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After an Accident, Can an Attorney Contact Me?

Being involved in an accident is a very stressful and trying time, especially for the injured victims. Seeking legal counsel after suffering injuries due to a car accident is a good idea as they will help organize details of your accident and guide you through the legal claims process.

Car Accident Attorney: Direct Contact with Potential Clients

While we recommend that victims contact a car accident attorney following an accident, it is a violation of professional conduct for a lawyer to contact an individual in need of legal services via phone, in-person, or in real-time electronic communication after their accident.  The information below has been paraphrased from Rule 7.3: Direct Contact with Prospective Clients from the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct:

(a) a lawyer shall not meet someone in person, call them on the phone, or contact them through electronic media if the lawyer’s motive is to make money on that person unless the person contacted:

(1) is a lawyer; or

(2) has family, close personal, or prior professional relationship with the lawyer.

If the individual has made it known that they do not wish to be solicited, and the communication is not prohibited by the points made in the above paragraph (i.e. if the individual has had a previous relationship with the lawyer, but they have made it known that they do not wish to communicate further with them), the lawyer is not able to solicit professional employment. This is explained by the below components of Rule 7.3: Direct Contact with Prospective Clients:

(b)  a Lawyer shall not solicit professional employment by written, recorded or electronic communication or by in-person, telephone or real-time electronic contact even when not otherwise prohibited by paragraph (a), if:

(1) the target of the solicitation has made known to the lawyer a desire not to be solicited by the lawyer; or

(2) the solicitation involves coercion, duress or harassment.

Marketing Materials from Car Accident Attorney

While an attorney may not contact a car accident victim by phone, in-person, or real-time electronic contact, they are able to send letters to the victim, as well as recorded or written electronic communication. An example of this would be in the form of a pamphlet sent to your home with information regarding car accident claims, or an email that explains the legal options available to you.

Calls from Unknown Phone Numbers

In some cases, car accident victims can receive multiple phone calls from unknown numbers after their accident. It is likely that these calls were made on behalf of a personal injury attorney as some utilize secondary services to contact prospective clients on their behalf.

Contrada & Associates does not operate on the basis of soliciting business in a manner that is unethical and intruding on the privacy of car accident victims. Attorney Charlie Contrada believes that by posting helpful information on our blog, we are able to offer useful legal advice to retain clients. Contrada & Associates does not send letters because we feel it is a burden and overwhelming experience for those who have been injured.

If you have been injured in a car accident, don’t sign or say anything. Contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a personal injury accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with personal injury claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

Electric Shock Drowning Liability

Recently, the news has shared multiple stories in Ohio and Michigan about people losing their lives to electric shock drowning. With summer in full swing, it’s important to raise awareness of this very preventable danger to keep your family safe while having fun.

Electric Shock Drowning

What is Electric Shock Drowning

Electric shock drowning (ESD) is a cause of death that occurs when swimmers are exposed to electric currents, usually low-level AC currents in most likely fresh water. The main cause of electric shock drownings is faulty wiring on boat docks that causes electric currents to leak into the water.

Preventing ESD on your property

Unfortunately, there are no visible warning signs that might tip off swimmers that the water is electrified. For all swimmers, the best way to fully prevent ESD is to not swim at or near docks with an electric power supply or near any boat(s) that may be plugged into these power supplies. Usually swimming 100 yards away is considered a safe distance.

For property, marina and boat owners, you can keep your family, friends and guests who swim at your property safe by:

  • Never using household extension cords on your dock
  • Posting no swimming signs around your dock
  • Keeping power supplies on your dock turned off and unplugged when not in use
  • Testing your boat(s) yearly to make sure they do not leak electricity
  • Have all electrical work at your dock done by a qualified electrician and inspected yearly to make sure it’s properly tested and maintained.
  • Installing GFP (ground fault protection) devices by a qualified electrician and getting them checked regularly.

ESD Liability

When electricity enters the water, it is often due to negligence by the property/boat owner. The negligence can be on the part of multiple people from the property owner, to the electrician or electrical inspector who installs and checks the equipment. They can be held responsible for all damages. When something like this happens, it is crucial to hire a personal injury attorney to help assess what happened and who can be deemed liable.

If you or a loved one have been a victim of electric shock or ESD, don’t sign or say anything. Contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a personal injury accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with personal injury claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

 

Liability for Swimming Pool Accidents

Summer is the season to beat the heat. Many Ohioans either have a private swimming pool on their property, know a friend or family member who does or swims at their local public pool. As fun as swimming is, pool owners need to be aware that it comes with extremely important responsibilities. In Ohio, homeowners can be found liable for injuries that occur on their property which includes accidents in or near swimming pools.

Swimming Pool Accidents

Types of Swimming Pool Accidents

  • Slips, Falls and Pool Slide Injuries – these can be a result of slippery surfaces, dangerous behavior around or in the pool and malfunctioning slides.
  • Drowning/Entrapment – young children and poor swimmers unsupervised can lead to accidental drowning as well as a suction force leading to hair entrapment/entanglement can lead to serious head injuries.
  • Pool Toy Entrapment – flipped or tangled inflatable pool toys can trap young children under the water and make it impossible for older more experienced swimmers to free themselves.
  • Diving/Diving Board Injuries – malfunctioning diving boards and diving in shallow water can result in serious head injuries and paralysis.
  • Electrical Defects – electrical issues combined with water can have devastating and even fatal consequences.

How to Protect Your Property

Install a 4-sided 4-foot fence that completely separates your home from the swimming pool area and surrounding areas of play. You can also consider additional security measures such as automatic door locks and alarms to prevent and notify you if there is an unsupervised entry into your pool area. Also, always remember to remove any portable pool ladders when the pool is not in use.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission also strongly recommends that you have the items listed below near your pool in case of emergencies:

  • Reach pole
  • Floatation devices
  • First aid kit
  • Scissors
  • Charged cell phone to dial 9-1-1

Your pool is usually covered under your homeowner’s insurance and may be sufficient to cover some minor pool-related injuries. You may want to consider an umbrella policy as added coverage. An umbrella policy will help protect your assets from a personal injury or property damage caused by you, family members or hazards on your property for which you are legally liable.

When You are Liable

You may be held liable for any personal injuries on your property if you are deemed negligent. This means if an injury occurs to an invited guest or child while they were unsupervised at the pool, you could be found negligent and liable for any medical bills because of treatment and medical care.

If you have been injured in a swimming pool accident, don’t sign or say anything. Contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a personal injury accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with personal injury claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

5 Things to Consider When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

In the aftermath of being injured in a car accident, making the right decision of choosing the personal injury attorney to represent you can be intimidating and overwhelming. Hiring the wrong lawyer could cause you to be injured twice.

meeting with personal injury attorney

  1. Make sure the lawyer spends most of his time handling car accident cases. There are hundreds of specific areas of law and they are all different and it is impossible for any one lawyer to be good at more than a few areas. Don’t hesitate to ask them how many years they have been doing car crash cases and how many they have handled in total.
  1. If the lawyer doesn’t volunteer his fee arrangement, don’t hesitate to ask questions about attorney fees. This may feel uncomfortable but it will benefit you to know how fees and expenses are broken down so you can fully understand what different charges mean.
  1. Ask the attorney if he will take your phone calls personally if an important issue arises. Much of the work in a personal injury law firm is done by paralegals, but it is nice to know that if you absolutely need to talk to your lawyer, he will be available and will return your call promptly.
  1. Ask the lawyer what your case is worth on your very first meeting. If the lawyer does anything but defer, he probably has not handled many injury cases. No lawyer who knows what they are doing has any idea what the value of the case is until he looks at the medical records, bills, lost wages and the effect it has had on your life.
  1. Since you and your attorney will be spending some time together, you want to be comfortable enough to tell him about any specific problems you may have that have resulted from the accident. Building up a good rapport is always important and don’t hesitate to meet whatever paralegal will be assigned to your case. If you are not comfortable with the lawyer, it is time to move on.

If you have been injured in a car accident, don’t sign or say anything. Contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

5 Things You Need to Know if You Are Injured in a Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident is a very trying time and with every accident being unique depending on the specific situation, there are 5 main things to know about your claim.

injured in car accident

  1. Seek needed medical attention

This seems obvious, but there are many accident victims out there that will wait to seek needed medical treatment for days and even weeks after their car accident. Waiting to seek medical attention can significantly impact the value of your claim. Most insurance companies become suspicious if you seek medical attention more than three or four days after the crash.

  1. Follow all doctors’ orders and treatment plans

It is imperative that you follow all doctors’ orders and complete your entire treatment plan for your recovery. Not following through and completing your treatment programs can but the value of your claim in jeopardy. By not complying with your doctor’s orders will show the insurance companies that your injuries were not significant enough to warrant that treatment and could reduce your settlement.

However, regarding physical therapy and chiropractic treatment, if it is not helping after two or three visits, tell the doctor about your concerns. If it is not helping and you are still in pain, you may want to consider a different method of treatment.

  1. Keep track of your changing limitations during everyday activities

In the days, weeks and months after your accident, you could experience limitations during your everyday life and daily activities which can impact your quality of life. Document these in photos, videos or writing. Having this noted in your medical records could help the value of your claim. In some cases, you may want to take a list in when you meet with your medical provider.

  1. Document everything

Documenting everything relating to your car accident and your claim is vital to receiving appropriate compensation. From vehicle damage to documenting the accident scene if you are able can help back up your story. Documenting your treatment plan, recovery and limitations you have because of your injuries can paint a very compelling picture to claims representatives and even jurors if your claim goes to trial.

  1. Meet with a personal injury attorney

Meeting with a personal injury attorney shortly after your accident or when you are able, can make the difference in getting a fair settlement. Don’t wait to hire an attorney until after you get fed up with dealing with the insurance companies yourself. Your personal injury attorney should be involved in the beginning, not halfway though. This will help ensure you get a settlement that will take care of all your expenses due to your car accident.

If you have been injured in a car accident, don’t sign or say anything. Contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal

Settling the Property Damage Portion of Your Car Crash Claim

Under Ohio law, there are essentially two claims to any car accident against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.   First is the property damage claim which involves damage to your vehicle.   The second claim is the personal injury claim.  You can settle the property damage claim and it will have no adverse affect on your injury claim.

Always keep in mind that at the end of the day, the insurance company is not your friend.  Their first interest is themselves and their bottom line.

car insurance property claim

I get many phone calls from people wondering what is going on and why is the insurance company doing things regarding the property damage claim and I would like to explain them now.  If your car is damaged in a crash, the at-fault driver’s insurance company can do one of two things:   they can pay for the cost of repairs to your vehicle or they can declare your vehicle a “total loss” and pay you the “fair market value” of your vehicle.    It is very important to know that you have absolutely no say in whether the insurance company repairs your vehicle or declares your vehicle a total loss.    It is totally up to that insurance company.

Obviously, repairs are pretty obvious and if your vehicle is being repaired, the insurance company owes you a rental car for the reasonable period of repairs.  If you have already gotten a rental car through your company, don’t worry, your company will get their money back from the at-fault driver’s company.

Many people ask me what a “total loss” means.   A total loss simply means that in the insurance company’s mind, the cost of repairs will exceed the fair market value of the vehicle.   In other words, if the insurance company thinks that the cost of repairs will end up being more than totaling out the vehicle, they will total out your vehicle.   Once again, you have no say in whether they total your vehicle out or not.

“Fair market value” means what your vehicle could be sold for on the open market to an individual on the day of the accident before the crash.  Oftentimes, insurance companies come up with the “fair market value” by finding comparables.   A comparable is a vehicle with the same make, model and year as yours.  The big difference is mileage.   Generally, the insurance company will find five comparables within 100 miles of Toledo and based upon the differences in mileage, will come up with a “fair market value” for your vehicle. Generally you can ask for and receive the comparables from the other driver’s insurance company to review yourself.    In addition, if you have had recent mechanical or tire work done on your vehicle if you submit the receipts you can often get the fair market value increased.     However, the work and new parts must have been close to the time of the crash.

Finally, the other driver’s insurance must reimburse you for tax and title if you buy another vehicle within 30 days of the settlement.     Of course, they will only pay tax up to the amount they have offered you, not for the total tax on the vehicle you purchased.  Generally, the insurance company will offer you a rental car for a short period of time, once they have declared your vehicle a total loss, and the worse the insurance company, the shorter the period of time.     Consequently, even though you may be in severe pain, you may need to get out and look for a new car shortly after the crash occurred.

Finally, if the insurance company declares your vehicle a total loss, they will tow it away and sell it for salvage value and keep the money.   If you wish to keep the vehicle because you or your friends could repair that vehicle, you can get a salvage title.   Once you get a salvage title, they will pay you the fair market value, minus the salvage value of your vehicle, such that if the fair market value of your vehicle is $5,000.00 and the salvage value, or what the insurance company could sell the vehicle to a junkyard for, is $1,000.00, they would write you a check for $4,000.00 plus allow you to have the vehicle.  The important feature here is that if you have a salvage title, you are really not supposed to drive the vehicle until it is repaired and it is approved by the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Findlay, Ohio.

If you have been injured in a car accident, don’t sign or say anything. Contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.  Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options and guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call (419) 841-4400.  Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

Can Social Media Harm A Personal Injury Case?

Social media channels have integrated themselves into the daily lives of most individuals. Everyone loves to share status updates, photos, and videos about what is going on in their life. Sometimes, sharing updates about a car accident can result in consequences in the future. Here is what you can do to protect yourself and your personal injury claim on social media.

social media

Effects of Social Media

Information that is shared on a public social media account can cause complications. Insurance adjusters, lawyers, and others will search profiles on social media scrutinizing any information they can find that they can relate to fraud, conflicting statements as well as additional evidence.

The court rulings on social media are not concrete as it still is fairly new in the eyes of the law. In general, public posts on social media channels will most likely be admissible as evidence. Private posts or person to person posts may be somewhat complex to obtain as evidence.

Here at Contrada & Associates, we believe honesty is the best policy.  If you have a back injury or a neck injury, you should not be out dancing, riding coasters at Cedar Point or driving dirt bikes. Let your body heal up.  Sometimes people at parties do things they are later embarrassed by and when you have an insurance claim you do not want embarrassment in the negotiation of settlement of that claim.

While your personal injury or car accident claim is pending, take the following actions regarding your social media accounts into consideration.

  • Do not post any details, photos, videos or status updates regarding your accident.
  • Tell your friends and family to not comment or make any posts on their own accounts stating any information regarding your accident.
  • Increase the privacy on your account to make sure none of your information is viewable to the public.
  • Remove any past posts, photos or videos that could be damaging to your current claim.

If you were injured in an accident, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome

New Ohio Laws for Teen Drivers

Ohio has taken another step in their “Drive Towards A Safer Ohio Initiative” with passing a new law that restricts teens with a probationary license. It is intended to increase the level of experience for teenage drivers under 18.

Research conducted by AAA shows that teen drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident between the months of May and September when school is out. Their research also shows that teens are significantly more likely to be involved in car accidents after 9 p.m. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-20-year-olds in the United States every year.

This new Ohio law has placed more emphasis on the experience of teenage drivers rather than just going by their age. The new law puts restrictions on what hours teen drivers are allowed to drive in and how many passengers they can have in their car.

This new law was put into effect on July 1, 2015. It states that probationary drivers under the age of 18 will have these restrictions during the first 12 months after receiving their license.

  1. No driving between midnight and 6 a.m., unless that driver is accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  2. No driving with more than one nonfamily member in the vehicle.
  3. All passengers must wear a seatbelt at all times.
  4. No use of mobile/cellular communication while driving.

Previously, teenage drivers who had a probationary license had restrictions based on their age, not experience. This new law applied to all drivers under 18 years of age with a probationary license. The new law has expanded the restricted times of driving from midnight to 6 a.m. from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

Ohio hopes this new law will help teenage drivers become more responsible behind the wheel while they gain the learning experience necessary to become successful drivers.

If you or your teenage child have been involved in a car accident, contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible will make the claims process much easier.  Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

Driving Safely in Construction Zones

If you live in Northwest Ohio or Southeast Michigan you probably have noticed that there is construction on almost every major highway in our area. Driving in construction zones can prove to be dangerous and hazardous. Knowing the proper way to drive in a construction zone can help prevent accidents and save the lives of construction workers and other motorists.

Speed

When driving through a construction zone, it is important to slow down & comply with all posted speed limits. In Ohio, if the speed limit sign has a white background that is the official speed limit. If the speed limit sign does not have a white background, it is only a warning. Drivers should also comply with all road crew flaggers for the safety of the workers in the construction zone. Don’t resume normal speed until you see the “End Construction Zone” sign.

Space

When driving in a construction zone, knowing the space around you can help prevent accidents. Always leave room with the car in front of you and the cars around you. This allows you to leave yourself an out in case you have to quickly brake or make an evasive maneuver. Do not tailgate the car in front of you. If traffic stops suddenly, you are in danger of rear-ending the car in front of you. Avoid passing on the shoulder for the safety of the construction workers and your car could be damaged by construction debris that is on the shoulder.

Also, watch for signs in construction zones warning you about new traffic patterns. For those who commute to work through a long term construction zone, you get used to driving the same way, when there is a new traffic pattern, be alert and ready for new changes in the road. Lastly, keep eyes out for construction vehicles pulling on and off the roads, especially slow trucks entering the interstate from the median.

Stress

Driving in constructions zones can no doubt be frustrating. Always keep your cool. Getting frustrated will only lead to an accident.

Pay attention! Staying off your phone, not changing radio stations, staying in your lane and looking for brake lights ahead can help keep you driving safely through a construction zone. Concentrate on the road and not the construction. This will help keep you, other vehicles around you and the construction workers safe.

Don’t you want a real attorney representing you? Why you should always meet your attorney in person.

Hiring a personal injury attorney can be a stressful and tough process. How do you know you are hiring the right attorney for you and your case? Do your research. Make sure the attorney you hire has a local office and is willing to meet with you in person to discuss your case.

Some law firms tend to advertise themselves as a local city attorney, yet come to find out their main office is in a different city hours away. This can be tricky when you don’t meet with your attorney in person. Your initial consultation will be over the phone and your contact will be faxed to you.

Once you sign the contract, they may send an adjustor to look at the damage your vehicle sustained in the accident. This may seem convenient but what they don’t tell you up front is that they charge you for the adjustor’s mileage to and from their office to your location.

Not meeting your attorney in person can also make it difficult to build rapport and a trusting relationship with them. You can only get to know a person over the phone so well. Constant faxing, e-mailing and phone calls takes away precious time in your life, especially when you can discuss details and documents in person, all at once with a local attorney in person.  It can also make you feel unprepared when you need to give statements and testimonies. This can potentially reduce your chances at getting a good settlement.

Benefits of meeting with your attorney in person

There are so many more benefits to hiring a local attorney that you meet with in person from the get go. You immediately can build rapport and trust with your attorney right off the bat from your initial consultation. You will have no hidden charges or fees for travel miles, etc. You can go over the contract in person with your attorney and ask any and all questions necessary at that time. Your local attorney can prepare you for everything relating to your case in person, from giving testimonies and statements, to going through an independent medical exam. They will be with you every step of the way in person. Would you feel better about your case when the first time you met your attorney in person was in court?

Attorney Charles V. Contrada is your local NW Ohio and SE Michigan personal injury attorney and he has handled cases throughout both states. The difference is Charles goes out of his way to meet with every single one of his clients in person to build an honest and trusting relationship. He will make sure you are prepared and comfortable with every step of the legal process regarding your case.

If you have been involved in a car accident, contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible will make the claims process much easier.  Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process. To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.