What you can recover after a car accident in Ohio depends on:
- The injuries you sustained
- If your case falls within the statute of limitations
- Who was at fault
- What the at-fault party’s insurance policy covers
- The terms of any settlement agreement negotiated with the insurance company
- How much evidence is collected to support your case
What Types of Compensation are Available?
After a car accident, you can ask for:
- Medical expenses: This includes any care necessary to improve your physical or psychological health.
- Property damage: In car accident cases, this usually refers to expenses related to repairing or replacing your vehicle.
- Loss of income: This is reimbursement for the wages you are normally paid at work that your injuries have prevented you from earning.
- Pain and suffering: Physical pain and emotional anguish can take a heavy toll. If your injuries had a measurable negative impact on your life, you can seek compensation.
- Disability: Any permanent injury that prevents you from moving and functioning like you used to may qualify you for compensation.
- Disfigurement: Severe scarring can affect your appearance, your physical capabilities, and your self-image.
If the accident was fatal, you may have the right to sue on behalf of your deceased relative. Wrongful death damages often include loss of financial support, loss of companionship, funeral and burial expenses, and more.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
After a car accident in Ohio, you generally have two years to exercise your right to file a lawsuit. This statute of limitations is established by Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10.
It is important that you file your case within these two years. Exceptions may apply.
Who Can I Sue for a Car Accident?
An investigation can reveal who caused your accident and, by extension, who you can sue for financial compensation. In many cases, the at-fault party is another driver who:
- Was speeding
- Ignored traffic signs
- Followed another vehicle too closely
- Used their cell phone while driving
That said, car accidents can be complicated. There may be more than one liable party you can sue (for example, both a driver and their employer). The insurance company may also decide that you are partially responsible. Being found partially liable for the accident could reduce the amount of compensation you receive, per Ohio Revised Code Section 2315.33.
A lawyer can help identify the liable party (or parties) and demonstrate that they are entirely responsible for the accident, which could make it easier for you to recover damages.
What does Car Insurance Cover?
There are many different types of car insurance policies, some that are required by law and some that are optional. According to the Ohio Department of Insurance, the minimum amount of insurance that an Ohio driver must have is:
- $25,000 for property damage
- $25,000 for bodily injury for one person involved in one accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury for everyone involved in one accident
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are not required. However, if you are hit by someone who does not have the required minimum insurance, this coverage can help you pay for medical treatment and provide additional compensation.
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How Do I Negotiate a Settlement?
Speaking to the insurance company by yourself can be unwise. The insurer may try legal yet aggressive tactics to minimize your claim. In many cases, it is better to hire an attorney and let them deal with the insurance company.
Your lawyer can fight for a fair payout by:
- Meeting with the liable party’s insurance company to negotiate a satisfactory settlement on your behalf
- Presenting persuasive evidence on your behalf
- Ensuring that any settlement offers are fair and meet your needs
- Taking your case to court and trying it to a jury, if necessary
What Evidence do I Need?
The stronger your case is against the liable party, the more likely the insurance company will offer a settlement rather than risk a trial.
Your attorney may collect evidence from various sources, including:
- Car accident reports
- Traffic cams, surveillance video, or other audio/visual footage
- Personal photos
- Eyewitness testimony
- Statements from experts
- Medical reports and records
Much of this evidence is more likely to be fresh and available soon after the accident. If you wait too long to begin your case, some evidence could be lost, making it more difficult for you to recover compensation. This, along with the two-year statute of limitations, is another good reason to get started promptly.
Let Us Help You Recover Compensation
The Fitch Law Firm LLC takes pride in helping clients throughout Ohio receive fair compensation after car accidents and other types of traffic accidents. Call (614) 545-3930 today to learn more about what you can recover and how our team can help. Your initial consultation is always free, and we never charge attorney’s fees unless you receive compensation.