Truck Accident in Columbus, Ohio?
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Truck Accidents are Different.
For anyone that has suffered in a trucking accident, you know how traumatic and debilitating the experience can be. The road to recovery is often long and difficult, and dealing with the insurance companies makes it much more so. The fact is that a truck accident claim is a complex financial and legal process. Getting to successful settlement for your car accident takes experience and dedication – and the family of Columbus Ohio truck accident lawyers at Sawan & Sawan have both.
Successfully prosecuting a commercial trucking client after a serious truck accident requires a particular skill set that differs significantly from those that are used for a common automobile. The fact is that each collision involving a truck involves a web of overlapping regulations. Moreover, due to the varying size, weight and configuration of individual trucks, each collision is unique and highly fact specific. In many cases, a skilled truck accident lawyer can recreate a collision down to the second if they know what to look for and how to look for it. As a result of the likelihood of litigation, a proper and rapid response to the accident is essential.
The fact is that, with truck accident cases, you may only have a small window in which to collect critical evidence before it is compromised or otherwise lost.
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Holding Trucking Companies Responsible
In Ohio, courts recognize that there exist three separate and distinct theories of liability on which an employer may be held liable for the conduct of an employee. Stephens v. A-Able Rents Co. (8th Dist. 1995), 654 N.E.2d 1315, 1319. Such theories include respondeat superior, negligent entrustment, and negligent hiring. The same standard exists in Ohio for claims of negligent hiring as for negligent supervision and retention of an employee. See Snyder v. Guardian Automotive Products, Inc. (N.D. Ohio 2003), 288 F.Supp.2d 868. These standards as they apply to trucking cases in Ohio can be complex and require a detailed fact assessment to apply to any specific case. However, in
1. Respondeat Superior
In Ohio, an employer may be vicariously liable for the torts of its employees under the doctrine of respondeat superior. Comer v. Risko (Ohio 2005), 833 N.E.2d 712. This theory holds that an employer is responsible for the acts done by it’s employees when the act is done in the course and in the scope of employment. This theory is known as “derivative liability”, since he employer cannot be held liable under this theory as any liability of the employer is derivative to that of the employee. See Callen v. Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters, Local 100 (1st Dist. 2001), 761 N.E.2d 51.
2. Negligent Entrustment
Under the legal theory of negligent entrustment, the owner of a truck may be held liable for the injuries to a third person resulting from the operation of the vehicle by a person that the owner knew or should have known was an inexperienced or incompetent driver. Huston v. Konieczny (Ohio 1990), 556 N.E.2d 505. To prove negligent entrustment, one must show that (1) the vehicle was entrusted to a person who is known or should have been known by the owner of the vehicle to be an incompetent driver; and, (2) that the negligent use of the vehicle, by that driver, caused the injury. Lee v. Sunnyside Honda (8th Dist. 1998), 716 N.E.2d 285.
3. Negligent Hiring, Retention and Supervision
Unlike vicarious liability under the theory of respondeat superior (explained above), an employer can be held separately and independently liable under the theories of negligent hiring (Byrd v. Faber (Ohio 1991) 565 N.E.2d 584), negligent retention (Payton v. Receivables Outsourcing, Inc. (8th Dist. 2005) 840 N.E.2d 236), and negligent supervision (Lutz v. Chitwood (S.D. Ohio 2005) 337 B.R. 160). Under Ohio law, a party seeking to prevail on a claim for negligent hiring, supervision, or retention of an employee by an employer must show: (1) the existence of an employment relationship; (2) the employee’s incompetence; (3) the employer’s actual or constructive knowledge of such incompetence; (4) the employee’s act or omission causing plaintiff’s injuries; and, (5) the employer’s negligence in hiring, retaining, or supervising the employee as the proximate cause of the injuries. Snyder, supra.
Should I File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
The short answer is – it depends. Many trucking accident victims and their families find the process of filing a law suit after a serious truck accident injury or death exhausting and daunting. Our family of Columbus Ohio Truck Accident Attorneys has court room experience. We seek to use this experience to ease our client’s anxieties about facing the legal process. Remember that the vast majority of truck accident claims end in settlement. However, should your case require a trial, you can rest assured that the team of lawyers at Sawan & Sawan are always trial ready. However, before we advice filing a lawsuit, we advise our clients to fully understand the issues of costs, collectability, evidentiary strengths and weaknesses and the impact a lawsuit can have on your life. You can learn more about these issues here.
Do I Need a Lawyer If I'm in a Truck Accident?
In our combined 35+ years of practice, we have seen a wide range of cases. We have also seen the pitfalls of people trying to navigate an insurance claim on their own without the help of competent counsel. We have put together this helpful guide to help answer this question. Having an Attorney represent you allows you to focus on recovering from your injuries, and not compilations of records, communications with insurance adjuster and lawyers and evidence gathering. A skilled truck accident lawyer can also help by creating a strong and coherent record of medical treatment, and hire experts to assist in valuing your physical limitations and future damages. Hiring a lawyer for your car accident claim also means that you have someone to take over all communication with the insurance company – ensuring that you don’t do or say anything that could jeopardize your claim. If you are questioning whether to get an Attorney, we strongly advise you to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Columbus Truck Accident Lawyers today.
Looking for More Information?
The Ultimate Guide to Truck Accident Litigation
Paying Medical Bills after a Truck Accident
Victims of truck accidents are frequently injured – often very seriously given the size and weight of a commercial vehicle. It’s natural for someone who has been in a car accident to wonder if they should seek emergency medical attention. In short, the answer is yes. After the stress of an accident, it’s normal for pain to be masked by the adrenaline of the event. It’s also important to remember that many injuries manifest themselves slower after an accident. For all of these reasons and more, seeking medical treatment after a car accident is always wise. Documentation of a medical condition close to it’s onset is often key to proving your car accident case. To learn more about going to the hospital after a car accident – click here. if you or a loved one have any questions about medical care after a truck accident in Columbus, Ohio, contact us today at 419-900-0955.
Dennis P. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Georgia
Christopher A. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Michigan
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