When filing an accident claim in Ohio, what you should expect to happen depends on the insurance company’s response and whether you hire an attorney to represent you. Several examples of what could happen include:
- If the insurance company offers a fast and fair settlement, you can get your money relatively quicFkly and without delay.
- If the insurer resists offering an appropriate settlement, you might have to negotiate with them or even go to court.
- If there is any doubt as to liability for the accident, the involved insurance companies may launch an investigation and refuse to pay.
A lawyer can help you in any scenario by serving as your representative.
Before You File an Accident Claim
It is important to consider these factors to protect your right to file a lawsuit.
The Insurance Company
Even before you can consider your options for compensation, the liable party’s insurance company may act. Sometimes, they offer victims a quick settlement that is not reasonable. Other times, they may ask for a recorded statement, and may use your words against you to deny or limit compensation.
It may be best to avoid speaking with the insurance company until you have a chance to consult legal counsel. A personal injury lawyer can:
- Speak to the insurance company on your behalf
- Inform you of any offers the insurer makes and whether it is in your best interest to accept
- Explain your rights and obligations in layman’s terms
The Statute of Limitations
Generally speaking, you have two years to file suit after an accident, according to Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10.
The amount you can receive depends on both the insurance limits and your injuries. A lawsuit may cover these damages:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
Other damages may be available in wrongful death cases. Again, a lawyer can help you determine what you need and what you can reasonably expect to recover.
Ohio is a no-fault state, meaning you can only get compensation once you’ve established liability. In negligence cases, you must show that the liable party caused the accident and, therefore, they should pay damages. In addition, you will need evidence to prove:
- The injuries you sustained
- The short- and long-term effects of your injuries on your health, finances, and career
- What medical treatments and other services you need to deal with the injuries
Filing an Accident Claim
As the Ohio Department of Insurance explains on page 16 of their “Guide to Automobile Insurance,” you have the right to consult an attorney at any time if you need help with the claims process. A lawyer can:
- Examine your policy and identify the best way for you to pursue compensation
- File all necessary paperwork with the insurance companies or the court
- Recommend how much money you seek
Once you file your claim, an insurer may decide to investigate. Your lawyer can aid the investigation by pointing them towards the evidence you have already collected that proves the liable party’s liability.
You may also have to provide a statement about your experiences. An attorney can make sure you answer all questions correctly and that the insurer does not ask any inappropriate questions.
After Filing a Claim
Once you have filed and the insurers have completed their investigations, you might need to wait for a fair settlement. It can take a while to:
- Process your claim
- Negotiate with the insurer for a reasonable amount
- Deal with any delays or denials
- Receive your payout from the insurance company
- Take your case to court if necessary
Waiting can be frustrating, especially if you have missed a lot of work and urgently need the money for medical care and daily expenses. Having a lawyer on your side can ensure that the process runs smoothly, and you get your money as quickly as possible.
In addition, you do not have to pay any attorney’s fees unless you are compensated.
We Can File Your Accident Claim
The Fitch Law Firm LLC wants to help you recover the compensation you and your family deserve. When you call us today at (614) 545-3930, we can explain what you should expect when filing an accident claim in Ohio and how we can make the process easier for you. This initial consultation will cost you nothing and can generally be completed over the phone or by Zoom.