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The majority of lawsuits arising from Cleveland automobile accidents are filed by one motorist against another. It is not unusual for a careless driver’s employer to also be named as a defendant, if the driver was on the job at the time the crash happened.Municipalities are also legally responsible for the negligence of their employees while operating a city vehicle. Ohio cities like Cleveland or Akron are also responsible for keeping their streets open and in good repair under ORC 2744.02. So when a car accident is caused by a defect or hazard in a roadway, the municipality may be held liable.  Typically, the city or governmental entity seeks to avoid liability by showing that it wasn’t aware of the hazard and was therefore immune from suit under Ohio’s political subdivision immunity laws. But to do so, the City has to raise its defense in a timely fashion.

Did the City know about the Sinkhole?

The plaintiffs in a recent case heard on appeal by the Eighth District Court of Appeals ( Cuyahoga County No. CV-17-880786), were  injured when their car fell into a sinkhole while driving down a Cleveland street in  June 2015. The plaintiffs filed suit in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, seeking monetary compensation for their injuries. According to the plaintiffs’ complaint, a water leak had eroded the road’s substrate,  causing a sinkhole to form which then collapsed under the weight of the plaintiffs’ vehicle.

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When a Cleveland area car accident occurs, the first thing most people want to know is, ” who’s going to repair my car?” Even before they worry about pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and loss of spousal consortium, unless the injuries are serious, accident victims worry about compensation for damage to their  automobile or other property. They need their car to drive to work, run errans, or take the kids to school. But sometimes, the property damaged isn’t a  car or truck, it’s a Cleveland building that’s been struck by a car or truck due to an accident.

Generally speaking, when you seek  compensation for damages caused by  another’s negligence, you have the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the party from whom you seek payment of money damages breached a duty of care and that this breach was a proximate cause of the damages claimed .

A Sudden Emergency May Excuse A Driver’s Negligence

In a recent case considered by the Court of Appeals of Ohio for the Tenth Appellate District, the plaintiff was the owner of a building that was struck by the defendant’s automobile after a collision between the defendant and a third party. According to the defendant, the accident happened when the third party ran a stop sign, struck his vehicle, and propelled it over a curb and into the plaintiff’s property, causing damage to the building.. The building owner claimed that the defendant driver’s negligence in failing to control his car had caused damage to his property and  should therefore pay for the repairs necessary to fix the building.The driver claimed that he was excused from maintaining control of his car after he was hit by the other vehicle  because of the sudden emergency doctrine, which states that when a driver has acted as a reasonably prudent driver would under similar circumstances, than he was in fact not negligent.

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We often think that our insurance company is on our side. And  their advertising tries to sell that idea to you. But it is not unusual for an insurance dispute to arise in an Ohio car accident case or when your vehicle covered by an insurance policy has been stolen. In either situation, the person who is claiming benefits under the policy has a duty to cooperate with their insurance company. This is a contractual obligation that, if breached, can result in the insured person receiving no benefits under the policy. There is no duty to cooperate with the other side’s insurance company, but only your own.

As in other matters pertaining to automobile accidents and insurance issues, however, it is wise to consult an experienced attorney to guide you through the process of filing a claim, especially if you or a family member has been hurt in a car wreck or you have another type of insurance claim. Often, property damage claims do not require a lawyer, but you still have to do what yur policy requires you to do.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case considered by the Court of Appeals of Ohio for the Eighth Appellate District (Cuyahoga County), the plaintiff was a woman who sued Progressive Insurance, claiming that it  had  mishandled  a claim she made relating  to the theft of her automobile. Progressive claimed that she had not cooperated with the insurance company as her policy required, while she claimed that she had done what was required of her. The Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas granted summary judgment to the defendant insurance company( which meant that she lost, as a matter of law), and the plaintiff appealed.

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Sometimes, a person who suffers personal injury in Ohio as a result of the negligence or carelessness of another Ohio resident, business, or governmental agency will choose to pursue his or her case without a lawyer. This is called “pro se” representation. There are many reasons why proceeding pro se is a bad idea, not the least of which is that a layperson is held to the same standards as a trained attorney when they attempt to represent themselves either at trial or in the appellate courts. Whether you’re a lawyer or a layman, you have to know the rules.

Courts have many complex rules of both procedure and evidence which lawyers deal with on a  daily basis and there really is no substitute for that experience. Representing yourself is like trying to do surgery on your self. It will hurt and won’t likely produce a successful outcome. You have a right to do so, but it probably isn’t wise.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently decided by the Eighth District Ohio Court of Appeals  ( Cuyahoga County), the plaintiff was a woman who claimed she was  injured while attempting to board a bus in 2016. According to the plaintiff, the door closed on her as she was trying to get on the bus, causing her injury. The plaintiff tried her claim to a jury which, unfortunately for the plaintiff, ruled in favor of the defendant, the Greater Cleveland  Regional Transit Authority, holding that the plaintiff had herself  acted negligently, causing her injuries. As we will see, she didn’t know the rules regarding jury verdicts and she didn’t know how to properly appeal.

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People who have recently been involved in a Cleveland-area automobile accident frequently have questions regarding their legal rights. Some of these questions may involve the relationship between the criminal or traffic charges filed against the other driver and your rights to file a lawsuit for damages against that driver and others responsible for your injuries and damages.

For instance, is it really necessary to file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver if he or she was arrested or given a ticket as a result of the accident? Won’t the police take care of everything? If the police cite the driver for speeding or violating the law and the police report says that the other driver is at fault, may that finding be used to support your case against the other driver? Because these issues are often complex, you need to get advice from an experienced Ohio personal injury lawyer. Consider the following situation:

Facts of the Case

In a recent case decided by the Cuyahoga County  Court of Appeals, the defendant was a woman who was convicted by a trial court of the crime of leaving the scene of an accident. As part of her conviction and sentence, the trial court  ordered her to pay $2000 in restitution to compensate the victim of her crime for her damages. The defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court had committed reversible error by entering a finding of guilty without setting forth any factual support for the court’s conclusion, even though she entered a plea of “no contest ( which legally means that she was admitting the facts, but not admitting her guilt).” Continue reading ›

There was a time when it was said that, ” You can’t sue City Hall”…or the State of Ohio. Just like a king, they were immune from suit. But that’s not always the case today.

This idea of sovereign immunity still holds true in some Ohio wrongful death and personal injury cases. Although our state government has carved out  exceptions to the general rule against holding the government liable in a negligence case, immunity still applies in some cases. (That said, even if immunity is waived, it is worth noting that there is likely to be a limitation of some sort, such as a cap on the amount of money damages recoverable by the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against the government.) A governmental entity like a city may be sued for its negligence in performing  what are called proprietary functions, but not for so-called governmental functions.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent appellate case from Stark County was the administrator of the estate of a woman who died after being struck by two automobiles while using a crosswalk to walk across a five-lane road as she walked to the store. The administrator sued the drivers of the automobiles, as well as the city in which the accident occurred, claiming that the woman’s wrongful death was due to the motorists’ as well as the City’s negligence. After the motorists reached a settlement with the Estate of the woman, the city filed a motion for summary judgment asking the court to dismiss the case against the city. Continue reading ›

Being involved in a Cleveland automobile accident can  be  complicated enough without getting in the middle of a fight among multiple insurance companies about which one should pay for the damages you’ve suffered as a result of the accident.Unfortunately, when this happens, one or more insurance companies deny responsibility and point fingers at the other(s). Meanwhile, you,   the injured person, receives nothing until the case is concluded, sometimes years later.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently considered by Ohio’s Eighth District Court of Appeals( Cuyahoga County) , the plaintiff was  injured in 2011 while traveling from Akron to Mayfield Heights. He was  a passenger riding in a car driven and owned by someone with whom the plaintiff had a business relationship. In fact, they were both involved in the same businesses. The defendant driver was scheduled to make a business presentation, and the plaintiff went along “out of curiosity.” In short, he wasn’t acting as an employee at the time of the accident, which happened after the defendant hit a patch of ice and lost control of his vehicle.

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Because of negligent motorists and truck drivers,  riding a motorcycle is dangerous enough. But sometimes riding a bike in Ohio  is  made even more dangerous by hazards created by construction and maintenance crews, or even the by the municipality itself. While those who negligently hurt others  are generally accountable for the harm they cause, when the damage is caused by a city or its officials,  this is not always so. In a recent Dayton area motorcycle accident case recently considered by Ohio’s Second District appellate court, the defendant city was able to escape paying for the damage it caused.


The defendants were a city and its service director. Because of their status as a governmental entity and governmental employee, the court ultimately ruled that they were protected from the plaintiff’s negligence lawsuit by so-called sovereign immunity.

Facts of the Case

In the case, the plaintiff was a motorcyclist who was injured when a vehicle going in the opposite direction lost control and hit a median that had been constructed by the defendant city and overseen by the defendant service director as part of an “entryway enhancement project.” Debris from the accident struck the plaintiff,  throwing him to the pavement, causing  serious injury. Significantly, while the accident occurred in 2014,  the construction project was begun in 2009; another motorist struck the median in 2010, also sending debris into the oncoming lane. So the City was aware of the hazard and the problem. Continue reading ›

Timeliness can be  very important in any  lawsuit. In a Cleveland car  accident or truck  accident case, failure to follow  the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure and the Ohio Revised Code  with regard to filing deadlines, submission of pleadings, briefs and other documents  can lead to  a harsh result in court.

In some situations, it may be possible to have a trial court’s judgment based on a procedural ruling set aside, but this is the exception rather than the rule. The best course of action is to speak to a qualified attorney early so that you can understand your legal rights and avoid the potential pitfalls of the litigation process.

Facts of the Case

When an insurance company pays its policy holder for damages he or she suffered as a result of an accident caused by someone else, the insurance company often has the right to recover from the wrongdoer, or tortfeasor, as she is known, the amount that it paid to its insured. This is known as subrogation. The plaintiff in a recent  case was an insurance company that filed suit against the defendant motorist, asserting its subrogation rights and claiming that the motorist had to reimburse the insurance company for monies it had paid out to its insured on account of an accident allegedly caused when defendant negligently crossed the center line and struck the insured’s vehicle. According to the insurance company, its insured was seriously injured in the crash and suffered some $262,555 in damages. Continue reading ›

When we think of Ohio car accidents, we usually think of a crash between two cars, cars and a truck, or even a motorcyle and a car. But sometimes, it’s the roadway itself or the signs which are at fault When the negligence of an Ohio city, county or even the State of Ohio causes a crash, those whose lives are affected by it may have a right to seek compensation by filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Unless, of course, the driver was more at fault than the roadway design or maintenance. This is called comparative  negligence in Ohio.Of course, the defendant(s) in such cases often fight hard against being held responsible, sometimes asking the trial court to order “summary judgment,” a legal tool that claims that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgement as a matter of law. If granted by the judge, this effectively ends the lawsuit before the plaintiff has an opportunity to present his or her side of the case to the jury. It is up to the trial court to determine whether the plaintiff has presented sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

Facts of the Case

In a recent appellate case arising from an automobile accident in Lorain County, Ohio, the plaintiffs were the parents of three teenagers who died when their car went airborne after it crossed over a railroad track. The parents sued the defendant townships, which bordered the road on which the teens were driving prior to their death.

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