After a car accident in Ohio in which you suffered injuries, police may determine that both you and the other driver made errors while driving that led to the crash. While this does not necessarily prevent you from seeking damages, it can affect the amount of compensation you recover.
According to the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI), the state’s rules regarding comparative negligence take effect if both drivers are partially at fault in a car accident. With partial fault assigned to you, comparative negligence affects your ability to receive a full personal injury award for your pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and other damages.
What is Comparative Negligence in Ohio?
In many car accidents, one driver is fully at fault. The driver who did not contribute to the crash could recover for all of their related expenses and losses.
Meanwhile, Ohio Revised Code Section 2315.33 outlines what happens when both drivers have at least partial fault for the crash. Note that “fault” can mean actions that directly contributed to the collision or actions you could have taken to avoid it.
When comparative negligence applies in an Ohio car accident case, any award you receive gets reduced based on the percentage at which your actions contributed to the crash.
Understanding the Percentage of Comparative Negligence
Comparative negligence means that both drivers will share in the payment of property damage and other expenses and losses. While you could still recover, your contribution to the collision cannot be more than the combined fault of other parties. An insurance adjuster will play a role in determining the percentage of fault to assign to each driver.
When you submit a claim to the other driver’s insurer, one of their adjusters will investigate the case. They will likely request an interview so they can ask you a series of questions. It’s important to be careful what you say to an adjuster—or anyone, including on social media—about the collision. Certain statements could get used against you, affecting the level of fault assigned to you and the compensation you can receive.
The ODI outlines the two main comparative fault scenarios on page 15 of the insurance guide—we explore them in detail below.
One Driver has Most of the Blame
A common comparative negligence outcome would show that one driver was 80% at fault for the crash, while the other driver had a 20% responsibility. A 70/30 or 60/40 split is also possible.
As long as the other driver has a majority of fault for the crash—which would be anything over 50%—you could recover a personal injury settlement or award. However, any amount would have a reduction by the percentage of blame you received.
The driver assigned the majority of fault for the crash cannot receive damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
Equal Blame Between the Drivers
Sometimes, both drivers are deemed equally at fault. When two drivers have 50% of the blame for the crash, neither may receive compensation from the other’s insurance company for their damages. Therefore, seeking compensation in this scenario typically requires going to court.
For example, this may occur in a crash where police officers issue traffic tickets to both drivers or to neither driver. The facts in the case may not strongly support blaming either driver.
Having a personal injury lawyer on your side can be particularly beneficial in a case like this. If the insurance company wrongfully assigned blame to you, we can look for evidence to show the other driver was more at fault and that you deserve compensation.
How Our Attorneys Can Show the Other Driver is Primarily at Fault
Through our investigation of the case, we can work to show that the other driver’s actions contributed fully or primarily to the situation that led to the accident. This can be difficult after insurance adjusters declare your level of fault, but we know what it takes to stand up to an insurer. Our team can take the following steps to support your right to financial recovery.
Insurance adjusters could interview some witnesses to the accident, but they may not find all of them. Our team will take the time to speak to everyone who saw the accident, helping us uncover information that shows the other driver’s fault.
Reviewing Car Damage
Where and how a vehicle became damaged can say a lot about what happened during a collision and who was at fault. We may hire an accident reconstruction expert to help us interpret what happened based on the car damage.
If our team can access traffic cameras at the scene, we can use it to show what happened. Surveillance footage from nearby stores could also benefit your case. However, videos like these often get erased over time, so it’s critical to act quickly.
Let Us Prove Your Right to Car Accident Damages
Determining whether the other driver has full or partial fault for your car accident is crucial for receiving compensation. The wrong call could require you to cover your own medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Count on the Fitch Law Firm LLC to support your fight for compensation.
We will give your case the time it deserves, build a strong case against the other driver, and stand up for you throughout the legal process. Contact us today at (614) 545-3930 for a free case review.