Can I Be Sued for a Car Accident in Ohio? A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
In the aftermath of a serious car accident, when the initial shock from the crash is beginning to fade, the mind will automatically turn towards the possibility of taking or being the recipient of any legal action. An Ohio personal injury lawsuit can have serious implications for the liable party.
One of the most common questions that those involved in a car crash ask is "Can I be sued for a car accident in Ohio?" The short answer is yes! The law in Ohio holds the liable party accountable for their actions, and for any damages the victims may have suffered.
However, determining liability for the accident is not so simple. With the comparative negligence laws in Ohio, being the recipient of a car accident lawsuit does not always mean that the defendant will end up paying damages.
The best thing to do, for both the victim and the driver, is to seek legal representation from a competent Ohio auto accident attorney in Toledo.
Car accident lawsuits can be very complicated, especially when the insurance company refuses to pay. Calling Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys and asking for a free consultation is the best step to take. They can help with questions like How long can you sue after a car accident in Ohio?
Statistics on Ohio Car Accidents
Before going further, to understand why Ohio residents need to be familiar with the process of an Ohio car accident lawsuit, it is important to look at some of the statistics in that state.
Ohio is considered one of the most dangerous states to drive in the US, a country that witnesses at least 1.3 million fatal injuries from car accidents every year. Winter is a particularly dangerous time to be on Ohio's roads, with the state regularly featuring in the top five for car accidents in the country.
Over five years, stretching from 2014 to 2018, Ohio witnessed 334,856 accidents, of which 2,511 resulted in deaths. These accidents resulted in millions of dollars of property damage and other losses for all parties involved.
Common Car Accident Injuries Suffered by Victims
One of the main reasons why a car accident victim would consider filing a personal injury lawsuit is because they want to seek compensation for the injuries they sustained due to the negligence of the other driver.
Some of the common injuries that result in an Ohio car accident claim include:
Traumatic brain injury
Soft tissue injuries
Cuts, bruises, and lacerations
Dismemberment and disfigurement
Spinal cord injuries
When Is an Ohio Car Accident Lawsuit Necessary?
When car accident injuries are particularly severe, it is common for the injured person to seek compensation by filing an Ohio car accident lawsuit. This provides victims with the most guaranteed method of obtaining the compensation they deserve.
Car accident lawsuits are also common in cases where the insurance company refuses to honor the insurance claim on behalf of the at-fault party. This is usually the case when there is a dispute between the parties involved regarding who the negligent party is.
An Ohio car accident attorney can also advise their client to file a lawsuit in cases where the accident involves a lot of complicated details, such as car accident cases involving more than two parties.
Another example of a complication that may need to be resolved in court is when the at-fault party does not have sufficient insurance coverage to cover the victim's damages.
In general, if the car accident attorney feels that the only way to recover compensation for the victim is through the courts, they will advise their client to launch a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault drivers involved.
Statute of Limitations Deadline
In Ohio, car accident victims have a maximum of two years from the date of the car crash in which to file a lawsuit for the recovery of maximum compensation.
This is called the statute of limitations. Failure to sue the defendant before the statute of limitations expires means the victim will be barred from ever seeking compensation for that particular car accident case.
Steps the Car Accident Victim Can Take
While two years may seem like a long time, the statute of limitations deadline can come and go quicker than most car accident victims realize. This is why victims need to know the right steps to take in the aftermath of a car accident.
Victims should consider the following:
Seek Medical Treatment
Before worrying about how to recover damages within the statute of limitations, the most important thing is the health and well-being of all those involved in the car accident. This is why seeking medical treatment is the first thing victims must do.
The chances of winning Ohio car accident cases go up significantly when the attorney is armed with enough evidence to prove negligence. Some examples of types of evidence that carry a lot of weight in court include pictures of the accident scene, a police report, and a doctor's report.
Obtain Witness Information and Statements
Having witnesses who can collaborate on what the victim is claiming, as well as shed light on how the at-fault party was driving, can be of great help when it comes to determining negligence and deciding how much damages the victims should receive.
Notify the Insurance Company
The insurance company should also be notified of the accident as soon as possible so that the level of insurance coverage the at-fault party has can be determined.
It also gives the insurer the chance to make a settlement that it deems fair compensation for the insurance claim, which may help avoid going through a lengthy court case.
Approach an Ohio Car Accident Attorney
Finally, when all documents are in order, victims should approach a competent personal injury lawyer who knows how to handle a lawsuit for a car accident in Ohio. Victims who want a top-rated law firm with a deep understanding of Ohio laws need to approach Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys for a free consultation.
Determining Fault in an Ohio Car Accident Case
Winning a lawsuit after a car accident in Ohio starts with being able to prove the negligence of the other driver. This requires carefully sifting through all the evidence available and determining who was responsible for the crash.
However, anyone involved in a car accident in Ohio needs to contend with the state's comparative negligence laws. These laws state that in an accident involving two or more parties, each party is assigned their fair share of blame for causing the accident.
Comparative negligence means that the compensation that the victim will receive will be reduced if they are found to be partially at fault for the car accident. If the plaintiff is more than 50% to blame, they will not be able to seek any compensation from the defendant.
Damages the At-fault Driver Is Liable To
When it has been determined that the defendant is the one to blame for the accident, it will be time to decide how much settlement may be deemed fair compensation for the bodily injury and other losses suffered by the victim. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys will help explain how to calculate pain and suffering car accident in Ohio.
In general, damages that a victim can claim can be divided into the following categories:
Economic damages cover all the monetary losses that the victim has suffered as a result of the actions of the negligent party. These include:
Loss of earning potential
Wrongful death claim
In addition to the economic damages, victims can also claim other damages that are not so easily quantifiable. These are called non-economic damages and it is up to the courts to decide how much, if any, of these damages to award the victim.
Examples of non-economic damages are:
Pain and suffering
Loss of enjoyment of life
Loss of companionship due to wrongful death
There are certain cases where the actions of the defendant warrant further punishment by the courts. These are called punitive damages, and they are not common and are not always easy to prove. Usually, the car accident attorney has to prove that the at-fault party acted in a particularly reckless and negligent way to warrant such punishment.
Punitive damages are usually handed down to defendants who have been found guilty of fraud, malice, and knowingly acting or allowing the victim to be injured.
In most cases, there is a cap placed on the amount that can be claimed for punitive damages, and in Ohio, this cap is twice the amount awarded for other damages up to a maximum compensation of $350,000.
Schuerger Shunnarah Injury Attorneys Will Go to War for Its Clients
When a negligent motor vehicle driver causes serious injury to a victim, Ohio law demands that the driver pays fair compensation.
However, in some cases, the victim will have to file a lawsuit against the negligent party so that they are compensated for any suffered damages.
As long as the lawsuit is filed before the expiration of the statute of limitations, and the victim has a good lawyer by their side, the is a good chance of walking away with maximum compensation.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has been handling Ohio car accident lawsuits for many years and is ready to go to war for injured victims.