’s contribution to the education, training, or earning ability of the other party
- The time and expense necessary for the spouse seeking support to acquire the education, training, or job experience needed to obtain appropriate employment
- The tax consequences of alimony
- The earning capacity lost by either party due to marital responsibilities