In Ohio, the car accident settlement process and timeline depend on a variety of factors specific to your case. These factors may include but are not limited to:
- How much and what type of insurance coverage the liable party has
- Whether the insurer for the liable party is willing to negotiate a settlement in good faith
- How much evidence is available to prove your claim
- Nature and extent of your injuries
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, you can assist in the process of receiving a settlement by taking the following steps.
Document Medical Treatment
This is an important thing to do to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your legal rights after an accident. If you are seriously injured, an emergency room visit may be in order. Otherwise, making an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible can:
- Document your injuries
- Create a medical record that helps to prove a connection between the accident and your injuries
- Enable you to receive necessary care faster, thereby improving your health in a timely fashion
Document the Scene
If you are not transported from the accident scene, provide the authorities with a statement about what happened, who was involved, and so on. This statement, along with statements from others and the officer’s own observations, will go into the accident report.
Before leaving the scene, you can also start collecting evidence such as:
- The other driver’s insurance and contact information
- Photos or videos of the damage to your car
- Photos or videos of your bodily injuries
Filing a Claim with Your Insurer
The Ohio Department of Insurance confirms that as the policyholder, it is your responsibility to file an accurate and timely report with your insurer after an accident. However, you generally will not get compensation until liability – in other words, who caused the accident – is established.
According to the Ohio Department of Insurance, any expenses not covered by an insurance policy (e.g., medical bills that exceed the amount the liable party is covered for) are your responsibility.
The Process for Filing an Accident Lawsuit
Once you have completed the above steps to the best of your ability, it’s time to consider your legal options. A car accident lawyer can help you:
- Understand your options: Many firms offer free consultations to anyone who calls in. This consultation can give you a better idea of what services the firm offers and whether you are comfortable with that firm.
- File your case on time: A lawyer will act within the statute of limitations and all other legal deadlines. Their knowledge of the law can keep your case moving forward.
- Collect evidence: Your case will be stronger if it is corroborated by information from medical records, accident reports, traffic cam footage, witnesses and more. This evidence can also identify how many parties are liable for the accident.
- Manage all communications: Attorneys know how to deal with insurance company representatives and encourage them to offer a fair settlement.
- Determine your case’s worth: Calculating the value of your case and make sure that you seek appropriate compensation.
The legal system can be difficult to newcomers or anyone who tries to resolve a case on their own. Professional legal representation can help you avoid missteps and fight on your behalf for appropriate compensation.
When Do I Get My Settlement?
If the evidence in your favor is clear and the insurance company wants to resolve your case quickly, they may offer a reasonable settlement soon. However in some instances, the insurance company may:
- Blame you for the car accident while denying that their insured is responsible
- Offer a low settlement and refuse to negotiate further
- Refuse to come to the negotiating table at all
Let’s Get Started on Your Case Today
The lawyers at the Fitch Law Firm LLC are happy to answer all your questions about the car accident settlement process and timeline. For a free case evaluation, call us at (614) 545-3930 whenever you are ready to begin. We are proud to serve clients throughout the state of Ohio and fight for the compensation they deserve. Each case is different and therefore it is difficult to predict when a specific case will resolve.