Yes, after a motorcycle accident, you can sue someone personally. Ohio is an at-fault state, which means the driver who is responsible for the accident is responsible for all damages and losses.
As a motorcycle accident victim, you may be able to:
- File a claim with your insurance company
- File a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Sue the at-fault driver
If an insurance settlement covers all of your damages, you may not need to proceed with a lawsuit against the responsible party. However, if your damages exceed the limits of the available insurance coverage, a lawsuit may allow you to recuperate the remainder of your losses.
Filing an Insurance Claim Before a Lawsuit
After a motorcycle accident, you may first pursue compensation from the responsible party’s insurance company. According to the Ohio Department of Insurance, Ohio requires every driver to have liability coverage of:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
If the value of the damages and losses of the accident is greater than the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage, they may be personally responsible for the remaining amount. At this point, you would notify the party of the specific amount you seek in compensation. Should the at-fault party refuse to pay the difference, you have the right to file a lawsuit against them.
Note that if an insurance company refuses to make you a fair settlement offer, you can sue them as well.
Determining the Fault in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Ohio law also uses the comparative negligence model when determining financial responsibility for motorcycle accidents. Comparative negligence means that multiple parties could be partially responsible for an accident.
Consider the following examples:
- A motorcyclist is waiting at a red light when another driver hits them from behind. It is likely that the driver who crashed into the motorcyclist is 100% responsible for the consequences.
- A car switches lanes and crashes into a motorcyclist who is speeding and driving recklessly. Based on the police accident report, the claim adjusters may consider the driver 20% responsible and the motorcyclist 80%.
- A motorcyclist is making a left-hand turn when a pedestrian walks in front of them. Paramedics determine the pedestrian is intoxicated. The pedestrian might be 90% responsible and the rider 10%.
The percentage of responsibility influences the amount the at-fault or mostly-at-fault party must pay. For example, if the other party was 75% liable for your accident, and your damages are worth $50,000, they would be responsible for covering 75% of those damages, or $37,500. If you were responsible for the other 25% of the accident, then you would have to cover your remaining damages out of pocket.
Motorcycle Accident Damages
After an accident, insurance company adjusters determine the value of losses and damages. If you hire a lawyer to represent you, they can conduct their own investigation into the value of your damages. There are three general categories of damages:
Economic damages are for losses that have a fixed value. You can often prove economic damages with a receipt or an invoice. Economic damages can include vehicle repairs or replacement value, medical bills, and lost wages.
Non-economic damages are for losses that do not have a quantified value. Non-economic damages may include the physical pain from injuries, the emotional anguish from the collision, and the mental suffering of having temporary or permanent harm from the accident, such as a disability or disfigurement.
Although rare, a jury will sometimes award punitive damages as a form of punishment in a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
You may need to file a lawsuit to seek punitive and non-economic damages. This may require you to show proof of the losses you suffered. Evidence in a motorcycle accident lawsuit can include medical records, testimony from medical professionals, eye-witness statements, and more.
How the Fitch Law Firm LLC Can Help
Coordinating a lawsuit while recovering from motorcycle accident injuries can be challenging. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Columbus, Ohio, the Fitch Law Firm LLC can help you. Allow us to fight on your behalf for the compensation you need to recover from the incident.
Contact the Fitch Law Firm LLC at (614) 545-3930 to speak to one of our representatives in a free case review. We can discuss whether you may qualify to file an insurance claim or sue someone personally after your motorcycle accident during your initial consultation.