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RMI DEFEATS “SUDDEN-MEDICAL EMERGENCY DEFENSE” / $350,000 in Recoveries after Verdict & Settlements on Three Recent Challenges to Ohio Doctrine

RMI Sudden Medical Banner for Website Photo use

Ohio’s “sudden-medical emergency” doctrine has long been utilized by defense insurers and counsel to defeat subrogation cases. The defense is often used by insurers who claim a sudden medical or other emergency resulted in a driver losing control of a vehicle and colliding with a building.

In three recent cases, RMI has successfully challenged the defense resulting in $350,000.00 in aggregate subrogated recoveries by way of a verdict and two settlements.

All three cases involved property losses to buildings sharing a common denominator of a complete denial of liability by the vehicle insurer based on the sudden emergency doctrine. Two of the cases involved alleged medical emergencies.

Tim Ita tried a case to verdict in Hamilton County with a 100% liability finding in his client’s favor, an insurer of a retail store. The defendant driver claimed a sudden emergency resulted in his swerving onto the sidewalk and crashing into the storefront. Tim Ita also litigated and settled a claim for $146,000 involving a residential loss where the defense was that the commercial operator of a heavy equipment truck had lost consciousness from choking and collided with the insured’s home.

David Matejczyk recently litigated and resolved a “sudden-medical emergency” case in the sum of $180,000 for a subrogated insurer. The defense insurer maintained its driver collided with a commercial building because she allegedly lost consciousness. In that case, RMI immediately visited the loss site and matched witness statements as to specific locations along the route of travel. It was successfully argued that there was nothing “sudden” about the driver’s loss of consciousness, and that she continued driving despite warning signs of her condition.

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ATTORNEY DUSTIN SMITH JOINS RMI - Brings Engineering Background to Firm

Attorney Dustin Smith Hard Hat

Dustin Smith has joined Roberts, Matejczyk & Ita Co. as an associate attorney.

“Dustin brings an engineering background that makes him a natural fit to the property section of our subrogation practice,” noted partner Glenna Roberts.

He will primarily work on subrogation assignments from insurers involving commercial and residential fires, cases involving electrical and mechanical failures, water losses, construction defects, structure failures and product liability claims.

Dustin is a 2014 graduate of Cleveland Marshall College of Law and a 2010 graduate of the engineering program at the Ohio State University. At Ohio State he obtained his bachelor degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. He was a member of the university’s freshman Engineering Honors Program.

His engineering studies included extensive course work in electrical circuits, structural stress analysis, fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. While in college, Dustin also worked for a construction company in Columbus, Ohio.

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