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October 2010 Archives

What to Do If A Dog Bites You

A dog bit me and I had to get stitches, what can I do about it?In Ohio, in almost every situation, a dog owner is responsible for any provable injuries the dog causes. Under the common law, you will have to prove that the owner knew the dog was vicious and that the owner kept the dog in a negligent manner. This set of rules generally provides every dog one free bite. However, under Ohios statutory law, dogs do not get one free bite and their owners are strictly liable for the harm their dogs cause provided the injured person was not teasing or tormenting the dog or trespassing or committing a criminal offense on the property of the owner.How do I know which law common or statutory I should pursue?The Common law permits a recovery for punitive damages but the statutory law does not. If your facts are such that it can be proven that the dog owner acted with malice, then you may want to try to prove your case under the common law.It the dog has no history of biting or being vicious, it will probably be impossible to prove a common law case which then makes the statutory law your only option.Do I have to pick which law I want to pursue?No. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that you can pursue your case under either or both laws.Is the compensation the same in common law and statutory law in dog bite cases?Generally, yes. In both types of types of cases, you are entitled to full compensation for your injuries. The compensation includes payment of your economic loss (medical bills, lost wages, related out-of-pockets expenses) and non-economic loss (scarring, pain, worry, physical impairment, permanent injury, etc) The big difference is punitive damages; they are never permitted under the statutory law.Is the owner of the dog the only person I can pursue?No. You may seek compensation from any person who owned, harbored or kept the dog. Harborers and keepers do not necessarily own the dog, but they are in a position to control the dog. This could include a dog sitter, landlord (in very limited circumstances), a dog walker, etc.The dog owner said she had her front door closed but somehow the dog just got out and she did not know it. Is she responsible?Yes. Under the strict liability statutory law, how the dog got out, and whether the owner knew it does not matter. (However, these facts could matter in a common law case; an inquiry into the owners negligence would be necessary and if she was not negligent, there would be no successful common law claim.)The attorneys at Cubbon and Associates are experienced in these types of cases. If we can help you, give us a call or click on the "free consultation" link.Cubbon & Associates: 419.243.7243

High Risk Health Insurance

In the past many of our clients with serious health problems have been excluded from insurance coverage because of those problems or because they could not afford the cost of coverage when their health problems were factored into their premiums. This will change in 2014. Health insurance carriers will no longer be able to deny coverage based on health status. Premiums will no longer be based on individual health status but rather on community rating. Individuals will only be rated based on age, family status, place of residence and tobacco use and not individual health status.Unfortunately, 2014 is a long time to wait for those unable to get coverage now. To bridge this gap the Affordable Care Act authorized the creation of statewide high risk pools to provide coverage for those unable to qualify for insurance coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Since August, Ohio resident have been able to apply for coverage under the Ohio High Risk Pool operated by the Ohio Department of Insurance and Medical Mutual of Ohio.To qualify:A person must be a resident of Ohio and a lawful resident of the United States.A person must have been uninsured for the previous six months.A person must have been unable to secure coverage due the existence of a pre-existing condition.The pool requires the payment of a premium and this may be prohibitive for some.More information is available at 877-730-1117 (TTY: 800-982-8109) or at www.OhioHighRiskPool.com.

Health Insurance for Young Adults

Prior to the recent enactment of Health Care Reform legislation, dependants lost their group health coverage at 19 or 23 if they remained in school on a full time basis.Many young adults have lacked access to group coverage while the costs of individual policies are often prohibitive.Now, under the Affordable Care Act young adults may remain on or enroll in their parents coverage until 26 nationally. Ohio law is now even more generous and the coverage cut off is now set at 28. The federal law applies to new policies and renewals issued after September 23, 2010. The Ohio statute became effective on July 1, 2010 and applies to policies issued or renewed after that date.The Federal Law permits coverage regardless of residence, while the Ohio law only applies to young adults residing in or recently returned to Ohio.Children enrolling under their parents coverage need not be dependants. If, however they are employed and qualify for their own coverage group they may be excluded from their parents coverage.Carriers are required to provide parents written notice of the opportunity to enroll an eligible child and a window of 30 days to actually enroll the child. This will usually occur during an open enrollment period.It is important to note that employers are not required to pick up the cost of the coverage. There will is a premium cost associated with the covering the child.For more information contact your carrier or www.insurance.ohio.gov

Obamacare

One of the first provisions of the Affordable Care Act, (f/k/a) Obama Care, to go into effect this fall changes the rules for denials of health services and payments by health insurance plans. The provision covers health insurance companies and self insuring employers.All health care plans must now provide consumers the right to internally appeal denials of payments or services.A health insurance company or self insuring employer must explain how to internally appeal a denial when it denies a payment or service.Internal Appeals must be decided promptly:
  • Urgent Care, 72 hours.
  • Non Urgent Care yet to be received, 30 days.
  • Non Urgent Care already received but denied, 60 days.
If the denial is upheld, a consumer may appeal to an independent reviewer not employed by the health plan. The plan must explain this process to the consumer.In the event of a denial of urgent care, the internal and independent review can occur simultaneously.Consumers are entitled to receive all appeals-related information in their native language.The new requirements apply to new health insurance plans created after March 23, 2010 and all annual renewals occurring after September 23, 2010.For more information, go to www.healthcare.gov or the Ohio Department of Insurance www.insurance.ohio.gov.

Stu Cubbon Speaks in Texas

Cubbon and Associates is proud that partner Stuart F. Cubbon was asked to speak to at the 2010 COMBA Conference Dont Mess With the Metros! at the Westin La Cantera Resort in San Antonio, Texas. COMBA is the Conference of Metropolitan Bar Associations, with representative bar associations throughout the Midwest and as far east as Buffalo, NY and as far west as Minneapolis, MN. A past president of the Toledo Bar Association and current executive council member of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, Mr. Cubbon presented with a panel on Reflections of Past Presidents.Active involvement and service to the profession through bar membership is a hallmark of Cubbon and Associates. All attorneys strive to improve the profession. Today, James E. Yavorcik is active as immediate past president of the Toledo Bar Association. Kyle Cubbon is active as a member of its Grievance Committee. Tom McArdle has chaired its Pro Bono Advisory Committee. Stuart Cubbon serves as chair of the TBAs Diversity Committee.

Michigan Supreme Court Ruling Improves Recoveries for Accident Victims

As any Michigander knows, Michigan is a No-Fault State. Persons injured in auto accidents there (as well as truck, ATV, bicycle and pedestrian victims) may have their recovery from an at fault driver limited to medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. Recovery for pain and suffering may be limited to cases which meet the Michigan no-fault thresholdcases in which a person suffered death, scarring and disfigurement or the peculiar and confusing term, serious impairment of a body function. The definition of a serious impairment of a body function has been in dispute since no-fault law arrived, and has received multiple interpretations by multiple courts over the years, often resulting in minimal or no recovery to legitimately injured persons. In many instances, people with serious injuries were denied any recovery at all.Recently, the Michigan Supreme Court announced its landmark decision of McCormick v Carrier, which reversed longstanding case decisions. In a nutshell, McCormick court held that where there is objective evidence of injury and those injuries generally affect some aspect of the persons ability to lead their normal life for some period, they are entitled to have a jury determine their measure of damages. The court held that there is no need to prove permanent injury or that the injures completely prevented a person from going about any day-to-day activities.The practical effect of the McCormick decision is that Cubbon and Associates may well be able to help you recover for injuries sustained in a Michigan accident today, even though only a couple of months ago the law may have prevented such recovery. If we can be of assistance, please dont hesitate to call us!Cubbon & Associates: 419-243-7243

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