Personal Injury Law
TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY CLAIMS
By Paul K Hemmer, Esq.
Even a so called "mild" brain injury can result in severe and permanent disability.
Traumatic brain injury can cause devastating lifelong consequences not only for the injured victim but also for the
victim's family. Permanent brain injuries can occur from a penetrating wound to the skull or from a closed head injury
resulting from sudden deceleration or a direct blow to the head.
The brain has often been described as the master control center of the human body. A person does not have to be
"knocked out" or in a coma to have a traumatic brain injury. If the soft brain tissue is subjected to sufficient
force to jostle the soft tissue of the brain within the confines of the boney skull, shearing of the nerves can
occur resulting in diffuse axonal injury. Serious brain injuries have been diagnosed even where there was no loss
of consciousness at the time of the accident.
Symptoms of traumatic brain injury ... [Read More]
ACCIDENT VICTIM? HERE IS WHAT TO DO
By Paul K Hemmer, Esq.
The attorneys in our firm have successfully represented victims of negligently caused injuries for over two decades.
In our practice we have found that many people make costly mistakes after they are injured. These mistakes decrease the
likelihood of receiving fair and adequate compensation. A few simple steps following an injury can prevent an insurance company
from taking advantage of your claims inexperience. An experienced attorney can help you avoid these common mistakes and maximize
the compensation you receive.
If the person who negligently caused your injuries reports the claim to his insurance company ...
Slip and Fall
In Ohio, it is rare for an injured party to recover for inuries. The stars have to align just right, or the
property owner will get dismissed on summary judgment. However, the 12th District Court of Appeals reversed
the trial court's grant of summary judgment in
Estate of Jennifer Merrill v. Meijer Stores Limited Partnership
, 2016-Ohio-1432. The plaintiff while shopping slipped and fell dues to water
leaking from water bottles stacked on wooden pallets. Deposition testimony showed that
Meijer was aware of an ongoing problem with leaking bottles on the rough pallets.
In a negligence action, the plaintiff
must demonstrate that the defendant owed a duty of care, breached the duty of care,
and as a direct and proximate result of the breach, the plaintiff suffered injury. A
shopkeeper owes its business invitees a duty of ordinary care to maintain the
premises in a reasonably safe condition so that the invitees are not unreasonably
or unnecessarily exposed to danger. However, the shopkeeper is not an insurer of an
invitee's safety and, further, owes no duty to warn invitees of open and obvious
dangers on the property. A danger that is open and obvious "is in itself, a warning." The court held that
"further litigation" was required in regard to whether Meijer knew or should have known about the water's
existence on the floor and whether the water on the floor was "open and obvious." The court may have been
concerned about the seriousness of the injuries ($174,000 in medical expenses) and that, "Two Meijer employees,
who were texting on their cellular phones, passed Merrill sitting on the floor after her fall.
Engaged with their respective phones, the two employees continued to text, apparently not noticing
Merrill sitting on the floor."
Don't expect to win that car-damaged-by-pothole (or road debris) case in the Ohio Court of Claims.
Eleven cases have been released favoring the Ohio Department of Transportation which has a duty to
maintain its highways in a reasonably safe condition for the motoring public. In order to prove a
breach of the duty to maintain the highways, plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence
that defendant had actual or constructive notice of the precise condition or defect alleged to have
caused the accident. Defendant is only liable for roadway condition of which it has notice but fails to
reasonably correct. These cases show that standard to be a tough burden to meet in the Court of Claims:
Miller v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., 2008-Ohio-5912
Floyd v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., 2008-Ohio-5920
Zussman v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., 2008-Ohio-5917
Bradberry v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., 2008-Ohio-5922
Haight v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., 2008-Ohio-5915
Rhodes v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., 2008-Ohio-5923
Ressetar v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., 2008-Ohio-5911
Nash v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., 2008-Ohio-5913
Fretwell v. Dept. of Rehab. & Corr., 2008-Ohio-5908
Hershey v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., 2008-Ohio-5918 (debris)
Neff v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., 2008-Ohio-5919 (Plaintiff
additionally was negligent per se for striking fallen tree in roadway, found to be sole cause of the accident.)
Punitive Damages -- Liability of Employer
If an employee driving a truck causes an accident and leaves the scene of the accident, can the employer be held
liable for punitive damages based upon the acts of the employee? In
Estate of Beavers v. Knapp,
175 Ohio App.3d 758, 2008-Ohio-2023, a truck driver making a turn saw a motorcycle lose control and start
sliding under the semi trailer. The truck driver panicked and sped up, running over the cyclist, and leaving
the scene of the accident. The driver later falsely denied that he had been involved in the accident. On learning
about the accident in the newspaper, the employer ordered the employee back into town to talk to the police and fired
the employee upon learning of the employee's conduct. A jury awarded punitive damages against the employee and
separate punitive damages against the employer. The Franklin County Court of Appeals held that the employee's act of
leaving the scene of the accident and covering up supported an award of punitive damages; however, without some
participation or ratification by the employer, the employer could not be held liable for punitive damages. The court
noted that the employer had a written policy prohibiting employees from leaving the scene of an accident
and the employer promptly terminated the employee upon learning of the violation of the policy. The court also noted,
however, that some courts of appeal in Ohio, apparently contrary to Ohio Supreme Court authority, have l
iberally awarded punitive damages against an employer merely because of wanton, or present, or malicious intent
on the part of the employee, particularly if there were any facts suggesting that the employer had ratified
the employee's conduct.
Ucker & Hemmer LLC
175 S. 3rd St., Suite 200
Columbus, Ohio 43215
members of Carroll, Ucker & Hemmer LLC are licensed to
practice law in Ohio.
Nonprofit & Charitable Solicitation Law
Personal Injury Law
Workers' Compensation Law
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