Legal Question in Personal Injury in Ohio

Can I find out if defendant was on company time?

I was rear ended by a person who was on a cell phone. She had an SUV and really creamed my car (totalled by her insurance-more than $12,500 in damages). She got to drive home while I was taken to hospital on a back board and neck brace via ambulance. Is there a way to force her to tell me if she was on company business at the time (she left the next day for a 3 day business trip). What if she left work early to get some things she needed for the business trip? Or in Ohio, is she considered 'on the clock' until she arrives at her home? She was dressed up for work, had no kiddies in car, so I suppose she wa very likely coming home from work and going to pick up kiddies. Since she has $100k of BI, I am interested to see if her employer has 'deeper pockets'. I am relatively sure my medical bills will be $50k or more (shoulder surgery, therapy, medications, recovery from infection in leg caused by the accident, etc.). The accident occurred 6 weeks ago, and my arm is still in a sling, I haven't had rotator cuff yet, so I feel very much wronged in this situation.

Asked on 9/18/03, 6:44 pm

6 Answers from Attorneys

Steven Magas Smith Rolfes & Skavdahl
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Re: Can I find out if defendant was on company time?

Good answers all from the previous responders... You MUST understand that uninsured/underinsured motorist issues in Ohio are notoriously confusing. The law has changed dramatically in the past 10 years and is likely to change again when current laws are challenged. Given the policy limits of the other driver and your claimed injuries, these issues will definitely arise in your case. Further, your analysis of the 'dressed up' driver is on the mark.. perhaps she was on a "business call" at the time she hit you... perhaps there is additional coverage through an "umbrella" policy, through the driver's employer, through your own carrier... Yours is NOT a simple case... you should retain competent counsel and investigate the case thoroughly.

GOOD LUCK!!

Steve Magas

513-624-7744

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10/01/03, 10:15 am
David Weilbacher, Esq. Attorney at Law
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Re: Can I find out if defendant was on company time?

To determine if she was "on the clock" it would be necessary to file a lawsuit, and ask her in written discovery and oral during depositions if she was working at the time of the accident. If her insurance policy limits are insufficient to compensate you for your injuries, there are other sources of recovery. You have identified one, which is her employer, if she was in the “course and scope of her employment” at the time of the accident. Second, she might have additional insurance in the form of an umbrella policy. Third, is your uninsured/underinsured coverage through your auto insurance carrier, if you carry such coverage. If you do, and your policy limits are greater than her's, then you might be able to recovery from your carrier. Given the seriousness of your injuries, you should speak to an attorney. I would be happy to meet with you free of charge and without obligation. Please call 216.241.2500 for an appointment.

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9/22/03, 3:27 pm
Joseph Burke Law Office of Joseph T. Burke
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Re: Can I find out if defendant was on company time?

Up until recent statutory amendments, recovery against the employer could have been made pursuant to Scott Ponzer. The question for you is whether the Defendant was in the course and scope of her employment at the time of the collision, which has to be proven factually thorugh discovery. Keep in mind, you may have an underinsured motorist claim with your own carrier. I suggest retaining counsel if you have not done so already.

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9/19/03, 8:48 am
Robert Guehl Guehl Law Offices
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Re: Can I find out if defendant was on company time?

You apparently have been in contact with the negligent person's insurance company, as you know her policy limits. Your question is a valid one, that is, is there another source of recovery beyond this lady's car insurance policy? The answer to that question may go beyond the possibility of her employer's insurance, and will require investigation, either informally or formally through a court action. Formal discovery can involve subpoenas for employment records, depositions of company officials, etc.

Because of the seriousness of your injuries and the amount of your medical expenses, you should involve legal counsel as soon as possible.

Resolve your medical problems independently of the legal issues, as there are many factors affecting the legal outcome, such as the availability of insurance coverage.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery and good luck,

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9/19/03, 10:22 am
Steven Martinek Steven Martinek Lawyer Ltd.
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Re: Can I find out if defendant was on company time?

1. Get a lawyer immediately.

2. Once suit is filed, the Court will compel the other side to respond to your valid questions.

3. Keep a daily journal of pain and restrictions and medical treatment, visits, therapy, time and pain involved in treatment.

4. Several years ago, in a similar fact pattern, a Judge excluded the dollar value of the medical bills because the Defendant's insurance carrier reimbursed Plaintiff's health carrier on the eve of trial. Be cautious.

5. Avoid any "gap in medical treatment." Have each doctor and therapist document the reasonable length of time between treatments or modalities.

6, Do not engage in any activity which causes pain, or fatigue, or exertion of any of the injured body parts, ever, even momentarily. This admonition includes recreation activities and favors for friends. (You risk being seen or creating an argument of intervening separate causation. Don't do it.)

8. Get a lawyer, today.

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9/19/03, 11:43 am
Joseph Jacobs The Jacobs Legal Group
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Re: Can I find out if defendant was on company time?

I've read all the other responses and they are all accurate. With $50,000 in meds you should be looking at at least $150,000 settlement and upwards to $250,000. You won't get that without a lawyer, and you are proceding dangerously now without one. You may be making decisions that may lessen your award and it is time that you have around the clock answers to your questions.

Most attorneys charge 1/3 of whatever you collect. I only charge 1/4, which in your case could save you tens of thousands of dollars.

You can call me anytime at my cell phone: 216-952-1990, or the office: 216-227-0900.

Good luck, and I'll be glad to answer any more questions.

Joe Jacobs

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9/19/03, 12:37 pm

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