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If you have a question relating to an accident where you were not at fault and it resulted in injuries, I have answered many of the common questions I have been asked over the years. Just below, you’ll see a number of categories where the questions and answers are listed.

You can click one of the categories that applies to your situation, and all the answers will be presented to you. An even easier way to get an answer to your question is to type the question in the search box to the right…. and every answer that applies to your question will be shown.

If by chance I don’t have the answer to your question on this site, call me at 513-621-4775. The call is free and I’ll take the time necessary to answer your question.

Q & A About Motor Vehicle Accidents
General Q & A About Accident & Injuries
Specific Q & A About Injuries & Accidents
Q & A About Truck & Big Rig Accidents

Probably not – but it is harder to get the information you need to settle a lawsuit.

In the past, most of the delay in getting the information a lawyer needed to settle resulted from the delay caused by treatment – it’s a bad idea to settle a lawsuit until you are fully recovered, so it’s important to wait until that happens before you start requesting information.

A couple new things have happened over the last 20 years.

First, it’s hard for a lot of people to complete treatment, because they don’t have medical insurance to pay for it.

This has always been a challenge – but usually, if you were hurt and could get to a doctor, he would treat you. Maybe your lawyer could guarantee the doctor’s bill out of the settlement, or maybe he would just perform the surgery out of the goodness of his heart. But I really didn’t see too many people who needed surgery not getting it.

Now, it’s different. Doctors are driven by the economics of their own practice to make a profit. It is hard to find a doctor who will accept certain types of insurance, leave alone Medicaid or Caresource.

Partly because patients stiff them, doctors are less willing to treat people who don’t have insurance at all.

Second, it is harder and harder to get the information needed from doctors in order to settle lawsuits.

There are several reasons for this. Forms permitting the release of medical information have to be “bulletproof” – that is, they have to be filled out correctly to the letter, because doctors are scared of releasing information they should not. Why? Because now, they can get sued for releasing information without permission – which was unusual 20 or 25 years ago.

So if there is a problem with the form, it comes back to you, with directions for resubmitting it.
Doctors are reluctant to talk to lawyers at all – they are afraid primarily of malpractice suits, but also of lawsuits for improperly releasing information. And when they do talk to lawyers, they need money up front for their time.

I have no problem with paying in advance for the doctor’s time; but they are less likely to give you specific information, such as stating whether the accident left you unfit for a particular occupation, or the extent to which you suffered permanent impairment for any line of work. (I think this last one is because they simply don’t like being cross examined, so they say they don’t have the training to make these evaluations.)

My job as your lawyer is to get the information I need for your settlement. I do this by making it a practice of ordering copies of your records and bills as soon as possible from your doctors and hospital, and your insurance company. If you’re not sure whether there is enough insurance to cover your injuries, call me, Bill Strubbe, a Cincinnati Personal Injury Attorney. My phone is 513-621-4775. There is no charge for talking to me.

Other lawyers refer their clients to me. And if you decide you‘d rather hire someone else, that’s OK.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.

This is the only day of the year I make it a point to go “off topic” – the only day that I blog about something other than getting compensation for injured people.

I started because of my Uncle Bill – a Marine who died in the South Pacific in World War II. I never knew him. He, all my uncles, my father, my father in law, and my wife’s uncles, all served their country in the military.

When I try to count the people in my generation – and my son’s generation – I know who have served who are friends, I have trouble getting beyond one hand.

It’s tough to talk about this at length without sounding preachy or militaristic, and I don’t want to do that. The fact speaks for itself.

This is a wonderful country. I am blessed by my family, my profession, and virtually all of my friends. I am grateful for every minute a man or woman has spent in uniform guarding those blessings.

God Bless America.

Not enough insurance.

I haven’t seen the studies, but this just seems to be the biggest problem I keep running into.

You might not like a particular law, or the way a particular judge , insurance adjuster or lawyer looks at your lawsuit. But sooner or later, everyone usually does what is rational – because if they don’t, a jury will wind up deciding the case.

But there isn’t really a good fix for not enough insurance.

If you’ve been in a car accident, there are several types of insurance that might help you. For our purposes, though the most important are auto liability coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Liability coverage protects the other driver against your lawsuit; if the other driver doesn’t have coverage, or doesn’t have enough coverage, then the uninsured/underinsured coverage you have under your own policy takes over – IF you follow the policy conditions for recovery.

Let’s say that the other driver causes an accident. Let’s also say that everyone agrees that if your case goes to a jury, it’s worth $100,000.00.
What if the other driver carries only the Ohio minimum limits of $25,000.00 per person, $50,000.00 per accident? You might be okay – IF you have $100,000 in uninsured/underinsured coverage under your own auto policy.

But what if you only have $50,000.00 in uninsured/underinsured coverage? Or worse, what if you don’t have any uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage at all, and the other driver has no liability coverage? (Despite the fact that Ohio drivers are required to carry insurance, a lot of them don’t. Way too many, in fact.)

In that case, there is not much anyone can do.

And I am seeing more and more situations where nobody has enough insurance. For a bunch of reasons.

First is the fact that a lot of drivers don’t have enough money to pay the premiums for more than minimum limits policies. They just care about getting enough coverage to make sure that they won’t get their license taken if they get stopped. So they buy a policy that covers them for $25,000.00 per person, $50,000 per accident.

That is fine, until someone gets hurt real bad.

Second is the fact that, in a change that goes back to 2001, insurance companies don’t even have to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage any more. And they are so interested in getting the business, when someone asks for an auto policy the agent only quotes for a policy with liability coverage, rather than one providing the uninsured/underinsured.

And finally, even if you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, it doesn’t cover everyone it used to. It used to be that the automobile owner’s policy provided coverage for everyone in the car. Now, it’s more likely to provide coverage only for the owner and his family.

The end result? I see more and more lawsuits where, 10 years ago, there would have been $100,000.00 in limits – maybe more. But today, there might be $25,000, or maybe less.

You cannot know until you talk to a lawyer. Chances are that, as you are reading this, you don’t know how much insurance coverage there really is for your injury.

My job as your lawyer is to make sure that I get every bit of coverage for you that I can. If you’re not sure whether there is enough insurance to cover your injuries, call me, Bill Strubbe, a Cincinnati Personal Injury Attorney. My phone is 513-621-4775. There is no charge for talking to me.
Other lawyers refer their clients to me. And if you decide you‘d rather hire someone else, that’s OK.

Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.

Hard Work.

People think being a trial lawyer is easy – that the best results come from being smart and well spoken.

Make no mistake –to some degree, those talents come naturally to some people. They hold the world in a paper cup. They make the complicated simple. And when they say something simple, it rings with emotion.

When they give a talk, it all becomes a matter of “Why not?” As in “Of course Charlie should get a million dollars. Why not?”

Sorry, but nothing comes that easy. A lot of people who seem like fast talkers only got that way from years of practice and preparation.

Growing up, I was convinced I wasn’t that good a talker, or that smooth. But I was determined.

My first job as a lawyer was as a hearing officer, on whether real estate agents should have their licenses suspended for lying or keeping someone else’s money. Every month, I had to drive to Columbus to make presentations on my recommendations to the Ohio Real Estate Commission.

I would write out the presentations the night before, memorize them, and practice them in the car on the way to Columbus.

When I started practicing law downtown, my boss wanted me to try property damage lawsuits for insurance companies, trying to get back the $500 or $1,000 they pad paid to the person they insured from the person who caused the accident.

I would take the file home with me ,and write out all my questions the night before, anticipating the witness’s answers. I would write out my opening statement, and my closing statement. I would arrange separate folders to hold my questions for my witnesses, for the other side’s witnesses, for the opening and closing arguments, and to hold the exhibits.

When I applied for a job in a larger firm, the partner who interviewed me went back to a lawyer I had clerked for in law school. The lawyer said “He is very thorough.”

When I got a job in a larger firm, I had to try a lot of lawsuits in outlying counties – Clinton, Butler, Warren, Clermont, Brown. I don’t know how many times I got up early to go to some other county to serve a subpoena, or go to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles office so I would have a certified copy of the car title – because there was a possibility that the judge might not accept an uncertified photocopy as proof of ownership.

And of course, I lost some cases – but none because a witness hadn’t been subpoenaed, or because a document was missing.

The lawyer who I look up to the most as a personal injury lawyer – the best trial lawyer I know – is the best at getting medical records. He will tell you that nothing is as basic to the lawsuits he settles or tries as the medical records.

Robert Strauss – an FBI agent turned lawyer, who advised Presidents – had a sign over his desk: “Keep at it. Sooner or later, everybody else gives up.”

He was right.

It is hard to judge a hard worker based on a website, or a taped presentation. But if you want some idea of how I can help you, give me, Bill Strubbe, a Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyer, a call, talk to me, and make your own judgment. My phone is 513-621-4775. There is no charge for talking to me.

Other lawyers refer their clients to me. And if you decide you‘d rather hire someone else, that’s OK.

Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.

Two Reasons. The jury cannot conclude the scar is permanent without a doctor’s opinion. And the jury – or the insurance company – needs to know how much it would cost to try to fix the scar.

You are not exactly the same as you were before the accident. You have a scar that wasn’t there before, because someone else screwed up. The right doctor can tell you – and the insurance company – whether the scar will heal on its own, and how much it will cost to fix the scar.

Let’s say that instead of talking about your body, you are talking about an old car you own. The car is a 2001 Oldsmobile that runs just fine. But the paint is faded, your daughter backed into a wheelbarrow with it and never got that fixed in 2009, it got banged with a golf ball last year, there is another dent from when the kids in the neighborhood threw a boulder on it in the middle of the night, and your teenage son painted a Grateful Dead insignia on the driver’s door in 2011.

Some idiot runs into your Oldsmobile, and bends a fender. It will cost $700 to fix the fender.

If it comes out of your pocket, you probably wouldn’t do it. You’d rather have the $700.00. Should you NOT get the $700 in this case because you are not going to get the car fixed?

Of course you should get the $700.00 – your car is worse than it was before, because of what the other driver did.

Your scar is like the bent bumper. Most doctors I have heard from say scars usually reach their best appearance after about a year. And most scars don’t get fixed – or “remediated”. But if it is there, you don’t look the same as you did before.

If your scar is visible, then you need to see a doctor for two reasons. First, in my opinion, a jury would not be allowed to award damages for the permanency of a scar without the expert testimony of a doctor that the scar is in fact permanent, even if that is something everyone “knows.” And you need to establish what it would cost to try to get the scar fixed – or to improve it as much as possible. Because that is the only way that the insurance company can assign a value to it.

Certain doctors do this a lot. Plastic surgeons, obviously. Ear Nose And Throat surgeons also do it – at least some of them do. And some dermatologists can perform this kind of evaluation.

A lot of people are reluctant to go to a doctor when they don’t intend to get scar revision. All I will say is that every time someone I work for has seen a doctor to have their scar evaluated, it helped settle the lawsuit.

If you think your accident has resulted in a permanent scar, call me, Bill Strubbe, a Cincinnati Personal Injury Attorney. My phone is 513-621-4775. There is no charge for talking to me.

Other lawyers refer their clients to me. And if you decide you‘d rather hire someone else, that’s OK.

Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.

Yes.

People don’t become my clients unless I believe them.

Am I always right? No – I sign people up, and then sometimes I learn something that makes me not believe them. And then I stop representing them. But that hardly ever happens.

I might stop representing someone for other reasons, too – the case might turn out to be too expensive in terms of costs or time, relative to the amount I think we will win. But that doesn’t happen very often, or I wouldn’t sign them up in the first place.

Do juries – or the insurance company on the other side – always believe me, or believe my client? Not always. But usually, they do.

If you’ve been hurt in an accident, I can help you. Call me, Bill Strubbe, a Cincinnati Personal Injury Attorney. My phone is 513-621-4775. There is no charge for talking to me.

Other lawyers refer their clients to me. And if you decide you‘d rather hire someone else, that’s OK.

Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.

I figure out where the delays are most likely to be, then try to fix them.

Delays usually come because the other side doesn’t know something that I do. Usually, it’s medical records that establish that my client wasn’t hurt before the accident, or that establish the severity of the injury. So I get the medical records.

If there is a large wage loss claim, I send the other side my client’s employment records and paycheck stubs, and I try to get them copies of the work excuses.

If there is a dispute about liability, it means there is a fight over what happened. In other words, who is telling the truth. I try to schedule the sworn statements of the important witnesses – including my client and the other driver – so the other attorney can see what they look like, and make his recommendation.

A few years ago, in a dogbite lawsuit, the dog’s insurance company was putting up a huge fight, saying that the jury was going to be reluctant to make a big award against the dog’s owner. My client told me that the dog was known throughout the neighborhood as a bad dog. So I talked to a neighbor, who was familiar with the dog.

I scheduled the neighbor for a deposition, or a sworn statement. We found out just how bad the dog was. The insurance lawyer talked to his supervisor, and the lawsuit settled. For a lot of money.

You see, if I had not made a preliminary evaluation, and liked it, I would not have taken the lawsuit in the first place.

It’s usually that simple. The other side may be lazy – but if you make them work, they evaluate the situation, and sooner or later they want to stop paying their lawyer.

I have been a lawyer over 30 years. Insurance companies are usually smart enough to tell when a lawsuit is getting better or worse for them. If it is getting worse, they want to settle. My job is showing them how bad it can be.

If you’ve been having trouble settling your lawsuit on your own, give me, a Cincinnati personal injury attorney, a call. My phone is 513-621-4775.

You don’t have to hire me. You can just call, and we can talk. But you need to do something, and it’s going to have to start with a phone call.

Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.

They do want to do the right thing. But “the right thing” means something different to them than to you. And they are paid to protect the insurance company.

To an insurance adjuster or attorney, “doing the right thing” means protecting the insurance company against false claims, and lawyers who want too much. And if they screw up, not doing this version of “the right thing” – in the sense of protecting the insurance company – means getting fired.

I have had at least one lawsuit where I filed a lawsuit knowing that the lawsuit was almost certainly filed too late – it was past the statute of limitations.

(I was working for an insurance company, which had paid a claim and wanted to get their money back from the insurance company for the person who caused the accident. The company got me what I needed to file the lawsuit after the last date suit could be filed. And I say “almost certainly” because the statute of limitations can be extended by certain things, such as a defendant’s absence from the state under certain conditions. You cannot know until after you file suit, and ask the defendant a number of questions.)

An adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company called me up – apparently without checking the filing date – and offered me 2/3 of the amount I had asked for in the lawsuit. I immediately faxed a letter back to the adjuster accepting the offer.

She called me an hour later and asked when I had filed the lawsuit. I told her. She said she wouldn’t pay. I said we had a deal.

I referred the lawsuit to another lawyer for the insurance company for which I worked – I was now a witness to the terms of the deal, and could not testify. The other driver’s insurance company fought the lawsuit, and then settled after a couple months for the original settlement amount.

I never heard again from the adjuster who made the original settlement. I am pretty sure she was fired.

The question in all this was never whether the other insurance company owed the money, or how much. They clearly did. The question for them was whether they could get the amount reduced.

Insurance company adjusters and attorneys can rationalize just about offer – short of lying – by saying that there is no way to know what a jury will award for an injury, or for property damage.

The “right” thing, according to the other insurance company, though, was not to pay the bill. The “right thing” was to minimize the bill – regardless whether it was the proper amount. Their adjuster failed to do this – in a blatant manner – so she was fired.

Obviously, you cannot rely on the insurance company to provide you with all of the information you need to evaluate your lawsuit. You certainly cannot use their offer as a barometer of what your lawsuit is worth.

If you want someone who can level the playing field, call me, Bill Strubbe, a Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyer. My phone is 513-621-4775. There is no charge for talking to me.

Other lawyers refer their clients to me. And if you decide you‘d rather hire someone else, that’s OK.

Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.

Sometimes, it’s required by law, or the other driver’s insurance company. Other times, it’s not required, but it’s just good sense.

Nearly always, your own health or auto insurance company requires that it be reimbursed for the cost of your treatment out of settlement funds. This is in their contract or policy.

And the other driver’s insurance company usually requires that your health or auto insurance company be repaid out of the settlement, to the point of having a separate check issued out of the settlement proceeds payable to the health or auto insurance company.

And often, it makes sense to pay your doctors and hospitals back out of your settlement, even if you do not have to do that.

Let’s start with the difference between a debt and a lien. If you owe someone a debt, obviously, they can sue you. But that may not do them much good if you don’t have a lot of money lying around.

A lien is a debt that gives the person you owe the right to be reimbursed from specific funds – in this case, the funds generated by your settlement with the other driver’s insurance company. The creditor has the right to sue not only you, but anyone coming into possession of settlement funds – that is, the other driver’s insurance company.

Health insurance companies have liens on money they pay for your medical treatment – your policy says the health insurance company has a right to be repaid out of the settlement. They enforce this lien by suing the insurance company for the other driver if they don’t get paid. Auto insurance companies – when they pay you medpay benefits – have this same rule.

So the other driver’s insurance company makes it a condition of the settlement that you will pay back your health or auto insurance company – and also Medicare, Caresource, and Medicaid if they have paid you any benefits because of the accident. If you don’t agree to this, they won’t pay the money, and they will make you go to trial.

If you don’t pay your health and auto insurance back – and your insurance company sues the driver’s insurance company to get their money back – you will probably have to pay the other driver’s insurance company not only the amount of the judgment, but also their attorney fees.

A good lawyer addresses this problem by negotiating a reduced payback amount as part of the whole settlement.

There are other types of liens that your attorney must pay out of settlement funds. These include liens that your attorney knows about and that are:

1) Created by a statute (such as Medicaid or Medicare; in fact, if Medicare or Caresource or Medicaid has paid you benefits, the insurance company will probably write a separate check to that insurer and deduct it from the total funds paid out.)), or

2) A judgment of a court addressing the disposition of the funds (for instance, once two of my clients divorced; the final decree stated that part of one’s property settlement had to be paid out of the other’s injury settlement), or

3) Liens guaranteed in writing by you or the lawyer on your behalf out of the settlement funds. As of today’s date – March 31, 2014 – this probably does not include chiropractors’ liens.

Chances are your doctor or hospital does not have a “lien”. But if those bills have not been paid, they are a debt that you still owe, and can be sued on – or they can become a negative on your credit report. I advise all my clients to resolve these – or let me negotiate terms for repayment of these debts – out of the settlement.

Sometimes my client doesn’t want to repay the doctor or hospital. They take their chances that the debt will eventually be written off, or just “fall through the cracks.” And that is fine.

But with all debts that are not liens, it is up to you – until you get sued.

If you want to know more about how this works, call me, Bill Strubbe, a Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyer. My phone is 513-621-4775. There is no charge for talking to me.

Other lawyers refer their clients to me. And if you decide you‘d rather hire someone else, that’s OK.

Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.

Why Doesn’t The Money From The Insurance Company Come Straight to Me, the Victim?

March 31, 2014

Because I – as your lawyer – have to make sure it gets distributed properly. And because it is the only effective way to “make change”. When the insurance company settles your lawsuit, they almost always do it by writing one check to both you and your lawyer. Why? Two reasons: (1) the other driver’s […]

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